I don’t mind having Sherlock Holmes rewritten for the present day. I do mind the complete restructuring of major characters. In A SCANDAL IN BELGRAVIA, it was Irene Adler. In the latest episode it is Moriarty.
REICHENBACH FALL, is the latest episode of SHERLOCK to air in the US, and it is an updating of THE FINAL PROBLEM. In it, Steven Moffatt attempts to depict Holmes’ confrontation with Moriarty in modern terms, and in the process completely changes the character of Holmes’ greatest adversary.
In Conan Doyle’s world, Moriarty was a genius the equal of Holmes who had a philosophical difference as to what should be done with intellect. The by-product of Sherlock Holmes’ problem solving was the capture of criminals and/or the preservation of national security. Moriarty solved problems to acquire personal power and wealth. Holmes was detached and ruthless, but sought no personal aggrandizement.
Holmes is supposed to be obsessed with outwitting Moriarty, not the other way round. Moriarty only tries to eliminate Holmes because he knows there is an excellent chance that Holmes will thwart his plans. Moriarty is supposed to be rational, if misguided. This new version of the master criminal seems weak, and a bit insane. That Holmes could out-think him so readily is clear evidence of that.
The chief redeeming feature of the episode is the excellent performance of Katherine Parkinson as Kitty Riley, the infinitely corruptible reporter, which character is a personification of Moriarty’s motive to use his powers for personal gain. With people like that around, why not?