Saturday, February 15, 2020

Your Sherlockian Fantasy Island

Fantasy Island saw its latest reboot this weekend, as a Blumhouse theatrical release, and despite the horror-leaning look of its preview, it remained true to the original Fantasy Island at its core: You go to the island, you get your fantasy, you learn a lesson, and a short guy named Tattoo shows up. The main premise of Fantasy Island has always been a "Monkey's Paw" sort of "Be careful what you wish for," and as Sherlockians? Well, somebody's always going to wish for Sherlock Holmes.

The one time we got to see a Sherlock fantasy play out on Fantasy Island back in 1982 was a little story called "Save Sherlock Holmes," where a bored security guard had a fantasy to help a great detective, and the island's host, Mr. Roarke, supplied him with an adventure helping Dr. Watson rescue Sherlock Holmes. When it was all over, the island's guest decided he was happy doing department store security work after all.

That guy was definitely no Sherlockian. One adventure with Sherlock Holmes and he goes "Never again!"?  Really? Was this some Tooter Turtle bullcrap propaganda about being satisfied with things as they are? What if a real Sherlockian got sent to Fantasy island? What story would we then see? A lot of different Sherlockians out there, so let's go through a few scenarios.

The Smartest Person in the Room Fantasy. This is the obvious one -- a fantasy to be Sherlock Holmes. Pretty cool until it comes to the point where Fantasy Island has to teach you a lesson, probably about Watson's worth and how it's okay to be just regular smart.

The Baker Street Three-Way Fantasy. Okay, let's get this one out of the way. We know someone out there wants a Cumberbatch-Freeman sex-thruple thing for their fantasy. I expect the lesson there would be in all the mornings-after maintenance and putting up with their living habits, the occasional Mary Morstan appearance, etc.

The Best and Wisest Friend Ever Fantasy. So now that we've gotten the sex fantasy out of the way, how about that room-mate who writes how wonderful you are for a major publication/new channel and gets you both famous. Or the best buddy who drags you along on their exciting adventures, but is competent enough to make sure you're always mostly unscathed. Not sure what lesson Fantasy Island will want to teach you there . . . maybe that you really don't want to be famous, or that exciting adventures get old after a while? Seems like a stretch, but okay, worth it!

The Victorian England Fantasy. Well, if you insist. The smell alone will probably be your lesson learned in that one.

The Greatest Sherlockian in the World Fantasy. For once, one that doesn't have Sherlock and John in it, just you and all your fellow Sherlockians. Except your book is the universally hailed final word on all things Holmes and Watson, you are the Stan Lee of every Sherlock Holmes film, and just having you speak at a Sherlock Holmes event increases attendance by . . . however big the venue is. The lesson you learn? When you're the greatest, nobody else's Sherlockian work entertains you any more. Boooooo.

The Sherlock Kingdom Amusement Park Fantasy. Maybe it's just me, but I've always just wanted at whole Disney theme park done as Sherlock's London. Hansom cabs, rides like "Moriarty's Underground" or "Haunted Baskerville Mansion." Victorian England without the poverty or smells and food service that's seen a health inspector. And rides. "Agra Treasure Boat Chase," "Moriarty's Hired Special," "Reichenbach Bungee," "Devil's Footpath to Madness," "The Solitary Cyclist's Ride" . . . such good rides could come from the Sherlockian Canon. The lesson behind it all? Like Vegas's "Star Trek: The Experience," the attendance probably wouldn't hold up and it would close after a far-too-shot exstence. Sigh.

The Greatest Sherlockian Library Ever Fantasy. I forgot all about this one when I first wrote this, then saw a picture of Charles Prepolec's library on Twitter. The lesson comes when you're seventy years old and have to move all of those books.

But as fic archives like AO3 show us, there are more Sherlock Holmes fantasies out there than one poor over-worked Fantasy Island could deal with, should it decide to start making Sherlockian dreams come true. The above are just the few that popped off the top of my limited head.  If we could send all of our Sherlockian friends to such a place and see the results . . . oh, that would be a fantasy in itself.

As if this hobby itself weren't something of our chosen fantasy . . . .

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