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A Faster Sherlock January 30, 2014

Posted by Alex Sawit in Stuff in General.

By Alex Sawit

January 30, 2014




Perhaps I haven’t been looking hard enough but I have yet to find a Cyrano friend who dislikes Sherlock. Indeed, it’s so easy to find Sherlock fans among us that the terms “Cyrano friend” and “Sherlock fan” have now become synonymous.

I’m all for it. You are what you eat and this is our kind of food for thought – this television series that is the most ingenious contemporary-to-the-age adaptation ever produced of the Sherlock Holmes franchise.

Still, it’s precious to see the looks on the faces of fans (it’s the “you just burst my bubble” expression) whenever I tell them that their beloved show also has very stubborn, very vocal haters out there.

“What?” exclaimed a disbelieving Sarah, one of the most ardent fans of the show here at the shop. “Who hates Sherlock? How could anyone with a brain hate Sherlock??”

“I think the ones who are most vocal about their dislike of the show,” I said, amused at how personally Sarah took the news, “are the people who can’t keep up with the mind of this 21st century Sherlock Holmes.”

Sarah is a recent fixture around here due to her affiliation with The Curator in our back room (being the younger sister of Sly aka “the Coffee Nazi”, she lends the baristas a hand from time to time). Talking to her one late afternoon, she was still on a high from watching the explosive finale of Season 3 when our discussion brought up the topic of Sherlock haters, which elicited that sharp reaction from this normally sweet-hearted girl.

“They get left behind by the acceleration in his thinking,” I continued. “They even dislike the show’s trademark visual devices – you know, the instantaneous floating text and other stuff that shows what Sherlock is contemplating in his fast moving thoughts. The haters think this is trying hard to be too cute.”

“But I love that about the show!” responded Sarah. “It’s an amazing way to communicate because there’s so much happening that needs to be understood as fast as possible.”


“…(sniff-sniff)…perfume, not Janine’s…Claire de la Lune!…why do I know it…


I agreed with her and then picked up from where she left off.

“Anyone who understands Sherlock Holmes from the books,” I said, “knows that his mind functions at a superior pace. And that’s the problem. When you’re reading the story from a book, you have all the time in the world to absorb everything that’s happening. But you don’t have that luxury when it’s a movie or television dramatization. In the old days, writers had no choice but to slow the storytelling by using exhaustive dialogues between the actors, otherwise audiences would get lost. In other words, they created a slower Sherlock for slower audiences.”

This is where I sold to Sarah how brilliant the writers of Sherlock are.

“Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss came up with a game-changing solution. If Sherlock’s mind is too fast for everybody else, then instead of slowing him to match the speed of the audience, why not supercharge the audience so it can keep up with Sherlock? It works, all because today’s audience grew up with digital interfaces – we’re comfortable with quick onscreen displays of information. In other words, we’re a faster audience, so why not push the limit and make Sherlock as fast as possible?”

Sarah concurred.

“I totally agree! That’s why for me this Sherlock is so cool. It really makes me feel like that’s how his mind is supposed to work based on the books.”

Yup. Too bad for the haters. They just can’t figure out what to do with our kind of fast food.

“So,” Sarah asked cheerfully, feeling better about having defended her show against those who seek to tear it down. “What do you do when you encounter a Sherlock hater? How do you debate it when he tries to rationalize to you his dislike?”

“Oh, I don’t waste my time,” I replied, which led to both of us laughing at the end of my answer. “I just say to him, “Are you really that slow?” That’s enough to put him in his place.”





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