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The Adventures of Shirley Holmes is a great show for anyone who likes a good mystery. The actors do an excellent job portraying the characters, and because of that, you can really get into the show. It is funny, but also quite serious sometimes. Great for people of any age!
I caught a few episodes of The Adventures of Shirley Holmes while it
was running again on YTV in the spring of '08. As well, during that
same period, I found an old videotape I had made of various episodes
during a much earlier syndication run (circa 2000). Watching this show
again for the first time in several years, I suddenly realised just how
damn good it was. I mean, I knew it was good from the minute I
accidentally caught an episode on YTV one boring evening over a decade
ago, when I was in my mid to late 20s; I just never realised before HOW
good this show actually was. Now that enough time has passed, one can
objectively analyse it; and from my perspective, this show has
definitely stood the test of timebeing not only the best
adolescents'/family show of the past fifteen years, but also one of the
best television shows in general. The writing was excellent, the acting
was excellent, the directing was excellent, the characters were genuine
and endearing, etc. Given its complex plots, eccentric characters and
dark humour, this show was like 'David Lynch for the Young and
Smart'check out the 'Second Take' episode and tell me it's not
reminiscent of Lost Highway.
In the late '90s, Canadian philosopher Mark Kingwell was going on and on about how good Buffy the Vampire Slayer was. I thought that show was a load of overrated foolishness, featuring genuinely unlikeable dimwit actors. Why he would overlook this youth-oriented show in favour of Buffy remains a mystery to me. This show transcends the 'adolescents' show' category far more easily than the other does; it's far more adult-compatible, given the complexity of much of the writing. (I've considered contacting Kingwell and challenging his view.)
The official reason behind Shirley Holmes's cancellation was the aging of the actors. Supposedly, the tone of the show would have had to change if the characters had aged along with their actorsin other words, they were scared of dealing with sexual themes. If true, I think this is a cop-out: the characters were almost all intellectualsromance was of lesser importance to them. Furthermore, intimacy had already been dealt with to some extent on the show: Shirley's summer romance; Bo's fling with an Asian schoolgirl; Alicia's much older, fraudulent boyfriend; Molly's sleek, darkly sexual, 'evil feline' persona, etc.
Frankly, I think the real reason behind this show's cancellation was an issue of demographics: In an era when standards were being lowered and young people were being raised and schooled to be increasingly ignorant and uncultured, there was simply no viable youth audience left to watch this series. Low-culture crap like The Spice Girls, Brittney Spears, Eminem, 'reality' shows, and commercial hip-hop had been elevated to a position of influential dominance by the late 1990s, and the effects were detrimental. I remember attending a party in 1999 or 2000, where there were numerous young people in their early teens to early thirties. The subject of Shirley Holmes came up amongst two or three of us, and so I asked for a show of hands: There was not one person there under 20 who had actually watched a single episode of the show! So I've come to the conclusion that Shirley Holmes was too intelligent and complex for most of the children and teenagers of the day, and was watched primarily by people in their twenties and older in the first place. When the producers and number-crunchers at YTV and Nickleodeon realised this, they probably decided to drop it in favour of producing/promoting more simple-minded junk of the comic variety (e.g., Radio Active) to suit the less-sophisticated youth demographics of the period.
Anyway, it was great to see that YTV had the good taste to run this show again, even if it was only for a few weeks. I hope more people, young and old, have come to appreciate it for its quality.
The Four Seasons/Series, Ranked in Terms of Essential Viewing:
Season/Series 3 (1998-99) essential episodes (in order of original broadcast): The Case of the Crooked Comic, The Case of the Mysterious Message, The Case of the Second Take, The Case of the Code of Silence, The Case of the Real Fake, The Case of the Miraculous Mine, The Case of the Forbidden Mountain
Season/Series 1 (1996-97) essential episodes (in order of original broadcast): The Case of the Burning Building, The Case of the Ruby Ring, The Case of the Maestro's Ghost, The Case of the King of Hearts, The Case of the Second Sight
Season/Series 4 (1999-00) essential episodes (in order of original broadcast): The Case of the Calculated Crime, The Case of the Virtual Zeus, The Case of the Hidden Heart, The Case of the Dragon's Breath
Season/Series 2 (1997-98) essential episodes (in order of original broadcast): The Case of the Golden Cave, The Case of the Exploding Puppet, The Case of the Broken Oath
Notes on Ranking. Season 3 ranks highest because it has the most (five) Molly Hardy episodes (generally the best ones), as well as Shirley's reunion with her mother and other well-written plots. Deciding whether Season 1 or 4 should be the runner-up was a difficult call. Both had an equal number of 'Molly Hardy-heavy' episodes, but the non-Molly episodes of Season 1 were generally better written and more interesting, and thus its ranking at second place. Season 2 ranks last due to lack of emphasis on Molly (she is crucial to the plot of only two episodes, and appears in only two others), as well as its having the least believable and often hokiest of the episodes.
I absolutely loved this show. I wish I had taped them. I would watch it every week, and write down what was happening in the episode. I was obsessed with it and the shows that followed. I was seven, and this was great for mysteries for me, and reading the books as well. Plus, gotta love that Bo. The way of solving was always interesting, and seeing who had done the crime. It was fun at my age to try and solve the mystery, sometimes I'm right, other times I'm wrong, and it was fun. There should really be a DVD set our for this series, or they should re-air it on YTV at nights, or on the weekends, because they don't make TV shows like they used too. I always loved the thought of being in their circle of friends. Looked like lots of fun. I love seeing the cast wherever they are, I'm say "There's Bo!" or "There's Bart!" But no one ever knew what I was talking about. All in all, awesome show!
I haven't watched it in ages because they don't show it in England anymore but I've got the summary book with all the info on it! I only remembered to look for it on here after listening to Backstreet Boys Anywhere For You and As Long As You Love Me because they reminded me of it (don't ask me why!) I think it was because Shirely and Bo were great characters and felt real and all the mysteries were great fun. I've always wanted Shirely and Bo to get together even though there was never any real confirmation until right at the end of 'The Case Of The Queen Of Heart' where Bo opens the door for Shirely that there was any hint of them wanting to be more than friends. also a shame there was no real ending to it too. hope they bring it out on DVD soon! I'd certainly buy it!
This show is very entertaining. Shirley Holmes (the grandniece of Sherlock Holmes) uses deductive reasoning and detective skills to unravel any case set before her--with the help of her friend and sidekick, Bo Sawchuck. The two are quite a team. This show is not only fun to watch, but it is funny as well, not to mention, if you watch closely, you actually can learn something. All together, I give it five stars!
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