Those Old Classics

9 Dec

Having been researching adaptation theory for my final project, I have come across many an adaptation that would fit the “norm” of televisual adaptation with which I would compare with the strange adaptation that is The Corner. There were very few that were from a non-fiction source like The Corner. What I did find interesting was how many were drawing from well established sources.

The first that comes to mind is the two adaptations of Sir Conan Arthur Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series. Holmes is a work that has often been adapted (particularly in movies), but what makes it interesting is that American television would choose to do one that was not in fact a reimagining of the British Sherlock, but would rather producing a series that would draw heavy comparisons with that critically acclaimed series. Particularly so soon after Guy Ritchie’s two offerings of the text so recently being released in theaters. On top of that, the producers of Once Upon a Time, which itself borrows heavily from well know fairy tales– having branched out recently to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein– especially of the Disney variety, were asked if they were thinking of including their own Sherlock Holmes. As if there weren’t enough readily accessible to the viewing public! These two adaptations are not the only ones currently airing that are drawing from other sources. What is interesting is how many of them are drawing from well established sources such as Beauty and the BeastMerlin (re-imagining the King Arthur myth), and Revenge (drawing on The Count of Monte Cristo). I realize that these might seem flimsy, but there is definitely something to be said about the fact that these shows are tying themselves so closely to these sources. Shows like Gossip Girl are constantly referencing these works, also. To me, this sort of with the trend of “teening” Shakespeare that happened particularly in the late 90s and early 2000s with 10 Things I Hate About You, o, She’s the Man, and the like films. I don’t understand it. Is it because there is nothing more interesting to make a film/show out of? Or is there some desire to share these works with teenagers by making them “cooler”? Has this now progressed to getting the common man to enjoy the classics by making a procedural Sherlock Holmes show?

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