Thursday, April 16, 2015

The 'Sherlock is Overrated' 1500 page views special

Whoa. Look at that! 1500 page views for 'Sherlock is Overrated' and 1600 for 'The Empty Hearse'! I know in the world of the internet that isn't really that many, but by Opinions Can Be Wrong's usual standard (given the regularly esoteric content) it's completely unprecedented. 1500 people who think that Sherlock is Overrated - or want to know why people think it's overrated, I suppose. I daresay some of them are repeat views and there's probably a bit of link jacking in there, but still. Still!

Now the 'The Empty Hearse' review doesn't count because it was linked on Twitter by a TV presenter here in Australia to whom it was shared by a friend of mine (quite without my knowledge) so it garnered a lot of views that way. 'Sherlock is Overrated' has succeeded purely on its own merits, I think by being an article with a title a lot of people were thinking but hadn't written about yet.

In hindsight I think the article is pretty imperfect, largely because it never actually explains how Sherlock is 'overrated,' just what I think is wrong with it. I suppose the logical conclusion is simply 'if it has this much wrong with it, it can't be as good as people say' but I ought to have made that more explicit in the article. In any event it's purely subjective, although I do think more and more people are admitting to themselves these days that the Emperor is walking about unclad. I just wish people would recognise that of a few more of the apparently unimpeachable touchstones of popular culture.

I sort of intend to compose 'Sherlock is Overrated 2; or, Sherlock is Still Overrated' but I haven't managed to do it so far because that would mean actually having to think about the show more, as well as trawling back through the episodes for screen grabs of Benedict Cumberbatch in the middle of sentences so he looks like he's pulling a funny face, and I simply could not be arsed at this point in time. Nonetheless it's good to see that I'm getting to someone or other out there who might otherwise be thinking "Why on earth does everyone think this show is so good?"

It's the same problem with current Doctor Who, really, especially given that they're co-written by the same man. These writers/producers have got good actors and a solid concept on their hands (even if both Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who are completely irrelevant in the modern day because they're products of radically different contexts to now). But they need to start realising that having a solid, substantial plot is just as important as characterisation. The problem with both of these shows is that they're so obsessively focused on character development that they don't achieve anything. Without both plot and character, they go nowhere, because pure characterisation doesn't work. It doesn't do anything. These elements should work towards some kind of thematic goal. Character studies only function within a broader text in service of themes. Otherwise you're just exploring fictional characters, and who cares about that? They're fictional characters, not real people.

But I won't bother getting into all that here. The point is, Sherlock is overrated. Actually, maybe it isn't anymore because people are starting to realise that it's a bit arsey. But we'll see what happens at the time of the next series. In the meantime, why not read the original novels and short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? They're actually good. Well, most of them are.

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