The problem with Holmes on screen has always been two fold. Firstly that most productions have always been based on pastiches, or like, many of the Bond films bore similarity to the stories they were 'based on' virtually in title only. The second has been the portrayal of Doctor Watson. The middle aged bumbling idiot of Nigel Bruce's portrayal has always detracted from Basil Rathbone's performances, and is completely at odds in Doyle.
When Granada set out to do it in 1984, they did it the right way, and in these two series in particular, working heavily from the original texts and illustrations to guide them, and through the guidance of John Hawkesworth, who brought the nineteenth century to light in Duchess of Duke Street, they managed to work magic.
While the dramatisations are %90 faithful to the text, the characterisations are %100 solid. Brett doesn't just hold a candle to Rathbone, he burns him up, looking deeply into the soul of the sleuth and biting into the role, creating a self disciplined reasoner, whose only weaknesses surface when the work is not there. Filled with charm, yet steel, humour, and yet deep seriousness, and capturing all the Bohemian eccentricity of the character. Burke as the first Watson is enthusiastic, passionate, loyal, intelligent (though not as much as our hero) and steadfast. Hardwicke is a nice contrast, older, wiser, nd yet still capturing Burke's qualities.