A couple of weeks ago, I lucked out—and I mean big time. There was a drawing to get a pair of tickets to the preview screening and event to celebrate the American premiere of "Sherlock" (Season 2) in New York City. Like many of my friends, I signed up, fingers crossed. Alas, I didn't actually win tickets, but Mr. G did, and graciously decided to take me with him. I don't know what I was expecting, but it surely wasn't what we encountered.
The line was already a block long an hour before the doors opened. One woman had been waiting for almost twelve hours, on the chance of getting a standby ticket. There were 150 pairs of tickets: ten thousand people put their names in the drawing.
A woman ahead of me in line turned and said “Don't take this the wrong way...”
I immediately assumed I had spinach in my teeth, and clamped my mouth shut.
“...but I'm glad I'm not the only one here over thirty.”
I made a mental note to call my colorist as soon as I got home. But she wasn't wrong; the crowd was overwhelmingly female and young. A few were obviously dressed in honor of various incarnations of “Dr. Who”—long scarves, bowties, a fez or two. There were a few sporting a Steampunk-y aesthetic (thigh-high wooly stockings, waistcoats, the occasional corset, deerstalkers), and a few who looked like they shouldn't be out on a school night.
I found my friend Lady J there, who was there to blog as part of the Sherlockian community. She's also working to raise awareness for the Undershaw Preservation Trust, an effort to save the home that Arthur Conan Doyle built and lived in. It's an excellent cause, and you should check it out.
Finally, after a reception, we were ushered into the auditorium. There were some preliminary words and we watched the first thirty or so minutes of “A Scandal in Belgravia.” Then Rebeccan Eaton (the Executive Producer of “Masterpiece” and “Masterpiece Mystery," in the photo above) came onstage. Then Sue Vertue, the producer of “Sherlock” (and “Dr. Who"), then then her husband, Steven Moffat, who writes both for "Sherlock" and "Dr. Who" (I'm having a happy geek moment with them, above). Then...Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Sherlock Holmes, recent Olivier honoree for his work in the play “Frankenstein,” came on stage.
The only comparison that seems even remotely apt is the screaming, near-hysterical throngs who greeted the Beatles. The crowd lost its collective mind.
It was terrific. Watching a hit show, with a crowd of like-minded enthusiasts, is heady stuff. Eventually, came the Q&A, during which I found myself occasionally impatient with questions (statements, really) focusing on a personal fan response to the show, and to Benedict Cumberbatch.
Hey, I'm the first to admit, I am susceptible to tall, dark, and brainy. I screamed myself almost hoarse during the introductions. It was fun. But I wanted to hear more of what Steven Moffat had to say about being a fan of the canon and how he (and co-creator Mark Gatiss) made decisions about updating the Holmes stories. I wanted to hear more about how Sue Vertue and her team worked to bring a really lush-looking world to life. I wanted to hear Rebecca Eaton talk about “Sherlock” (and “Downton Abbey,” and so much else). I wanted to hear Benedict Cumberbatch discuss his acting process...
Hello. My name is Dana. I'm a writing and acting geek.
Eventually, I managed to remember that this was a fan event, and not meant to be a seminar or a professional meeting (but wouldn't that have been a hoot!). I can always dig out the DVD commentary or prowl the Interwebs to hear what the creators and actors think about the show. It's not like anyone had actually spoiled the plans the panelists and I had made, to go off for whiskeys and discuss deep, writer-y and creative matters. I mean, there was always the chance, but...fine, whatever.
More importantly, there are few enough gateway opportunities to get new generations reading crime fiction. And fewer still that are this good.