Talk:Sherlock (TV series)

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Moved the stub version of the criticism section here:
Quick notes: ableism (Watson), sexism (lady detective and her treatment by the show/Holmes), race, class, homophobia (Holmes/Watson brought up in canon only to be dismissed as a joke) --,,
Most of the links are already integrated into the main text but maybe there is something that still needs to be added.--Doro 12:04, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

I removed the note about John forgetting he had PTSD since the point of the episode seemed to be that he doesn't have it; he joins up with Sherlock because Sherlock's life is more exciting than his own, and Mycroft also points out that he's actually depressed because he misses the war, rather than being traumatized by it. However, links to meta discussion on the subject would not go amiss.--æthel 15:07, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

I actually read that episode as John forgetting he had PTSD because it seemed that he was 'cured' by running around with Sherlock -- all he needed was to realise that he missed that war and the action therein. He definitely forgets his limp. I think both POVs are equally valid, so I agree -- if anybody has links, that'd be awesome. --awils1 15:18, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Whereas I assumed he knew all along that he missed the war and that only his therapist thought he had PTSD. Though I might have got that last bit from fanon: The Perils of Urban Warfare by phantomjam. There's still plenty of room to say that the show fails at PTSD either way; I thought they set it up (with the dream sequence ambiguously coded as a nightmare) so that the audience expected PTSD, but then denied it, just as they denied everything else inconvenient.--æthel 15:30, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
I found at least two ljs/dws where people said that in fact, John's behavior was consistent with PTSD:

I'm not in the fandom and I don't care about the characters at all, but it isn't there anything nice that can be said about the fandom? It looks a bit unbalanced. So far almost the whole page consists of criticism of the show. :( Reading this, I have no idea why there is a fandom for that show at all if it's all so bad. Shouldn't it have gotten the same reaction as SGU and why didn't it? --Doro 10:30, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

I'm totally against the existence of the fandom (i.e. I wish it had got the same reaction as SGU, and which I why I documented the ableism fail that filled my vision with rage), but I'm not sure why it has such a big fandom. Perhaps it's because it was an AU bend of Holmes and the actors are apparently pretty and the female characters have only 2D personalities. Perhaps because it's a British fandom, and the demographics of the viewership are different. Perhaps because everybody worships the ground Moffat walks on. I'd love to see analyses of why, actually. --awils1 11:06, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
You're right! The criticisms are valid, imo, but most mainstream media fails egregiously somehow and this doesn't prevent us from fannish celebration of other shows. Sherlock has much to recommend it. I will see what I can do about finding the time to edit some things in.--sprat 16:37, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
I started an "appeal" section to document all the ways it is an awesome show, though I think at some point we'll have to create separate character pages or risk this page turning into Why Aethel Loves Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Rupert Graves Blows that Other Lestrade out of the Water.--æthel 17:26, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
If you did that (the latter), I'd have to make the "Why Amy wants to break Benedict Cumberbatch's face" page. Though I'll agree on Rupert Graves. --awils1 08:16, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
That looks fantastic, yay. Separate character pages would be great to see, too!--sprat 01:10, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
I agree, it's very unbalanced, and I take responsibility for a good portion of it. There were a few links and notes on problems dropped in the entry, and so I went and filled it out. But once I'd done so, I realized how excessive it was and the article really doesn't reflect the love this show gets at all. But by then I didn't know what to do about it.
I'd be happy to scrap the criticism section entirely. The criticisms might be 'valid', but I don't think they have a place in this article, at least not like this. Fanlore is not a repository for criticisms on a source. Additionally, the criticisms are misleading: that one link about the criticism of Mycroft's weight is the only negative thing I've seen about it; while at places like the kink meme, fans make prompts/fills about it with much more amusement and enjoyment and some that try to address the problems of eating disorders.
I'd rather focus on how thoughts/criticisms of the source influence fanworks, in the sense that they are popular topics for fanworks in fandom, and I'm not seeing that here. For instance, there has been fan criticism on John's disappearing psychosomatic limp, but that can easily be presented in a fandom-centered way: Fans love bringing up John's ongoing PTSD and reoccurring limp and hand tremors in fanworks, such as fic for character studies and h/c. -- Kylara 23:32, 3 November 2010 (UTC)
If the criticism section is framed as frequent/typical/well-known conversations and meta that fans are producing, then it's a documentation of fan activity and is relevant. But the criticism is a bit overwhelming still. I've been hacking away at it, but I may have made it worse. I'm hoping someone else can fix it. Focusing on how thoughts/criticisms of the source influence fanworks sounds like a good approach. --æthel 23:54, 3 November 2010 (UTC)
I think the criticism section is reading as criticism = being critical rather than criticism = critique. If we talk about all the things fans meta-ed about, not just the negatives, and then in the next section outlined some examples of fanworks that respond to those meta ideas, I think we'd be more accurately reflecting how a new fandom grows from meta response to canon, to fanworks about that meta to response to those fanworks etc. --facetofcathy 14:37, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Stripped the criticisms section. I moved the link of the fanvid (the only fanwork in the section) to a new vids section, and started a new meta section. I'm still looking over the ableism section, but I think the part on Sherlock should be on Sherlock's character page with a link under the fanon section. Here's the original criticisms section for anyone who wants it. -- Kylara 21:51, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Not everyone was completely happy with Sherlock.


Many fans criticized the stereotypical portrayal of Asians in the second episode ("The Blind Banker"). Lola's vid Complicit directly addressed the problematic content of the episode and attempted to reclaim the character of Soo Lin.

Genderfail, Sexism, and Misogyny

Fans are annoyed by the genderfail, sexism, and misogyny in the show, in regard to the treatment and portrayal of all the female characters; particularly in regards to Sgt Sally Donovan, Molly Hooper, and Mrs. Hudson.[1] Fan Beam-oflight observed that the female characters in the first episode "are all extremely subservient, dead or portrayed as idiots and shamed for their sexual practices."[2] Previous sexist comments made by series creator Steven Mofat don't help.

In fandom, spoilers leaked about the second episode that John was going on a date with a woman named Sarah. Misogyny in fandom reared its ugly head with some Sarah-bashing before the episode aired and before the character had even been introduced. When the mod made a post on it saying women-hating wasn't okay, fans responded favorably.[3]


Both the fandom and the source text have been criticized for ableism. For example, Mycroft is no longer fat. Many fans have also pointed out the show's problematic representations of disability. When John is introduced in the first episode, he has a limp, but Sherlock declares that his injury is psychosomatic; later, John stops limping as soon as he forgets about it. Some fans see John's psychomatic disability as hand-waving away any more complex mental or physical trauma away (note that he does not seem to display any other physical effects than a limp).

There were also a number of meta discussions hosted on the sherlockbbc lj community and elsewhere that speculated on whether Sherlock was a sociopath (what he claims in canon), on the autistic spectrum (how Benedict Cumberbatch says he played him), or a neurotypical bastard. However, some of these discussions failed. LauraJV posted a very biased understanding of Asperger's syndrome in an attempt to start discussion about whether Sherlock has some form of mental disability. She was called out, and the mod invoked the tone argument in trying to tell people with disabilities to educate those without, which angered many people. The mod froze replies which was seen as hindering discussion and therefore the ability for others to comment on the policy of pseudo-education in the LJ community.

Sexuality and Homophobia

Some fans felt that the slash subtext between Sherlock and John was played for laughs and were not amused. Fans were also annoyed by a British tabloid article which reported that Benedict Cumberbatch and Stephen Moffat were denying that Holmes could be gay.[1][4] In particular, a quote from Cumberbatch characterizing Sherlock as "very male" was not appreciated and was read as homophobic.

  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Beam-oflight's post on gender and race fail in BBC's Sherlock.
  3. ^ Mod post addressing Sarah-bashing and misogyny:
  4. ^ Daniel Sperling. Cumberbatch, Moffat: 'Sherlock's not gay', digital spy, July 25 2010. Information and quotes in the article were lifted from The Sun.
Hey, you are consistently writing that fans are producing works which counter the show's ableism/sexism. Can you provide links to specific works? Part of my own anger at the fandom (and which is why I wrote a lot of the criticism section in the way I did, because Fanlore does not have to be neutral, it just has to reflect Fanlore:PPOV, was because nobody seemed to care about these issues and was quite happy going along with the H/W buttsex YAY train. If this has changed, it'd be nice to see where/when. --awils1 13:08, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

homophobic comment not homophobic?

I finally had the genius idea of reading the linked article: the article claims that Moffat and Cumberbatch deny that Sherlock could be gay, but the quotes don't actually support this. Is the linked dw discussion the only place where fans commented on the article, or was it discussed elsewhere? Was there a lot of mainstream media coverage of whether or not Sherlock was gay? If there's only one discussion of one bad article, then maybe the paragraph could be removed. If someone wanted to make a page on how annoying the word "bromance" is, this article could be linked there :) --æthel 19:37, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Is the linked dw discussion the only place where fans commented on the article [...]? I doubt it. I've seen several entries on my LJ friendslist about it and I'm not following what's going on in Sherlock fandom, so there probably was a lot more. --Doro 19:56, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
Okay, that quote from Cumberpatch is objectively homophobic only if you believe the 'very male' phrase is coded speech. Which it could be, and equally may not be. That is way too vague for me to feel comfortable calling that homophobia from the actor without a lot of qualifiers. The original of all those quotes is in The Sun, and I note that the linked article uses slightly different wording for one of Moffat's statements. I also saw people talking about it, but I didn't see anyone really notice they were discussing the British Tabloid Press while they were doing it.
After Elton linked to this article (printed before the show aired) which includes yet more quotes while it discusses the gay misunderstanding storylines in the show: 20:28, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
Oh and a couple of old-school fans discuss the leg thing on my journal here: where you can see my opinion of the potential homophobia.--facetofcathy 20:34, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks! I updated the page based on your info. Though more could be added, I think a longer discussion about the canon ambiguity of Sherlock and Sherlock's relationship with John might belong on the character or pairing page.--æthel 21:16, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

I've got a question re: the newest edit that took out basically all mentions of criticism. As I understand it, portions of the criticism that was talked about in this fanlore article were unfounded - yet the discussions did take place. I distinctly remember comments re: racism, ableism and so on on my reading list when the episodes aired. So... does the recent edit mean we're not including those discussions on this page - but putting them somewhere else? Because in my eyes, those critical discussions made up a lot of fannish experience in this fandom. I'm very new so I don't really understand how problems like this are usually approached. The removed sections included interesting stuff and links, is all I'm saying. anotherslashfan 23:23, 24 November 2010 (UTC)anotherslashfan

Ah sorry

I think I overlooked important things before posting my last comment. So, basically, we're dividing up the criticism parts and maybe making a new page for parts of it? anotherslashfan 23:25, 24 November 2010 (UTC)anotherslashfan


Is it okay to rename this article to Sherlock (TV series) to match Merlin (TV series)?--æþel 00:27, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

It would make sense to rename the article. "TV series" is descriptive while "BBC" assumes that the reader knows that this is a TV channel. --Doro (talk) 11:56, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
I agree and moved the page. --Tiyire (talk) 18:34, 29 November 2012 (UTC)


[1], [2], [3] posts of stats on the Sherlock fandom from destinationtoast. Showing trends and comparing between websites and essentially just numeric stuff for it. It's pretty interesting, and just needs written up! Sungabraverday (talk) 10:10, 26 August 2013 (UTC)