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Holmes, how you’ve changed!

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Late yesterday it was announced that Sacha Baron Cohen has been cast as Sherlock Holmes with Will Ferrell as Watson in a new, Judd Apatow-produced comedy inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective — the second Holmes major reinvention in the works, with Guy Ritchie working on a version that will “be more adventuresome and take advantage of his skills as a boxer and swordsman.”

At the Guardian‘s film blog, Maxim Jakubowski has already expressed his displeasure: “The mind boggles. In the left corner Sherlock getting involved in over the top ultra-violence and in the right corner a farting Sherlock (or would it be Watson?) with the sensitivity of an average American teenager.” He does allow that “there have been hundreds of Sherlock Holmes books written by others since Conan Doyle’s demise,” and that “Holmes has been impersonated by a legion of actors since he was first adapted for the screen.” But Holmes has also already been reinterpreted in various, er, unconventional ways that would have ruffled the feathers of the protective Sherlockians Jakubowski mentions long before Borat stepped on the scene. A few TV/movie versions that come to mind:

07022008_holmes1.jpgDarryl Zero (Bill Pullman)
“Zero Effect”

The first film from Jake Kasdan (who went on to direct “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story”) is essentially an update of Doyle’s story “A Scandal in Bohemia,” with Pullman as “the world’s most private detective,” a man so reclusive that he only interacts with clients by way of his assistant, played by Ben Stiller. The mysterious blackmailer and Irene Adler equivalent is played by Kim Dickens, who pulls Zero into a romance that’s definitely not part of the original text.

Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie)
“House, M.D.”

House (as opposed to “Holmes,” yes?) is a surly, isolated genius who keeps to mysteries of a medical nature and prefers Vicodin to cocaine, but still has a Watson (well, Wilson) to bounce ideas off of and manages to get shot at by someone named Moriarty.

07022008_holmes2.jpgArthur Sherlock Holmes (John Cleese)
“The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It”

Cleese’s character is technically the grandson of Holmes, pairing up with Watson’s descendant to prevent Moriarty’s offspring from destroying the world in this 1977 spoof of detective movie tropes. It’s notable mainly for a scene in which Holmes assists Watson with a crossword puzzle and ever “elementary” pun possible is unleashed: “Yellow manta ray, my dear Watson.”

Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub)

Monk’s obsessive-compulsive disorder, while played for cute, could be read as an extreme interpretation of Holmes’ attention to detail and antisocial leanings. Regardless, the character is another Holmesian brilliant but quirky detective, with a female Watson equivalent. He’s even given a parallel to Holmes’ smarter, sedentary older brother Mycroft — Ambrose, played by John Turturro, an agoraphobe who writes product manuals in multiple languages, all self-taught.

07022008_holmes3.jpgSherlock Holmes (Nicholas Rowe)
“Young Sherlock Holmes”

In Barry Levinson’s exceptionally silly movie, Watson and Holmes meet as teenagers at a boarding school, where they stumble upon an Egyptian-themed cult performing human sacrifices and shooting people with hallucinatory thorns. Moriarty is the schoolmaster, played by Anthony Higgins, who also took on the role of Holmes in 1993 TV movie “Sherlock Holmes Returns.”

Sherlock Holmes (voiced by Jason Gray-Stanford)
“Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century”

Holmes, animated, in the future. Hey, he’s restored via a new cellular rejuvenation technique! Who else is going to catch that Moriarty clone wreaking havoc on New London?

+ Holmes pic nabs Baron Cohen, Ferrell (Variety)
+ Sacha Baron Cohen’s Sherlock Holmes won’t ‘make benefit’ anybody (Guardian)

[Photos: “Zero Effect,” Columbia Pictures, 1998; “The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It,” Shearwater Films, 1977; “Young Sherlock Holmes,” Paramount Pictures, 1985]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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