A friend recently gave me a DVD set of all 26 episodes of this animated cartoon series which ran in 1999-2000 and 2001. The premise in the first episode is that Sherlock Holmes, preserved in a honey bath since his death as an old man, is revived and rejuvenated to fight a clone of Professor Moriarty.
Before long he's given an android assistant programed to act and configured to look like Dr. Watson (although no Dr. Watson that I've ever seen). Inspector Lestrade completes the team, of course -- Inspector Beth Lestrade, whose boss carries the almost-canonical moniker of Greyson.
Holmes even gets to reside again at 221B Baker Street, which has been preserved as a Sherlock Holmes museum.
Each episode has a connection to one of the original ACD Holmes tales, although often tenuous. In “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” Dr. Grimesby Roylott is an animal rights activist who actually turns into a snake as a result of chemical experiments. The story that was supposedly suggested by The Valley of Fear had me wondering, “suggested how?”
I found the theme song, the animation, and the physical characteristics of familiar characters all disappointing. Inspector Lestrade yells all the time and doesn’t sound English.
Nevertheless, the scripts do show familiarity with the Canon, especially in the use of such phrases as “the game is afoot!” and “when you have eliminated the impossible . . .” The series also created a new catch phrase. Seemingly in every episode Holmes instructs “Eyes and brains, Lestrade, eyes and brains!” The sense of what he is saying is canonical: Observe closely, and then draw conclusions. But the words are not, nor do they sound like the Holmes I know.
If you think that after all this carping I’m going to tell you not to waste your time on the show, you’re wrong. For all of its flaws, I enjoyed the series. It’s certainly worth the price of admission and the 20 minutes it takes to watch each episode.