Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century is an animated television series. Produced by DiC Entertainment, it aired on FOX from September 1999 to July 2001 for a total of 26 episodes in two seasons. Hundreds of years after the Great Detective's time, Inspector Beth Lestrade of New London's Scotland Yard discovers that a mad scientist has created a clone of the infamous Professor James Moriarty from cells taken from his frozen corpse at Reichenbach Falls. Using the latest technology, she has the well-preserved body of Sherlock Holmes rejuvenated and reanimated to help her foil the plans of what they initially believe to simply be a Moriarty-obsessed madman.After about half an episode of being disoriented and disadvantaged by being three hundred years out of his own time, Holmes settles down, moves into a Holmes museum recreation of his old apartment, and the game is, once again, afoot.In addition to Lestrade, Holmes is ably assisted by a new Watson, Lestrade's robotic partner who adopts his predecessor's personality and mannerisms after downloading Watson's collected writings. He soon gains a Latex Perfection mask giving him Watson's superficial appearance. Holmes also adopts a new team of Irregulars (with no mention made of Wiggins' name coinciding with the original Irregular leader).Each episode was suggested by a story from the canon, though the extent of the resemblance varies widely: some stories are translated closely, simply transposing the characters to a new setting ("Silver Blaze" with asteroid racing craft, rather than racehorses) while others take little more than names and some concepts ("The Hounds of the Baskervilles" is about "werewolves" on a lunar colony). Most of the stories were, however, rewritten to make Moriarty the ultimate culprit (usually as the man behind the man).See also Sherlock and Elementary for other modern-setting reinterpretations of the Sherlock Holmes mythos.
This series provides examples of:
Action Girl: Lestrade. Holmes calls her a "force of nature unto herself."
Affably Evil: Moriarty can be a gentleman and quite casually so. It's almost a little creepy, as befits the original character.
Automated Automobiles: Standard on the flying cars. Car chase scenes usually include a moment where Lestrade announces that she's switching to manual control because the autopilot isn't capable of handling chasing villains/getting shot at.
Awesome by Analysis: Even Moriarty apparently thinks this of Holmes. In one episode, he tells Holmes to "amuse him" by explaining his deductions.
The "real" Watson in the prologue of the premiere.
Holmes and Watson together, watching Lestrade leap from a very high story.
Blondes are Evil: Subverted with Heather Trenton, who had no idea what she was really doing.
Played with in "The Beryl Board".
Borrowed Biometric Bypass: In "The Adventure of the Mazarin Chip", Moriarty kidnaps the Prime Minister so he can use him to unlock various biometric safeguards protecting the nation's security (this being the kind of show it is, he drags the whole PM around instead of just taking the bits he needs).
Brief Accent Imitation: Holmes does this a lot when in disguise, even mimicking people’s voices (Moriarty and Fenwick have this ability, as well). Holmes’s favorite accent incognito seems to be Southern.
Camera Spoofing: Feeding a loop of footage into the security camera is part of how the theft is done in "The Adventure of the Beryl Board".
Car Chase: Several times with hovercraft, but same basic principle and often when Lestrade is at the wheel in one of the vehicles.
Casual Danger Dialogue: And it's not all Holmes and Moriarty, either. Lestrade and Fenwick can get into it, too.
Catch Phrase: All the Holmes standards plus some others. "Eyes and brains!"
This is all the more hilarious when the actual so called catchphrases associated with Holmes were either a) only ever said by him once or b) never even said by him.
Cat Scare: Invoked by Moriarty in "The Adventure of the Mazarin Chip"; the first police on the scene find a stray cat and think it tripped the alarm — which is exactly what Moriarty wanted them to think and why he brought the cat with him.
Character Development: Holmes and Lestrade demonstrate considerable character development in the show, Holmes throughout the first three episodes, and Lestrade throughout the series, regarding her relationships with Holmes and the Irregulars.
Moriarty's attitude towards Lestrade also develops throughout the series, from "Miss Lestrade" to "New Scotland Yard zealot". Ouch.
Chekhov's Gun: In a discretional way. Holmes uses his Inverness to protect a mad scientist's modesty.
However, Lestrade's idea to bring Holmes back to life to defeat a Moriarty-like big bad must take the Academy Award for this trope.
Cut the Juice: In "The Adventure of the Beryl Board", our heroes are attacked by robotic museum exhibits. The computer whiz of the week attempts to shut them with rapid fire typing, and fails. Then they suddenly stop; cut to Holmes, holding up a power cord and looking smug.
Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Or at least eat away at one character, who let the fact of his cyborg status bother him. To an extreme degree.
But revisited one more time in "Five Orange Pips," with an anti-tech society and the necessity of Holmes's clients understanding that Watson is just as human as they are (in mind and heart, anyway, if not in body).
Donut Mess with a Cop: When Lestrade gets the call to action at the beginning of "The Adventure of the Mazarin Chip", she's on a coffee break complete with pink-frosted donut.
To be fair to Lestrade, Holmes doesn’t even know what he’s doing when he’s behind the wheel.
Dull Surprise: Holmes, right after being de-aged and reanimated, wakes up to find this unknown girl right in front of his face telling him he is two hundred years ahead of his time, had only this to say:
Establishing Character Moment: The opening scene of the first episode shows an irritated Lestrade tearing through the skyline after a runaway criminal. Easily irritated, reckless driving, and pursuit of justice. Yup, that's our Beth.
Even Evil Has Standards: According to Moriarty in "Five Orange Pips," he doesn't want people getting hurt as he takes over the world. To be fair, he generally sticks to this rule, with the exception of "Baskerville" early on in the game.
Everything's Better with Penguins: The zoo in "The Scales of Justice" has a penguin exhibit, which plays a role in the episode's climax, as Holmes uses the low temperature to incapacitate his cold-blooded attacker.
Evil Luddite: The tech saboteurs in "The Five Orange Pips" were opposed to 'unnatural' technology and didn't care how many lives were damaged by their quest to destroy it. You can tell they were hardcore because they used only natural plant-derived poisons to murder their opponents.
Family-Friendly Firearms: As usual for an animated series of this type, especially given the future setting, ray guns are more common than projectile weapons. "The Five Orange Pips" takes it further: when the bad guys are trying to shoot Lestrade's squad car out of the sky, she takes the time to exposit that their ray gun is designed to inhibit the car's operation, not to harm living things.
Fantastic Racism: "The Five Orange Pips" revolves around "anti techs", people who oppose "unnatural" technology, especially artificial intelligences, which translates to treating Watson in what's effectively a racist manner. The episode includes a subplot about a child who starts out sharing his father's anti tech prejudices, but ends up considering Watson a person and a friend.
Foregone Conclusion: Holmes's non-death in "The Adventure of the Empty House". It's so much of a foregone conclusion that this trope doesn't use the spoiler brackets!
Forgotten Phlebotinum: In the first episode, it's a plot point that New Scotland Yard has the technology and database to match any human DNA to its owner; it's treated as an unprecedented event when Moriarty's DNA scan comes up as unknown. This never comes up again, and there's more than one later episode with a plot that implicitly assumes no such technology is available.
Rather more importantly, in the first episode, they've cured death.
Gas Mask Mooks: The men Moriarty hired as a front for his subtler scheme in "Five Orange Pips".
Gender Flip: Lestrade, thanks to The Smurfette Principle coming into larger existence after the source material. Here, the role is played by Beth Lestrade, a descendant of the original Inspector G. Lestrade.
Good Is Not Nice: Lestrade can indeed be a fair cop, but she can also be a downright scary one. Consider: she is the only Yarder we ever see overseeing someone in the cryptnosis chair, and her method of handling arrested people leaves something to be desired.
For that matter, New Scotland Yard's method of dealing with criminals. Whether you see cryptnosis as an abomination or a kindness, the fact is that they wipe and reprogram people's minds.
Actually, that doesn't seem to be entirely true. It was made clear that cryptnosis needed to be periodically redone, and in at least some cases criminals continued their activities anyway. So, most likely, whatever they did simply reduced the desire to commit crimes. A good analogy would be the chemical castration of rapists (...which, is still a highly questionable activity, but not as much so as reprogramming someone's brain from the ground up...).
Hey, Catch!: At the end of "The Five Orange Pips", Moriarty throws the antidote (in a fragile glass container) at Holmes, then escapes while Holmes, Watson and Lestrade are concentrating on catching it before it hits the ground and breaks.
Hostage for MacGuffin: Moriarty tries this with Lestrade as the hostage in "The Five Orange Pips". Lestrade tells Holmes point blank not to go for it, and Holmes, in defiance of cartoon-hero tradition, actually listens to her. (Probably the writers only let him because it turns out Moriarty has another more persuasive bargaining chip and so doesn't really need Lestrade.)
Hover Board: The skateboard courier in "The Five Orange Pips".
Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The villain of "The Adventure of the Empty House" spends several minutes shooting at Holmes and Watson in the climax without hitting them once, which is usual for a cartoon villain but notable in this case because the rest of the episode has been building him up as an expert shot against both stationary and moving targets.
This is slightly justified by the fact the villain is attempting to shoot Holmes and Watson in near total darkness and comes close several times, Holmes even points out how good his aim is given the circumstances.
Incredibly Lame Pun: Holmes seems to have a predilection for this, as he comes up with a few throughout the series. One was lampshaded by both Lestrade and Watson when they groaned at different points, respectively.
Last Name Basis: Subverted twice with Lestrade using "Sherlock"; once with Holmes using "Beth" (but only to Watson). Played straight otherwise.
Latex Perfection: As mentioned, elasto-masks allow people to accurately copy the faces of other individuals. Most remarkably, it is a complex enough piece of technology to grant a robot with a flat, featureless face a functional (that is, mobile and expressive) set of eyes, eyebrows, mouth, tongue and teeth.
Never Found the Body: During one fight, Moriarty tells Holmes that the Yard won't be able to find any trace of him if he falls into a laser field below. True enough, Watson witnessed both men fall, and no bodies were recovered... But that would be too simple for a second Reichenbach, wouldn't it?
New Neo City: New London. It's never explained what happened to the old one. The new one has a lot of the same landmarks (see page image), but is full of Americans.
Newspaper Thin Disguise: Holmes uses one while watching Moriarty's goons at the beginning of "The Red-Headed League". Later in the episode, an item in the same newspaper gives him a clue as to the central mystery of the episode.
No Ending: The last time we see Moriarty (second-to-last episode aired, but probably intended to be the finale), he's gotten away. Neither this issue nor Holmes's relationship with Lestrade (see Will They or Won't They?) is ever resolved.
Play-Along Prisoner: In "The Secret Safe", Holmes and Watson are captured by the burglar and tied up; Watson is strong enough to break free, but Holmes asks him to wait until they've seen what they can learn by being captives.
Poorly Disguised Pilot: The idea first materialized as "Sherlock Holmes in the 23rd Century," a two-part episode of Bravestarr, which was made more than a decade before the series was finally produced.
Lestrade: Never cuff a cop with her own cuffs. She might know how to get out of them.
Slow No: In "The Five Orange Pips", when it appears the antidote is about to be destroyed.
Sssssnake Talk: The genetically-modified snake-person in "The Scales of Justice".
Sonic Stunner: Ionizers, which are typically used as stun weapons.
Sour Supporter: Grayson of Lestrade and Holmes, Lestrade of the Irregulars up until the second season.
Spoiler Opening: The title sequence is composed of dramatic moments from various episodes, including the moment in "The Adventure of the Empty House" where Holmes reveals to Watson that he's not dead — which is not so much a surprise in itself, granted, but it also gives away which of the characters in the episode is really the not-dead Holmes in disguise.
Status Quo Is God: After the third episode, except for some character development that does nothing to change the end results of each episode.
CG establishing shots and cityscapes reappear in multiple episodes.
"The Secret Safe" uses the same CG establishing shot of Von Bork's yacht three times.
Played with in "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire Lot": The security camera footage of each of the vampire's first two attacks includes identical sequences of the vampire crushing a data disk. What seems at first to be another example of the show's makers recycling footage turns out to be an in-universe example of recycled footage and one of the clues that allows Holmes to figure out the vampire's true nature.
Surrounded by Idiots: Moriarty, in “The Secret Safe.” He really ought to be saying this all the time.
Suspect Existence Failure: In "The Five Orange Pips", things seem to point toward to poisoning victim's shifty-looking brother; moments after Watson becomes the first to voice the suspicion, the brother is poisoned too.
Take a Third Option: Holmes is a master at this, especially when Moriarty's the one holding the gun to his head.
Taking You with Me: Seems to be Moriarty's preferred method of trying to get rid of Sherlock Holmes.
Take Over the World: Being an adventure cartoon, this trope is a given. However, with Moriarty as the would-be conqueror, the schemes tend to be rather more complex than your average villain.
Take That: The Blue Carbuncle is reworked as a Take That against Tickle-Me-Elmo, Furby, and other Christmas fads of the late '90s.
Turn In Your Badge: Lestrade turns in her badge in the first episode, when Grayson balks at letting a two-hundred-year dead detective join the investigation. Grayson immediately hands it back and tells her to get on with it, admitting that the situation has reached the point where he's willing to try anything.