Thursday, April 5, 2018

Tribes of Sherlock?

We hear a lot about tribalism of late, as some political factions appear to have taken on the blind devotion of football fans who back their local team despite its current performance. Instead of taking things one issue at a time, some folks just lazily follow the team colors, making just one ridiculously large choice than many a smaller one.

But the downside of viewing everything through a tribalism lens is that if you're not in column "A," then you must be in column "B." I've never felt Sherlockiana as a very tribal community, even when I've disagreed with certain practices of certain management factions within the hobby. The Sherlock Holmes Society of London and the Baker Street Irregulars of New York don't look at each other as rivals. Chicago's multiple scion societies don't have turf wars for regional supremacy. Every part of Sherlockiana is generally looked upon as just more riches for all of us.

Except, apparently, when you don't like someone else's TV show.

Elementary is about to start up again this month, and its star, Jonny Lee Miller, is saying it's going to be their best season ever. And I really hope he's right. Really. Because, in my personal point of view, the show has suffered from some weak stories in the past, especially when compared to the source material or the current level of writing on the wide spectrum of television across the cable channels and streaming services out there.

In the eyes of a few, however, the last part of that paragraph means I surely must be a dedicated member of Team BBC Sherlock, and am criticizing Elementary for no other reason. Rather than making a proud declaration of a love for Elementary and singing its praises, a straw battle between an imagined Team Sherlock and Team Elementary is built, and the volleys against the wicked foe begin.

We don't do this with movies, as there have been far too many to play the "either this or that" game.

You can enjoy Downey without having to enjoy Hagman. Hating Rupert Everett does not mean you love Edward Woodward, or vice versa. You can feel that Matt Frewer doesn't live up to your ideal Sherlock yet still have an unexplained fetish for his movies. I feel like people made a half-hearted attempt to do Rathbone versus Brett at one point, but nobody wanted to go too hard down that road when someone inevitably brought up Cushing, Richardson, Baker, Plummer, Moore, etc., etc.

This year, maybe things will be different in TV viewer land. Sherlock grows smaller in the rear-view mirror, and Elementary gets a full summer season to prove its worth. Younger brother syndrome can be hard to shake, though, even when the sibling has left the house and moved away, but if it's going to happen, this is the season for it.

So let's see what happens. I know that with older brother out of the house, I'm going to be paying a bit more attention to the remaining video offspring without thinking of . . . who was that, again?

But just in case anyone needs it, I have definitely raised my flag for Team Sherlock Gnomes, for no other reason than, well, someone had to. Feel free to fling the tomatoes.


  1. A scion war would be interesting... to watch... from far away.

  2. Gave up watching 'Elementary' long ago. As to BBC Sherlock - liked the early ones - not so much the later. There still is S. Gnomes, but am waiting for the crowds of kids to thin out. (And for $5 Tuesday with free popcorn!)

  3. I am team Ronald Howard Holmes! (waves flag)