It wouldn’t take the great Sherlock Holmes to notice something odd about the American entertainment industry — it’s becoming less American and more British.
I wouldn’t go against saying some of the best, most classic talent came from our own land. The first that comes to mind is the jazz music era and the legendary musicians who emerged from it.
Writers like Ernest Hemingway and Scott F. Fitzgerald, who hogged the spotlight in the roaring ‘20s, cannot go amiss. How about some of the most admired and sought-after movie stars of our age? To name just a few: Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and old timers like Shirley MacLaine.
We can take credit for at least a portion of the globe’s entertainment industry talent. But have another look, and you’ll see what we currently adopt as our modern entertainment is swirling with the unmistakable and, might I say, irresistible talent of foreigners. Justin Beiber? He’s from Canada. So is Michael Bublé. Kate Winslet? So astoundingly British. Then there’s the beloved J.K. Rowling, who has just as much royalty status in the eyes of her American fans as she does in her home country of Great Britain.
So, all this time, the credit is often not properly given, or rather, is ignored by the American public who don’t take the care or time to realize how much of what we have in Hollywood is profoundly not true American. Some of the world’s most valuable exports these days are entertainers. Actors like Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch, who made their big American debut in the film industry this year, have already stolen the hearts of a thousand fangirls. It makes us appreciate Hollywood for inviting those unmistakably handsome and talented actors overseas for us to bask in their glory.
But there are times when Hollywood not only imports talented people overseas, but also ideas. For one, I didn’t know “The Office” was originally a British comedy until a year ago.
One example of ignorance that makes me exceptionally irked is the CBS network television series “Elementary.” I was appalled when the show aired for the first time; it turned out to be a carbon copy of the original BBC network drama series “Sherlock.”
If you are a fan of “Sherlock,” you probably know that the premises of both shows are nearly identical. The classic tales of Sherlock Holmes, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, are about a genius detective and his doctor friend solving all of London’s mysteries and dismantling the spider web of criminals in the city.
The writers of “Sherlock” have mastered translating Doyle’s stories into a modern day London setting. What the writers of “Elementary” have done is reluctantly taken the cases from “Sherlock” and placed them in modern day New York where Sherlock is still pure British but John Watson is replaced by a smart, sassy Asian beauty named Joan.
At best, I’m rather insulted by “Elementary,” as are thousands of other true fans of “Sherlock.” Although the changes made to the American version of the show are not my favorite, American fans of “Elementary” seem surprised when they find out it’s based off a widely-admired series that’s already been on air for years in Britain.
I applaud the less ignorant part of the population that has jumped on the “British Envy” bandwagon with me. They are clever in pointing out the number of foreign influences sprinkled across America’s blockbuster hits and weekly Top 40. The fans are dedicated, and that makes me happy to be a part of it all.
I only hope that Americans will come to understand how much thanks Hollywood owes to the outside influences bestowed upon the country’s entertainment industry.
They wouldn’t have gotten this far without it.