Anonymous asked: What's wrong with Sherlockology?

Their review of Elementary was eloquent, studied, and ambivalent–being careful to praise a few aspects of the show while still being faintly damning of the overall concept–and thus legitimized the smug opinions held by pissy sherlock stans that the show was going to be terrible.

For God’s sake, they even said that

It’s also rather interesting that in the end, everything required to solve the mystery hinges on the presence of a phone… and we’ll say nothing more about that.

because obviously a ubiquitous technological gadget can only be used in ONE SHOW AND ONE SHOW ALONE.

They also have next to no understanding of ACD canon, which wouldn’t bother me if they didn’t lay claim to such an understanding in the first place.

Likewise, and possibly more glaringly, those changes are in full evidence with Lucy Liu as Joan Watson. Ignoring the obvious gender change, something that has already made purists baulk in horror, the numerous changes to Conan Doyle’s original characterisation render Joan oddly misplaced here. By removing the fact that Watson was a soldier, you remove a huge element of the character’s skill set and usefulness to Holmes – is this person a crack shot with a pistol? Someone you could count on in a fight? Most critically, someone who wouldn’t flinch? A surgeon traumatised by the loss of a patient on the operating table is oddly unconditioned to the violence that Conan Doyle would expose his characters to, as demonstrated by Joan’s shocked reaction and instant exit when Holmes discovers a body at a crime scene in this pilot.

ACD’s choice to write Doctor Watson as a veteran was really just handy as a plot device. His injury and lack of funds–army pension being small and all that–make finding affordable and accessible housing difficult. It’s therefore logical to match him up with Holmes, who is also short of money and friends.

Joan Watson may not be a crack shot, but to say that taking the character out of the military removes the essence of Watson is laughably inaccurate. Watson got as far as Kandahar before getting shot in the shoulder, forcing him to bed for six months–during which his life is at risk when he catches fever–and sent home. That’s it. That’s his brilliant military career. He says it himself on the very first page of A Study in Scarlet

The campaign brought honours and promotion to many, but for me it had nothing but misfortune and disaster.

And in regards to comparing a patient’s death during surgery to a violently murdered woman lying unexpectedly in a hidden room, as Watson herself says in Episode Two of Elementary–While You Were Sleeping–“yeah, because that’s exactly the same thing.”

The review closes with 

Desperation to avoid issues with the modern British version seems to have made many changes necessary, and that willingness to make these rather dramatic amendments could be construed as a betrayal of the characters themselves, making them almost unrecognisable from those that we know so well from the pages of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. 

If Sherlockology wants to play that game, so can I. 

While clearly entertaining and enjoyable, Sherlock ultimately suffers from its decision to use the names of Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved characters rather than simply allowing them to grow as new creations, albeit with the odd homage, in the vein of House MD. 

Mycroft Holmes is neither fat nor harmless, and while he disdains legwork he is clearly ambitious, a far cry from the kindly man who actually got on rather well with his younger brother.

Irene Adler represents another clear departure from canon. Neither a villain nor a woman beaten in A Scandal in Bohemia, in Sherlock Miss Adler finds herself in the unenviable position of being stripped of her dignity and her happy ending. Such a drastic change is surely a betrayal of the character herself. 

As for John Watson and Sherlock Holmes, their mutual abuse–exemplified by Sherlock’s exposure of his flatmate to laboratory testing that would most likely trigger his PTSD without his consent, and by John’s cruel behavior towards Sherlock when the latter is having a meltdown because he cannot reconcile what he saw with what he knows to be true–is certainly uncharacteristic of the two men as envisioned by Arthur Conan Doyle, as is Sherlock’s lavish lifestyle and predilection for watches that cost well over £7,000 pounds as compared with his canonical “homely ways” (A Case of Identity, 1891) and his impolite and often cruel behavior towards others in contrast with ACD’s Holmes treating people “with the easy courtesy for which he was remarkable” (A Case of Identity). 

Anonymous asked: I'm curious, is Gatiss as bad a writer as Moffat?

No, he is not. His episodes of Sherlock and Doctor Who, while they lack the dazzling showmanship that Moffat always works with, are always reliable and feature solid, well-developed plots. 

Compare Hounds with Scandal, for example. There’s nothing in the former that I can’t explain in terms of plot, and while the abuse perpetuated by both Sherlock and John in the episode should have been explored further in terms of how they worked through that abuse–or didn’t, and how that repression affected their relationship, it’s still a quietly powerful episode, and an important one that I think gets forgotten sandwiched between the glittery mess that is Scandal and the nearly brilliant Reichenbach. 

Scandal is visually stunning, and leaves you breathless with excitement and plot twists, but when you look closely it’s all sleight of hand and plotholes the size of canyons.  What the hell happened to the CIA agents lying dead in Irene’s Belgravia flat? How does anyone get that many bodies on a plane without people noticing something? How does Irene fake her death in a manner so brilliant it fools Sherlock? What happens to Irene that leads to her capture by terrorists in Karachi–with swords, and isn’t that lovely–and how does Sherlock get there without Mycroft noticing? How is it at all plausible that Irene, brilliant as we know she is, would fall in love with Sherlock to the extent that she changes her password to his name? And how does her pulse and pupil dilation prove her infatuation? Pulse rate increases, as even a layperson can tell you, with excitement and fear, both perfectly logical responses to Irene’s situation. 

He also wrote The Great Game, which is probably the best episode overall, in my opinion. It’s economically constructed and answers every problem it poses with a solution that emerges from the original variables, unlike Moffat, who’s incredibly fond of pulling resolutions out of his ass  through Deus Ex Machina. 

[cw mentions of drug use, consensual and nonconsensual, ableism]

it seriously rustles my sprinkles that johnlock is embedded in fanon to such a degree that people don’t even hesitate before making/agreeing with declarations like EVEN IF U DONT SHIP THEM U HAVE TO ADMIT THEY’RE SOULMATES

because no, I do not have to admit that. I do not have to admit that because literally nothing about the sherlock/john dynamic–as represented in BBC Sherlock–is explicitly rendered with more significance/transcendent soulmate meaning than any other dynamic.

reminder that there were three gunmen for the three important people in Sherlock’s life

reminder that Sherlock was getting along just fine before John, even got through a period of using drugs before John

reminder that Sherlock intentionally and without apology slipped what he believed were hallucinogenics into John’s coffee

reminder that John repeatedly berates Sherlock for not being “human” enough, and that fandom memorializes his behavior by calling him the “heart” to Sherlock’s “head”

reminder that the person who Sherlock identifies with the most, the person who is literally him, is not John but Moriarty

I hate the term soulmates, but if anyone is soulmates, you ~have to admit it’s sherlock and moriarty~ come on guys

my undergrads had just finished watching a documentary on Argentina’s Dirty War and the thousands of disappearances that occurred througout its duration when one of them commented, with great feeling, “it’s worse than the Holocaust." 

I felt suddenly much too hot. Numbers flew through my mind. Six million, wasn’t that right? Six million in Ha'Shoah? I blinked a bit and tried to think clearly. 

This occurred within the last thirty seconds of class, and the professor (I’m the TA, and I wasn’t leading the discussion at the time) didn’t say anything to affirm or contradict the student. I’m not sure what she said, to be honest, I was having some trouble thinking. 

When I got back to my office I did a quick search and in the top four results

Ah, yes. That old canard. 

And so it was with this in the back of my mind that I read the following sentence in Jasbir Puar's Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times

These entanglements, debatably avoidable to an extent for queers from other traditions such as Judeo-Christian, plague Muslim queers because of the widespread conflation of Muslim with Islamic and Arab: MusIim = Islam = Arab.  

I understand the point Puar is making here–and it’s an excellent one, as regards the homogenization of non-Western identities as constructed through an orientalist gaze–but I really really wish she had avoided collapsing Judaism into Christianity. 

So, let’s think about Judeo-Christianity for a minute.

Keep reading

my response, to any who are curious [cw rape, misogyny, lesbian erasure]

“Watson as WoC not being ex-army honourably invalided-out, but instead being a paid caretaker for the male white hero because she has failed in her profession doesn’t bother you as sexist and racist? Funny, your standards.”

Nice try, but if you’d actually SEEN Elementary you’d know that Watson didn’t get kicked out of her profession. She chose to leave.

And you want to see a woman of color in the army? Where she has an extremely high chance of being raped and most certainly would be harassed and abused? Where she would be part of the most powerful colonialist force in the entire world? Okay.

No. The thing is, many women of color DO have jobs as caretakers and health workers and they do not get benefits and they certainly do not get respect. Holmes–as much of an ass as he is–actually does the right thing and apologizes to Watson, genuinely, when he has hurt her. You can’t get much different from BBC’s Sherlock, who slut shames Sally Donovan, a WoC, by exposing her affair with a married coworker.

And the biggest flaw in your argument? Joan Watson actually has a personality. She’s a three-dimensional character. The menacing Chinese gangsters in TBB, the Karachi Terrorists? Flat, one-dimensional. Cardboard evil. THAT’S racism. Not the complex woman of color who’s just the latest incarnation of one of the most beloved characters of nineteenth-century western literature.

@Suvi Sade

No, I’m honestly not sure we watched the same show. I’m not sure what kind of “strong female character” goggles you’re wearing, but last time I checked IRENE WON in canon. Completely. Unequivocally. Irene, in BBC’s Sherlock, was utterly destroyed, reduced to her emotions (because women are more emotional, amiright?), and, yes, reduced to a stereotypical lesbian trope. Because as much as I agree with you that it is indeed possible to be attracted to/fall in love with/find a connection with someone outside your general group of attractors, to depict this in media is tricky because it becomes the ONLY representation of gay women. That there will always be the right man for them. And the fact that Sherlock read that off her from her pupils dilating and her pulse racing disgusts me. Because there are SO many other reasons for your pulpils to dialate and your pulse to flutter–maybe she was excited by the game! Maybe she was terrified! Anything would have been better than what ultimately came across–poor Irene, too caught up in her love, unable to resist a clever pun. And no, I haven’t seen The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, but I know enough about it to see the similarities and I find it very telling that people are so quick to bash Elementary as a Sherlock rip-off when they have very little in common whereas entire sequences in Sherlock are lifted directly from The Woman in Green and the Granada series.

Realizing that characters are defined not just by what they do, but also by what they don’t do is an important step toward writing consistent characters. Sure you want your characters to grow and change, but don’t want them to be random. Changes should seem to be organic, and writers can strengthen that by making sure they’re not writing out of character.

this is EXACTLY what I mean when I complain about character development in regards to crossovers and AUs

I know that people seem to think that an AU or crossover gives you liscence to just change the character completely, but you should still be going back to their environment, to the things that have happened to them, and ask yourself IS THIS STILL PLAUSIBLE FOR THIS PERSON

I wrote an AU last year where Moriarty was the consulting detective and Sherlock was the consulting criminal. It wasn’t great and there were a lot of things I would change if I were to write it again (I’d take john and moran out, for starters) but I did make sure that each character was still essentially himself. Obviously I had to take into account why they would have chosen these respective career paths instead, but everything else still had to fall into place as normal.

After posting the first chapter of this fic, I noticed that someone had just posted a fic with the same concept (probably not plagirism, and I wouldn’t care anyway, it’s a common enough concept). I checked it out and it was pretty terribly written. Why? Because the author had completely changed sherlock and moriarty to match their new roles. They defeated the purpose of their own AU because it ended up being exactly like the show (well, a more flattened-out, one-dimensional version of the show) only now Moriarty’s name was Sherlock, and Sherlock was called Moriarty. What’s the point of that? (okay, obviously, people will want to have fun and write things because it’s a good time and all that, but if you DO want to be a better writer, you should think about these things.)

Same goes for crossovers. You should be thinking ‘how can I show these characters in a new light without changing their characterization?“

Obviously different things happen in AUs and crossovers that will alter a character’s behavior. But they should still be reacting in-character to these developments if you want your fic to resonate.

Exceptions: Fix-it fics. If your goal is to rewrite a character, obviously this does not apply. For example, a fic that features a more positive portrayal of Irene might not necessarily be in-character.

2spookyowls replied to your post: 2spookyowls replied to your post: captainsherlock…

i havent read that in 4 ever so i dont even remember what she wrote like but man that fic shoulda stopped at a certain point and it just kept gooiiiiiing

 captainsherlock replied to your post2spookyowls replied to your post: captainsherlock…

show absolutely NOTHING HAPPENING for about 10 chapters straight

EXACTLY like even if she’d stopped after they first get together, or even after they first come out, it would have been an okay fic! BUT NO IT HAS TO JUST KEEP ON GOING, driven solely by the motivator of WHO WILL WIN THE OSCAR and wow that’s basically the worst plot device because it literally requires NO CHARACTER GROWTH WHATSOEVER it’s a fucking external development like that’s literally beyond the control of any characters’ action. that’s such a basic mistake (well, Moffat makes it all the fucking time but w/e) and like there’s only so many perfect prostrate-grazing vanilla sex scenes I can read in one fic