The Hounds of Baskerville

Posted by: Nick Redfern on May 9th, 2012

No, the wording of this post-heading is not a typo on my part! Rather, it’s the slightly-altered title of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous and acclaimed novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles – which took a significant degree of inspiration from the legends of one of Britain’s most infamous of all cryptids: the phantom black dog.

So, what’s my reason for bringing this up today? If you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes, doubtless you’ll know that not long ago the BBC did something that some fans of the Holmes genre viewed as absolute heresy, but which I thought was an excellent idea: they updated the old tales of the late 19th Century to modern-day England – with Benedict Cumberpatch taking the starring role as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson.

And, this coming weekend (CHECK YOUR LISTINGS!) there will be a U.S. airing of The Hounds of Baskerville, which, as well as a slight name change, also alters certain aspects of the story to keep it in line with its 21st Century setting.

Whether a fan of Holmes or of ghostly black dogs, you really should tune in! And – yes, it’s a bit of a spoiler alert – if you can’t wait until the weekend, you can find a review of the episode right here.

Nick Redfern About Nick Redfern
Punk music fan, Tennents Super and Carlsberg Special Brew beer fan, horror film fan, chocolate fan, like to wear black clothes, like to stay up late. Work as a writer.

2 Responses to “The Hounds of Baskerville”

  1. Ulysses responds:

    Oh yes, I’m a Sherlock Holmes fan since childhood. I was turned on by those old Basil Rathbone movies then the actual books of course. Absolutely wonderful! It’s nice to see the revision and it’s 100 times better than the new Robert Downey movies, ugh! The Black Dog phenom is centuries old and a wonderful tale and still being seen to this day (we need a post guys!). One more thing, I know it’s tough, but the name is Cumberbatch! Those English names! Gotta love them all.

  2. hoodoorocket responds:

    I’m a big fan of the show. Don’t give away any spoilers, because I have to wait for it to come to Netflix to watch it ; )

    I was very skeptical at the premise before it premiered, but in watching it, I find it to be, in an odd way, the truest portrayal of Holmes and Watson since the books.

    The contemporary setting also gives us a feel for what the strand readers would have experienced reading the stories. Modern London has many similarities with Holmes’ London, and the show picks up on that nicely.

    The stories, while original, contain an amalgam of bits of the original stories out of context and wink wink references from the canon. It is really the only part that some Doyle fans might find annoying, but if you see it as deconstructing a body of work to remove the entrenched prejudices and preconceptions that are so much a part of “Sherlock Holmes”, you will appreciate the genius of the show’s creators.

    They have managed to pare away all the gaslight trappings and bad movie cliches that have grown into something far beyond the source stories. The result presents something completely intact, restored nearly to what it started out as, that feels as fresh as when it was new 140 years ago.


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