!!''Literature/SherlockHolmes'' (the original stories)

* AcceptableReligiousTargets: Mormons are given a bad rap in "A Study in Scarlet". The story even indicates that Young has a group of secret killers who murder other Mormons for any act they deem religiously wrong or just speaking out against their faith in any way. In Doyle's defense, though, only Brigham Young's original polygamist followers get this treatment, not every Average Joe on the street who follows the religion. He also apologized for that portrayal.
* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation:
** Nearly every interpretation of Sherlock Holmes is different from the last. The base character seems to be as a cool, brilliant, straight-laced and classy hero-for-hire (sort of like the Creator/BasilRathbone version), but later adaptations have branched into two (equally accurate but not mutually exclusive) interpretations: the BunnyEarsLawyer Sherlock Holmes, who is a {{Cloudcuckoolander}} while being disturbingly competent (see [[Film/SherlockHolmes the Guy Ritchie/Robert Downey Jr. version]] or Disney's animated ''Disney/TheGreatMouseDetective'') or an anti-social {{Jerkass}} who is highly manipulative and insensitive, often out of lack of understanding rather than malice (see ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'' and ''Series/{{Elementary}}''). Naturally, expect a great deal of overlap within these two fields, but most interpretations will lean towards one or the other.
** Watson's portrayal varies a great deal between adaptations. Apart from the fact that they portray him on a sliding scale of both competence and assertiveness, his original characterization can be interpreted in many different ways due to the fact that while Watson's narration often uses descriptors and adjectives and explanations to color the readers' view of Holmes or of events where Watson is more of a passive observer, he usually simply reports his own actions with very little elaboration or descriptive flair, simply letting the actions stand on their own. Therefore, the exact flavor of his behavior is in many scenes a mystery -- see his very short, prosaic descriptions of actions that could easily have been highly charged if he had phrased them differently, like responding to a villain's casual warning that he's armed by seizing a chair in order to beat him up, or dashing up to blow out an attacking dog's brains at close range without hesitation. People can (and have) characterized Watson's demeanor as anything from a quiet observer on the sidelines simply taking note of Holmes's actions, to an impulsive and hotheaded semi-bodyguard who enthusiastically sticks his nose into everything while taking stock.
*** Tying into this, some may question whether the bumbling renditions of Watson such as that of Nigel Bruce are the most incompetent or the sanest. While more cerebral renditions of Watson are quicker to lose patience or judge Holmes and his eccentric methods, the more buffoonish ones are more passive, smart enough to know Holmes will figure everything out and usually playing OnlySaneMan while the more skeptical cast question or try to intervene.
** Mycroft Holmes. Holmes scholar Ronald A. Knox takes his blundering in "The Greek Interpreter," despite his intelligence, as proof that Mycroft was secretly a criminal in league with not only the villains of "The Greek Interpreter'' but with Moriarty as well, and that he acted as a double-agent on behalf of his brother.
** Holmes' stated disinterest in women: is he gay, asexual, or simply straight but very repressed?
* AuthorsSavingThrow: Holmes's return in "The Empty House", and the revelation that he'd survived Moriarty's attack in "The Final Problem" and just gone into hiding for a while.
* AwesomeEgo: Sherlock Holmes is ''very'' sure of his own superior intellect, and loves flattery -- and the readers tend to love him for it.
* EnsembleDarkhorse:
** Irene Adler, who only appeared in one story of the original tales, but is popular among those who wrote Holmes-based novels, TV, and movies, especially for a [[PromotedToLoveInterest Promotion To Love Interest]].
** Moriarty is another example, being a BreakoutVillain.
** Watson's first wife, Mary, often gets given a bigger and more assertive role than in the original canon; like Irene Adler, she's popular with modern writers looking to add more prominent female roles and/or expand her role as Watson's love interest. Tied into this, newer adaptations often spare her the BusCrash fate from the books and have her be more actively involved in Holmes's investigations.
** There are many others. Some include Shinwell Johnson and Kitty Winters, the supporting characters from ''The Illustrious Client'', or even Mr. Barker, Holmes's mysterious one-time rival from ''The Retired Colourman''.
** Let's not forget the Yarders, who unfortunately get flanderized fairly often in published pastiches, but who can also get a lot of screentime and downright ''magnificent'' characterization in {{Fanfiction}}.
** The most prestigious Holmes fan club is named for the Baker Street Irregulars.
** Yet another example is [[ColonelBadass Colonel Sebastian Moran]]. He appears in only one story (The Adventure of the Empty House), some occasional mention here and there and a play, but thanks to some fairly badass background details and actions, he really struck a chord with readers. While little more than a VillainOfTheWeek in the story, he has since grown to a far larger character in other Sherlock Holmes works, often serving as the EvilCounterpart to Watson (such as in ''A Game of Shadows'').
* FairForItsDay: Although Doyle often reflected the prejudices of his day, he nevertheless occasionally displayed ridiculously liberal values, as in "The Adventure of the Yellow Face", in which [[spoiler:a husband immediately and without reservation accepts and loves his wife's mixed-race child from a previous relationship]].
* FanWank: One of the older, best-established, and most erudite examples, and still going strong. People have written ''dissertations'' that are, essentially, Holmes FanWank that's ShownTheirWork. Trying to work out inconsistencies in the canon is known within the fandom as the Sherlockian Game, among other names. The less intrusive and more elegant a proposed fix is, the better regarded it is.
* GeniusBonus: Holmes calling Maths Professor Moriarty "The Napoleon of Crime" gets a whole new dimension when you know that the original UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte's second career choice was mathematician. So in a way, he was the Moriarty of world leaders as well.
* GenrePopularizer: Arguably the character that jumpstarted the detective story.
* HarsherInHindsight: It's much harder to enjoy "The Adventure of the Retired Colourman" after Auschwitz...
* HilariousInHindsight: In "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor," Holmes expresses a hope that the U.S. would rejoin the U.K. An...eccentric position when the story was written, but with the popularity of [[Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia USUK]], [[FanPreferredCouple he has plenty of support on that,]] [[{{Shipping}} albeit in a different sense]]. An additional layer of hilarity is that this is one of the goals of ''the villain'' in the 2009 Holmes film.
** ''The Disappearance of Lady Frances [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carfax_%28company%29 Carfax]]''.
* HoYay: So much we had to [[HoYay/SherlockHolmes give it its own page.]] ''Someone'' involved here knew which side their fandom is buttered on...
* IconicCharacterForgottenTitle: Most of the novels did not have Sherlock Holmes in the title.
* MagnificentBastard:
** Moriarty is one of the most iconic. Sherlock has damn good reason to call him "The Napoleon of Crime."
** Jefferson Hope (''A Study in Scarlet'') spends '''''two whole decades''''' making XanatosSpeedChess-style comebacks against his ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections targets before finally avenging his dead would-be family, then even manages to GoOutWithASmile.
* MemeticBadass:
** Irene Adler, the woman who went up against the best detective in London, if not the world, and managed to outsmart him.
** Watson himself, with Three Continents, a Mustache, and a Handgun.
** Sebastian Moran. The exact point where this was established is when Holmes mentioned he once crawled up a drainpipe to kill a cornered, wounded, man-eating tiger, just one of a number of exploits.
* ParanoiaFuel:
** The Mormons in ''A Study in Scarlet'', able to make [[UnPerson Un-People]] at will, and get past every barrier you can put between them and you.
** Likewise, the [[spoiler:Ku Klux Klan]] from ''The Five Orange Pips''.
** A less sinister example: Holmes' deductive abilities arguably go from "cool" to "creepy" in the first chapter of ''The Sign of Four'' (that is, the second novel) when he studies Watson's watch for a minute, then proceeds to give a summarized biography of Watson's elder brother, whom he hadn't known ''existed'' before he started.
* SavedByTheFans: Doyle ''tried'' to kill off Holmes when he got tired of the character. People didn't take it well, so he was brought back. Although [[MoneyDearBoy it wasn't the complaints that led him to bring Holmes back]]...
* ValuesDissonance: Sir Arthur's depiction of the Mormons as a ReligionOfEvil in ''A Study in Scarlet'' was completely uncontroversial at the time (Jules Verne also did it in ''Around the World in 80 days''), whereas his portrayal of the KKK as a murderous secret society in "The Five Orange Pips" was not. [[AcceptableTargets Nowadays, it's the opposite.]]
** One sailor is prepared to accept that Holmes is really being honest with him... because he's white.
* ValuesResonance: The last few paragraphs of "The Yellow Face". To clarify, Effie Munro [[spoiler: had married a black man in America and had a child with him before he died of disease]]. [[TheGayNineties Considering the time period]], this is quite remarkable. Then her husband (Grant Munro) quietly tells her that she could have just confided in him from the start, [[spoiler: picks up the girl and kisses her affectionately]] and tells his wife [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming that he would find a way to make it work out for all if them.]]
--> "I am not a very good man, Effie, but I think I am a better one than you have given me credit for being."
** Watson himself lampshades it by saying that the moment was one that he loves to remember.
** Especially poignant when one considers the prejudice towards non-whites during the time.
* TheWoobie: Watson in ''Literature/AStudyInScarlet'' is a wounded war vet with possible PTSD living a "comfortless, meaningless existence" before Holmes comes into his life. In ''Literature/TheSignOfTheFour'' Holmes picks up the Woobie Ball by gaining a depressive streak and a drug addiction. Of the two of them, Holmes with his grim and solitary nature is the one more often portrayed as a woobie in adaptations and pastiches.

!!''Series/SherlockHolmes'' (The TV series starring Creator/JeremyBrett)

* CharacterRerailment: The series rescued Watson from the "fat bumbling idiot" depiction of many previous adaptations.
* DorkAge: Briefly, when the production team decided to retool the series from hour-long episodes to feature-length ones: "The Master Blackmailer", "The Last Vampyre" and "The Eligible Bachelor", the latter two bearing absolutely no resemblance to anything Conan Doyle ever wrote.
* FightSceneFailure: In the fight scene in "The Solitary Cyclist" between Holmes and a drunken ruffian, the opening backhand obviously misses and slightly later one of Holmes' punches is obviously aimed below the chin. However, the fight is otherwise competently staged.
* HarsherInHindsight: "The Dying Detective" takes on a whole new significance when you know that Creator/JeremyBrett died the year after it was filmed. (Also of note: The A&E Biography of Sherlock Holmes - featuring David Burke - aired the same day Brett died.)
* HilariousInHindsight: "Shoscombe Old Place" features a very, ''very'' young Creator/JudeLaw as a stable boy. ([[ItMakesSenseInContext In drag, no less]].) Fast-forward to [[Film/SherlockHolmes 2009]]... [[HilariousInHindsight and who's playing Watson]]?
* PeripheryDemographic: Both the producers and the star, Jeremy Brett, were surprised to learn that their TV series was very popular with kids, who seemed to see the lead character as a SuperHero. As such, Brett got permission from the granddaughter of Arthur Conan Doyle to have Holmes beat his cocaine addiction and bury his needle.
* RetroactiveRecognition:
** [[Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade Colonel Dietrich]] is the King of Bohemia.
** [[Film/LethalWeapon Arjen Rudd]] is Edward Rucastle. Here, he doesn't resort to diplomatic immunity.
** Creator/NatashaRichardson as Violet Hunter.
** [[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration Deanna Troi]] as Lucretia Venucci.
** [[Film/HarryPotter Cornelius Fudge]] as Charles Augustus Milverton.
** Creator/CiaranHinds as Jim Browner.
** [[Series/{{Blackadder}} Lord Percy/Captain Darling]] as Vincent Spaulding.
** [[Film/RockyHorrorPictureShow The Criminologist]] as Mycroft Holmes.
** Creator/JudeLaw as Joe Barnes. Funnily enough, he would later play [[Film/SherlockHolmes Watson]].
* SeasonalRot: Beginning with "The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes" the series began to decline. For the first few seasons, the production team had cherry-picked the best and most well-known stories to adapt, now they were left with average to mediocre ones, and some of the episodes began to derail from their source material. Special mention goes to "The Last Vampyre" and "The Eligible Bachelor" which were the final feature length episodes which bear '''no''' resemblance to the ''short'' stories they were supposed to be based on.
* TearJerker:
** The ending of "The Adventure of the Crooked Man". [[spoiler: While Nancy and Henry are cleared of any wrongdoing in the Colonel's death, it's hinted that Henry is dying...so even though the former lovers are now free to be together, Henry's holding the locket with their silhouettes with a saddened expression implies that they won't be together..]]
** Much like the original version, the adaptation of "The Cardboard Box" is hard to get through. Creator/CiaranHinds' performance is a major reason for this.

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