- If you're looking for CBS's Elementary, you'll have to wait until we actually find badfic. Ironic Overpower, we're watching you...
- I'm not a psychopath; I'm a high-functioning sociopath. Do your research.
- —Sherlock Holmes, "A Study in Pink"
Sherlock (or, to distinguish from other adaptions, BBC Sherlock, Beeblock, BBClock, BBC!verse) is the BBC's modern adaptation of everyone (except for his creator)'s favourite fictional consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes. It is written by Steven Moffat (of Doctor Who fame), Mark Gatiss (also involved with Who), and Steve Thompson, and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the eponymous detective and Martin Freeman as his trusty
Boswell blogger Watson.
- 1 In Canon
- 2 In Fanfiction
- 3 Sherlock and the PPC
- 4 Missions in this Continuum
- 5 References
Sherlock has three series so far, with a fourth slated to start filming in early 2016. As a modern retelling of Holmesian canon, Sherlock upgrades Holmes and Watson and co to the 21st century with websites (The Science of Deduction and the Personal Blog of John H. Watson), mobiles, and
homoerotic subtext everyone thinking that Sherlock and John are gay (seriously; it's a running gag).
Holmes is now a self-proclaimed 'high-functioning sociopath' who is 'married to his work'. Scotland Yard's officers distrust him, outright hate him, or merely tolerate him, partly due to his past with drugs and partly due to his acerbic tongue. Conversely, Watson is an adrenaline-junkie veteran from the current War in Afghanistan who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as well as a longing for the dangers of war. These two men meet through Mike Stamford, move into 221B Baker Street, and the rest is history.
The series are three episodes long, but each episode is around 90 minutes long. The entire show has won numerous awards, is highly acclaimed, and was recently nominated for thirteen Emmys (to add onto the four for the first series).
The first series is loosely based on the original stories, only lifting references here and there to enhance a (more or less) original plot. John's blog also details other cases solved off-screen, which are adaptations of other well-known Holmes stories.
- "A Study in Pink" (ASiP/PINK) is obviously based off A Study in Scarlet, with a couple tweaks: RACHE now stands for 'Rachel' instead of German for 'revenge', and the killer doesn't kill for a dead love interest. Sly references are dropped throughout the episode (get used to it; the writers love dropping sly references) to other cases, and Watson has both a shoulder injury and a leg 'injury'.
- "The Blind Banker" (TBB/BLIN) is partially lifted from The Sign of Four with its focus on ciphers and treasure, but it does have its differences (the lack of a Mary Morstan figure, although there is the introduction of a temporary love interest for John). Another thing viewers may notice is that the music differs greatly between episodes. Get used to that, too.
- "The Great Game" (TGG/GAME) has "The Adventures of the Bruce-Partington Plans" as one case, but it also involves many, many other cases ("The Five Orange Pips" comes first to mind). The title of the episode pulls off the idea of a "Great Game" that many Holmesians play regarding whether or not Holmes actually existed in real life. This particular game, though, culminates in the revelation of a very infamous nemesis of Holmes's: James Moriarty. It also ends with a huge cliffhanger, which Moffat intends to make into some sort of Sherlock tradition (cliffhanger ending, and a long hiatus until the next series).
The second series are (more or less) direct adaptions of the three most famous cases of the original stories. They are, according to the writers, designed to bring Sherlock into contact with three things: love, fear, and death. The writers view this as the key series to Sherlock's character development, thus couching Sherlock as 'Sherlock Holmes if the two had met earlier on in life'.
- "A Scandal in Belgravia" (ASiB/BELG) is an adaption of "A Scandal in Bohemia" as well as The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. The confrontation at the end of the first series is resolved, Irene Adler makes an unforgettable appearance, and Sherlock Holmes appears at Buck Palace buck naked (okay, fine, in just a sheet). There had been fear prior to the airing of the series that Irene Adler would be reduced to only a Love Interest, but on the whole the episode reduced that fear. The extent to which said fear has been reduced to, though, is highly debatable.
- "The Hounds of Baskerville" (THB/BASK) is an adaption of the most famous case of Holmes's: The Hound of the Baskervilles. This time, Baskerville is a military base, and the Hound is a government conspiracy (or is it?). Also, in BASK Holmes and Watson go to Dartmoor together, which is starkly different from Watson starting out to Dartmoor without Holmes in the original. This is amended, though, through Holmes having a breakdown over his mental state after supposedly seeing the legendary hound.
- "The Reichenbach Fall" (TRF/FALL) is an adaption of "The Final Problem". Except in this case, the fall is more than physical - it is also a fall from grace in the eyes of society, because Moriarty in FALL tries to discredit Holmes and therefore drive him to suicide. Spoiler: Holmes fakes it. Non-spoiler: We don't know how, and the fandom has compiled a huge index of Reichenbach Theories here. FALL is also the reason why there are random posters strewn about the world proclaiming "I Believe in Sherlock Holmes" and "Moriarty is Real".
This article contains one or more spoilers. This is a potentially bad thing. Be careful reading on if you are not well-versed in the continuum or not caught up!
The third series was commissioned around the same time as the second, and the keywords to describe them are: rat, wedding, and bow. Currently the setup seems to be two lighthearted episodes and one considerably more grimdark episode, and shows quite prominently a changed and humanised Sherlock Holmes. This series also introduces Amanda Abbington as Mary Morstan, Watson's canonical wife in ACD. Abbington also happens to be Freeman's partner off-screen. So far the already-aired episodes are only loose adaptations of their original stories.
This series introduces a new nemesis for Sherlock to face: Charles Agustus Magnussen. He is, obviously, the modern version of Charles Augustus Milverton.
- "The Empty Hearse" (TEH/HERS) is inspired by "The Empty House". It involves Sherlock reuniting with John, Mrs Hudson, Molly, and Lestrade while uncovering an underground terrorist organisation threatening Parliament at Mycroft's behest. Humour abounds, from the sly references to the fandom via Anderson's theory group The Empty Hearse (showcasing the theories that the fandom came up with as to how Sherlock faked his death at the end of FALL) to John's reaction to Sherlock being alive (and how Sherlock revealed it). Three of these theories show up in-episode, none are officially touted to be The Definite Answer, and there is a significant amount of fanservice for many of the ships on the show (but especially for those who ship Molly Hooper/Sherlock and Moriarty/Sherlock). Also quite evident in this episode is the extent to which Sherlock has changed (he is significantly more human in this than ever before), and elements of his childhood with Mycroft are revealed.
- "The Sign of Three" (TSo3/TSoT/SIN3) is vaguely inspired by The Sign of Four in that Mary and John get married and Sholto makes an appearance, but most of the mystery elements of The Sign of Four appear in unrelated cases on John's blog. This episode continues the previous episode's trend of humorous and light incidents, ranging from a hilarious (and arguably OOC) stag night to certain bits and pieces of Sherlock's best man duties for John's wedding. In terms of Johnlock, this episode clearly establishes that John and Sherlock do in fact care heavily about each other; Sherlock says that John has saved his life numerous times and John says that Sherlock is one of the two people he loves best in this world. The episode also delves into the mind palace, showing a mental courtroom where Sherlock solves the episode's mystery of 'the Mayfly Man'.
- "His Last Vow" (HLV/LVOW) is inspired partly by "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton" with elements taken from "The Empty House". It reveals Mary's true background and properly introduces the character Charles Augustus Magnussen (who is played by Lars Mikkelsen, relation of Mads who plays the titular character in NBC's Hannibal. Expect many crossovers), a gentleman blackmailer with an extensive amount of information on everyone in the world stored in the vaults of Appledore. This episode shows the extent to which Sherlock's character has developed as well as extensive insight into his Mind Palace and childhood (Moffat's son plays young Sherlock in the episode), though there are some callbacks to his cold persona when he is on the Magnussen case and requiring access to the man's private quarters.
Fanfiction in the Sherlock fandom tends to run more towards the goodfic variety, possibly due to the high intellectual standards of the show. In that same vein, then, a lot of badfics for the fandom come from a basic misunderstanding of the premise of the show. Commonly, badfics tend to:
- Cheapen or remove altogether the strong connection/friendship/romance/bromance/soulmate thing/what-have-you between Holmes and Watson.
- Present someone smarter than Holmes who isn't canonically supported to be smarter than Holmes
- Completely screw over Holmes's characterisation, creating Stulock Holmes. More on Stulock later.
Slash: This Fandom is Made of It
The running gag of Holmes and Watson being mistaken for a gay couple and the flagrant chemistry between Cumberbatch and Freeman (a chemistry that will probably make things extremely awkward in the film adaptation of The Hobbit) has led, of course, to oodles and oodles of "Johnlock" slash. And of course, where there's slash, there will be bad slash. There are other ships, of course; two also-prominent ships in the fandom are "Mystrade" (Mycroft/Lestrade, despite the two having never appeared on-screen together... yet) and "MorMor" (Moriarty/Moran, despite Moran not even existing in-universe yet, although there is speculation over him being one of the assassins in FALL).
Bad slash in the Sherlock fandom usually involves woobification and someone (generally Mycroft) being turned into a Token Homophobic Jerk (unless the fic in question is Holmescest, and let's not go there). However, there isn't a trend in the Johnlock shippers regarding who gets woobified more, because the sexual dynamics between the two are surprisingly equal (for a super-smart possibly asexual virgin and a more experienced but straight bloke, that is). Canon teases the viewers on the sexual orientations of both Holmes and Watson, because while Watson may reiterate that he's not gay numerous times throughout the show, there are implications thrown out by others (notably Irene Adler) that he could be straight and still be romantically attracted to Sherlock. And as for Sherlock, even the writers and actors can't come to a consensus on his orientation. All in all, there is a lot of potential for good slash, and there actually is a lot of good slash out there (especially for Johnlock; they have piles and piles of fic recs floating around Tumblr). Sherlock fanfiction runs the gamut from tearjerker "Alone on the Water" to crack-but-also-fluff fic "What to do When Your Flatmate is Homicidal," and is probably starting to catch up to Harry Potter as the Rule 34 of Crossovers.
Everything's Better With Consulting Detectives
So in that case, Sherlock has also played host to crossovers and fusion!AUs of varying degrees of quality. It's probably because their actors are so well-connected to other fandoms (Star Trek, The Hobbit, Doctor Who). In fact, it's an open secret that if Steven Moffat had a blank cheque, he would make Wholock canon. The fact that the actor who plays Lestrade recently guest-starred on Doctor Who merely supports that.
From Clients to Love Interests: Original Characters and BBC Holmes
Ah, yes, here we are at a huge issue in the Sherlock fandom. Just like in other Holmesian adaptations there will be original characters who run the gamut from clients to suspects to killers to love interests. And, as evidenced by pathologist Molly Hooper in the canon, Holmes is very attractive in this 'verse.
One huge difference between this continuum and its sister continua is the time period. There aren't any girls who 'fall through time', and therefore no girls who bring anachronisms into the canon. But what the Sues of Sherlock lack in time shenanigans they make up for in... other ways.
Commonly Sues in Sherlock present themselves as Watson's niece (which, if they're in their late teens, insinuates that John's lesbian sister Harriet was a teenaged mother) or Sherlock's sister. Of course, not all of them do; there's also the trend of making them the 'new tenant at 221C'. Obviously, a majority of them want to get into Sherlock's pants . However, one common thread between the Sues that go after the protagonists of the show exists: Sherlock Holmes is tampered with.
Sherlock Holmes isn't an easy character to pinpoint even in the original stories, where he's considerably more polite. In the modern series, he is ten times snarkier, ten times more heartless, ten times more likely to say that 'caring is not an advantage' (although Mycroft said that). Tampering with his personality is like triggering the badfic alarm, and it doesn't take much for Sherlock Holmes to become Stulock Holmes.
When he is character replaced, BBC Holmes becomes extremely aware of his situation and of the PPC. He has been known to recognise agents who work in his 'verse. This can be easily fixed by Bleeprin and neuralyzation, but that is only a temporary fix until the next replacement.
Sherlock and the PPC
The OFU for the Sherlock fandom is the Baker Street Fanfiction Academy, Modern London Campus, or Modern Baker Street Fanfiction Academy for short. It is written by Lily Winterwood. Minis in the BBC!verse are, like for all 'verses of Sherlock Holmes, mini-Hounds of the Baskervilles. The most well-known mini of the BBC!verse is Jawn, who is notoriously not-mini because so many people purposefully use this misspelling. (In close second are Shurlawk and Sherlawk.)
Agents Native to Sherlock
Other Strange Things
- The Sue Report for the Sherlock continuum is consultingsueslayer, which is exactly what it says on the tin: it exists in an alternate universe similar to that of the PPC's where Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are consulting Sue Slayers in a world where Mary Sues are criminals guilty of character replacements and other crimes against canon.
- FanficWorld has recently seen a PPC Sherlock AU where the BBC versions of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are DMS agents.
Missions in this Continuum
All reports are listed alphabetically by agent name, in the case of agents with multiple missions, or by mission name.
Agents Specialised in this Continuum
Agents are considered specialised in a continuum when they have handled at least three missions in the canon. Most of these agents are also active/specialised in other continua. It is often not the agents who decide where their specialty lies, but the Flowers that keep assigning missions to them.
- Agents Eledhwen Elerossiel and Christianne Shieh (DMS)
- 'Last Smoke Before the Snow Storm'
- 'Beauty in the Eyes of the Detective'
- Sue: Alexis Gilmore
- 'The Other Watson'
- 'The Strange Life of Isabella Holmes' (alternative link) (crossover with Twilight), with Agents Mittens and the Radioactive Moss Creature (DF)
- 'The Missing Tales of Winnie Breccan'
- "The case of the family jewels," Part One, Part Two
Agents Not Yet Specialised in this Continuum
Agents with fewer than three missions in this continuum are not specialised, yet. They probably soon will be.
- consultingsueslayer at this moment has reported only one Moriarty-targeting Sue, one Lestrade-targeting Sue, one John-targeting Sue, and nine Sherlock-targeting Sues, and it's not at the bottom of the barrel just yet.
- "Beauty in the Eyes of the Detective," a mission by Lily Winterwood, first establishes Sherlock recognising Agent Eledhwen Elerossiel and helping her and her partner dispose of the Sue.
- "The Other Watson," a mission by Lily Winterwood, cements the recognising factors of Stulock Holmes and the effect his presence has on Sherlock.