One of the very few perks of my RL job is that I don’t have to work most Fridays–leaving me to catch up on my shows. My latest Friday binge-watching obsession has been Killing Eve, and if you haven’t yet enjoyed it, you are in for a wild ride full of intrigue, assassins, and conspiracies.
Reinventing Sherlock Holmes: The Transmedia Co-Construction by and for Fan Communities
The adventures of Sherlock Holmes continue to fascinate audiences, regardless of the fact that the author of the original text, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, has been dead for 84 years. Doyle penned a total of 4 novels and 56 short stories containing the beloved Holmes over a period of 40 years, the 8-year long “Great Hiatus” between The Final Problem (1893) and The Hounds of Baskerville (1901) notwithstanding. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the protagonist Sherlock Holmes is “’the most-portrayed movie character’, with more than 70 actors having played the part in at least 200 films” (Fox 1). In the last ten years, there have been numerous movies, books, and television series’ devoted to reinventing Sherlock Holmes, each one aimed at helping audiences find value in the historical character while simultaneously attempting to entice newer, younger consumers to participate in fan communities based on said character. For purposes of this “Transformative Fandom” series, I will take this concept a step further. According to the Archive of Our Own website for transformative fan works, there are currently a total of (I’ve updated this number 4 times in 1 week) 59,761 texts, pictures, videos and podfics uploaded and tagged with the term “Sherlock Holmes”. The characters of Holmes and Watson, as created by Doyle, are in the public domain, which means anyone can use them without permission, the caveat being that works only include the specific qualities of these characters as defined by the author in his texts published before 1923. For writers, artists and filmmakers, this means commercial adaptations can be made (mostly) without fear of copyright infringement, as long as the features of the characters are explicitly early canon or, conversely, unique. The Consulting Detective has enamored readers for over a hundred years, but with only 60 original stories written by Doyle, fans take it upon themselves to explore, in detail, the universe surrounding Sherlock, while others enjoy filling in the blanks of our beloved character’s existence with imagined cases, love interests and encounters that Doyle never anticipated. While neither community is necessarily exclusive or superior, both have specific goals and characteristics that assist in the co-creation of Sherlock Holmes via multiple media sources.
Alright, Whovians, it’s happened. “The Day of the Doctor” has aired, and, boy, it has changed everything. Well, almost. Out of courtesy for those who have not yet watched the episode, I will try to keep the spoilers to a minimum (I’ll leave the spoilers to Collectiva Diva–she’s better at them anyway.)
Armed with jammy dodgers and hot cuppas, the Collectiva Diva and I sat down with some of our Whovian friends to watch the special–which was simulcast world wide (a very special thank to the BBC for making it possible for all Whovians to enjoy it at the same time). I meant to live tweet throughout the special, I really did, but once we heard the “doo we oooooo” I completely forgot anything else and went on another adventure through time and space with the Doctor.
Although the Zygons have been touted as the villains of “The Day of the Doctor,” the true conflict lies within the Doctor himself. In the final episode of series 7, “The Name of the Doctor,” we met the War Doctor, played by John Hurt–the incarnation of the Doctor that the Time Lord keeps secret, even from himself it seems. We saw in short “The Night of the Doctor” how the War Doctor came to exist. The crux of the plot rests on the War Doctor’s shoulders rather than fan-favorites Ten and Eleven. Will the War Doctor use the weapon to destroy the Time War–and therefore Gallifrey–or will he not?
Well, if you’ve seen all the episodes of New Who, you know he is responsible for ending the Time War.