A Sherlock Holmes for the Digital Age

What would the best detective on the market do nowadays to solve more cases? Elementary, my dear readers: they would run a blog. If you’re searching for inspiration about personal branding, you then should have a look at Sherlock Holmes’ The Science of Deduction.

I am admittedly quite late in catching up with the latest incarnation of the detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but last week BBC Three began re-airing the series created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, recently renewed for a fourth season. So I decided that it was the right time to get into this version 2.0 of Holmes, set in present day London and portrayed by Benedict Cumberbacth. Needless to say, the original one was among my heroes when I was a child, The Hound of the Baskervilles being my favourite among the crime novels written by Conan Doyle.

Promotional photo portraying Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes.

The pilot for Sherlock, “A Study in Pink”, was directed by Paul McGuigan. Given that I still consider his Gangster No. 1 and Lucky Number Slevin a shot in the arm within the gangster movie genre, I appreciated the pace of the episode. Also, in terms of narrative rhythm, I liked how mobile devices were integrated within the story: GPS technologies, the Internet, smartphones and the role played by blogs fit with nowadays obsession for being always (logged) on. I just found it a little bit weird that Watson is advised by his psychologist to run a public blog about what happened to him during the war in Afghanistan. But, hey, I’m not that kind of doctor…

Speaking of websites, I might be late in suggesting online resources, but if you want to delve into the fictional world of the one and only consulting detective, BBC provides “the definitive list of official Sherlock character sites and accounts”, all of which were written by Joseph Lidster: beyond Sherlock’s, they include John Watson’s blog, Molly Hooper’s Diary and Connie Prince’s official site. Whereas the best website for the fans of the series is Sherlockology.

Sherlock-Season 1- Episode 1 - A Study in Pink

Maps of the streets of London run throughout the whole episode, giving quite a precise idea of Holmes’ peculiar way of thinking and unusual deduction abilities, but it is quite unlikely to get the feeling of the “real” London. If you want to do some “location tourism”, be aware that the series is mainly shot in Wales, with some exterior sets of the city not matching with the real places. So if you go to the famous 221b Baker Street, for example, you’ll discover that it’s pretty different from the way it is depicted in the show: Holmes’ actual flat on the screen is in fact at 187 North Gower Street.

UK residents can catch up with the next episodes of Sherlock every Saturday night at 21:00 on BBC Three; each episode is also available on iPlayer immediately after airing on TV.