Our world seems divided wherever we look. The byword for social conversation used to be, "Never speak about religion or politics." But today, our calm Sherlockian world—where, we constantly tell ourselves, it is always 1895—falls into two camps, neither of which seems willing to give any credence to the other side's views. Yes, the great Sherlockian televisual war is pulling us apart.
When Sherlock first ran, it both fascinated and repelled large segments of its audience. It seemed almost as many viewers were horrified by the way Moffat and Gatiss played fast and loose with the Canon as others were thrilled by this shiny new interpretation of our favorite literary friends. (And its most recent season managed to divide even its fans, for many reasons.) When, soon after Sherlock, Elementary came along, there was even more division. Some objected as much to the pair living in New York as they did to Holmes's tattoos. Many critics assert that Elementary does not offer a Sherlock Holmes in the classic sense. Jonny Lee Miller rarely engages in deduction, they cry. Even his observations are entirely withheld from the viewer until the final moments. Still, Miller and Liu have made more shows together than any previous duo. And a third group has continued its loyalty to the shows starring Jeremy Brett for more than twenty years.
These disagreements are largely swept under the carpet (even in the disputatious Internet). Still, if Sherlockians, who hold their love for Baker Street close, cannot agree, perhaps we should all be less surprised by voters and politicians.
The Editor's Gas-Lamp, Spring 2017, Vol. 67, No. 1.