The Best Sherlock Holmes TV Adaptations

Some of the Best Sherlock Holmes TV Series

For centuries, Sherlock Holmes has been one of the most beloved characters in literature. He’s inspired countless adaptations across a variety of media, and his presence is still felt today – over 150 million copies of Arthur Conan Doyle’s original books have been sold worldwide. It comes as no surprise then that many TV series have chosen to adapt this timeless character for the small screen. Here are some of the best Sherlock Holmes TV adaptations so far!

Sherlock Holmes TV Adaptations

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic stories were first adapted into a television show back in 1954 – making it one of the earliest detective shows ever made. This version starred Ronald Howard as our titular hero and was an instant hit with audiences everywhere as they followed along on his adventures. Since then, there have been dozens of other adaptations starring different actors playing the great detective; from Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC’s modern take to Robert Downey Jr.’s blockbuster movie franchise.

No matter which adaptation you choose to watch, the core elements remain intact: an intelligent protagonist who uses logic and deduction to solve mysteries while outsmarting their adversaries at every turn. But what makes these versions stand out? Read on to find out more about some of the best Sherlock Holmes TV adaptations available!

Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows

What a coincidental turn of events! Just when we were discussing the best Sherlock Holmes TV adaptations, here comes ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ to join the race. This classic fiction crime drama was released in 2011 and is considered one of the finest films ever made about this iconic character.

Directed by Guy Ritchie, it follows the adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) as he attempts to outwit his nemesis Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris) who is planning something sinister. The movie also stars Jude Law as Dr. John Watson and Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler among others.

The film features twists and turns that keep you hooked until the very end with excellent cinematography, soundtrack and performances from the cast, making it stand out amongst all other Sherlock Holmes movies or shows. To top it off, there’s some good old fashioned humour thrown into mix too, adding to its charm even further. With so much on offer, you can’t help but recommend this masterpiece – one that deserves its place in any list of great Sherlock Holmes productions.

The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes (1984)

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1984) is like a fine wine; it only gets better with age. The show, which aired from 1984-1994, was based on the famous stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle. It featured Jeremy Brett as the iconic detective and David Burke as his trusty companion Dr Watson. Together they solved mysteries with clever deductive reasoning and wit.

Each episode was filled with suspenseful moments that kept viewers hooked until the very end. Even though some aspects have become outdated over time, such as certain dialogue or fashion choices, the show remains immensely enjoyable to watch due to its timeless appeal. What makes this adaptation stand out is its ability to capture both the intellectual puzzle-solving aspect and the human drama in each case–two essential elements in any great mystery story.

Brett’s portrayal of Sherlock Holmes has been praised for years and continues to be one of the most beloved adaptations of all time. His chemistry with co-star David Burke made every scene shine, creating an unforgettable viewing experience that feels nostalgic even decades later. This classic series will remain a favorite among fans for years to come!

 Sherlock (2010-2017)

Sherlock Holmes’ presence has loomed large in the collective imagination since his first appearance on paper over a century ago. Now, he is taking an even bigger role – that of Benedict Cumberbatch’s modern interpretation of the character in 2010-2017 series Sherlock. Allusion to classic adaptations notwithstanding, this incarnation brings something new and gripping to the table as it follows the adventures of Holmes and Watson through 21st century London.

The show runners behind Sherlock have tapped into numerous aspects of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original source material, while at the same time introducing their own unique flair for suspenseful storytelling. The clever twist of utilizing text messaging rather than traditional letters or telegrams is just one example of how they’ve updated cherished ideas from the novels. Additionally, viewers are left on tenterhooks waiting for clues regarding past events which appear throughout each episode; viewers must pay close attention to these moments if they want to piece together all the details by the end.

All in all, Sherlock offers up a thrilling ride with plenty of twists and turns along the way. It invites its audience to become partakers not only in solving mysteries but also in understanding what makes Sherlock tick – something that other adaptations may have failed to do justice before now. As we step into yet another exciting world full of crime-fighting and deduction with Elementary (2012-2019), there is much anticipation surrounding whether this iconic figure will be able to captivate us once more….

Elementary (2012-2019)

It’s no secret that Sherlock Holmes is one of the most beloved characters of all time – and it seems as if his adventures have been reincarnated in some way, shape or form since his first appearance in 1887.

While we may be stuck in the past with classic stories from Conan Doyle himself, modern adaptations such as Elementary bring a fresh spin to this iconic detective. Here are 3 reasons why you should watch Elementary:

1) A 21st Century Update: Taking place in New York City during the present day, Lucy Liu plays Dr Watson alongside Jonny Lee Miller’s take on Sherlock Holmes. From their interactions at crime scenes to their entertaining banter while solving puzzles, these two offer up an updated version of the famous duo for a new generation.

2) An Intriguing Villain: The show’s main adversary Moriarty (Natalie Dormer) provides viewers with an interesting and complex character who has her own motives behind each move. There are plenty of twists and turns throughout this series that keep fans guessing until the very end!

3) Dynamic Storylines: Each episode features various cases ranging from murder mysteries to kidnapping plots that makes for compelling viewing experience. In addition, there’s always something extra going on between our lead characters which helps keeps things fresh and exciting for audiences.

By combining elements of both sides of the pond – American-style storytelling with British wit – Elementary gives us a great balance of humor and action along with its gripping storylines. So what are you waiting for? Get ready to jump into this thrilling world filled with suspenseful surprises!

The Return Of Sherlock Holmes (1987-1994)

The Return of Sherlock Holmes, which aired from 1987 to 1994, is an ITV television series based on the classic stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle. This adaptation features Jeremy Brett in the title role as well as Edward Hardwicke as Watson, who together bring an iconic portrayal of the world’s greatest detective and his faithful companion. The production value of this show was much higher than previous versions due to its use of authentic locations in London and other parts of England that mimic those described by Conan Doyle himself.

The Return of Sherlock Holmes also provided viewers with some lighter moments while still remaining true to the original canon. It incorporated jokes and one-liners into scenes in a way that would make fans smile without taking away from the mystery itself. Additionally, it featured episodes adapted directly from short stories like “Silver Blaze” and “The Final Problem”. These adaptations were often accompanied by humorous interludes between Holmes and Watson that highlighted their endearing friendship.

This beloved version has been praised for its faithfulness to source material and attention to detail regarding characters and settings alike. Its popularity even led to several follow up productions including The Memoirs Of Sherlock Holmes (1994) and The Casebook Of Sherlock Holmes (1991). In fact, many have argued that Jeremy Brett’s portrayal remains unmatched decades after ending its run on airwaves around the world.

 The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes (1970)

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) is a classic detective movie starring Robert Stephens and Colin Blakely as the legendary pair, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. The movie follows them on their adventures in London and Scotland while they investigate mysterious cases. It also gives insight into their personal lives and relationships with each other which makes it unique compared to other adaptations of the source material.

The film is directed by Billy Wilder who brings his signature style of dark humor and wit to the dialogue between the two characters. He also adds moments of comedy that provide some lightheartedness amidst all the crime-solving activities. With its beautiful cinematography, this adaptation provides a vivid picture of both Victorian England and modern-day Scotland which further enhances viewers’ appreciation for the story being told.

Overall, The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes is an excellent adaptation that offers something fresh from Arthur Conan Doyle’s original works – a look into more intimate aspects of our beloved sleuths’ lives. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a different take on one of literature’s most iconic figures! Moving forward, we’ll be discussing another interesting adaptation: A Scandal In Bohemia (1984).

A Scandal In Bohemia (1984)

The 1984 adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story, ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’, is one of the most memorable Sherlock Holmes adaptations. With its suspenseful scenes and compelling storyline, it captures viewers’ attentions while evoking a sense of mystery. Similarly to other adaptations, this version follows the original story closely while expanding on certain aspects.

This version stars Jeremy Brett as the titular character, who portrays an incredibly convincing version of Holmes with his witty proclamations and eccentric mannerisms. His portrayal is considered by many to be one of the best versions of Holmes seen on screen. Furthermore, he is accompanied by David Burke as Dr. Watson whose performance offers a perfect foil for that of Brett’s Holmes.

Overall, this rendition does justice to both Conan-Doyle’s source material and its lead characters; it provides a captivating experience that will leave viewers wanting more from the legendary detective duo. The combination of strong performances, thrilling moments and subtle nuances makes ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’ an outstanding piece in any collection – seamlessly transitioning into the next installment about ‘The Hound Of The Baskervilles’.

 The Hound Of The Baskervilles (1983)

Prepare to be amazed! The 1983 version of ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ is truly a masterpiece. It’s no wonder why it made its way into the list of best Sherlock Holmes TV adaptations ever. Combining top-notch acting, brilliant storytelling and superb cinematography, this adaptation stands out as one of the greatest in history.

Here are 5 reasons why it stands out:

1) Captivating performances from all involved: One cannot ignore the stellar performances from actors such as Jeremy Brett (Sherlock Holmes), David Burke (Dr. Watson) and Edward Hardwicke (Mycroft Holmes). Each actor brings their character to life with incredible nuance and realism making for an unforgettable viewing experience.

2) Incredible visuals: Every scene was shot beautifully with attention paid to even the smallest details. From the lavish sets to outdoor locations that help set up tension and atmosphere, viewers will be captivated by every frame presented onscreen.

3) Atmospheric score: Composer Keith Lockhart did a fantastic job creating a wonderful soundtrack which helps draw viewers deeper into the story. Whether it’s capturing moments of suspense or simply setting a mood, his music adds greatly to the overall experience.

4) Unforgettable characters: Not only does this film feature iconic versions of famous characters like Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson but also some new ones who make their mark leaving lasting impressions upon viewers through their scenes alone .

5) Exceptional writing & direction: This adaptation was directed by Douglas Hickox who deserves major credit for bringing these beloved stories back to life while offering something fresh at the same time thanks to screenwriter John Hawkesworth whose dialogue is witty yet natural sounding furthering immersing audiences in this world where anything can happen.

This 1983 version of ‘The Hound of The Baskervilles’ has earned its spot among other great adaptations due to its ability capture our imaginations along with its outstanding production values making it worthy addition any self respecting viewer’s must watch list. Moving onto another classic adaptation…

The Sign Of Four (1983)

The Sign of Four is another classic Sherlock Holmes story, a signpost for the coming age of mystery and intrigue. Like The Hound of the Baskervilles before it, this 1983 adaptation has become an iconic part of popular culture. With its stunning visuals and strong performances from leading actors Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke as Holmes and Watson respectively, viewers are taken into a world where puzzles must be solved in order to find justice.

As with all Sherlock Holmes stories, there’s plenty of suspense as we follow our heroes on their quest to uncover the truth behind “the Sign of Four”. Along the way they encounter numerous obstacles, including a race against time to save an innocent man accused of murder. There’s also the mysterious Mary Morstan who brings her own twist to proceedings by introducing them to secrets that will help unravel the case further.

It’s not just mystery that makes The Sign of Four so compelling; its clever dialogue between characters is equally captivating. From witty banter between Holmes and Watson to heated exchanges between adversaries, each scene builds towards a thrilling climax that keeps viewers guessing until the very end. As such, it’s no wonder why this adaptation remains one of the most beloved entries in the Sherlock Holmes series – even today! Transitioning seamlessly into its next installment, Young Sherlock Holmes (1985), The Sign of Four proves itself worthy of being remembered as one of TV history’s greatest mysteries.

Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)

A classic tale of mystery and intrigue, ‘Young Sherlock Holmes’ captivated audiences in 1985. The story follows the adventures of a young detective as he solves cases with his trusty sidekick Watson. With its brilliant cast, stunning special effects and thrilling soundtrack, it’s no surprise that this adaptation has become an iconic representation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous character.

The film is set at the prestigious boarding school where Sherlock attends. His intellect quickly catches the attention of Professor Rathe who takes him under her wing to help solve mysterious deaths on campus. Alongside his confidant Dr Watson, they use their deductive skills to uncover clues and unravel the secrets behind these events. As tension builds around them, the two heroes must rely upon each other’s strengths while battling formidable foes.

At every twist and turn, viewers are taken along for an unforgettable journey filled with suspense and excitement—a perfect way to experience one of literature’s greatest characters brought to life on screen. Even today, ‘Young Sherlock Holmes’ remains a timeless testament to the beloved sleuth’s indomitable spirit—proving why his stories have been so beloved for generations. This movie exemplifies how great stories can transcend time itself by connecting us all through our shared love for adventure and mystery.

 The Casebook Of Sherlock Holmes (1991-1993)

The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes (1991-1993) is a British television series that consists of six episodes. It’s considered one of the most successful and well-received adaptations of Arthur Conan Doyle’s works, with an impressive 8/10 rating on IMDb from over 3,000 votes. This makes it considerably more popular than its predecessor, Young Sherlock Holmes (1985), which has just 6/10 rating from fewer than 1,400 reviews.

This show centers around everyone’s favorite detective as he solves various mysteries in London during the late 19th century. One noteworthy characteristic about this adaptation is Jeremy Brett’s portrayal of Mr. Holmes himself; his performance was so acclaimed that many people consider him to be the definitive interpretation of the character. He masterfully manages to capture all facets of the beloved sleuth – his wit and intelligence as well as his emotional depth and vulnerability.

These qualities are further highlighted by the excellent writing: each episode features tight plotting, surprising twists, and plenty of suspenseful moments throughout. The casebook also offers viewers a glimpse into other aspects such as Victorian culture and English society at large through its colorful characters and settings. All these elements combine together to create an immersive viewing experience that fans still enjoy today!

What sets The Casebook apart is how faithfully it follows the source material – quite rare for TV shows back then – making it perfect for both hardcore fans who want accuracy, along with newcomers who may not be familiar with Sherlock Holmes’ original stories but would like something modern yet authentic. From clever dialogue to compelling storylines, this show truly does justice to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legacy by staying true to what made the books great in first place. Moving onto another classic…

The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

Ah, the classic tale of Sherlock Holmes reimagined for a new generation. The Great Mouse Detective has become iconic in its own right, charming audiences with its intrepid mouse detective Basil and his ever-loyal companion Dr. Dawson as they work to solve mysteries throughout London.

Since it’s release in 1986, this delightful animation film from Disney Studios has earned itself a lasting place in pop culture history by bringing together all the beloved characters and scenarios associated with Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories into one captivating adventure.

The movie follows Basil on a mission to save the kidnapped Olivia Flaversham from Professor Ratigan’s plot against Queen Mousetoria – no mystery is too small or challenge too great for our hero. This entertaining take on the traditional Sherlock Holmes story includes allusions to past editions, while still presenting fresh ideas and themes that breathe life into these timeless detective tales.

 Without A Clue (1988)

Without a Clue is an iconic movie from the late 1980s that takes on Sherlock Holmes in a unique way. It follows two of the most famous characters from literature, Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes, as they attempt to solve crimes without each other’s knowledge. This hilarious comedy stars Michael Caine as the brilliant yet bumbling detective and Ben Kingsley as his loyal sidekick, Dr. Watson – and it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

The film starts off with Dr. Watson being called upon by the police to help with their investigation into some strange happenings around London town. He quickly realizes he needs help if he is to get to the bottom of things and enlists the aid of Sherlock Holmes, who has been missing for weeks. Together they work out clues while trying not to give away too much information about themselves or their mission – all while maintaining a certain level of comedic timing throughout.

What makes Without a Clue unique is its ability to combine classic elements like suspenseful music and clever dialogue with modern-day humor that still resonates today. The chemistry between Caine’s Holmes and Kingsley’s Watson make this one of those timeless comedies that will continue to entertain viewers far into the future. Though it was released over thirty years ago, there’s no doubt that Without a Clue remains one of the best adaptations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved characters ever made — making it well worth watching for any fan of Sherlock Holmes! With action, laughs, and plenty of mystery, this movie is sure to delight fans both old and new alike.

As we move forward through time and beyond BBC iPlayer Sherlock TV shows, let’s take a look at another adaptation—Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century (1999-2001).

Sherlock Holmes In The 22nd Century (1999-2001)

Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd century, released in 1999-2001, is a futuristic take on Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved detective. Drawing comparisons to other iconic adaptations such as Without a Clue and Sherlock (2009), this animated series offers an intriguing retelling of the famous sleuth from Baker Street.

The show follows the adventures of Sherlock Holmes IV – the great-great-grandson of Sir Arthur’s original creation – and his trusty sidekick Dr. Watson III who are members of Earth’s Space Police Force. Together, they fight crime across galaxies while battling time travel paradoxes and alien forces that threaten their world. The pair must also grapple with complicated moral dilemmas when it comes to thwarting evil plans from becoming reality; all while maintaining their own unique brand of justice and upholding lofty ideals.

This adaptation provides viewers with an exciting glimpse into the future; where technology has advanced significantly but human nature remains largely unchanged. It’s heartwarming yet thrilling journey makes it an unforgettable experience for fans worldwide–one which perfectly captures both the spirit of classic Holmes stories as well as modern sensibilities.

 Sherlock Holmes (2009)

Sherlock Holmes (2009) is a British-American crime drama series that aired on BBC One. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular detective and Martin Freeman as his trusty sidekick, Dr. John Watson. The show received widespread critical acclaim for its modern take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic stories and characters, particularly for the performances of its two leads.

One of the key features of Sherlock Holmes (2009) was its use of contemporary technology to solve cases – from text messages to internet searches – rather than relying solely on traditional deduction methods like in previous adaptations. This gave viewers an insight into how our current world can be utilized by someone with great intellect, such as Sherlock. Moreover, it offered a unique perspective on how detectives are able to gather evidence and draw conclusions today.

The combination of excellent writing, acting, direction and production values made this version of Sherlock Holmes one of the most beloved TV series ever created. With its cleverly executed storylines, engaging cliffhangers and memorable twists, it keeps fans coming back again and again to discover what new mysteries await them.


It’s clear that Sherlock Holmes has been a popular character in TV adaptations. From the classic Adventures of Sherlock Holmes to the more recent Elementary, there have been plenty of opportunities for viewers to get their detective fix. But what about those versions which failed to live up to expectations? The Great Mouse Detective and Without a Clue both deserved better than they got; after all, it’s not easy trying to compete with Benedict Cumberbatch! And then there was Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century – I mean, come on! It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why this one didn’t make it past two seasons.

In conclusion, when choosing your next Sherlock Holmes adaptation, my advice would be simple: opt for something based in Victorian London (or at least the modern-day equivalent) and stay away from anything involving time travel or talking rodents. That way you can be sure of getting an authentic experience without having to worry about any unexpected plot twists!

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