Good Research Paper On Sherlock Holmes “The Hound Of The Baskervilles”. Book Vs TV Series

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Literature, Sherlock Holmes, Series, Hound, Television, Media, Character, Detective

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2021/01/09


Sherlock Holmes is one the most screened character of the world literature. Perhaps someone would not be surprised because it is not too sensational statement, however it still cannot be avoided, because it serves as a good basis for this film vs book review. As it is evidenced by the Guinness Book of Records, there exist about 211 movies about the adventures of Sherlock Holmes (and this figure is growing from year to year), and the 75 actors played the role of the great detective in world cinema at different times ("The World Of Paperbacks" 524). It is clear that this fact itself deserves the closest attention, and certainly, the thorough analysis of the total priceless material is converted into the overall and interesting task in the eyes of fans of the detective.
Of course, such an analysis was carried out repeatedly (for instance, the articles by Damian Magee and Narrelle Harris are only a small part of the available studies), and the future does not limit the opportunities for new attempts, so the challenge is, perhaps, the choice of the basis for the description of ontologies for film and TV series on which the paper is based. Most often, this base is a “successful” image of Holmes, matching the appearance of the actor and game features canon. The existing works can be described through the history of cinema on the basis of their proximity to Conan Doyle’s characters or, on the contrary, on the basis of the degree of “improvisation”, on the basis of the prevailing spirit of the movie - adventure, detective, mystic, or guided by the quality of the director’s work, etc. In this case, the basis for the review were selected works of Arthur Conan Doyle “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and the episode with the same name of the television series “Sherlock”, filmed in 2012, directed by Paul McGuigan. In this paper we shall analyze both a series of coincidence between the TV show “Sherlock”, the episode “Hound of the Baskervilles” and authentic sources, and their differences (Paul McGuigan 2011).
Basically, many research sources of the difference between the book and serials characters of “Sherlock Holmes” argue that the main distinction is not much in the transfer of the characters into the present time, but an ambiguous interpretation of their images, and sometimes their full modification. For example, a change in the character of the protagonist. Sherlock Holmes usually behaves like a genius psychopath rather than adventurous classical character of Conan Doyle’s detective. Alternatively, Dr. Watson, who plays the role of an observer rather than an accomplice of cases’ disclosure. So in the second episode of “The Hounds of the Baskervilles”, Watson becomes the examinee and enters into a relationship with Dr. Mortimer (who is turned from James to Louise in turn), losing the main focus - the disclosure of the crime. If the characters of Conan Doyle’s detective are focused on the case, the characters of the series are paying more attention to their internal relations. Therefore, in series, Watson talks to Holmes by the fire, because he sees that he suffers from an emotions shock, but having received a rough answer of his mate, he becomes offended and does not go with him to contact. All the used sources agree on one thing - the main difference between the book and serial characters is that the series focus on more disclosure of the inner world of the characters and step asides from the focus on the business. For instance, Ingram-Waters stays that (914) all the characters of the book are altered for the modern viewer, for whom it is interesting both brutal murders or habits of the characters, and also their relationship (both friendly and personal), for example: Sherlock – Mycroft (in the series Sherlock shows his dislike for his brother more vividly; or Watson and his love affairs, which are different in every episode.


The TV series is a freestyle adaptation of the works of Arthur Conan Doyle about the private detective Sherlock Holmes and his partner, Dr. John Watson. The action was moved from the 18-19th century to the 21st century; the consulting detective Sherlock Holmes, looking for flatmate, with the help of his friend, met with John Watson, who was a military doctor who had returned from Afghanistan. Sherlock immediately impresses Watson, telling him about himself: that he had served in Afghanistan and that the pain in his leg was psychosomatic. They settled in the house of 221B Baker Street of an elderly landlady, Mrs. Hudson. Sherlock and John together help the Scotland Yard in uncovering complex cases, using the methods of observation, analysis, deduction, as well as modern technologies such as the Internet and cell phones. Sherlock Holmes, performed by Benedict Cumberbatch, uses advanced technologies - SMS, Internet, and GPS (Paul McGuigan 2011). Paul McGuigan, who directed the four episodes of “Sherlock”, showed the opinion that such an image was combined with the famous detective described by Conan Doyle and just moved in a modern setting. The original Sherlock used the technology of his time; he conducted laboratory experiments that were available. However, in the TV show Holmes uses all the creature comforts of the 21st century. For example, the scene in the episode “The Hounds of the Baskervilles”, when the protagonist returns from the subway trip with a harpoon that has frightened the civilians Londoners (this scene is an allusion to Conan Doyle’s story “The Adventure of Black Peter”). Many aspects associated with the names of the characters and dialogue have been upgraded. In “Sherlock”, the two main characters call each other by name, not by surname; the communication between the characters is more informal, as Sherlock and John sometimes are mistaken as a gay couple (Ingram-Waters 914).
The plot of the story is based on the investigation of the death of Sir Charles Baskerville, who had died under mysterious circumstances. In the genus of the Baskervilles, the family legend about the devil dog with supernatural origin that has scared and chased all of the Baskervilles is passed from generation to generation. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are taken for the investigation of this case. This was the first appearance of Holmes with his presumed death in “The Adventure of the Final Problem” (Fisher 187). The success of this story contributed to the revival of the character. On the contrary, the TV series have not yet witnessed a death of the character, so the time of the story is changed in order to intrigue the audience (Phillips 1443).


Firstly, in the series, Henry Knight contacts Sherlock and asks him for an assistance by himself and not with the help of James Mortimer. When Sherlock receives an e-mail from a small girl that asks him to find her “luminous” rabbit Bluebell, Henry Knight rushes into the room. As the audience can see, the second very significant change is Henry’s surname. It was changed from Baskerville to Knight in order to create another story that is based on the events from Henry’s childhood. Henry Baskerville was the only heir of the Baskerville family, he was a farmer from America. However, Henry Knight was a child, when he witnessed the death of his father because of a giant dog-monster. The appearance of the character was changed too. For example, Conan Doyle described his character as a “descendant of that long line of high-blooded, fiery, and masterful man”; “this was at least a comrade for whom one might venture to take a risk with the certainty that he would bravely share it” (Doyle 6.26). However, the character of Henry Knight does not correspond to his surname. In the TV series, he is showed as a frightened and peaceful citizen of Dartmoor, who had a serious child trauma. He was frightened to go to the forest and suffered from the continuous hallucinations. However, there are several coincidences between the story and the episode. Henry Knight was frightened because of the huge dog’s prints. They call a dog a “hound” and try to escape a possible meeting with that monster. The scenarists decided to keep an old-like word “hound” which awakens Holmes’ interest to start the “game” (Ingram-Waters 915). In the story, Sherlock Holmes shows his interest after the story of Charles Baskervilles’ death that was accompanied with the mysterious prints of a huge dog paws: “Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of s gigantic hound!” (Doyle 1964). An interesting fact is that this phrase was used by the character of Henry Knight instead of the original phrase of James Mortimer.
Since that, Henry is pursued by nightmares, but now the terrible foreboding are added to them. Sherlock and Watson are sent to the estate of Henry in Dartmoor. Not far from there, there is a military base called “Baskerville”, which carries out the top-secret experiments. This episode is based on two stories of Conan Doyle - the story “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and the story “The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot” (Moore 85). In the original story, the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson each considered a cane, forgotten in an apartment on Baker Street a visitor who came in their absence. Soon there is a host of canes, doctor James Mortimer, a tall young man with close-set gray eyes and a long nose sticking out. Mortimer reads Holmes and Watson ancient manuscript - the legend of the terrible curse of the Baskervilles kind - trusted him not so long ago suddenly died of his patient and friend Sir Charles Baskerville (Fisher 187). As can be seen, the screenplay was significantly changed. The motif of an old family mystery has been replaced by a military secret base with biological weapons. The filmmakers explained their decision, mainly because they wanted to move away from the old theme of threads of a terrible dog-monster to what is relevant to the potential modern audiences. Therefore, the detectives did not have to hunt for the monster, but a military conspiracy to reveal the illegal use of chemical weapons (Ingram-Waters 916).
Secondly, in Conan Doyle’s story, the characters go to the Baskerville Hall and begin the investigation. In the end, it turns out that the mystical shell hides a cunning plan of an secret crime. One of the neighbors of Henry Baskerville is Jack Stapleton, who is another nephew of Sir Charles Baskerville in reality (Bartelt 69). He came to this country under an assumed name, hoping to ingratiate himself with Sir Charles and get an inheritance. Having learned from the legend of Sir Charles Baskerville dog, Stapleton decided to use it for his own purposes. However, in the series, Stapleton is the woman-doctor of the secret laboratory on a military base called “Baskerville”. Subsequently, other secrets of Dr. Stapleton are revealed. In their experiments on animals, scientists are trying to instill in them a gene of the luminescent glow in the dark (a reference to the terrible burning eyes of the hound). Detective Holmes realizes that Bluebell rabbit is a rabbit of Dr. Stapleton’s daughter. The character of the butler Barrymore is changed to the military Major Barrymore who stands at the head of the secret Military base. James Mortimer, a friend of Henry Baskerville, is substituted in his role. James becomes Louise Mortimer, the psychiatrist of Henry Knight. The whole is changed, but one of the most important changes is that Sherlock Holmes accompanies Dr. Watson from the very beginning in the TV series, while in the story, Holmes has been hiding to process his investigations secretly. The change of the plot, as mentioned earlier, was created in order to bring the detective story to the problems of our time. For example, experiments on animals and secret trials of illicit drugs in humans. Moreover, the scenarists used some catch phrases (e.g. “Once you've ruled out the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be true” from another Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, such as “The Sign of Four”) ("The World Of Paperbacks." 523).


In conclusion, it should be said that the creative works of the great writer Arthur Conan Doyle still occupy the leading position from the viewpoint of the readers’ interest. The important role in this success plays the modern adaptation of his books, i.e. “Sherlock” TV series, that were showed for the first time in 2011. By the example of the story “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and of the TV episode “Hounds of the Baskerville” it should be noted that there is a great inequality between them. However, the whole episode is based on a number of other stories written by Conan Doyle, but still, the main basis remains the story of a mysterious hound that is a threat to the life of both Henry Baskerville and Knight.


The source “Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong: Reopening The Case Of The Hound Of The Baskervilles” by Kathryn R. Bartelt reopens to the reader an alternative viewpoint on Conan Doyle’s “The Hound of Baskervilles” protagonist, she investigates Sherlock Holmes’ possible murder in the story and depicts his secret plot. This source helps to change the classical viewpoint on the character and to transfer the existing opinion about the detective.
The source “The Hound Of The Baskervilles” 100 Years After: A Review Essay” written by Benjamin F Fisher reviews the story and gives the reader the implying details both of the characters and their acts. The author states that the allure of the stories has not decreased during the last hundred years. This source helps to emphasize the righteous popularity of the story and explains the cause of the TV adaptation existence.
The source by Mary Ingram-Waters entitled “Sherlock And Transmedia Fandom: Essays On The BBC Series” investigates the standpoints of fans both of the book character of Sherlock Holmes, and of the TV series. This article serves as the main source of this investigation, because the fans’ viewpoint on the TV adaptation series “Sherlock” depict the main differences between the book and the TV characters.
The next source called “Sherlock Holmes Borrows A Plot” by John Robert Moore explores the external source of Arthur Conan Doyle’s series of detectives, and the possible events that influenced the creation of the famous series. Moore’s method of investigation helps to reveal the modern methods of adaptation systematically, and it also helps to understand the thread of directors’ thoughts while filming the story “The Hounds of the Baskervilles”.
The article “The Hound Of The Baskervilles Effect: Natural Experiment On The Influence Of Psychological Stress On Timing Of Death” David P. Phillips investigates the story from a different angle, it reveals the medical issues of the story and depicts the psychological state of the characters. This article has been used in this essay because of its explanation of the inner world of each character; it also helps to understand the possible variations of the modern characters.
The article “The World Of Paperbacks” published in Contemporary Review investigates the influence of the books on the up-to-date life of people. It reveals its importance for the future generation and states that the books should be remembered with help of modern supplies. By the example of this article, this essay investigates the role of the Conan Doyle’s story “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and the way it remains one of the best-sellers of the present time.

Works cited

Bartelt, Kathryn R. "Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong: Reopening The Case Of The Hound Of The
Baskervilles." Library Journal 133.17 (2008): 69.
Doyle, Arthur Conan. “Sherlock Holmes - The Hound of the Baskervilles”. New York: Dell, 1964.
Fisher, Benjamin F. "The Hound Of The Baskervilles" 100 Years After: A Review Essay." English
Literature In Transition, 1880-1920 47.2 (2004): 181-190. 
Ingram-Waters, Mary. "Sherlock And Transmedia Fandom: Essays On The BBC Series." Journal
Of Popular Culture 47.4 (2014): 914-916.
Moore, John Robert. "Sherlock Holmes Borrows A Plot." Modern Language Quarterly 8.1 (1947):
Paul McGuigan, Euros Lyn. “Sherlock - The Hound of the Baskervilles”. United Kingdom. 2011.
TV show.
Phillips, David P, et al. "The Hound Of The Baskervilles Effect: Natural Experiment On The
Influence Of Psychological Stress On Timing Of Death." BMJ: British Medical Journal (International Edition) 323.7327 (2001): 1443. 
"The World Of Paperbacks." Contemporary Review 290.1691 (2008): 521-524.

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