Remember that popular, award-winning TV series called Sherlock? Had episodes played in movie theaters, its own conventions, all that? The biggest thing in Sherlock Holmes culture in decades?
Well, as when a dominant aging lion takes his first stumble, it seems the jackals are always waiting to pounce. With no new episodes in sight and a last season that wasn't well received by its fans, it seems a little like those who never much liked BBC Sherlock are starting to take this opportunity to raise their hater flags and declare they were right all along.
"Come to the dark side, we welcome you here," they seem to croon to the disaffected Sherlock fan. "Watch the Sherlock we've always liked best instead of the one who drew you in and then failed you."
To paraphrase one oft-mentioned sage of Sherlockian Twitter, it wasn't like other favorite Sherlocks didn't struggle with their later installments. Weird hairstyles. Over-padded plots stretched too far. And those were the good ones.
To read some comments of late, one would almost think BBC Sherlock was a failure in every way imaginable.
Yes . . . except that it wasn't.
Those trying to raise their personal flag by stepping atop the supposed corpse of Sherlock might just want to rethink that course. Yes, there were some wounds inflicted. Yes, some fans have gone to the dark side. But the love of Sherlock and its influences upon Sherlockian culture are far from over.
And some of us actually had a such a good time in parts that might have strayed too far from tea-and-doilies for a few. Mrs. Hudson driving an Aston Martin in a police chase? Makes me smile every time I think about it, especially with the contents of that trunk. Pirate Sherlock standing tall atop his seafaring vessel? Moriarty disembarking a helicopter to a Queen tune? That improbably, impossibly mad genius named Eurus? Oh, good, good, and oh, yes, she plays well with we truly mad Sherlockians. If you can't handle the heat, stay off Sherrinford island.
Mmmmmm, so tasty.
See? Sherlock is so good at points that I can't even stay mad at the haters. It's just been so much fun, and you can't have fun and hold on to actual anger. And how can you be mad at someone who is missing one of life's pleasures?
Like everything else of late, if you step back in time and go "Where were all the Rathbone haters?" the answer is simple: They had no internet. Their words were expressed at club meetings and occasional articles to journals that printed sixty copies. And we didn't have legions of YouTube channels of people whose actual career in entertainment is just bagging on stuff. It was hard to get validation when you really didn't like Basil Rathbone or Jeremy Brett. (Picturing a William Gillette hater frantically pecking out Morse code at a telegraph office is something Family Guy would have showed this week, if it was ultra-Sherlockian-savvy.)
Circles of life, and all that. The big lion is getting a bit old . . . but I suspect he still has some bite left in him, and may surprise us at some point down the road.