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Steven Moffat Calls Sherlock Season 4 “Bloody Frightening,” Sherlock Fanfic “Creative & Exciting”

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Steven Moffat, teasing and cryptic? No! Never!

Except always. Enter Moffat’s recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, which regaled us with what to expect from Sherlock‘s fourth season. Namely: Consequences, emotions, some humor but also some darkness. Basically: The next stage of John and Sherlock’s life together — and presumably Mary, too, .

Here’s what Moffat had to say:

We haven’t started writing it yet, so it’s early. The first series was all about the beginning of their friendship. Second about the formative stages, the love and fear and loss and all that. The third was good days, me and my pal and my pal’s wife. Those are golden days. The missing element in a lot of Sherlock Holmes adaptations is allowing it to be funny. There’s a lot of humor in Sherlock Holmes, and it’s ignored in a lot of adaptations. [Season 4] is going to be… I suppose you’d say… consequences. It’s consequences. Chickens come to roost. It’s dark in some ways—obviously it’s great fun and a Sherlock Holmes romp and all that—but there’s a sense of… things… coming back to bite you. It’s not a safe, sensible way to live. It’s hilarious and exhilarating some days, but some days it’s going to be bloody frightening.

And on how fans will feel:

Hmmm… desperate for series 5. We’re certainly going to put them through the mill. It’s going to be more of an emotional upheaval. Hopefully enjoyable and fun, all the things Sherlock must always be. It will be tough at times. Maybe that’s the word? A tougher series.

Intense is probably right. You can sort of see that in the way series 3 went. It’s great that he’s back and John’s [Martin Freeman] got a wife and Sherlock [Benedict Cumberbatch] likes her and isn’t it adorable, and then it all goes to hell. Remember where we left them.

So…the usual?

Other tidbits from this interview: He agrees with fans that the airdate gap between the UK and the US premieres is “absolute bloody nonsense” and that airing the series simultaneously (as they do with Doctor Who) will lower piracy rates. “But that’s a question for PBS and Masterpiece.” Now if only there were a *shakes fist* PBS & Masterpiece gif.

And he said something about fanfic that I actually like:

There’s been some eye-watering stuff of Benedict and Martin together. A load of it has been superb. There’s a tendency to disparage it. I don’t agree. Even the slash fiction, that’s a great way to learn to work. No one really does three-act structure, but just trying to put words that make somebody else turned on, that’s going to teach you more about writing than any writing college you can go to. It’s creative and exciting. I refuse to mock it—because I’m a man who writes Sherlock Holmes fan fiction for a living!

I think I’ve been watching Moffat-run shows long enough that I have trouble not rolling my eyes when he teases emotional upheaval — consider it a byproduct of Doctor Who‘s issues with portraying grief. But everything here seems relatively solid, especially that fanfic quote. Everyone involved in this show gets asked about fic on the regular, and I think this is one of the best answers I’ve heard from one of them on it. It should be noted also had this to say when Fifty Shades Of Grey was brought up as an offshoot of the creativity he mentioned:

People want to be mocking of that. But bloody hell, that’s amazing—that [EL James] turned her fandom of something into something that’s an industry in itself. Why are we not applauding until our hands bleed? No, we mock her. We say, “Oh, it’s not very good.” Except she managed to write something that everybody wants to read. It’s “not very good”? By what standard is it not good if loads and loads of people love it? “Why don’t you f–k off!” It’s not for me, but I think she’s awfully clever.

I’m not a particularly big fan of Fifty Shades for reasons entirely separate from its fanfic origins — mainly because of its prose and the ickiness of the relationship at its center. But aspects of its success do intrigue me (even impress me) despite my dislike of aspects of its content, and it’s those that make me think that think Moffat’s got a point here. Like Moffat said, “it’s not for me.” But the ways in which fanfic is embedded all around us — in Sherlock, in Fifty Shades, and beyond — is something that’s been hanging around “mainstream media” for centuries but has taken a different hue of late. That’s fascinating to me, and valuable in a lot of ways even when I’d rather it be a story with less abuse winning the box office.

What do you think of Moffat’s words on fanfic and this season of Sherlock? He’s a figure who tends to frustrate people more than anything whenever he opens his mouth, but this time around this interview mainly left me contemplating Season 4 and fanfic as industry. Hmm.

(via Collider, image via BBC)
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