Hello! If you’re reading this, you’re probably a fan of BBC Sherlock. I am too! In fact, six months ago I became such a fan that I decided watching the show wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to lurk in the fandom and enjoy fandom things until the next series premiered. However, I had a problem. There were so many things that I just didn’t understand, and it took me a long time to get acclimated into the fandom. So, to help newcomers, I’ve decided to create this shortlist of all the basic information I think a person needs to know in order to be able to fully participate in the fandom. Because, let’s face it, if you’re joining now you’re about three years behind everyone else, and being thrown into three years of already-brewing fandom is like being hit with a truck of confusion.
Strap in, everyone! It’s time to enter the Sherlock fandom.
I. The Basics
1. Who is in this fandom, anyway?
Most of the people in this fandom seem to be in the age range of 15-40 years old. The majority of these people are women. Also, a lot of the fans are also fans of other versions of Sherlock Holmes.
2. How do I tell if my content is dealing exclusively with BBC Sherlock and not with other versions of Sherlock Holmes? What do ACD and RDJ and Granada mean?
Most people will label their content as BBC Sherlock or Sherlock or Sherlock BBC. RDJ is the Robert Downey Junior version of Sherlock Holmes with all the explosions. ACD is the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (in other words, the original) version of Sherlock Holmes. Also, if someone is referring to ‘the canon’, they are usually referring to the original stories. Granada is a version of Sherlock Holmes from the 1980s-90s starring Jeremy Brett. If someone is talking about Granada Holmes, they will often be a very large fan of Sherlock Holmes in general, because these adaptations are basically everything a canon Holmes fan could ever want in an adaptation.
3. Where do I go to find general content?
I’m going to rec specific places later on in this sheet, but for now I’ll stick to generals. One of the things that confused me at first about this fandom was how unlike Harry Potter (my last fandom) it was in terms of reading content. Essays and fic about Harry Potter frequently were centralized on big name websites entirely dedicated to Harry Potter. Sherlock is incredibly different. Most content for BBC Sherlock is scattered across the web on sites such as AO3, fanfiction.net, livejournal, dreamwidth, deviantart, and tumblr. Sometimes this content is posted to a community on livejournal, but a lot of the time it is not. The majority of BBC Sherlock fic is on either AO3 or livejournal (because they allow explicit content), and most of the art, jokes, and memes are on tumblr. If you don’t have a tumblr or a livejournal account, I would suggest getting one because it makes life a lot easier.
4. What are the major relationships (ships) in this fandom? What does Mystrade/Johnlock/Mormor mean?
The majority of the fic you run into will have a slash pairing (and a hideous portmanteau name) attached to it.
The main slash pairs are:
John/Sherlock (Johnlock) ->Makes up at least 80 percent of all Sherlock fic. It’s the main fandom ship.
Moriarty/Moran (Mormor) -> we’ll get to who Moran is in a minute
The main het pairs are:
John/Mary -> we’ll get to who Mary is in a minute
There is very little femmeslash.
5. Whoa, whoa, whoa, there’s online canon content too?
Yes indeed there is, and honestly I didn’t even know it existed until I’d been in the fandom for about a month. Links to it are here : http://www.sherlockology.com/links . Some of it’s good, some of it’s not, but it’s there and it’s kind of cool that it exists at all.
6. What is the unaired pilot?
Sherlock had a sixty minute long pilot that was created before the first episode aired. It’s not as good as the actual show, but it’s still fairly enjoyable. You can find it on youtube.
II. Who on earth is that?
I stated earlier that a lot of Sherlock fans are also fans of other versions of Sherlock Holmes. Because of this, several important characters from the canon show up in updated versions over and over again in fic. Many people in the fandom will assume that you know who these characters are, even though they have never officially appeared in the show.
1. Who is Mary Morstan?
Mary Morstan first appears in the second Sherlock Holmes novel, entitled “The Sign of the Four.” She is Dr. Watson’s wife. In the books, Sherlock Holmes doesn’t really act like he’s very thrilled with Dr. Watson gaining a wife. In fic she is often portrayed as John’s long term girlfriend or wife. Sherlock is often not very happy that John is in a relationship with her.
2. Who is Victor Trevor?
Victor Trevor appears in the canon story entitled “The Adventure of the Gloria Scott.” He meets Holmes because Trevors’s dog attacks Holmes while they are both students at university. They then become friends and Victor invites Holmes to stay at his house for a while. While Holmes is there, he solves a case related to Victor’s dad. This helps him decide to become a detective. In fic, Victor is often portrayed as an ex-boyfriend of Sherlock’s. Usually (for whatever reason), he is not a very nice person.
3. Who is Sebastian Moran?
Sebastian Moran is the second in command of James Moriarty’s organization in canon. He was a soldier before he worked for Moriarty. He appears in “The Empty House” and “The Valley of Fear.” In fic, Moran is often portrayed as a sniper and Moriarty’s lover and right hand man.
III. Fanon/In Jokes/Fandom Oddities
This list will not be exhaustive, but I would like to give you enough to get by. There’s several long running ‘fan canons’ and in jokes that many other fans will just assume you know. To get an exhaustive list, visit “Beginner’s Guide to the Sherlock Fandom” (thesherlockfandom.tumblr).Their ask blog is FANTASTIC and indispensible. For the sake of brevity, I will only be posting LONG RUNNING AND/OR CONFUSING in jokes and fanons, because the internet changes constantly and there’s honestly a new meme every five minutes.
1. Why do people keep spelling John as “Jawn”?
No one actually seems to know where this came from. “Beginner’s Guide” says that artist geothebio may have started this trend. The usage is pretty straightforward. If Sherlock is using the word “Jawn,” the person who wrote the comment/fic/etc wants Sherlock to appear cute.
2. Why does John love jam?
Explained in wonderful detail here: http://sherlockdict.tumblr.com/post/4250083363/jam-john
3. Why does Anderson love dinosaurs?
According to “Fanlore,” this originated on the Sherlock Kink Meme (which we’ll discuss in a bit). The prompt was: “When Anderson masturbates he thinks of dinosaurs.” It was filled here: http://sherlockbbc-fic.livejournal.com/575.html?thread=1376319#t1376319 . Fans, for whatever reason, jumped on this and didn’t let go. Anderson/Dinosaurs is the joke pairing of the fandom.
4. Why is nothing Lestrade’s division?
Because he was very classy in The Reichenbach Fall with his doughnut and his dismissal of the break in case. People think it’s funny that Lestrade just doesn’t give a damn, because, well, it is.
5. Why does Baker Street never have any milk/have too much milk?
In the show and in John’s tie-in blog, John and Sherlock tell each other to buy milk several times. In addition, during “Scandal”, Mrs. Hudson throws away some milk that’s just sitting on the boys’ mantelpiece (because they’re disgusting). Milk has basically become something that is just generally complained about at Baker Street.
6. Why does Sherlock love bees?
In the canon, Sherlock Holmes retires to farm bees, so people assume that modern day Sherlock also loves bees.
7. Why is it that there are a lot of fics where Sherlock does drugs?
In the ACD canon, Sherlock Holmes did drugs when he was bored. It’s been hinted at in the BBC series that modern day Sherlock also has a history of drug abuse, so people like to write about Sherlock doing drugs or getting clean.
8. Why does Lestrade help Sherlock get clean in fic?
Because it sort of makes sense that he would have, given that he seems to have known Sherlock while he was a drug user.
9. Why do people keep naming children Hamish?
Because John suggested it in “Scandal” and everyone who saw it decided that that was basically the official baby name for John’s kid.
10. What is the Omegaverse? Does it have anything to do with that movie called “Alpha and Omega”?
I try to stay away from the omegaverse, because it sort of freaks me out, but I have a sort of general idea of what it is. Supposedly it started in the Supernatural fandom and everyone in the Sherlock fandom decided that we should have it here too. The omegaverse is basically a world full of humans with dog penises, pregnant men, and self lubricating anuses. There are different types of people (Alphas, Omegas, etc.), and I’m fairly certain that each type has a specific purpose in reproduction. If that’s interesting to you, I’m sure you can find plenty of information in other places.
11. Why does that kid from “Hugo” keep showing up in all of my Sherlock videos and gifs?
People think he looks like Sherlock as a kid. So, in vids or gifs he is usually portrayed as either a young Sherlock or as Sherlock’s own son.
12. What on earth is “Believe in Sherlock?”
The “Believe in Sherlock” movement is based off of John’s online blog. His only entry after Reichenbach is “He was my best friend and I will always believe in him.” A fan who is actually unfortunately no longer on tumblr suggested that fans should take to the street in support of John. Basically, fans want to get Sherlock’s good name back and prove to the world that Moriarty was real. Well, really, it’s more of a thing in life where fans just want to show their love everywhere and this is a viral means of doing it.
13. Who is Amanda Abbington?
She is Martin Freeman’s partner. She is interactive with the fandom, so many fans love her.
14. Why do I keep seeing Doctor Who and Cabin Pressure everywhere?
Doctor Who has Steven Moffat as its show runner. Moffat also writes for Sherlock and produces it, so people like to make crossovers. Many fans also found Sherlock by being Doctor Who fans first and then finding out about Sherlock after they decided that they loved (hated) Moffat. Also, for many Americans Doctor Who and Sherlock are the only two British shows that they watch, so it makes sense for them to be in crossovers, etc.
Cabin Pressure is a radio show that has Benedict Cumberbatch in it. He plays an airline captain who pretty much fails at life in general. People like to combine it with Sherlock because of Cumberbatch.
IV. Online Communities
There are two main online communities for BBC Sherlock: sherlockbbc.livejournal and the Sherlock BBC Kink meme.
1. What is the purpose of the sherlockbbc.livejournal community?
The purpose of this livejournal is to discuss and share everything related to BBC Sherlock. Most of the community’s activity involves people submitting their own fanworks so that people will read/look at them. There are also posts for discussion, betaing, fic recommendation, and pretty much anything else you could want out of a community dedicated to the show.
2. Why does everyone keep talking about the ‘haitus’?
Several months ago, the mods started acting weird and they temporarily closed the community. The comment post that stated this called it ‘going on haitus’. People found the typo funny.
3. What is the purpose of the BBC Sherlock kink meme (sherlockbbc-fic.livejournal)?
The kink meme works thus: a prompter asks the community for a specific type of fic or fanwork (Ex: Sherlock in a dress doing the mambo; artfill please). Another commenter creates the fanwork and then posts it in response to the original prompt.
4. I find the kink meme confusing and/or intimidating. Help?
The kink meme is kind of a beast, and it’s easy to feel confused or intimidated when you first find it. To help, I’ve created sort of a list of things I would have found helpful when I first found the kink meme.
1. Scrolling is your best friend: for every one prompt you like, there’s probably going to be three that are mentally scarring to you in some way. You’ll get used to the shocking prompts fast enough, but I am warning you that people have kinks you’ve probably never even dreamed about (and that’s totally ok).
2. Use the delicious archive and the list of filled prompts to find older fic.
3. Unless you are a paid member of livejournal, you can’t track comments on the kinkmeme. If you aren’t a paid member, click on the original prompt and bookmark it. This will save you a lot of time when you’re trying to see if the prompts you liked were filled.
4. Having a livejournal account is your best friend. Many computers won’t show all of the comments on posts for a very long time unless you have a livejournal account. I honestly have no clue why this is, but getting a livejournal account made my life a lot easier.
5. Be respectful to others. No one owes you a fill, and if you don’t like the way someone filled your prompt, just reprompt it somewhere else and move on. Also, just ignore it if people are disrespectful to you. Getting indignant because someone was rude to you makes you look bad (for whatever reason) nine times out of ten. Just ignore it and move on.
V. Helpful Fandom Sites
1. A Beginner’s Guide to the Sherlock Fandom (http://thesherlockfandom.tumblr.com/)
This ask blog is indispensible in terms of asking about episode and fandom minutiae. It is the place to go if you want somewhere up to date on fandom memes. The person who runs it also answers questions about episode minutiae and occasionally recommends other tumblrs and websites.
2. Ariane DeVere’s season two episode and commentary transcripts (http://arianedevere.livejournal.com/tag/transcript)
Wow, these transcripts are fantastic. They are absolutely meticulous in terms of detail and fact checking. The only drawbacks I have about the episode transcripts is that I wish she would make some for season one, because wow, these transcripts are amazing. If you’re a fic writer or if you aren’t used to speaking English (or if you’re not used to listening to English with a British accent) or if you really like seeing new parts of episodes that you never noticed before, then I would strongly recommend that you read these.
3. The Final Problem (http://finalproblem.tumblr.com)
Do you have Reichenbach questions or theories? Go here! It is everything related to Reichenbach that you could ever want. The author of the tumblr is also really good about being up to date on cast and show runner interviews. I get all of my Reichenbach and interview information from here.
4. Wear Sherlock (http://wearsherlock.tumblr.com/)
This blog shows pictures and prices of pretty much every item found in Sherlock. If you’re interested in props or costumes, this is right up your alley.
5. The BBC Sherlock community (http://sherlockbbc.livejournal.com/)
The usefulness of this is explained above in “Online Communities.”
6. The Sherlock BBC Kink Meme (http://sherlockbbc-fic.livejournal.com/)
I don’t actually read much on the kink meme anymore, but a lot of people do. The kink meme is explained more in depth in “Online Communities.”
7. The BBC Sherlock Kink Meme Delicious Archive (http://delicious.com/sherlockbbcfic)
Useful for finding old Kink Meme fills. It’s organized well.
8. MsSherlocked’s Youtube Account (http://www.youtube.com/user/MsSherLocked)
She uploads clips from the show onto youtube. It’s incredibly useful for fic and general reference, because it means you don’t have to search for an entire episode to find a quote or a scene. I assume it would be good for finding clips for gifs and fanvids as well.
9. The TvTropes page for Sherlock (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/Sherlock?from=Main.Sherlock)
I just quite like tvtropes. If you’ve never visited the site, go, but go when you have several hours free because you’ll be absolutely sucked in. What I like best about the Sherlock tvtropes page is the Fridge Brilliance page, the Crowning Moment of Heartwarming page, and the fanfiction recommendation page. The “Heartwarming” and “Brilliance” pages are notable because they analyze pretty much every single detail of the show. This makes them simply fascinating. The fanfiction rec page is notable because, in general, the tvtropes fanfic rec pages are very good.
10. Sherlockology (http://www.sherlockology.com/)
This website won some sort of award for best fan website. The location and prop functions are moderately useful. I’m recommending it here because it’s quite popular, but I personally haven’t gotten a lot of mileage out of it.
11. Oatmeal Jumper’s Fanfiction Recommendation Masterpost (http://oatmealjumper.tumblr.com/ficmasterpost)
I. Love. This. Masterpost. This was the first rec post I used after I had read a lot of the fic on TV Tropes. There is a huge amount of variety on here, and it is indexed BEAUTIFULLY. It is very sad that it is no longer updated, but you should definitely still use it.
12. Alicambs’s Fanfiction Recommendation Masterpost (http://alicambs.dreamwidth.org/123472.html)
I adore this masterpost too. Alicambs recommends a lot of stuff that you simply don’t see on other people’s masterposts. Also, in my opinion, Alicambs generally has really good taste in fic. Alicambs also recommends other masterposts, which is a plus.
13. God of Mischief’s (Danflan’s) Fanfiction Recommendation Post (http://danflan.tumblr.com/post/21580378094/sherlock-fanfiction-recommendation-post-they-are)
Danflan reads a lot of fanfiction, and she updates her page nearly every day. Almost all of hwe recommendations are Sherlock/John. Personally, I’m not hugely fond of about eighty percent of his fic recommendations, but I have enjoyed some of the fic I have found on there. What I really like about Danflan’s page is her masterpost recommendation section on his WIP page. Her taste in masterposts is very, very good.
14. Artists to follow on tumblr
For some reason, it’s difficult to find recommendations for Sherlock art. However, by following a few artists/bloggers you can easily gain access to nearly all of the Sherlock fan art on tumblr. I recommend following geothiebio, reapersun, thebritishteapot, sexlock, ilovemyjawn, ghostbees, bbcsherlockftw, fuckyeahsherlock, and br0-harry.
And that’s all she wrote! I hope this was helpful. Have a good time, now!
Edit: Just this morning I found numberthescars’s own intro to the Sherlock BBC fandom! They have a lot of links to meta and different tumblrs and communities and rec sites than the ones I mentioned. You should definitely go check it out! It’s here: http://numberthescars.livejournal.com/8096.html?view=156320#t156320
Another Edit: And this one too! I’m glad that other people want to share things to help newbies in the fandom. Check it out here: http://lotherington.livejournal.com/45662.html
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