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Sherlock Holmes (the original stories)

  • Acceptable Religious Targets: Mormons in "A Study in Scarlet". In Doyle's defense, though, only Brigham Young's original polygamist followers get this treatment, not every Average Joe on the street who follows the religion.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Oh, dear God!
  • Author's Saving Throw: Holmes' return in "The Empty House", and the revelation that he'd survived Moriarty's attack in "The Final Problem" and just gone into hiding for a while.
  • Awesome Ego: Sherlock himself.
  • Complete Monster: Holmes feels more revulsion towards the blackmailer Charles Augustus Milverton than to any of the fifty murderers he'd confronted in his career.
  • Downer Ending: The Five Orange Pips. Holmes's client is killed mere minutes after leaving Baker Street; Holmes has a Heroic BSOD before vowing revenge.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Irene Adler, who only appeared in one story of the original tales, but is popular among those who wrote Holmes-based novels, TV and movies, especially for a Promotion To Love Interest.
    • Moriarty is another example, being a Breakout Villain.
    • There are many others. Some include Shinwell Johnson and Kitty Winters, the supporting characters from The Illustrious Client, or even Mr. Barker, Holmes's mysterious one-time rival from The Retired Colourman.
  • Fan Wank: One of the older, best-established, and most erudite examples, and still going strong. People have written dissertations that are, essentially, Holmes Fan Wank that's Shown Their Work.
  • Genius Bonus: Holmes calling Maths Professor Moriarty "The Napoleon of Crime" gets a whole new dimension when you know that the original Napoleon Bonaparte's second career choice was mathematician. So in a way, he was the Moriarty of world leaders as well.
  • Ho Yay: So much we had to give it its own page. Someone involved here knew which side their fandom is buttered on...
  • Iconic Character Forgotten Title: Most of the novels did not have Sherlock Holmes in the title.
  • Memetic Badass: Irene Adler, the woman who went up against the best detective in London, if not the world, and managed to outsmart him.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Now with Its very own page, again!
    • The titular substance in The Devil's Foot is literally this. In a less literal sense, Holmes and Watson testing it on themselves.
    • The Adventure of the Copper Beeches is chock full of Nightmare Fuel. First, there's the poor governess, who is brought to a mysterious countryside manor, where she is subject to bizarre demands, discovers that her boss is a Complete Monster, and finds the child she is to care for takes a perverse delight in torturing animals. Likewise for Rucastle's daughter, who has been imprisoned by her unstable father for some time to keep her from marrying and obtaining her inheritance. This would be creepy enough, but the setting of the story means that the two girls are entirely at the mercy of an unbalanced sociopath, and can draw on no one for aid. (Holmes even comments that the isolated country setting can elevate ordinary crimes to the level of Nightmare Fuel.) Also, depending on your feelings about dogs, the vicious, half-starved mastiff can count, too.
    • The Speckled Band, especially if you don't like snakes.
    • "The Creeping Man" is, well, super creepy.
    • The Jack the Ripper game, being based (naturally) on the Ripper killings has this in spades.
    • The titular hound in Hound of the Baskervilles. Even though it turns out not to be supernatural, it's still huge and vicious and glowing.
    • The hydraulic press in 'The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb', it being the reason the engineer of the title is missing said digit.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • The Mormons in A Study in Scarlet, able to make Unpeople at will, and get past every barrier you can put between them and you.
    • Likewise, the Ku Klux Klan from The Five Orange Pips.
    • A less sinister example: Holmes' deductive abilities arguably go from "cool" to "creepy" in the first chapter of The Sign of Four (that is, the second novel) when he studies Watson's watch for a minute, then proceeds to give a summarized biography of Watson's elder brother, whom he hadn't known existed before he started.
  • Saved by the Fans: Doyle tried to kill of Holmes when he got tired of the character. People didn't take it well, so he was brought back.
  • Unfortunate Implications: While most examples here would be Fair for Its Day, some have objected to the thuggish potrayal of a black goon in "The Three Gables", considering that Doyle handled race much more maturely in "The Yellow Face".
  • Values Dissonance: Sir Arthur's depiction of the Mormons as a Religion of Evil was completely uncontroversial at the time (Jules Verne also did it in "Around the World in 80 days"), whereas his portrayal of the KKK as a murderous secret society was not. Nowadays, it's the opposite.
  • The Woobie: Holmes himself.

Sherlock Holmes (the films starring Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law)

 "You, at the fountain golden,

Of youth, so free from doubt,

Be to the trout beholden;

At danger's sign, clear out!

Tis oft for want of reason

That maids will shun the straight.

Beware the anglers' treason

Else you may bleed too late!"

  • Crowning Music of Awesome:
    • The musical score by Hans Zimmer is so wonderfully eclectic. Who knew a harpsichord could sound so epic?
    • Rocky Road to Dublin played by The Dubliners, played over Holmes' pit fighting scene, and again over the ending credits.
    • Game of Shadows pinches Ennio Morricone's theme from Two Mules for Sister Sara.
    • The film's distinctive piano tones? Done by Zimmer and his crew taking an old piano and doing "hideous things" to it just to get it as out of tune as he wanted.
  • Dramatic Irony: In Game of Shadows, Holmes notes that Moriarty can spark a world war with a lone gunman and the right target. This is exactly how World War I started.
  • Ear Worm: The main theme, which pops up over the course of the film in different styles (from Hans Zimmer, of course).
  • Flanderization: Irene Adler is arguably a victim of this. In the Doyle canon, she was just an opera singer who was known for her cleverness, and she went down as an Ensemble Darkhorse for outsmarting Holmes by stopping him from stealing back a compromising photo that she'd gotten her hands on through pure happenstance. In the movie, she's made into a full-on Femme Fatale/Action Girl and a professional thief.
  • Follow the Leader: The film has set in motion a wave of films based on public domain classics, including Treasure Island, The Three Musketeers 2011, Moby Dick, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Marco Polo, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, King Arthur, and many others. It remains to be seen how the trend will play out if none of them makes any money.
  • Genius Bonus: The revolver that Holmes leaves behind causing Watson to say "He left it there on purpose" to the dog? It's a Webley Bulldog.
  • Good Name for A Rock Band: Ginger Midget
  • Ho Yay: Already a major part of fanon regarding Holmes and Watson, but the movies intentionally play it up as much as they can. The sequel builds this up to almost blatant levels: Holmes acts almost as if he's giving Watson away to marriage, and during a short scuffle on the train Watson tears Holmes' top off while straddling him. And then Holmes asks Watson to lie down on the floor with him....
    • Which then comes to a fantastic head with the dancing scene.
  • It Was His Sled: In A Game of Shadows, anyone who's read the books knew what to expect when Mycroft dropped the name of Reichenbach, Switzerland.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Lord Blackwood.
    • And Moriarty.
    • A case could be made for Holmes as well, particularly with the examination of a Mook's body in Watson's room. Holmes knows exactly how to pique Watson's interest, tricks him into supplying the answer to a question, and when he leaves to investigate a factory by the wharf, conveniently leaves his revolver behind, knowing that Watson will follow him to see that he has it. Watson realizes this as well. "He's left it there on purpose."
  • Mis Blamed: Many aspects of the film (i.e. Holmes and especially Watson - stereotyped as a bumbling sidekick - as action heroes, Holmes as a bohemian) which were criticized as being unfaithful to the original stories actually are faithful to them - it's Popcultural Osmosis of less faithful adaptations that makes these aspects seem out-of-place.
    • The movie also lacks Holmes's deerstalker and the "Elementary, my dear Watson!" catchphrase, both of which are extremely common in adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, but never appear as such in the original Doyle stories.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Holmes' urban camouflage. He could be hiding in your room, watching what you're doing right now.
  • Serial Numbers Filed Off: Vidocq, a 2001 French film, has many features similar to the first movie. Its protagonist is Eugene Francois Vidocq (1775 - 1857), a real-life French criminal-turned-investigator who is often called the first Private Detective of all time. Instead of using established "canon" material, it pits Vidocq against a supernatural killer who ostensibly uses magic to murder his victims and has ties to the very top of Parisian society. Recycle these ideas IN LONDON and you've got this film.
  • Squick: The slaughterhouse sequence. How they showed pigs being sliced in half and getting a PG-13 rating is a mystery worthy of Holmes. Perhaps slicing up pig carcasses, as opposed to living pigs, is fair game for the censors.
  • Stuffed Into the Fridge: Irene. The reason this is in YMMV is that Moriarty kills everyone when they are no longer useful, and her death was not particularly gruesome. In fact, he tries to kill Watson with an assassin, then armed soldiers, then a Gatling gun, even after Holmes points out he's not involved in the case, just to screw with him. Moriarty treats Irene the same way he does anyone else. Being able to hurt Holmes was just a bonus.
  • Tainted by the Preview: There was much wailing and rending of garments on the news that Robert Downey, Jr.. and Jude Law had been cast as the leads in, and Guy Ritchie was to direct, a Sherlock Holmes movie. Holmesians all around the world were wary, mainly because Downey Jr didn't look like Holmes as he was described and illustrated in the books at all, but some maintained a let's wait and see attitude. Furthermore, Guy Ritchie's previous films, style and recent lack of notable success inspired worry. Then the trailer came out, that made Holmes seem more like if House and Iron Man had a baby in Victorian times than the real Sherlock Holmes and everyone but the fans were happy. Some gave up and feared the worst and some preferred to Wait and See. Heated Arguments arouse and every new clip and trailer served to make the matters worse, but some minds were changed. Then the movie came out, and while opinions on how good of a story it was differ, most agree that Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law did a great job as Holmes and Watson while others put them amongst the most beloved like Brett and David Burke/Edward Hardwicke. One thing to note though is that very few and maybe no Holmesians claimed that it was Ruined FOREVER since the 123 year old Fandom has seen worse, a lot worse, this decade alone (see: Case of Evil).
  • The Untwist: The identity of Irene Adler's employer (Professor Moriarty) is this to a lot of people. Given that we are actually told early on that he's a professor, it's possible that the director intended it as a Fan Bonus so that it would be obvious only to fans.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The radio transmitter is no way carried on into the sequel.
  • WTH? Casting Agency: At first, people are skeptical about choosing the guy who played Charlie Chaplin, Tony "Iron Man" Stark and Kirk "a dude playin' a dude, disguised as another dude" Lazarus as Holmes. Being the skilled actor he is, he nailed it.
    • Downey Jr. himself was at first puzzled as to why they wanted him for the part.
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