I've just discovered the new BBC `Sherlock' which puts Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson in a modern setting. I've only actually seen two episodes- the un-aired pilot, called A Study in Pink (A play on Holme's first case, A Study in Scarlet) and the episode The Great Game - but I was impressed. The producers really cared about Sir. Arthur Connan Doyle's amazing consulting detective, and it showed. They remembered that Watson is a young army doctor, discharged after he was wounded in battle -and that he carries his gun into dangerous cases. Also, Sherlock isn't a celebrity until Watson starts writing about him.
It got me thinking about another screen adaption of a series I love: namely The Chronicles of Narnia. The producers could have left the background creatures as just that -background- but they chose, instead, to try and make their mythic creatures as `real' and detailed as possible. I think my favorite moment in the movies is where the father Centaur helps his little girl straiten her sword. The Centaurs are usually so stern and warlike, that seeing a soft family moment gives me the warm fuzzies in a big way.
Love and respect is evident all over BBC's Sherlock and the new Chronicles movies, and that love and respect makes it easy for the audience to love the movies too. In writing, you hear a lot about the importance of getting details right. I guess what it comes down to is respect. If you respect the world you're creating it shines through, and that makes it easy for your audience to care too.