Dramatic Television is Elementary my dear Watson.

As mentioned, it is a complicated task for Comedy to more across cultural borders, even with expansions of culture through globalised contraflows. However, do the same rules apply for Dramatic Television? Firstly, it is important to evaluate the worth of each text and whether it can appropriately be moved into new contexts. Secondly, there must be some form of identifiable attribute, whether in circumstance or a continuation of characterisations. Thirdly, how easily or willingly are spin-offs created and does this add value to the overall dramatic concept.

One key example of countless successful adaptions of Drama is Sherlock Holmes, both in character and in storyline, this story-hood has been used time and time again with no inventions, takes and perspectives being highlighted anew in each. The success of the concept is based on a number of principles:

  • There is an innate Englishness – a quality withheld in most (if not all renditions)
  • There is great diversity in topics and ability for character expression
  • Being crime and detective drama allows a format to flow easily into new contexts and cultures


There are two seasons currently battling it out for top “Sherlock Holmes”, one being American CBS ‘Elementary’, which follows a standard Americanised police drama process, while still developing characteristcation and exploring limits of Sherlock that previous texts did not investigate. The second text is ‘Sherlock’, the BBC’s mini series that continues most original features from the book into their highly British drama. In both these texts, the success of dramatic television is highlighted: relationships and personalisation supporting an international communication.

It is also important to note what these texts create, a pop culture and international following. Audiences, now no longer bound to simply being an inactive audience, can facilitate the spread of information. As seen in the video above (a fan made content, fanfiction), interaction is used as an expression of content, of being involved and of progressing a story further. There are countless avenues for audience to partake in, this being known as participatory culture. One place in particular FanFiction, facilitates an online conversation bridging international waters, bringing together audiences to share in one experience similarly to when the show itself is consumed.

This is another strength of Dramatic television; audiences are no longer bound to an expression portrayed by the producers, instead they can add to the story, ensure it remains culturally sound and relevant.



Asher-Perrin, E (2014) ‘Battling Super Sleuths: The Awkward Case of Elementary, Sherlock, and Building the Better Adaptation’ Tor.com, available online at  http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/02/battling-super-sleuths-the-awkward-case-of-elementary-sherlock-and-building-the-better-adaptation

Penny, L (2014), ‘Laurie Penny on Sherlock: The Adventure of the Overzealous Fan base’ newstatesman.com, available online at http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/01/sherlock-and-adventure-overzealous-fanbase



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