Monday, May 23, 2016

The Fury Road of Sherlock fanfic.

Somebody was talking about the movie Mad Max: Fury Road on YouTube, and it made me think about how much I like Sherlock fan fiction. How does that happen, you ask? (Or maybe you don't. Maybe you just go, "Here he goes again . . ." and wait for the madness to flow. In any case . . .)

Well, it's because of the way I like Sherlock fan fiction.

I've read some good stuff, I've read some weak stuff, but in the end, it doesn't matter what I think of it. It doesn't matter, because most of it wasn't written for me. Yes, yes, rarely is anything written for any of us specifically, and we get to sift through it all and pick out our favorites. It seems like that's all we do any more on social media is tell each other "I like this." "I didn't like that." "Don't say you didn't like that, because I liked that." "But I didn't like that, and I get to say so." Et cetera, et cetera.

With Sherlock fan fiction, I find myself in that rare position of having had heard the love of it, the positive impacts it has on lives, all so well explained to me that I'm happy it exists. Even if it isn't necessarily to my taste much of the time. (What can I say, I like love stories with a girl playing a key role, and the best stuff is usually missing that element.)  It's a good thing. We've got some cultural stuff to work out these days, and Sherlock Holmes is helping people make the world a better place, because that's what he does.

Sherlock fan fiction comes from the heart, based on some cinematic art that also came from the heart -- BBC dramas do seem to have a little more art and a little less paint-by-the-numbers-between-the-commercial-breaks to them -- and good things can come from all that heart. And do.

What does all this have to do with Mad Max: Fury Road? Well, as many a fanboy has complained, Max is not really the main character of that movie. Furiosa is. Max is more like Dr. Watson, along for the ride and helping tell the tale, because he knows that Furiosa is the story, just as Sherlock Holmes is the story for Watson.

One of the toughest transitions a person has to go through in life is that part where you realize you're no longer the main character of the story. The generation after you is marrying and raising kids and carrying the main plotline now, and you can be a great character actor in a supporting role now, because you don't have to be the star. Perhaps that is why Watson is so often portrayed as an older gentleman, so it is more natural that he step back and let Sherlock Holmes be the star. (Even though Holmes might not be all that much younger.)

It may be a little hard to step back and let someone else take center stage, especially when you're not entirely sure what it is that they're doing, or why. But you look at where they're taking their inspiration (our mutual friends Sherlock and John) and trust that there's good to come of it.

Just like it has in previous generations.