Charlotte Goff

Charlotte Goff

Thursday, 16 October 2014 00:00

Holmes' Schooling

NHK’s new twist on Sherlock Holmes

By Charlotte Goff

FEW could doubt that Sherlock Holmes is the world’s most famous fictional detective. Generations of readers have fallen for this master of deductive reasoning, prompting speculation as well as the fan-fiction about parts of his background not recorded by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In an imaginative twist on the classic detective stories, NHK has embarked on a new and unconventional Sherlock Holmes series – in which puppets and voice actors are the stars. From October 2014, viewers can expect plots full of the suspense that have hooked readers of the franchise for more than a century, distilled into a fresh and exciting form. Set in a 19th century boarding school, scriptwriter Koki Mitani brands the show a “racy school mystery.”

The forthcoming series’ action centers on fifteen-year-old Sherlock, whose extraordinary observational talents see him labelled a nerd and cast aside by his peers. This societal rejection leads Sherlock into the path of newcomer to the school, John H. Watson. Watson is fascinated by the very attributes Sherlock possesses that enforce his rejection. The two become friends after Sherlock turns his mind to clearing Watson of accusations leveled against him in the opening episode. Later, the pair work together to take on the challenges hurled increasingly in their direction. The school setting is a first among Sherlock Holmes TV dramatizations. It offers a setting to which the show’s target audience – Japanese high school students – can relate. More than a simple detective drama, the new series is a coming-of-age tale and a platform from which to learn about growing up, logical thinking, justice, and having the courage to defend it.


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