Thursday, April 26, 2012

Alternate universes - Sherlock

Fictional settings are obviously placed in alternate universes whose 'histories' diverge from our universe in ways, both big and small. In this post, I'll attempt the 'analysis' of one such fictional universe - That of the British television show 'Sherlock', which  presents a contemporary version of the Sherlock Holmes stories, originally authored by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The show primarily stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson, among others, and each 'incident' that happens within the show, is essentially a mirrored version of the original stories, obviously updated with cultural and technological references that are relevant in the modern day.

So, apart from the obvious deviations, such as the existence of the characters, and unfolding of certain events etc, the other , not so evident differences in that universe are :

->  The non-existence of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle : Arthur Conan Doyle did not obviously exist even in the original stories, and even if he did, he certainly was not the famous author of the Sherlock Holmes stories, that he was in the real world.

-> The non-existence of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle implies the non-existence of his other works - The Lost World, and other works featuring the character of Professor Challenger etc. This would also mean that the Micahel Crichton novel , 'Lost World', if it existed in this universe, would be called by a differnt name.

-> The abscence of works by other authors, and other fictional works that were originally inspired by Conan Doyle's original books. For example, Agatha Christie's character Hercule Poirot was at least partially influenced by the popularity of the detective genre initiated by the original Sherlock Holmes stories, and he would probably not exist too. Also, the character of Dr.House on the television series House M.D is based on Holmes, and this would also be rendered moot. Another instance that I can think of is the Marvel comics character Destiny, who in the Marvel universe, is supposed to be Irene Adler - A character from the Sherlock Holmes canon.

There are obviously a lot more differences than just he ones that I have written about here, and I leave that to the speculation of anyone who might be reading this. And of course, if you haven't watched the show, do so soon, for it is indeed quite good.