Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mystrade? What the hell, go for it!

I've recently found myself cast as the hater thanks to CBS's Elementary. My friend Bill Mason wonders where my usual support for the fresh and innovative has gone. But I think I've found it again. This afternoon, following some tweets on London's "The Game Is On" event, I discovered "Mystrade" fanfic.

And just started laughing my ass off. I love it. Well, that it exists anyway . . .

Mystrade, if you're a slow-noticer like myself, has nothing to do with E*Trade, though it would be funny as hell for a talking baby to start doing commercials for it. Like "Brangelina" and "Bennifer," "Mystrade" is an abbreviation for a couple in love . . . Mycroft and Lestrade.

My first full-on encounter with slash fiction, as such stuff is called, was back in the eighties, when the good Carter and I headed down to the University of Illinois to hear Gene Roddenberry speak on Star Trek. The good Carter had been corresponding with a fellow Trekkie who lived near the school, and we were invited to the lady's house after Roddenberry's talk. Before the evening was over, we were ushered into a study whose walls were lined with nude artwork of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, both together and separately. Finding art of Mycroft and Lestrade nude and in bed together in the 2010s doesn't require anything more than a couple of mouse clicks.

The genre of Mystrade only started appearing after the BBC Sherlock presented the world with a Mycroft and Lestrade who were passably attractive. (Well, one of them might be more than "passable," but I'll leave that to the ladies, and gents, who are experts  in same.) Imagining the original Victorian Lestrade and Mycroft together is not really something anyone was readily diving into . . . though that might have changed these days -- you never know. Apparently Mycroft can either be the shy virgin of the couple or a predatorish "Stalkercroft" or even a vampire in Mystrade fiction, but he always was a versatile fellow. Lestrade is bisexual and perhaps had something with the younger Holmes as well (but . . .  dare I say it? . . . that's just getting weird!).

So why am I enthusiastically supporting Mystrade fiction while being a hater for the changes in CBS's Elementary? Well, at its heart, Lestrade and Mycroft being in love, strange as it may seem to the classicist, is a positive thing. And the end of the day, they get to have someone special in their lives. However, Sherlock Holmes breaking down and fleeing to America to have a hireling Watson look after him (and freezing up when he hears the name "Irene"?) . . . not so bright and cheery.

Call me a sunshine Sherlockian. I'll take the happy version every time.


  1. First off, I don't see why a "dislike of Elementary" runs contradictory to "being supportive of the fresh and innovative". A strong argument can be made that CBS's Elementary is not fresh and is not innovative; therefore, disliking Elementary in no way runs contrary to being a supporter of the 'new'.

    If someone enjoys watching Elementary because they like the plots and characters, etc. that's one thing - but the notion that Sherlockians must embrace the show and that it is above criticism simply because it's a Holmes-adaptation (or at least contains a character named "Sherlock Holmes") is antithetical to critical thinking and detrimental to the legacy of dedicated Sherlockians.

    Keep up the good work in your ongoing criticism of Elementary.

  2. Whatever one may think of fanfiction - and I personally love the idea of it, though I don't love many of the stories - it is a great indicator of fan-love.

    As such I'm delighted to report that on the AO3 archive there are now more than 21,000 Sherlock Holmes and related fandoms and more than 19,000 Sherlock!BBC works, but only slightly more than 100 Elementary-related ones.

    Moreover the Elementary-fics stay considerably lower in hits, comments and kudos than even the lesser known Sherlock-, Ritchie- and original canon-works - which pleases me immensely! ;-)