Masters of the Universe: Viewers, the Media and Sherlock's Showrunners

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Given the increasing visibility of Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat as showrunners, as interest in Sherlock has spilled over into press and fan interest in the stories behind the show, this chapter raises the question of whether Sherlock itself has a political position, and whether its showrunners act as political agents, as well as cultural agents, in the positions they publicly take up. In brief, I intend to explore whether the attitude of antimedia populism in Sherlock is taken up in a politically cohesive way. In order to do this, I begin by defining more closely Gatiss and Moffat’s status as Sherlock co-creators and showrunners; I will then analyse in more detail two aspects of Series 3 which attracted press attention for their political overtones, and will compare these with the show’s use of the reporter Kitty Reilly in series 2. The chapter then considers Sherlock’s treatment of its fans, both within the show itself and in showrunners’ comments. Drawing on these two strands – politics and the fandom – I go on to argue that what connects showrunner reaction on these issues is a need to control Sherlock’s central ‘story’, and to not have that storytelling function usurped by either fans or journalists. It is this insistence on ‘framing the narrative’, I conclude, that ultimately most reflects the politics of our time.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdaptation in the Age of Media Covergence
EditorsJohannes Fehrle, Werner Schäfke
PublisherUniversity of Amsterdam Press
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9789048534012
ISBN (Print)9789462983663
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

Publication series

NameTransmedia: Participatory Culture and Media Convergence
PublisherUniversity of Amsterdam Press

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