So if there are two great institutions of British storytelling, it's Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who. Two formative memories were my mother's leather-bound, bible-paper paged copy of The Complete Sherlock Holmes and my father tuning into Doctor Who, and later pulling out the VHS copies of the black and white episodes of the first and second Doctors. I don't have a clue where he got them. My dad was well-connected, and kept up with modern tech.
As I've grown through the years, I've noticed connections that, while I'm sure they aren't completely intentional, were at least parallel between the two. Doctor Who is hardly the only, and probably not the first, to be influenced by Doyle's works, but since 2005, since the relaunch series, I've seen more and more parallels emerging. I'd like to take a look at a few of them. As much as there's been Relaunch Doctors, there's been "Relaunch Holmeses," so to speak. Of course, the order's not the same, as you'd expect when dealing with time travelers and sociopathic detectives..
The 9th Doctor is a lonely man, fresh out of a war. War comes in many forms, and can have many different meanings to different people. Johnnie Lee Miller's Holmes, of Elementary, is a man fresh out of a war as well. His own personal war with heroin, that was born out of going to war against a criminal mastermind. He used the drugs as tools in his war, until they dulled him, broke him, and the war was over. The Doctor, just prior to regenerating into the 9th, had used tools that proved detrimental to him as well in his war, and they had broken him as well.
Both men were desperately alone. 9 met Rose, and Holmes met Joan Watson, and after initially trying to chase them off, relented, and had a moment where you could see the honesty and pain in their eyes, where they reached out for a true connection. Angry, broken men putting themselves back together after a war.
Both men are out of their element, with the Doctor having spent centuries under the shadow of the Time Lords and then suddenly, brutally gone, and Holmes out of London and in New York.
Both men, when confronted with a soldier of their arch-nemeses, were prepared to go through with inhumane torture to accomplish a goal. 9 with the lone Dalek in Utah, and Holmes with "M."
Both men have initially acerbic personalities, relying heavily on sarcasm and dry humor, sending snappy remarks over the heads of people that don't register as worth their time, but treating those who they value with the utmost respect. Once they've taken someone, say Rose or Joan Watson, under their wing, they're the greatest ally you could hope for. Both strong, both soldiers for their cause, but both tired and in a great deal of personal pain.
Next week: The Rock Star
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