The View from Sherlock Peoria
Before and After
Watching the fannish frenetics over the Benedict Cumberbatch incarnation of our favorite detective, the word "potential" seems to keep popping to mind.
The BBC "Sherlock" has just finished its "Final Problem," and a third season is on the way. If one considers season one the "Adventures" of this new video Canon, and season two "Memoirs, that means the gods of parallelism demand at least five seasons to match the original five sets of short stories. But no matter how long "Sherlock" runs, at this point we know one thing: Benedict Cumberbatch's modern day Holmes is far from finished.
It's easy to be a fan when there's more to come. The anticipation energizes a fandom. But when a run of a particular Sherlock is over . . . that's when we see who the real Sherlockians are. Now don't get me wrong, I don't want to insult any of the current crop that have been diving headlong into the Sherlock love. There are a number who are looking like the Force flows strong within them.
But until Benedict Cumberbatch has moved on to other non-Sherlock acting projects, leaving just his video residue and butterfly effects, will we know what they're truly made of. There were a lot of great fans of Jeremy Brett who were filling up Sherlockian societies in droves while that series was still running. We got some good ones out of that run, but as a generation of Sherlockians, they were still basically "potentials" as long as the series was on. The Cumberbatch generation will surely work in much the same manner.
Entertainments are coming at us from every direction these days. It's very easy to slide from the next season of "Sherlock" to the next season of "Doctor Who" to the latest book in the latest hot novel series . . . so much so that it's bound to have some effect on a culture that depends upon a certain boredom to drive its fan-works. (Why else would anyone indulge in something like Sherlockian chronology?) Of course, with modern Print-On-Demand abilities, it's hard to tell a fanfic novel by just its cover (or size -- the old eight-and-a-half-by-eleven fanzines were pretty obvious) anyway.
But it's late and this old Sherlockian is starting to meander. Whatever comes next could be something totally new, and it's going to be fun to see.
Your humble correspondent,
Past 2012 Columns