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BBC's Sherlock - and slash fan-fiction

As of starting to write this, there are only two hours to go until A Scandal in Belgravia

The new series of Sherlock is Drama of The Week or Best Drama in the Radio Times, the Sunday Telegraph and the Sunday Times. :D It seems the whole world - well the world of British arts, culture and TV magazines, at least - has gone Sherlock crazy. But then it did get nine million (I wonder if TBB was in some way prophetic, lol) viewers in a country of 62 million people. That's over a seventh of the population - and is, naturally, only TV sets, not individuals, and doesn't count people who, like me, only discovered it in the repeats last summer! (Or those who only discovered it on DVD and those who live overseas etc etc...)

As well as the standard review, there's also an interview with BC and MF - with additional comments from Mark Gatiss (off topic, I  do wonder how he feels about still having "The League of Gentlemen" attached to his name in most magazine articles about him) in the Sunday Times Culture magazine, although unfortunately I think you have to pay to read the online article. 

The Radio Times (for w/c 31 December 2011) especially, has gone overboard, dedicating seven and a half pages to it, with interviews with Stephen Moffat and both Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman ("The Sherlock and John Show") which are IMHO well-worth reading, AND an Alison Graham "Love It!" piece. There's even extended matter and a blog at radiotimes.com/sherlock (which also includes a link to features about the RDJ and Jude Law versions of the characters (and the film) in "Game of Shadows", esteefee)

Fun, fun, fun! :D

I love the RT interview. Knowing things like Martin calls Benedict "Cumberlord" - to his face! - make me happy, not least because if the cast and writers are enjoying themselves they are all the more likely to sign on for a third series. The quoted conversations between BC and MF during the interview also have - to my way of thinking - something of the tone of a Sherlock/John interaction.

(Reviews and articles - therefore mild spoilers, I guess - quoted below)

(The reviews have been a little worrying in their treatment of the Sherlock/Irene dynamic (the Sunday Times describes her as "Sherlock's love interest") and the comment that "it starts with a glorious gag to unhitch the cliffhanger from the last series" makes me think that the post-Pool injuries in the fic I've been working on for two months will probably have to be changed or cut. But that's a small price to pay. I am SO looking forward to this. :D

However, and talking of fan-fiction, the Sunday Times article did give me pause.

I must confess that I read slash fan-fiction - and a lot of that in the last few months has been SHERLOCK slash; and, although my personal take on Sherlck Holmes is that he's probably asexual, that has been exclusively Sherlock/John ("Mystrade" holds no interest for me at all and incest squicks me) - and I read it with no small enjoyment. But... BUT... slash is a guilty pleasure.

When I read an article like this one, where the actors who portray the characters being slashed (who are also undoubtedly the subject of RPF) and the writers talk about what they *put* on the screen compared to what so many fans *see* on the screen, it makes me pause and it makes me think. Gatiss says of Sherlock and John, "It's very much a men's thing - they're just friends. You can't really quantify it. I'm sure that you could never explain it." The Sherlock he and Moffat have created is, "first and foremost, a study of male friendship."

Benedict says - according to the article, with a mixture of good humour and mild exasperation - "Much as Sherlock adores John, and he's fond of him, there's no love, there's nothing sexual - all the jokes aside. The trouble is they fuel the fantasyof the fewinto flames for the many." Martin adds, "If you want to think that they're secretly in love with each other, then you can, but we've never played anything like that." Slash fan-fiction - especially the graphic stuff - seems to bewilder and embarrass both actors (according to the article, the mention cues "much nervous giggling".

When neither actors nor writer want - or intend - a slash subtext to be there - in spite of the fun they have in the scripts with the notion that it's what everyone assumes anyway - I (and this may just be me and my approach, it's not a judgment) do have to think about what exactly I'm doing when I put it in there.

(And OMG, they *read* fan-ficton and look at fan-art? And they talk about slash in a CULTURE mag? I do not want to think about BC and MF poking around sherlockbbc_fic, I don't know about you guys... poking around and probably judging us. Martin thinks we do it *knowing* we have too much time on our hands - and that some of it had better be tongue in cheek "which saves it from being really scary.")

So my next post will be a meta essay on slash fan-fiction - across fandoms. Because, much as I enjoy it, when I really stop to *think* about it, both me liking slash and a lot of the stuff we do in slash fan-fiction is, as Benedict says, "weird".


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 3rd, 2012 09:44 pm (UTC)
Weird for who? We're not writing about the actors (well, most of us aren't), we're writing about the characters. And as they said themselves, the audience will interpret the characters as they choose. Whether or not they feel that's weird or a waste of time or scandalous or hideously embarrassing isn't our problem. If they can't see the fine writing for the nervous giggles, that's fine. We don't actually need the actors' blessings to do what we do. Fanfiction is written by fans for fans, and it's not a waste of time for those who do it because we love it.

And just for a bit of a contrary view, Paul Gross, a very well-known and loved Canadian actor, on slash:

1997 on the addition of Ray Kowalski:

I tell you, slash fiction is going to go crazy when they see the new guy. He is really good-looking and sexy, the dangerous side of Fraser. It will be totally homoerotic.

1998, on slash fandom:

I suppose the character is public ground. If you're willing to bring it into people's houses every week, the [fans] are entitled to certain liberties, wherever their imagination is carried by those characters.

(Here's the web page with references: http://fanlore.org/wiki/Paul_Gross)
Jun. 13th, 2012 11:51 pm (UTC)
Oh, good lord. I've never had any intention of writing anything but gen Sherlock fiction, but the possibility that I ever would just to see if I could or got a plot bunny off a prompt, or just whatever - dropped to absolutely nil.

Guh. OK. I actually posted about this a while ago in my journal when I started out with the Sherlock fandom - http://impulsereader.livejournal.com/3515.html - now, since I wrote all that, I've written fic and I'm not sure I still believe everything I typed into that entry about Sherlock, but my issue with reading slash fic featuring two characters who are clearly not gay on my television screen remains firmly intact.

I do pretty happily read some of the J/S stuff, there are a lot of good writers in the fandom and since it is overwhelmingly J/S it's hard to avoid it. I can also go to a place in my head where they do love each other - just that little bit more to tip it into romance. I also think a fandom's writers really reflect the quality of the show, and Sherlock and its fic writers are of the very highest quality - in general.

Poor Ben & Martin, I can just see their eyes getting big as they read...
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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