Thursday, June 8, 2017

John Watson's Island, the first six episodes.

Gilligan's Island had ninety-eight episodes. The Sherlock Holmes Canon had sixty, but enough pastiches to easily get it to ninety-eight, if needed. So what if Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherwood Schwartz had traded places in history? What might the first season of John Watson's Island have looked like?

Here's the first part of episode guide:

1. A Study in Mormons. Sherlock and John plan to take a raft downriver to find help. The Professor finds a Book of Mormon in one of the island's caves and warns them there may be throwback Mormon polygamists on a nearby island. Sherlock and John take the raft, but at night while they're asleep, a kindly tugboat captain tows them back to the nearest island -- the one they came from. Hilarity ensues when Sherlock and John think the rest of the castaways are Mormons (and vice versa) and they all try to entrap each other.

2. The No-good Builders. Sherlock and John attempt to build 221B Island Street to protect themselves from yet another rainstorm. During the process, however, Mary and Irene come by and sweet talk John out of tools, Mycroft and Lestrade come by and convince John its his patriotic duty to give them the doors and windows he had readied for 221B so for the erection of an island government HQ. And Moriarty just steals what's left. Sherlock swats John with his deerstalker for the first time. Sherlock then points out the obvious points of failure in everyone else's attempts at shelter and convinces them to combine their efforts before the ominous oncoming storm. They build 221 Island Street, with A, B, C, and D apartments, just in time and ride out the storm merrily in 221B.

3. The Creeping John. Some of the supplies at 221 Baker Street go missing, and the castaways blame the Professor at first. Professor Moriarty claims innocence and starts telling the others that their fate is due to a voodoo curse put on Sherlock and John by the cook from an old case they were talking about. Watson thinks he sees the shadowy culprit the next night and gives chase, only to wind up falling into one of the island's bogs. When he goes to a cleaner pool to bathe after the mishap, a baboon comes out of the forest and steals his clothes. The baboon then tries to steal more supplies dressed as John, and Lestrade thinks voodoo has turned Watson into an ape. There's a lot of stuff with John running around holding leaves in front of his privates and monkey comedy before it's all sorted out.

4. The Bruce-Partington Trip. John hears Sherlock talking in his sleep, talking about specific details of the plans for the Bruce-Partington submersible. When John tells the rest the next morning, Mycroft realizes that Sherlock was the only one on the case who got a look at the key components of the plans and that they are probably stored somewhere in is brain-attic, even though Sherlock swears he can't remember them, and those plans might help them build a craft to escape the island. Each of the castaways either concocts or finds some different narcotic to slip into Sherlock's wine, which sets him off on a mind-trip into a far-off century, full of alternate versions of the castaways. When he returns, he doesn't remember the plans but remembers the fatal flaw in those plans as revealed in that other time, making them worthless as a rescue plan.

5. Black Peter Carey. Black Peter Carey lands on the island, thirsty and hungry, after escaping a murderous attack by his harpooner in a dinghy. After he's been given food and drink, he tells the castaways that he can take two of them down-river with him in the dinghy, and send help for the rest. There's much argument about who should go with him, and Black Peter tells them he's leaving in the morning, with or without them, so they'll have to decide. During the night, Moriarty, Mycroft, and Irene each try to persuade him that they should be on board with their various arguments, but in the morning, another sea captain, Captain Basil, turns up and tells everyone he has a boat with room enough for all of them on the other side of the island. While the others follow Captain Basil, John stays behind and tells Black Peter to start shoving off, he and Sherlock will be going in the boat, and Sherlock will be here shortly, shedding his "Captain Basil" disguise. But as the dinghy hits water, a harpoon goes through Black Peter's chest, and Patrick Cairns turns up on another boat. Cairns tells Watson that he can't take a witness to the murder he just committed back with him, holds Watson off with a second harpoon, and tows Black Peter's dinghy away with him, just as Sherlock runs up with the rest of the castaways in hot pursuit.

6. The Second Abstains. When Mycroft tries to order Lestrade to arrest Moriarty, Lestrade points out that the island actually has no formal government, and they decide it's time to elect a prime minister. Mycroft and Professor Moriarty both vie for the post, and a series of comic vote-bartering and appeals to various castaway's particular needs ensue. In the end, Mycroft and Lestrade vote for Mycroft, Moriarty and Irene vote for Moriarty, and in a surprise turn, Sherlock, Mary, and John all write in votes for John Watson, who becomes the prime minister of the island. Watson's tin dispatch box is burgled in the night, however, and a paper goes missing that could threaten his office if revealed to the rest of the castaways. Moriarty and Mycroft are suspected, but in the end, Sherlock discovers that Mary has taken the paper and hidden it beneath the floorboards of she and Irene's apartment, hoping to get John to resign as prime minister so he doesn't decide his social status is above hers. John says something romantic and she gives him the paper back, but he resigns from being the island's prime minister anyway.

Phew! Only ninety-two more episodes to go!

Can a TV adaptation featuring just our favorite Canonical characters in recurring roles go on for a whole ninety-eight episodes? Well, someone once did it with Gilligan, didn't they, and Holmes and Watson are much better characters . . . at least we always thought so, right? And Elementary, though not quite as popular as Gilligan's Island, has made it to one hundred and twenty. (Though, to be fair, the latter is using a procedural playbook, which is good for distance.)

We shall see.


  1. Does Sherlock call John "Little Buddy"? I hope so!

  2. In one of your past publications I revealed that the Howells were Sherlockians. So 'John Watson's Island' is a natural. (But I also discovered that Holmes and Watson were on 'F Troop' - how far dare we take this?

    1. I'm sticking with Gilligan's Island for this summer! But this could turn into an entire genre all it's own, so we shall see. Given fanfic's limitless nature, it can be taken pretty far. Holmes and Watson in "The Munsters?" Could be!

  3. One Sherlockian connection - Al Lewis 'Grandpa" was in 'They Might Be Giants.'