Best Sherlock Crossovers

James Lee
• Friday, 08 January, 2021
• 9 min read

Tags Summary Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller deal with a new string of murders in Broad church. Help comes from an unlikely place as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson travel to West Dorset.

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But when the new crimes open old wounds and unearth the ghost of Moriarty, it becomes clear the game is not over yet. Series Language: English Words: 42,312 Chapters: 10 /10 Kudos: 132 Bookmarks: 35 Hits: 2594 Summary John Watson had worked hard to be accepted at Star fleet Academy.

As an Augment, a descendant of the super soldiers who seized power on Earth during the Eugenics wars, he's hard to work twice as hard. Star fleet never really intended to assemble a crew with a half trained doctor and an alpha Augment with authority issues.

Words: 528,380 Works: 34 Bookmarks: 70 Tags Summary Sherlock, John and Lestrade are on a case that lead them to Brooklyn, NY. Language: English Words: 14,357 Chapters: 6 /6 Kudos: 273 Bookmarks: 46 Hits: 2734 Tags Summary John hadn’t planned on becoming a grumpy old man.

But he wasn’t getting any younger, and as he thought back on his life so far this Christmas Eve, he was coming up with a lot of regrets. Language: English Words: 18,788 Chapters: 8 /8 Kudos: 221 Bookmarks: 28 Hits: 2594 Tags Summary Time travelling historian John Watson goes to Victorian era England to study, and meets detective Sherlock Holmes.

He finds himself torn between the work he was sent to do, the exciting life of solving crimes, and the extraordinary Holmes himself. The reason why, to paraphrase the esteemed Sherlock, is mere “elementary.” Arthur Conan Doyle’s brainchild is the basis for all modern detection, from the analysis of fingerprints and ballistics (which eventually became forensic procedure) to the pipe and deerstalker cap that’s since become a symbol for stalking criminals.

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Of the 70 performers who’ve had the pleasure, many, including Christopher Lee, Roger Moore, and Charlton Heston have donned the deerstalker to less than stellar results. With that in mind, we’ve picked what we believe to be the finest adaptations to date, so that one can binge detect while waiting for BBC’s Sherlock to return this winter.

Set in New York City, Miller plays Sherlock as an eccentric who was forced to relocate in the wake of rampant drug use and wanting a fresh start. Partnered with protege Joan Watson (Lucy Liu), the duo traverse a slew of mysteries both classical and original-- especially with the added twist of Moriarty being a vivacious female (Natalie Dormer).

Response to Elementary was initially mixed, especially in comparison to BBC’s Sherlock, but it's proven a sleeper success due to Miller’s psychologically tainted performance. The British actor brought a bundle of new Sherlock details to the table; namely, the detective’s father issues, his mother’s history with opium, and his field experience with MI6 (between seasons 2 and 3).

Taking things in the complete opposite direction, Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Silk Stocking (2004) shows the detective at his most dreary. Played with haunting authority by English actor Rupert Everett, this Holmes is not a man easily amused by life’s finer things.

In fact, given the TV lineage before him, Everett decides to emphasize the character’s lesser qualities: patronizing arrogance, emotional indifference, and of course, fluctuating drug use. Silk Stocking pulls this card instantly in the opener, which shows Holmes lounging in an opium den to pass the time.

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It also helps that the actor’s “hawk-like nose”, “sharp and piercing eyes”, and chin of “prominence and squareness” all check out with Conan Doyle’s literary description. Based on the book by Nicholas Meyer, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976) takes the drug angle a step further by forcing Holmes (Nicole Williamson) to undergo psychiatric treatment.

Williamson gets to cut loose as the famous detective, bypassing the Stoic norm for a performance that’s riddled with jittery antics and rambling tirades. Their presence, along with Akin and Vanessa Redgrave, helped The Seven-Per-Cent Solution convey it's risky premise and net two Academy Award nominations (including Best Adapted Screenplay).

Unfortunately, Granada Studios was beginning work on their show around the same time, and the resulting legal disagreement was eventually settled out of court for the cost of the Mantra mysteries that did get made: The Hound of the Baskerville and The Sign of Four. These 1983 films had their minor gripes; from the occasional happiness to the vocal dubbing, but the lead presence of Ian Richardson proved a saving grace.

Long before he rose to fame for the original House of Cards (1990), Richardson brought a light, reaction nature to the role of Sherlock. Nevertheless, Wilmer’s performance was widely hailed for its sardonic bite and no-nonsense demeanor-- traits that his series replacement, Peter Cushing, would later absorb.

The idea of depicting the detective’s early years had “80s gimmick” written all over it, but the efforts of screenwriter Chris Columbus and director Barry Levinson ensured the film would be a fun family adventure. Young Sherlock Holmes follows the titular teen (Nicholas Rowe) as he enters the prestigious Brampton Academy and befriends John Watson (Alan Cox).

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Levinson has fun scrambling Sherlock lore to fit his new origin story, while the surprise inclusion of Lestrade (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) and, in a twist that will go unspoiled, Moriarty, add lightweight excitement. Guy Henry previously played a juvenile Holmes for Granada’s Young Sherlock, but Rowe still remains the one and only sleuthing youth.

Sherlock’s emotional journey dictates the 2015 dazzler, and the ghost of an unsolved case serves to drive this point home in the final act. With Watson, Mycroft, and everyone else he knew deceased, there’s an innate sadness to these Holmes, and the actor conveys so much through his lined face it can be heartbreaking to witness.

Arriving at the tail end of Billy Wilder’s career, the film takes a slightly satirical look at the detective, playing up the distinction between the “real” Holmes and the one that Watson documents in The Strand magazine. In his lone deerstalker outing, the actor presents a man with ambiguous sexuality and a general melancholy that’s surprising given some of the film’s more comedic moments.

Unable to save the woman before she was killed by Jack the Ripper, it’s a display that lets the audience connect with Holmes in lieu of simply observing him. He and close friend Vitaly Solomon were cast as the leads in the 1979 show The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, and the overwhelming response led them to reprise their roles in subsequent TV movies.

Famous for his deep, resonant voice and Ernest friendship with Watson, Ivanov is the only Sherlock actor to become an Honorary Member of the British Empire. Instead, driven by the energy of director Guy Ritchie, this version much prefers a brawl and a few set pieces before donning a trench coat and fedora.

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In fact, the trio are reuniting for next year’s still untitled Sherlock Holmes 3, proving that action, comedy, and a winning star are more than enough to excuse a few major liberties. Blessed with cavernous bone structure and an elderly grace, Cushing refused to stray from the source material by playing up two core components: arrogance and impulse.

This rigid approach caught the attention of BBC in 1968, who then cast the actor in the third season of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Before Rathbone, guys like John Barrymore and Raymond Massey were playing a generic type-- the genius with a pipe and a brooding attitude.

In BBC’s Sherlock, the detective ditches the deerstalker for a long coat and scarf, while typically slicked hair takes a holiday for a mess of darkened curls. In episodes like “The Blind Banker” (2010) and “The Sign of Three” (2014), the duo creates a chemistry that's at once contemporary and cleverly in line with Conan Doyle’s original work.

He plays pompousness and profound sadness with such ease it's impossible to deny, even when proving a thorn in Watson’s ongoing love life. The show’s fourth season is set for a January release, and given the rabid anticipation, it's safe to say Cumberbatch will stay atop the Sherlock list for a great many more years.

Upon being cast in Granada’s 1984 series, the actor did extensive research and invented an imaginary life the detective could fill between televised cases. The wildly talented Brett was born to play Sherlock, and the parallels he experienced in his own life-- bipolar disorder and depression-- helped inform his sudden shifts from boredom to heightened interest.

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Guest stars include Professor Challenger, Sexton Blake, Harry Houdini, Dr. Moreau, Arlene Lupine, Lawrence of Arabia, Colonel Savage and more. Contributing authors include giants of the crossover genre like Win Scott Expert, Will Murray, and Joe Gentile.

Guest stars include Professor Challenger, Sexton Blake, Harry Houdini, Dr. Moreau, Arlene Lupine, Lawrence of Arabia, Colonel Savage and more. Contributing authors include giants of the crossover genre like Win Scott Expert, Will Murray, and Joe Gentile.

Most of the stories are written along the traditional Shylockian lines but the final one, “The Adventure of the Lost Specialist” penned by Christopher Square strays into the realm of the weird and strange. My favorite story in the collection is the humorous yarn entitled, “The Haunted Manor” written by Howard Hopkins and featuring Calamity Jane.

As with most collections, this “Casebook” of Holmes pastiches, where he teams up with various real-life and fictional characters, is a mixed bag. The last one is a true train wreck and I almost didn't get through it, but the rest were all at least adequate, with quite a few being quite good. Most of the fifteen stories in this book are pretty good.

The tales in this book include a number of interesting variations on that theme.“ Sherlock Holmes in the Lost World” is a novella by Martin Powell that places Holmes and Watson in the Lost World of Professor Challenger. During the Great War, at the behest of brother Mycroft, an aging Holmes and Watson attempt to rescue the Professor who has returned to “The Lost World” in an effort to bring back firm proof of the existence of prehistoric fauna.

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“The Scion of Fear,” by Christopher Square reunites Holmes and Watson with Jonathon Small, from “The Sign of Four.” The results are surprising. “The Petrifying Well,” by Martin Lately, introduces Holmes to a young Thomas Edward Lawrence, forever remembered as “Lawrence of Arabia,” the architect of Arabic freedom from five hundred years of Turkish rule.

“The Adventure of the Fallen Stone,” a novella by Win Scott Expert, mixes Holmes and Watson with a number of early twentieth Century detectives and adventure heroes in a real scramble with Professor Moriarty’s son(?). The Secret of Grant’s Tomb,” by Joe Gentile unites Holmes and Watson in an investigation with Professor van Duse, “The Thinking Machine,” and his reporter companion, Hutchinson Hatch.

“The Adventure of the Sinister Chinaman,” by Barbara Humbly, examines American attitudes to Chinese immigrants and pits Holmes against a master magician and allies him with “The Great Oz.” “The Folly of Flight,” a novella by Matthew P. Mayo, unites Holmes with Arlene Lupine in an effort to prevent a daring robbery of Crown possessions. It is a complex and convoluted case in which Holmes duel with Lupine for a treasure trove of wealth.

“ Sherlock Holmes and the Other Eye,” is a novella by Richard Dean Starr and E. R. Bower that has Holmes defending Plaster Crowley, sometimes called “the Wickedest Man in London” against charges of robbery and murder by supernatural means. “The Adventure of the Magician’s Meetings” teams Holmes and Watson with Houdini in an effort to solve an apparently truly gifted psychic.

While Houdini knows ‘con’ tricks, it is Holmes’ knowledge of real-life criminals and science that exposes this inspired trickster’s methods. “The Adventure of the Ethical Assassin” brings Holmes, reluctantly, back into the service of Wilhelm Gottsreich Sigismund von Tristan, the King of Bohemia.

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Upon investigation, Holmes finds that The King is the current target of “The Assassination Bureau,” described by Jack London. Using otherwise known “Universes” can eliminate the need for a great deal of explanation and character development and allow an author to get right into telling the story.

Having the Enterprise crew battle the Dales, Sailor Moon teaming up with the Brady Bunch, Bella Swan falling in love with Dracula, or any other bizarre combination the fan writer can think of. Combine this with a public domain (mostly) character like Sherlock Holmes, and you can even do prof. Having the Enterprise crew battle the Dales, Sailor Moon teaming up with the Brady Bunch, Bella Swan falling in love with Dracula, or any other bizarre combination the fan writer can think of. Combine this with a public domain (mostly) character like Sherlock Holmes, and you can even do professionally publish crossover fan fiction.

Some tales just barely qualify as crossovers with a quick reference at the end, while others pile on the characters and cameos. “ Sherlock Holmes and the Lost World” by Martin Powell, which guest stars Professor Challenger, has appeared in another anthology.

Other notable tales are “The Adventure of the Fallen Stone” by Win Scott Expert, which goes full-on Wold-Newton (a fan theory that ties together many fictional heroes with a mysterious meteorite), and “The Adventure of the Imaginary Nihilist” by Will Murray, which guest stars Richard Henry Savage, a real life person who inspired parts of both Doc Savage and the Avenger. I particularly liked Barbara Humbly’s “The Adventure of the Sinister Chinaman”, which guest stars The Wizard of Oz…or a delusional man with a similar name.

“The Adventure of the Lost Specialist” by Christopher Square lies on the crossovers thick with an outright science fiction premise, but as Watson himself admits in the introduction, it’s not much of a traditional Holmes tale. There’s also “The Folly of Flight” by Matthew P. Mayo, guest starring French thief Arlene Lupine.

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Lupine’s author, Maurice Leblanc, was one of the first Sherlock Holmes crossover fan fiction authors; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did not appreciate the compliment, so Lupine’s clashes with Holmes were rewritten with a slightly different name, and a bit more mocking of a tone. I don’t just mean a guy with his name and his friend John Watson, along with the other accessories that make up Holmes’ life.

That being done, you can transport him anywhere: modern day London or New York, or even outer space, and it’s still recognizably Holmes. The best of the bunch was Barbara Humbly’s, and even hers was basically social commentary, very little of Holmes the detective present in it.

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