The game is afoot, ol’ chap! Netflix has released “Enola Holmes” and before we get any further, let us assure you that was the first and last attempt at British parlance you’ll read here today. It’s just hard not to get swept up in the tweed suits of it all (or the restrictive Victorian-era dresses in which Miss Enola manages to sleuth).
The new film from Harry Bradbeer, known for directing all but one episode of “Fleabag,” stars Millie Bobby Brown as the spunky kid sister of famous brothers Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes (Henry Cavill and Sam Claflin, respectively). After discovering her mother (Helena Bonham Carter) has disappeared, 16-year-old Enola runs away to London on a search mission in lieu of fulfilling Mycroft’s wish that she attend finishing school.
“Enola Holmes,” based on Nancy Springer’s book series, is the latest in a long line of Sherlock Holmes stories and spinoffs to wind up on screen. If her stylish adventure winds up sparking your appetite for mystery, here are several other takes on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic character to watch at home.
“Sherlock Holmes” (1916)
Available to rent on Amazon, this film starring William Gillette in the lead role was thought to be long gone until a dupe negative was discovered in a French film nonprofit’s archives. Gillette played Sherlock Holmes on stage many times, his deerstalker cap and Inverness cape shaping the image we still conjure today.
“The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” (1970)
We’re skipping a few generations, and over adaptations like the TV shows from 1954 and 1965, to “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes,” a film rentable on several platforms. It is notable for writers Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond’s clever yet melancholy tone, from which the popular BBC series that premiered a few decades later sought inspiration.
“The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” (1984)
The British series, available to stream on Amazon via BritBox, consists of 41 episodes that aired throughout a decade. Many consider lead actor Jeremy Brett’s performance to be the definitive take on Sherlock Holmes.
“Without a Clue” (1988)
“Without a Clue,” available to rent on iTunes, upends the established dynamic of Doyle’s characters by centering John Watson, ordinarily Sherlock Holmes’s right-hand man, as a doctor who solves mysteries and creates a fictional Sherlock character to satisfy the public so that he, Watson, can continue his work incognito. Ben Kingsley plays Watson, and Michael Caine is the actor hired to appear as “Sherlock” in public.
“Sherlock Holmes” (2009)
Robert Downey Jr. leaned into his eccentricity for Guy Ritchie’s action-heavy “Sherlock Holmes,” available to rent on several platforms. It also stars Jude Law as John Watson and earned two Oscar nods, for art direction and Hans Zimmer’s very fun score. The sequel came out in 2011, with another slated for 2021.
No discussion of Sherlock Holmes is complete without the BBC show from Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat that boosted Benedict Cumberbatch’s celebrity and swept the Emmy Awards after achieving massive success on this side of the Atlantic. Streaming on Netflix, the series — which only aired 13 episodes over a stretch of seven years — also starred Martin Freeman as John Watson and included a memorable turn from “Fleabag” favorite Andrew Scott as the villain Moriarty.
CBS put a spin on its trademark crime procedurals with “Elementary,” a series set in contemporary New York that stars Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson, a disgraced surgeon hired as a sober companion for recovering addict Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller). He’s a former Scotland Yard consultant but now works with the New York Police Department. The show, which is streaming on Hulu, premiered after the BBC’s “Sherlock,” but lasted until 2019.
“Mr. Holmes” (2015)
Set in the 1940s, “Mr. Holmes” features Ian McKellan as a 93-year-old Sherlock Holmes, who is long retired with a faltering memory. He attempts to piece together his final case with the help of his housekeeper’s son (Milo Parker), resulting in the sweet story of an aging star, his young protege and their friendship.