August 03, 2019


(FOX, Syndication, September 18, 1999-July 21, 2001)

DiC Productions LP, Scottish Television Enterprises, Les Studios Tex

Akiko Morison – Inspector Beth Lestrade
Ian James Corlett – Martin Fenwick
William Samples – Chief Inspector Charles Grayson
Viv Leacock – Wiggins
Jennifer Copping – Deidre
Jo Bates - Newscaster

            Sherlock Holmes is a prolific fictional detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes worked as a private detective in London taking on a wide variety of clientele from all classes of life, so long as they could pay his rate and provide a stimulating case. He utilized deductive reasoning, keen observation, and forensic science in order to find clues that would lead to a solution. On top of that, he was highly skilled in a variety of fields including combat, disguise, and acting. Holmes was also a drug addict; frequently using cocaine, morphine and opium in order to find stimulation when not on a case.

Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes by Sidney Paget.

            The inspiration for Holmes came from many sources. Edgar Allan Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin is considered the first fictional detective and became the prototype. However, Conan Doyle had stated that Holmes was primarily inspired by surgeon Dr. Joseph Bell, for whom Conan Doyle worked as a clerk and had the propensity to draw broad conclusions from small observations. Sir Henry Littlejohn, Chair of Medical Jurisprudence at the University of Edinburgh Medical School that also served as a Police Surgeon and Medical Officer of Health, gave Conan Doyle a link between medical and criminal investigations. Another fictional detective, Émile Gaboriau’s Monsieur Lecoq, was also popular at the time Conan Doyle began writing Holmes and Holmes’ speech and behavior tended to match Lecoq’s.

The first appearance of Sherlock Holmes.

            Holmes made his debut in 1887’s A Study in Scarlet. While not the first fictional detective, he is certainly the most well-known and a British cultural icon. His popularity grew when a series of short stories began appearing in The Strand Magazine in 1891, which had accompanying illustrations by Sidney Paget who used his brother Walter as a model for Holmes. All but four stories were narrated by Holmes’ friend, partner and biographer, Dr. John Watson. Watson often accompanied Holmes on his investigations and resided with him at their shared home at 221B Baker Street (which did not exist at the time, but later became a reality when Baker Street was extended). He was the more grounded of the pair in comparison to Holmes’ eccentric nature, and had his own share of intelligence and observational skill.

The 22nd Century Irregulars.

Other associates of Holmes included Inspector G. Lestrade, a Scotland Yard detective whose tenacity and determination allowed him to become a highly respected policeman despite his lack of skill at solving actual crimes. Holmes held simultaneous disdain and affection for Lestrade, often letting him take credit for solving the crimes Holmes had and bolstering his reputation as a result. There were also the Baker Street Irregulars; a group of street urchins led by a boy named Wiggins whom Holmes would pay for vital clues or information in regards to his investigations.


            In 1893, Conan Doyle desired to spend more time on historical novels and decided to kill Holmes off in The Adventure of the Final Problem. Holmes fell do this death while in battle with criminal mastermind Professor James Moriarty on top of Reichenbach Falls. However, Conan Doyle eventual ceded to public pressure to bring the character back and wrote a prequel story, The Hound of the Baskervilles, in 1901 before reviving Holmes with the explanation of faking his death in 1903’s The Adventure of the Empty House. Holmes fans have come to know that 8-year period as “The Great Hiatus”. Conan Doyle finally retired the character in 1927 after four novels and 56 short stories.

Sherlock Holmes.

            Since Conan Doyle’s retirement and death, Holmes has been adapted and utilized in various forms of media and on various products. There have been radio plays, movies, television shows, comic books, stage plays, video games and more. Holmes currently holds the Guinness World Record for most portrayed human character in film and television. Other writers have also continued Holmes’ adventures in print. Sometimes these adventures pick up from where Conan Doyle left off, other times they see Holmes placed in a contemporary setting, interacting with other fictional characters, descendants of Holmes, or a deeper exploration of aspects of Holmes touched on by Conan Doyle himself. It’s through these later works that characters like Moriarty, created solely as a device to kill Holmes, gained more prominence and became elevated to being his arch rival.

Inspector Beth Lestrade and the original form of Watson.

            Adding to the pantheon was Scottish Television Enterprises executive Sandy Ross. An idea came to him as he was skiing in Aspen, Colorado with DiC Entertainment senior vice president of creative affairs Robby London in 1996. He proposed the concept of an animated Holmes series set in the future, which London felt would appeal to both the American and United Kingdom markets and provide an entirely new genre for animation with the combination of mystery and science fiction. Initially, they had determined to set the show in the 21st Century, but as it was likely to make it to air with the millennium just around the corner it was decided to push the setting to the 22nd. Their vision of the future contained many of the familiar science fiction trappings including holographic projections, artificial intelligence, flying cars, space colonies, cloning and more.

Holmes with Watson after his conversion.

Developed by Phil Harnage, Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century was exactly as the title described. Picking up from the fateful fall of Holmes (Jason Gray-Stanford) and Moriarty (Richard Newman) into Reichenbach Falls, the series introduced viewers to the future world of New London where Moriarty was resurrected through cloning by twisted and deformed French mad scientist Martin Fenwick (Ian James Corlett). Needing help to stop him, Holmes, who was preserved in honey after his eventual death from old age (in keeping with Conan Doyle’s resurrection of the character), was resurrected and rejuvenated at the request of New Scotland Yard Inspector Beth Lestrade (Akiko Morrison, sans any attempt at a British accent). Lestrade was the descendant of the Inspector Holmes had worked with during his time. Lestrade’s “partner”, of sorts, was a robotic “compudroid” she affectionately called “Watson” (John Payne). That name became even more apt as he took on the real Watson’s personality upon scanning his journals and his outward appearance was altered to resemble the man. Other characters included Lestrade’s boss, Chief Inespector Charles Grayson (William Samples) and a new incarnation of the Baker Street Irregulars led by Wiggins (Viv Leacock).

Martin Fenwick.

            Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century debuted on FOX as part of its Fox Kids programming block on September 18, 1999. The show was a co-production between Scottish Television and DiC Entertainment through French studio Les Studios Tex. Each episode was based on pre-existing Holmes stories with liberal changes made as needed to incorporate futuristic elements. The series was written by Harnage with Martha Moran, Marv Wolfman, Terence Taylor, Eleanor Burian-Mohr, Henry Gilroy, Ken Pontac, Robert Askin, Seth Kearsley, Greg Johnson, Reed Shelly, Bruce Shelly, Woody Creek and Gildart Jackson. Len Janson served as the story editor. Donald F. Roberts, Ph.D. was retained as an educational consultant to make sure the series met the educational requirements set by the FCC.  22nd Century was the first DiC production to utilize any form of 3D computer animation. Rendered by Hyper Image Llc, it was used primarily for backgrounds and vehicles. The rest of the series featured traditional animation by Daiwon Animation Co., Ltd., Milimetros Studios, Slightly Offbeat Productions, Ltd., Hong Ying Animation and Wonjin Production Corporation. Steven Choi served as the main character designers. The theme was composed by Ron Wasserman (credited as RAW) while Eric Allaman handled the rest of the show’s music.

Flying cars in New London.

            FOX cancelled the show by the end of its first season in the United States, though it continued to air internationally on CITV and Scottish Television. The WB had intended to pick it up for its weekday morning programming, but budget cuts at the network ended that deal. It wouldn’t be until 2001 that Tribune Entertainment would put the show into syndication, allowing the shorter second season to air for the first time. Reruns would continue to air on various networks around the world well after the last new episode aired. 2001 also saw the show nominated for a Daytime Emmy award for “Outstanding Special Class Animated Program”.

            In 1999, Vision Video and Universal Studios Home Video UK released a VHS tape in the United Kingdom that combined the first three episodes into a single movie. It was re-released in 2002 by Lions Gate Home Entertainment and Trimark Home Video as The Fall and Rise of Sherlock Holmes on both VHS and DVD, with the DVD version also containing the episode “The Sign of Four”. In 2003, Sterling Entertainment released Out of this World onto VHS and DVD with the episodes “The Sign of Four”, “The Adventures of the Dancing Men” and the “Silver Blaze”, with the DVD version having the additional episode “The Gloria Scott”. In 2012, Mill Creek Entertainment simultaneously released the complete series as well as the first 10 episodes onto DVD. The complete collection contained five bonus episodes from other series owned by Cookie Jar, the then-owner of the DiC library, while the 10-episode set contained an episode of Stargate: Infinity. Mill Creek re-released the complete series set in 2018 with a digital download code. 

Season 1:
“The Fall and Rise of Sherlock Holmes” (9/18/99) – Holmes is reawakened in the 22nd Century and recruited by Lestrade’s descendant to take down Moriarty’s clone.
Based on: “The Final Problem”

“The Crime Machine” (9/25/99) – Holmes and Watson meet the new Baker Street Irregulars while Martin Fenwick turns innocent civilians into criminals.
Based on: The Valley of Fear

“The Hounds of the Baskervilles” (10/2/99) – Holmes, Watson and Lestrade investigate sightings of a giant hound on the moon.
Based on: The Hound of the Baskervilles

“The Adventure of the Empty House” (10/9/99) – Holmes and Moriarty appear to be vaporized while Watson and Lestrade investigate foul play at the Holocade Tournament.
Based on: “The Adventure of the Empty House”

“The Crooked Man” (10/16/99) – Holmes investigates the disappearance of James Barkley and how a furry creature is involved.
Based on: “The Crooked Man”

“The Adventure of the Deranged Detective” (10/23/99) – Lestrade and later Holmes are infected by mind-altering nanobots.
Based on: “The Adventure of the Dying Detective”

“The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire Lot” (10/30/99) – Holmes and the Irregulars investigate a computer vampire that Moriarty wants to recruit.
Based on: “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire”

“The Scales of Justice” (11/6/99) – It appears that animal rights activists have stolen nanobot technology from GeneTech.
Based on: “The Adventure of the Speckled Band”

“The Resident Patient” (11/13/99) – Moriarty and Fenwick use a DNA washer to alter the appearance and DNA of criminals to make them undetectable.
Based on: “The Resident Patient”

“The Sign of Four” (11/20/99) – Holmes and Watson accompany Mary Morstan as she visits her father’s former business partner on themoon.
Based on: The Sign of the Four

“The Adventure of the Dancing Men” (11/27/99) – The Irregulars want to be more involved on cases and begin by searching for who put two scientists in the hospital.
Based on: “The Adventure of the Dancing Men”

“The Musgrave Ritual” (12/4/99) – Moriarty believes a sword will lead him to the powerful meteor from which it was forged.
Based on: “The Musgrave Ritual”

“The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” (12/11/99) – One of the season’s hottest toys turns out to be far more sophisticated than its mass-produced brethren.
Based on: “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle”

“Silver Blaze” (1/31/00) – Holmes, Watson and Lestrade investigate the theft of the favored racing spacecraft in the Asteroid Belt Grand Prix.
Based on: “Silver Blaze”

“The Five Orange Pips” (2/7/00) – Holmes is summoned to investigate the poisoning of a man who has shunned all modern technology.
Based on: “The Five Orange Pips”

“The Red-Headed League” (2/14/00) – Holmes stumbles upon a planned art theft by the Red-Headed League.
Based on: “The Red-Headed League”

“The Man with the Twisted Lip” (2/21/00) – Holmes and Watson are hired to find a woman’s presumably deceased husband.
Based on: “The Man with the Twisted Lip”

Season 2:
“The Secret Safe” (3/31/01) – Burglars steal a doll to put police off their actual theft, but Holmes and Watson are on their trail.
Based on: “His Last Bow: An Epilogue of Sherlock Holmes”

“The Adventure of the Second Stain” (4/21/01) – Holmes is called in to find stolen intelligence information.
Based on: “The Adventure of the Second Stain”

“The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb” (4/28/01) – Feuding scientists become the target of Fenwick and his minions for their blood regeneration devices.
Based on: “The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb”

“The Gloria Scott” (5/12/01) – Investigating cryptic messages a friend receives leads Holmes to uncover new details about a 25-year-old hijacking.
Based on: “The Gloria Scott

“The Adventure of the Six Napoleons” (5/19/01) – A thief is after a valuable crystal and steals decorative ones off of the Napoleon Excelsior luxury craft while looking for it.
Based on: “The Adventure of the Six Napoleons”

“The Adventure of the Creeping Man” (5/26/01) – A friend of Lestrade’s is getting married, but her bliss is interrupted by apparently being stalked by a gorilla.
Based on: “The Adventure of the Creeping Man”

“The Adventure of the Beryl Board” (6/23/01) – Holmes investigates the theft of a new processor where the primary suspect may not be the only one.
Based on: “The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet”

“The Adventure of the Mazarin Chip” (6/30/01) – Moriarty and Fenwick steal a virtual reality microchip and kidnap the Prime Minister in order to crash the financial market.
Based on: “The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone”

“A Case of Identity” (7/21/01) – Lestrade gets an unwanted new partner while Holmes and Watson track down a jewel thief.
Based on: “A Case of Identity”

No comments: