It's one in the morning, and I'm watching the new season of House of Cards while fiddling around on the computer. Why? Because I can. And because there's no stopping place in this story.
We've had a lot of different dramatic incarnations of Sherlock Holmes at this point. He's moved into the modern day. He's had that British TV invention, the Christmas episode. He's had big screen blockbusters and small screen couch potato fodder. He's had silent movies and YouTube videos and cartoons in space and B movies with robots. But what hasn't Sherlock Holmes had yet?
A binge-watch TV show.
Now, a fan of BBC's Sherlock or CBS's Elementary might say, no, you can sit down with a DVD set or Netflix and watch season after season of their favorite show. And technically, you can. But are large numbers of viewers going to roll through every single episode as the one show they watch the very minute those seasons come out? Was either of those shows built to be watched as one on-going story arc that flows seamlessly from one episode to the next?
Not really. We haven't had our true binge-watch Sherlock yet.
Can you imagine a twelve-hour Sherlock Holmes series that none of us could see until we all suddenly had it dropped in our laps?
How many Sherlockians would forego sleep the moment it became available, be it midnight or six AM, to plow through a twelve hour series?
And what manner of tale would give Sherlock Holmes a mystery worth taking twelve hours to unravel without diminishing his charm or level of skill?
Not a straight adaptation of the longest of the original tales. Not the oft-told, but never quite satisfying, Holmes-versus-Jack-the-Ripper business. Not even Holmes actually solving that silly Dracula business in his no-ghosts-need-apply world. Twelve hours is a long bit of story-time to fill.
Maybe one of those options would work, in the hands of a skilled writer and show-runner. Or maybe we'd see something completely new. Who knows?
But one of the great things about seeing these new ways we're consuming video drama these days is that there's a good chance we'll one day see Sherlock Holmes in whatever newly developed form comes next, including the binge-watchable show.
And that will always be something great to look forward to.