#27 - Sherlockians


The Nickscast discuss why a man who “died” over one hundred years ago is still popular today: We’re talking about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous work, Sherlock Holmes and, more appropriately, its fans, Sherlockians. How is it that one set of stories sparked so many different pastiches, re-interpretations and ever more stories? What did fandom look like in the 19th century? What does the fandom look like today? Find out on this week’s episode of Fanthropological: the great game is afoot!

Next week, we’ll be talking about fans of Transformers (The robots in disguise variety). Stay tuned!

Episode outline

Fandom Facts

The world’s most famous fictional private detective; first appeared in print in 1887 (in a Study in Scarlet). The creation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, he is well known for his deductive reasoning, forensic science, and logic that borders on the fantastic.

Fandom Origins:
In 1897 the first “fan fiction” appears (John Kendricks’ Pursuit of the House-Boat), during the time period when Holmes had been ‘killed off’ between 1893 and 1903.

In 1934, the Baker Street Irregulars were founded in NYC—one of the oldest and largest Sherlock Holmes organizations dedicated to the fandom.

Much later, fandom springs up around BBC’s Sherlock (2010) and Elementary (2012).

Sherlockians, Holmesians

Fan terms:

Z: The hiatus is the term that fans use to refer to the period where Sir Arther Conan Doyle was not writing any new Sherlock Holmes stories between 1893 and 1903.
G: Much like Harry Potter’s 3 year summer, or, I don’t know, the eternal wait for whenever the next game of throne book comes out.

Size of Fandom:

Certainly, Sherlock’s audience is several million greater than the 565 people who took this survey, but they provide a glimpse into an online fandom eager to express their opinions. The majority taking this survey are female, under 30, and living in the US or UK. However, if the range of respondents to this survey is any indication, Sherlock fandom is much broader based than this summary indicates.
popMATTERS: ‘Sherlock’ By the Numbers

Probably in the millions, considering BBC’s Sherlock had 7.5 million viewers for its opening episode, A Study in Pink, an the second series averaged over 8 million viewers. Hard to estimate because of the longevity of the character and diversity of depictions.

As of April 2017…

  • Fanfiction.net: 3900 (Sherlock Holmes); Over 58000 (Sherlock); ~750 (Elementary)
  • Archive of our own: Over 100000 (Sherlock Holmes & Related Fandoms); Over 94000 (Sherlock (TV)); ~2000 (Elementary)

At this point, I’m sure they are like “Hey, what if Sherlock Holmes was a baker and Watson was his housewife”. If that fanfic doesn’t exist, please send it to nick@thenickscast.com and we will probably read it on air!
— T

Last Episode’s Famous Last Words

G: What is the oldest fan work, and what was fandom like in the 19th century?
T: Seriously, why so many Sherlocks?
Z: Is there a small-studio web production of Sherlock Holmes?

What did we discuss?

“Pastiches” as the earliest fanfics ~ Arthur Conan Doyle’s habit of rushing through his stories ~ The Great Game ~ Doylist and Watsonian perspectives to fiction ~ The blurred lines between Watson and Doyle ~ The “death” of Sherlock Holmes and its impact ~ Sherlock Holmes’ popularity because of being a static / flat character ~ Holmes as a lense for the world / time period ~ Holmes as the archetype for the mystery genre ~ Sherlock Holmes outside of the Western world ~ Fandom in the 19th century

Are you in, or out?

T: … And by that I mean are you gonna do more of the thing that we talked earlier on, like, five minutes ago, or are you gonna do less of the thing?
G: As T loses his ability to form consonants

Z is out.

I’ve just never really been that interested in mystery stories … there’s probably a pinch of spite towards the Victorian era for misinforming everyone about the medieval period too, but that’s neither here nor there!
— Z

G is in (?)

I watched season three [of BBC Sherlock] and I felt something missing… I feel like the ensuing season, season three, both started taking pot-shots at fandom… and trying to appeal to it too much?
— G

  • Will probably read some of the original stories as written by Doyle

T is in (as much as he could possibly be).

  • Already watching a lot of Holmes inspired shows (House, BBC Sherlock, others)
  • … But too much stuff to do to go beyond that

Fans of the week

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! Are you ready for fans of the week?! We’re selling tickets, and we’ll give you the whole seat but you’ll only need the edge! If you’re not there you better be dead or in jail and if you’re in jail you’d better break out!
— T

This week’s spotlight

Anime Origin Stories
An interview project by Lauren Orsini (Otaku Journalist) to try to get an idea of how anime fandom got started in the western world!

The Race Against Time
Now in its third year of running, the Race Against Time is the Nickscast’s annual charity livestream where we work our way though Chrono Trigger, obtaining all its endings, and also raising money for the Alzheimer Society of Canada. Last year we raised over $1200 Canadian, and have plans to surpass that!

This year, the event will be held August 12 through to August 13, starting at 10am ET. You can also subscribe on Twitch.tv/theraceagainsttime in anticipation of the event!

Famous Last Words

This week’s famous last words around next week’s fandom, Transformers!

Why was Orson Welles involved in the Transformers animated movie?

Why was Weird Al’s Dare to be Stupid included in the animated movie?

Who is the primary demographic of Transformers?

Where can you find us online?

We are everywhere! Most notably though, we like to hang out in a few places on social media:

  • If you want to help us to create more amazing fannish content, become a patron on Patreon; even as little as a dollar a month pledge really helps us out!
  • For all the latest updates, check us out on Facebook or Twitter
  • To see the latest hijinx from our conventions or even our daily lives and adventures, check us out on Instagram
  • For our latest convention updates, Let’s Plays, and other in-real-life video, check out our YouTube channel
  • We’re also on iTunes, and Google Play, and would love it if you could leave a review and rating!
  • if you want to reach us, and for some reason none of those work for you, try nick@thenickscast.com
  • You can check out our website; that will mostly bring you back to this stuff.
  • Everything is thenickscast, so if you can’t find us, go on your social network and search for that!
  • … You’re still looking for ways to reach out? You can also use the hashtag #fanthro on Twitter!

What is “Fanthropological”?

How did you read this far without asking this question?!

Fanthropological is an anthropological (ish) podcast where we bring the fan’s-eye view to you! Each week, we take a look at a different fandom, dig up interesting background, trivia, and history, and try to get to why it is that people are a fan. We also try to highlight good causes related to that fandom, and find interesting things that fans have created to share those to the world. Each episode is about an hour. Ish.

Who is “The Nickscast”?

We are the Nickscast! Three products of late-80s / early-90s pop culture who love exploring fandom and everything geek … who also happen to have been best buddies since high school, and all happen to be named Nick. Yes, we are super creative. Dare we say, the most creative.


We are Nick Green, Nick Terwoord, and Nick Zacharewicz: We started the Nickscast as a labour of love, and as a place to entertain and to discuss our love of fans and fandom, and all that is shiny and interesting in that realm. It’s what lead us to start our first podcast, our satellite podcasts, Fanthropological, and so much more.

We want to help others learn more about different fandoms, and to create empathy with other fans: We dream of a world where other fans aren’t “those Weird-o’s”, but just folks with different tastes. A world where fandom is full of discourse and analysis, and there are plenty of tools and resources to help. Fans building communities to do good in the world. Because everyone’s a fan.

Notable quotes from this episode

I’m a level 10 bard—with the detective archetype!
— T

…You start playing late 90s europop, who is that aimed at?
— G

…So Holmes is a problem. At first, he was like, “I will just ask for ridiculous amounts of money” and they will be like “no” and then I won’t have to do any more but they just gave him whatever he asked for.
— G (regarding killing off Holmes)

Z: So The man who wields a lense, is himself, a lense.
T: I want to say you’re wrong so badly… but I believe you are right.

It create the mystery genre pretty much as it is … we still haven’t gotten rid of the trope of really intelligent people who are a**holes.
— G

At the time, there weren’t the same outlets that existed and the whole human network of communication was completely different. Now we have the internet so something like that could happen today but it would be much more subdued because it would probably take place in a tweet-storm over, like, five to ten minutes, or a few days, or some weeks, or an entire presidency or whatever!
— T



Music / Sound

  • All music and sound for this week’s episode were provided by Nick Green!


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