Sometimes, a person needs a project to relax one's mind when the workaday world gets a bit too demanding. When you get home at night, you need a quick vacation . . . but how far can you get away in just an evening? Well, there's always Baker Street, eighteen-eighty-something. At least to an old-school Sherlockian like myself. It's always been something of a playground for me.
In fandom, where one works for squee (even if it's one's own squee), you can get as insanely creative as you want. You can take whatever harebrained whimsy suits your fancy and run with it. Sometimes it turns into something enjoyed by others, sometimes it's just one of those completely private jokes that only makes you laugh. And there's nothing more relaxing than that.
But even a playground sometimes needs a roadmap. I may be mixing metaphors, but here's the non-metaphoric version: After three seasons, I think I've hit my limit of dragging my butt in front of the TV every Thursday night for a certain show that this blog has tracked, with a somewhat negative reaction. Said television series came full circle this spring, coming to a nice jumping-off point for those waiting for the ride to end. It is what it is, and at this point, nobody needs my confirmation of their own particular bias in that area.
Yet something needs to fill that Thursday night blog space here a Sherlock Peoria. I was getting twenty-four blogs a year out of that thing. If I'm jumping off that mugging merry-go-round, I could really use another network television show to write about every Thursday night . . . and one with a character named "Sherlock Holmes."
Except, barring a miracle, there isn't going to be one.
And then I realized something. We're all busy people. And sometimes, in this hectic day and age, we don't always get time to keep up with ongoing television shows. And with the eager internet so willing to fulfill our every lack of knowledge, the TV recap was born. The day after most shows air, you can find a play-by-play description of last night's episode. So what if we just skipped the expensive part where you make a TV show and just went right to the recap?
A recap of episodes of a Sherlock Holmes television show that doesn't exist.
So, yeah, I suppose you could say it's just another way to write fanfic. But there's an interesting thing about the twenty-four episode season that American television seasons like so much. Twenty-four is also the number of stories in the first two story-cycles of the Holmes Canon, Adventures and Memoirs. Arthur Conan Doyle already wrote a season worth of television, which makes it all the more shameful that some American TV producers haven't mined that vein.
And a fun opportunity to see what Sherlock Holmes might look like, if the first twenty-four cases got turned into a season of hour-long dramas. But we have enough recaps of those first twenty-four tales, so recapping a direct adaptation would be so boring. So where do I go from here?
West. "West of Baker Street," the new name of this TV series from a universe that's not our own.
The thought that Conan Doyle was adapting the adventures of a real Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson who somehow escaped public notice has been floating around for a long time, but what if the adventures he adapted into those first twenty-four tales weren't those of Sherlock Holmes and John H. Watson, but Sherlock Holmes and John H. Holliday? What would those original twenty-four adventures really have been like?
"West of Baker Street." That's the name of the game I'll be playing this fall, starting with a September season premiere recap. But who knows, a recap of the leaked pilot may be out even sooner. Watch this space.