Saturday, January 22, 2022

The Worst Topic In Sherlockiana

 After a particular scion meeting's after-party last night, I think I've discovered what the worst discussion topic in Sherlockiana is. And I'm not blaming this particular group. Whenever this subject comes up, the conversation quickly turns into a trash fire that just isn't fun for anyone, except maybe those few remaining people. who have never, ever had the opportunity to vent their spleen on it until now.

That topic: BBC Sherlock season four.

Did that cause an immediate reaction? Did words spring to the back of your throat, just ready to come out?

Well, of course they did.

Because even if you weren't a BBC Sherlock fan who felt betrayed, even if you weren't a Jeremy Brett fan who felt any TV show should be more Canonical, even if you weren't a CBS Elementary fan who hated how that show lived in Sherlock's shadow . . . even if you actually enjoyed season four of Sherlock, the sheer amount of abuse that corner of Sherlockian media had taken is apt to trigger a response just from collateral damage.

(Side note: If you're a Sherlockian who is proud of being unaffected by anything, well, that's nice. Pride is an emotional response, too, however, so you might want to keep it to yourself, just to demonstrate how truly unaffected you are.)

We all have opinions on that one thing, except for the group mentioned in the above side note, whom I think might actually have a few members who are lying and actually do have opinions. But the thing that makes that subject different is the wild abandon that comes with expressing those opinions and the assumption that we're all on the same page there.

Let's compare it to the near-universally panned movie Holmes and Watson, which I dearly love. Fans of that show are not numerous, and we have to constantly listen to the "I didn't like it" statements when it comes up. But nobody is grabbing torches and acting like they're going to burn the negatives, trying to come up with explanations why a loving God would allow it to exist, or even being at all unkind to us, the few blessed souls who find it charming and delight-filled.

But then there's BBC Sherlock, season four, whose sins against Canon are actually objectively less egregious that CBS Elementary's full track record. Yet the fact that those three movie length episodes of Cumberbatch and Freeman were well done enough to affect viewers -- the actual quality of their production -- raises a much stronger backlash. And a really negative, bad-time-all-around backlash.

One can discuss Holmes and Watson, even with a Ferrell hater, and not have an entirely bad time. But when it comes to that season four . . . well, just better to keep silent, even if you liked Mrs. Hudson's Aston Martin or the way Eurus Holmes was a Bond villain that might have foreshadowed actual James Bond movie stuff. Because once the pile-on starts, everybody dives on, like playground mobs indulging in [Insert the frowned-upon name of what they called that on your playground here.].

It's the one subject that brings both Cumberbatch fans and Brett fans together with Miller fans, Canon fans, grumpy folks that just need to bitch about something to ease general life frustrations . . . it's a real mob-pleaser. But there are still a few of us out here who want to meekly raise our hand and go, "Um, I liked the part when Sherlock was a pirate on that tugboat?"

I'm starting to think we need to form a special little Sherlockian society for folks who just want to discuss Sherlock season four like it was any other thing we just took as just another season of a show we liked, with better and worse parts. Maybe one day, when the series is discovered anew by another generation who watches it for the first time, as I currently am watching the Ronald Howard series and finding ways to just take it for what it is: Someone's attempt to make the best TV show they could with what they had.

But, then, as you might have seen in yesterday's blog, Peoria already has a few too many Sherlockian societies, so adding a Eurusian club or "the Pirates of Sherriford Isle" to that list might be a bit much.