Arts, Culture & Media

Why is China obsessed with 'Sherlock'?

Sherlock.jpg

Credit: BBC
Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Homes (L) and Martin Freeman as John Watson.

If you've been waiting with bated breath for the third season of the TV series "Sherlock" -- we're mere weeks away -- turns out you're not alone.

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Many Chinese are also crazy about the sleuth and the actor who plays him, Benedict Cumberbatch

"He's become a kind of sex symbol in China and around the world," said Liz Carter assistant editor of Foreign Policy's Tea Leaf Nation.

Hours after the latest season of "Sherlock" premiered in the UK on New Year's Day, millions had watched it online in China.  Not only are Chinese fans watching the show and discussing it online, the infamous detective and his sidekick, nicknamed Curly Fu and Peanut in China, have also inspired a slew of fan fiction known as slash fiction or "danmei."

Danmei is a Chinese word to describe fiction and fan fiction about two characters of the same sex in a romantic situation.

According to Carter, modern danmei traces its roots back to stories re-imagining the relationship between Captain Kirk and Spock from Star Trek as well as drawing inspiration from Japanese Manga.

When it comes to re-imaginging the relationship between the detective and his sidekick, the stories vary greatly says Carter who read numerous "Sherlock" slash stories while researching the phenomena.

Some stay true to the traditional murder mystery while others are a bit more expressive. For example, a story of a young Holmes and Watson working in the LA porn film industry.

"Sherlock uses clues to deduce that Watson has started filming adults films to pay off his medical loans," said Carter, "It's an interesting cultural intersection where everyone can unite around the fact that it's really fun to imagine Sherlock and Dr. Watson getting together."

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