Sherlock Holmes (1954–1955)
An Enjoyable Light Portrayal of the Familiar Characters
1 February 2006
Although there are a great many television and movie adaptations of the Sherlock Holmes characters and stories, most of them are well worth seeing, and many have their own particular approach to the material. This television series lasted only one season, but it has still shown up from time to time on late-night broadcasts and the like, and the whole series is now available on DVD. The half-hour episodes always furnished entertaining short mystery stories with an enjoyable light portrayal of the familiar characters.

As Holmes, Ronald Howard's upbeat, jaunty approach is noticeably different from the styles of Jeremy Brett, Basil Rathbone, and most others who have played the character. But Howard's characterization is well-suited for a fast-paced half-hour format. As Watson, H. Marion Crawford is believable and likable as the stolid, loyal straight man, and as Inspector Lestrade, Archie Duncan is amusingly befuddled.

The plots in a few of the episodes are based on original Arthur Conan Doyle stories, though sometimes with noticeable modifications. The majority, though, are new stories written to fit into the show's own format. Most of the time these fit neatly into the Victorian setting and the Holmes atmosphere, though at other times they seem a slightly odd match for the setting and characters. But every one of the episodes was entertaining and worth seeing, and that's not a bad accomplishment.
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