Sunday, October 20, 2013

BBC gets it; PBS can jump off Reichenbach.

Get ready for a rant rerun. But it's due.

An amazing teaser preview has been being cheered on social networks this weekend. The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special. What's this got to do with Sherlock Holmes, other than the obvious Moffat connection, you ask? Well, nothing. And that's the problem.

BBC announced weeks ago that the Doctor Who special would be simultaneously broadcast across the globe. BBC America will show it at exactly the same moment that the BBC does in England. That means a true fan can watch it completely fresh, without spoilers coming across Twitter or Facebook, without having to dodge reviews for any period of time until they can see it, basically getting to join their fellow fans across the globe for a moment in Doctor Who joy.

Meanwhile, even though dates have yet to be confirmed, word on the street is that the third season of Sherlock will be broadcast in January on BBC in Britain and in March on PBS in America. Among old school Holmes fans, there is a love of that phrase from Starrett, "And it is always 1895," but with PBS the phrase might go, "Where it is always 1985."

Times have changed. If a network expects people to cough up donation dollars for their service, that service should be on a par with comparable services offered elsewhere. And in the internet age, a three month delay in giving your viewers programming they can soon learn every detail of without leaving their home is not doing the job. If you're sitting at home, reading your newspaper and waiting for a call on your landline phone, this might not be an issue for you or your Amish brethren. But for the modern Sherlock Holmes fan . . .

It's a problem.

If PBS announced a Sherlock season premiere simulcast, they'd be seeing donation dollars from me. Even if they just got it on the same weekend as the UK gets it. But waiting until March might as well be waiting for it to come on Netflix streaming next year, where I won't have to put up with their pledge breaks. (Which, let's face it, are just commercials they save up for a while.)

Hopefully PBS will wise up one of these days or BBC will end their relationship with that seemingly unnecessary network. The Sherlock actors like to talk about doing these roles for many years to come. But if we're in 2033, still putting up with PBS programming delays here in America . . . well, Sherlockians may decide it's time to reverse the American revolution.


  1. Good rant. PBS needs to get with it. Unless somehow they are contractually forced into this delay.

  2. Geeze. I still haven't gotten around to watching season two yet (even if the Great Wilmer does have a cameo). May fit it in sometime in 2015, but am not holding my breath. Hope this doesn't make my life any less fulfilling.

  3. You can not take your ant-American PBS views and shove it.