Oh - Modernized Shakespeare is another thing that bugs me. I recently caught the Ethan Hawke "Hamlet". Didn't like it, nossir.
Brannaugh's Hamlet is fairly borderline for me - setting it in 19th century Denmark just made me keep thinking "what about whoever was REALLY in charge there at the time? are we saying they didn't exist?"
No worse that The West Wing
saying Jed Bartlet was president instead of George W. Bush. Or that the US election cycle was 2 years off of what it really is! Countless works of fiction set in the present day have replaced real presidents, monarchs, governors, mayors, etc. with imaginary ones, or replaced real TV networks, corporations, and even cities or countries with imaginary ones.
I can handle alternate-world modernizations of Shakespeare in principle, but some of them work better than others. For instance, the TV version of the recent David Tennant/Patrick Stewart Hamlet
didn't quite work for me -- it was set in this Eastern Bloc-like surveillance state with security cameras watching everything, and yet the characters still hid behind arrases when they wanted to spy on someone. It was a distracting incongruity.
Greg Cox wrote:
Although it's perhaps worth remembering that the Holmes stories weren't period pieces when they were originally written, and that, of course, Basil Rathbone was doing Holmes in the present-day as far back as the forties . . . .
Yup. If anything, I'm surprised we haven't seen modernizations of Holmes more often, given how many other remakes are updated to the present day.