A witness to Sherlock mania

Since I wasn’t able to attend the Sherlock PBS Q&A the night before, I decided to head over to the Apple store in Soho on Thursday evening and check out Steven Moffat and Sue Vertue. The two were appearing at the store as part of Apple’s Meet the Producers series. Having had my fair share of run-ins with fandoms in the past, I knew it would be in my best interest to get to the store early. So two hours before its scheduled start I marched into the store on Greene Street and asked the Apple employee what floor the event would be on.

She looked at me and said “Ooooh girl, a line has already formed at the back of the room, run before it gets too long.” It turns out my hunch was correct. Apparently, people had begun lining up since the store’s opening that morning. Talk about devotion. After quickly settling into our spot in line, we, the sis and I, waited patiently to be allowed up the stairs and into the room. Being the sweet girls that we are, we chatted it up with two fellow Sherlock fans. One was lucky enough to have met Benedict the night before—granted, she was rather useless since she seemed to suffer from a severe case of shock and memory loss, and couldn’t provide me with all the important details. What’s he smell like? Is he nice? Etc.  Although, I should say that she was kind enough to let me see her autographed DVD.

Once we were given the rules for the evening—no video, no flash photography, fill in all the seats, wait for the mic to get to you, yada, yada, yada—we were allowed in the room.

Before I talk a bit about what Moffat and Vertue said, I first have to discuss some of the members of the fandom. It was while we sat in the room waiting for Moffat and Vertue that I realized how disturbing fangirling can be, or how it can appear to be, to some people. Don’t get me wrong, I AM a fan of Sherlock. The series is phenomenal and trumps any Sherlock Holmes incarnation EVER produced; and Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman truly are some of my favorite actors. But my devotion towards the show and admiration of the actors comes no where near what some members of the fandom feel.

For instance, the girls behind me were on the edge of their seats, giggling and getting red in the face before Moffat and Vertue even entered the room. Now, this is sweet, endearing even and is of course, a normal physiological response when you’re excited and about to come face-to-face with someone you admire. But the excitement level went through the roof, and any sense of composure went out the window, as soon as Moffat and Vertue graced us with their presence. Once the twosome took to the stage, these girls lost it. To be honest, their reactions were overwhelming and a bit frightful to see. I get that you’re a fan. Believe me. And I get that seeing Moffat and Vertue in the flesh is very, very exciting. And I more than get that their presence may make you, to some degree, feel like you’re a bit closer to Cumberbatch, Freeman and even the Doctor himself, Matt Smith. But there is no need to act like a crazy person with no self control.

One particular instance really made me say “WTF.” The moderator, can’t recall his name, said we were going to watch a scene from the upcoming series. Before the clip even began playing, the girls behind me and the lady in front of me began laughing. Hysterically laughing.  BEFORE THE CLIP PLAYED. It was just Martin’s John Watson standing in Buckingham Palace. I know that some had already seen the second series, and so they knew what was coming, but it wasn’t a scene where you’re exactly rolling on the floor and laughing. I mean, its funny. Giggle worthy. Even laugh-out-loud funny. But its not laugh your ass off like you’re a maniac funny.

Moffat and Vertue sit back and watch a clip from tonight’s episode of Sherlock, A Scandal in Belgravia, as the Apple audience looks on.

Jen looked at me and said “They’re hysteria is turning me off to all this.” And she had a point. It was a tad bit off putting. We’re all there to enjoy and take in what Moffat and Vertue have to say—and, while I expected excitement to fill the room, and cheers to be rife throughout their appearance, I wasn’t expecting to be annoyed. And sadly I was annoyed.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one. Many around the room would look past me, to the overly excited girls, and just roll their eyes. Perhaps as older folk we feel its all a bit too much. Maybe its because we know that “you’ll enjoy this more if you tone it down a bit. You’ll be able to actually listen, if you bring your screams down a notch.”  I’m not quite sure.

I did my best not to let it get to me. Not to let their loudness and at times, silliness, ruin the experience for me. Because I was there to take it in. I turned to Jen and said “Just try to ignore them. They’re just excited, that’s all.”

I decided to take my own advice once the annoyance started to creep in. I learned along time ago, that once you turn off the hysteria some fangirls may exhibit, and not take it too seriously,  you really can take in all the goodness you came for. And I was there to immerse myself in Moffat’s world. I was there to learn how he comes up with these fantastic lines for the show, i.e. “I’m going to my mind palace.” I was there to get some insight into how Vertue is able to balance not only being his partner in life, but in the work environment as well. And I was there to share in the experience with fellow Sherlock fans.

And like any family, though the Sherlock fandom has its share of kookiness, it also has a lot of heart and devotion. And that’s something I’m tremendously proud to be a part of.

When tonight’s season opener of Sherlock begins, audiences will learn that Sherlock and John get saved by a Bee Gees song—”Staying Alive.” The song, and its significance, will prove to be a prevailing theme running throughout this particular Sherlock series. Moffat knows he’s changed that song’s significance for this younger generation of TV audiences. Though he laughs about it, proudly. Fans of the show hear the song and think Moriarty, not John Travolta strutting his stuff down the streets of Brooklyn.

As a writer, or wannabe writer, I’m always curious as to how other creative people come up with their works of art; How they craft them; What their process is like; And when exactly do they know the magic is there and the piece is ready to be shared. During the appearance Moffat admitted, that he knows these are his best years. Success is fleeting and so he’s doing his best to give it all he’s got.

Moffat talks about the hardships and blessings of juggling Dr. Who and Sherlock

Moffat juggles two major geek franchises growing more popular with each passing day. Dr. Who has successfully taken over America, and fans everywhere await their next adventure with the mad man in the box. Surely Sherlock will have the same impact here in the states. The series’ second run in the UK earlier this year pulled in huge numbers, averaging 11 million viewers each week, for its three episode run. If the excitement over the PBS event and Apple store appearance earlier in the week, and the amount of attention both Cumberbatch and Freeman are garnering, are any indication as to what success awaits Sherlock, Moffat and Vertue will have nothing to worry about. They’ll be in business for years to come.

A few highlights from the event:
-Moffat told the audience that while being in NYC doing promo for Sherlock, he’s been writing the Dr. Who Christmas special. When the audience cheered, he joked “Oh you wouldn’t be doing that if you read what I’ve written so far.”

-Again Vertue was asked about the CBS Sherlock Holmes series Elementary. This time she went into a wee-bit more detail saying that CBS approached them to do the Sherlock series for the states. She told them that, for the moment at least, they weren’t ready. But that they should remain in touch and stay in communication. CBS didn’t, and instead decided to do Elementary.

-A shooting timeline for the third series of Sherlock has been set, with filming to start in January. I’m guessing this will be the only time frame they’ll have available to shoot since it comes immediately after the Hobbit’s debut and right before the second Star Trek film, which Cumberbatch is starring in, is slated to premiere.

-Vertue has a say in all of the Sherlock merchandising decisions.

-Moffat just wants someone to come up to him in the middle of the street and say something nice to him. This confession came after he discussed the difficulties and pressure in writing both series at the same time. Often their shooting and/or writing schedules overlap.

-Sherlock, will likely, always end on a cliff hanger. Thanks Moffat. He does it on purpose.

-More on cliff hangers: He always knows what the resolution to the cliff hanger will be. The only time he didn’t, was with the cliff hanger at the end of series 1 of Sherlock.

-The ending to The Great Game wasn’t actually supposed to include Moriarty. The episode was supposed to end with Sherlock figuring out that it was “Gay Jim,” that’s how he was referred to, who was causing all the chaos. It wasn’t until Andrew Scott auditioned, and Moffat gave him, what he considered an absurd line ,”I will burn the heart out of you”—a line Scott delivered with gravitas and intensity— that Moffat decided audiences would meet Moriarty at the end of series 1.

-Moffat says the Dr. is this magical man that you know is always on his way, he’ll always be there ready to take you on an adventure. With Sherlock–he giveth and taketh away. Both series tease you in different ways.

-Moffat discussed the differences between Dr. Who’s companions and Sherlock’s John Watson. This of course brought up the internet, fandom and the Sherlock fanfic erotica.

-Mark Gatiss was originally going to play Moriarty, but writer Stephen Thomas (he wrote The Blind Banker and The Reichenbach Fall) noticed there were similarities in Cumberbatch and Gatiss’ coloring and appearance and suggested Gatiss play Mycroft. The trick would of course be that for much of a Study in Pink audiences would believe Gatiss was Moriarty.

-Producers of the Guy Ritchie directed Sherlock Holmes film franchise have attended Sherlock advanced screenings. Moffat and company have never been invited to attend their screenings.

-They have read the theories regarding the conclusion of the Sherlock series 2 finale. At this point in the conversation Moffat’s face goes blank and he gives us nothing.

After the Q&A was over, fans rushed outside to try to get a few autographs from Moffat. He was kind enough to do so ,but had to be rushed off to catch a flight.

Apple will be releasing the video from the event on iTunes in a few weeks so make sure you check it out!

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