There are some things in the Sherlockian universe that I've never been a fan of.
Well, perhaps "never" too strong a word, being the absolute, so let's go with "rarely."
And very rarely at that, in the case of one particular topic: mysteries starring characters from Sherlock Holmes's world other than Sherlock Holmes.
I mean, seriously, it's a bit like a hamburger without the hamburger, isn't it? We read Sherlock Holmes stories because we love Sherlock Holmes, not because Billy the page boy just might appear in the story. And yet, for many, many decades, writers have tried to skirt the challenge of writing Sherlock Holmes or tried to find their own special niche market by focussing on minor characters.
So when Howard Ostrom posted the latest link to a Ross K. Foad production on YouTube on the WelcomeHolmes list and the title was "The Mary Morstan Mysteries 'Rings of Change' Part 1/2," I was not jamming my finger on the mouse with excitement trying to click the link. But its a dull Sunday morning, and Mary Morstan has gotten a lot more interesting since the latest run of Sherlock, so I thought I'd give it a shot.
The result? Well, here is my current ranking for current English-speaking Holmes video:
1. BBC Sherlock.
2. "The Mary Morstan Mysteries."
3. "The Diogenes Documentaries"
4-99. A bunch of other things on YouTube.
100. CBS Elementary.
When I first ran across Ross K. Foad's productions "No Place Like Holmes" back in 2010, I have to admit that, while being delighted to see the enthusiasm behind creating such the series and going "Oh, that's cute," I wasn't really seeing the series as a major development in Sherlockian fanworks. (What can I say? I'm old school and slow to adapt to new ideas . . . though like the Flash compared to the glacial pace of some others.) The latest Mary Morstan Mystery, however, shows an ever-growing talent and level of skill, as well as a great love of the Sherlockian Canon, and I will definitely be following all of the good Mr. Foad's productions from here on out.
It may have even changed my bias against Sherlock Holmes stories without a character named "Sherlock Holmes." After all, in its mere nine minutes of running time, the first part of "The Mary Morstan Mysteries: 'Rings of Change'" showed more Sherlock Holmes goodness than an entire season of CBS's Elementary. Which is really quite a shame, when one considers the comparative resources of the two production companies involved.
Sherlockiana will always have it's lovely little surprises, and this latest Mary Morstan Mystery is certainly one of them.