I remember that, in the run up to the broadcast of series one (and during), what might be termed "old school" Sherlockians queued up to offer opinions on how they thought a re-imagining of the stories would (should?) go. I was among them and made comments about how I hoped Holmes's drug use would be covered.
|What I hoped for|
Following broadcast I remarked that I felt that the writers had ducked the issue. I was rewarded for this remark by many people telling me that I was stupid to expect such drug use to be portrayed and how I, and others of like mind, had to accept that the show could not pander to the wishes of a minority who favoured Canon fidelity. We were collectively reminded that the show had to appeal to a broad audience. These comments tended to come from people who were very much fans of the idea of a modernised Sherlock and who felt the Victorian version had been done almost to death.
|What we all got|
With hindsight I can see that these comments, whilst not always very politely delivered, were quite correct. A show can only survive, whether we like it or not, if it pulls in the money and the viewing figures. To do this, liberties sometimes have to be taken and the likes and dislikes of today's society, as a whole, need to be pandered to (at least up to a point).
It is therefore amusing that it is from these chastising ranks that many demands are being made about the direction that Sherlock should now take. This same basic observation has also been made by Mark Lawson of The Guardian here.
To these people I say that you should heed your own advice. Remember the words you aimed at the old school and do two things - firstly, be more understanding about where they were coming from with their hopes for the re-imagining - they have passion for Sherlock Holmes just like you and their desires are no less valid than yours. Secondly, remember that the show needs to appeal widely and not just to the more vocal members of social media. If the show starts aiming to please the hard core fans it will die and who really wants that? Let the writers do what they want (trust them) and if you really need "Johnlock" or other spins on the Sherlock universe you have a large, and ever increasing, body of fan fiction you can turn to.
The answer, I feel, to the opening question of this post is "no" but I fear that some out there would dearly like to have that level of influence and simply cannot see that if they did have it they would end up being the architects of the show's demise in much the same way that we old-school Sherlockians would have been if we'd had our way before series one had even aired.
Written by Alistair DuncanBuy my books here