UPDATE: Mini-Episode between series 2 and 3 released by the BBC!
One of two series doing amazing work with online promotion right now is Sherlock. (The other is Psych, seriously if you’re interested in online
promotion pay close attention to these two shows.) I would say I was a Sherlock Holmes fan, except now having been exposed to true Sherlockians (thankfully among them the people behind the show Sherlock) I don’t think I really deserve the title. I previously posted a roundup of some the celebrations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s birthday. I do love the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories and do have a small collection and own my own deerstalker hat and REALLY want to visit 221B Baker Street someday, so I think that should count for something. Perhaps sometime I’ll do a post on why I love the Doyle books, but this post is about the BBC TV series Sherlock and the ways they’ve extended their fictional world online to where you can access it. It now ranks 4th on my best ever adaption of books into movies/TV shows list. If you haven’t yet, before you watch this, read the books, you’ll enjoy it a lot more. First I should mention that this is Sherlock set in modern times. Normally that is a clear sign of the writers/producers having no real understanding of the material (hey, he’s famous, let’s have Sherlock Holmes fight Nazis!), but for once that is not the case. It’s almost uncanny the way they fit things right in from the canon into the modern world, sometimes a direct movement, sometimes with a slight twist, but always so you get the reference, it constantly ties back. Second,I have to say that for once someone gets John Watson. Quite often depicted a curmudgeon of a character with a walrus mustache and tendency to tut-tut, this Watson knows that he saw action in the army and can handle himself nicely thank you very much. He can’t settle down into ordinary life and is compelled to continue to fight the good fight, this time against crime, that helps explain why he is drawn into Sherlock’s world. I have to say this is the best, most accurate version of Watson I’ve ever seen in any film or radio version. Mycroft also gets points. He’s far too active to be the Mycroft of the books, but he does definitely fit Holmes’s comment that he IS the British government. Normally adaptions make Mycroft a Holmes lite at best or a cipher at worst. This Mycroft isn’t near the perfect match Watson is, but he’s much better than normal.
The Sherlock team as created a series of blogs, videos, and Twitterfeeds that bridge the fictional world of the show and real life. Find the full list here:
Learn more about the series on the official PBS Sherlock website:
On the show Sherlock has a website called “The Science of Deduction” (which sounds extremely interesting). The real life version just has a forum (where hints of things from the show are thrown in and characters interact), cases (most of which you sadly can’t get access), and three hidden messages from an unnamed source (obviously Moriarty), but sadly not a lot on “The Science of Deduction.” If you want to try your hand at code breaking they show you the first two puzzles without the answer (you can click for solution if you want). The solution from the final one shows up on Molly’s blog from Jim. Glad to see references to the publications Sherlock actually talks about in the books, but as I’ve always wanted to read them very disappointed they’re “deleted.”
This is a case history you can access (is it murder if you only set it up so someone will likely accidentally die?):
In the original Sherlock Holmes stories Sherlock’s partner Dr. John Watson wrote up and published his adventures in Strand Magazine (just like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did in real life). In this updated version he keeps a blog. The blog follows along with the story as told on screen (without the ability to comment or share so not very blog like) and even includes some extra short stories that are just mentioned as case names or a throw away comment on screen. The comments that are there are all from characters on the show. Watch for updates now Season 3 is coming out. Watch it on PBS in the United States starting January 19th, 2014.
Molly’s blog, looks like a blog Molly MIGHT have, except I think she’s really smarter than this. Having a mad crush on someone who is smart and doesn’t like you back makes you neither a lunatic nor an idiot. Still it’s pretty and there are cat pictures. Actually the more I think of this, the less I think it is like something Molly would have written. Molly IS smart and to have her put up something that looks so 12 year oldish is pretty darn insulting. Just because you are girl doesn’t mean your blog is pink. It doesn’t mean it CAN’T be pink, but the more I think of it, the more sciencey I think her’s would be even as a personal journal. Molly is a science geek and by giving her this blog I think the creators are treating her with same callous lack of respect Sherlock does. Watch this as an antidote. This is much more what Molly would be likely to do, in fact I think she even looks a little like Molly.
The main point of Molly’s blog is the post where “Jim” introduces himself to Molly through the comments, the rest is window dressing, except for the solution to Hidden Message Number 3.
The videos on John’s blog won’t let you in directly but I did find them on YouTube and will link them here.
Video from John’s First Blog – Fan Video by Fictional Number 1 Fan
Moriarty’s Hacked In Video from Blog
Fake News Report About Sherlock’s Death
P.S. The only other Sherlock out of time version that I can honestly recommend is the much lighter and less canon The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1987). It still gets the characters just about right, clearly they know their man, even if he is a less serious version than normal. It’s full of Sherlockian deductions and in jokes (even one about London Bridge in Lake Havasu, Arizona). Sadly not readily available and even more sadly not picked up as the pilot it was clearly intended to be, watch it if you can find it.
Read about it here:
UPDATE: I just found this blog pointing out some of the book references in Sherlock.
Sarah S. Uthoff is main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+,LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently acting President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.