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BBC Television’s Sherlock is, without a doubt, one of the best TV shows of the decade–nearly anyone who’s seen the contemporary re-imagining of the legendary Sir Connan Doyle character is bound to agree. From the mysteries themselves to any of the numerous brilliant aspects of the show, it can be a bit difficult to pin down exactly why it works so well.

Well, unless one you’re one of the many Chinese women totally enthralled with the sexual tension between Sherlock and Watson!

Sherlock‘s popularity is definitively global at this point–we’d bet that the show has fans in every continent, probably even Antarctica! Well, what else are the penguins going to do all winter? And China has its fair share of fans as well–but one of the core groups driving the show’s popularity in the county is the women who revel in the homoerotic undertones between the two main characters, the eponymous Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. John Watson.

While Japan has only just recently finished airing the second season, China has already finished the broadcast of the third, which isn’t set to be seen in Japan until May. The popularity of the show in China has been so intense that it’s even gained the attention of the BBC.


Like the “rumors” that have long circulated about Captain Kirk and Spock, many fans can’t help noticing the intensity of the relationship between Holmes and Watson, leading to a nearly unending supply of self-published slash fan fiction. “Slash,” for the more innocent of our readers, is fan fiction stories about two characters of the same sex romantically involved with each other–usually called BL, or Boys’ Love, in Japan.

In its native Britain, fans generally seem to love the show for the mysteries, [Spoilers] Sherlock’s apparent demise at the end of the second season enthralled fans as they tried to figure out he pulled it off. In China, however, many female fans welcomed the chance to see Watson’s expression of love for Holmes and delighted at the “couple’s” return in the third season.[/End spoilers]

▼This sums things up nicely…

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Of course, this also means that China–and, indeed, the rest of the world–has an abundance of self-published slash fiction featuring Holmes and Watson, Watson and Holmes, and a female-version of Holmes paired with Watson–a reversal of the American Sherlock Holmes show Elementary. Though we’re pretty sure the Elementary has never shown the characters as romantically or sexually involved–clearly they’re doing something wrong!

Of course, none of this has escaped the attention of the BBC or lead actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who discussed the prevalence of online slash fan fiction in the English-speaking world in an interview with MTV.

“[Martin Freeman said] ‘Hey, look at this Tumblr.’ And I said, ‘What? Tumblr? What?’ He knows more about it than I do and he was showing me some of them. Some of it is really racy, un-viewable even on MTV. It’s cool.”

We have to say that we really respect and admire his appreciation for the fans’ work. It seems like a very calm response to what could be a very awkward situation. After all, when was the least time legions of strangers drew pictures of you being intimate with…well, anyone? Probably never, unless you happen to be our Mr. Sato!


All of this, though, has led some Chinese Internet commenters to believe that the BBC is specifically catering to fans interested in the romance between Sherlock and Watson.

“The slash-fic-loving women are like royalty!”

“I can’t help thinking that they’re trying to appeal to women who love the Holmes-and-Watson slash fic.”

“No matter how many thousands or tens of thousands of times Holmes picks on Watson, the doctor sticks with him like a love-struck puppy. We’ve waited two years for new episodes, and the third season is guaranteed not to disappoint!”

Naturally, there are many types of fans the world over–and that includes in China as well. After all, the show tries to stay faithful to the original stories while masterfully adding in modern embellishments and gadgets. It captures the imagination of mystery fans, adventure fans, and old-school Sherlock Holmes fans! It just so happens that a large number of fans are also captivated by the not-so-subtle romance between the two fetching young men.

So if you’re looking for a bit of fanfic to hold you over until the next season, it’s only a short google search away whether you’re searching in Chinese or English!

Images: Pleasantly British, Alicexz, YouTube, Know Your Meme, Addicted to Sherlock

For your entertainment, here’s the Sherlock Caramelldansen.

And here’s the Sherlock version of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It.”

[ Read in Japanese ]