pennswoods: (Sherlocked)
Following up on a previous post in which I investigated the number of fanworks for Elementary and Sherlock on Ao3 in similar time frames (9 months after the first episode aired), I decided to do the same thing on Fanfiction.net. This was due in part to the fact that FFN has different policies towards explicit fanfiction which may drive some shippers off, especially those who write John/Sherlock Explicit fic, of which there appears to be a fair amount on Ao3. But I also wanted to take a look there since this also may capture a shift in fanwork archiving due to more invites being issued to Ao3 over time. Here's what I found.

Table 1. Fanworks on Fanfiction.net for Sherlock and Elementary 9 Months After the Airdate of the First Episode

In absolute numbers, there is an even greater difference in the number of fics posted to this archive in the first 9 months compared to what I found for the same relative time frame on Ao3 (shown below in Table 2). Almost 10 times as many Sherlock fanworks were posted to FFN in this timeframe compared to fanworks for Elementary; whereas the difference on Ao3 was close to 4 times as many. In raw numbers, we also see a reversing with more Sherlock fanworks posted to FFN than Ao3 in the first nine months while more Elementary fanworks in these first nine months have been posted to Ao3 than FFN.

Table 1. Fanworks on Archive of Our Own for Sherlock and Elementary 9 Months After the Airdate of the First Episode


After posting my initial findings both here on LJ and on Tumblr, I received some interesting responses which may illuminate reasons for this difference. The Tumblr responses included a number of Elementary fans who indicated that they engaged in fanworks to fix something about a show or to critique it and that a show like Elementary that does a good job in these areas isn't going to elicit the same amount of fanfiction from people like them. Others on LJ spoke about the greater challenge facing fans who like to use fanworks to explore issues of sexuality and romantic relationships with Elementary (a show that places an explicit emphasis on a platonic relationship between its lead characters) and that it may just take more time for fans to get there. There were other interesting comments too that got at the nature of the shows (quirky cult show vs. more mainstream procedural) and the quality and emphasis in production among other things.
pennswoods: (Bored by redscharlach)
A recent article highlighting differences between BBC Sherlock and Elementary was just featured on ONTD, which generated a lot of discussion by ONTD's fans of Elementary, highlighting what they liked about that show and found lacking in Sherlock. You can read (*Note: Spoilers for Elementary*) the full comments here, which reveal a very different interpretation of the characters and storylines  (and the fandom) in Sherlock than I share. But they do point out things I have heard in favor of Elementary, which addresses things many have found lacking in the BBC series.

I am curious to watch Elementary when it finally becomes available for me to view online here in Sweden. It sounds interesting, and I wonder if it will hook me the same way Sherlock has done. All the positive things I keep hearing about it also made me wonder if it's catching on as a huge fandom phenomenon and if the Elementary fandom will soon be outstripping the Sherlock fandom in its generation of fanfiction, cosplay and fanart.  Thus, in the interest of science, I decided to do a little research on this. I decided to investigate whether there was a difference in the number of fan works posted to Ao3 for each show after the first 9 months. I picked 9 months because Elementary's first episode aired in the US about 9 months ago (September 27, 2012).

It was a bit tricky searching for Sherlock BBC fanworks because people don't always use the same tag for the show, so I decided for the sake of consistency to take a conservative approach and only searched the tag "Sherlock TV" for BBC Sherlock related fanworks and "Elementary TV" for Elementary related fanworks. This is at best a first stab, and any suggestions on how to refine my methodology for the next go round would be appreciated. Here's what I found:






Sherlock


Elementary
First Airdate
July 25, 2010 in UK

September 27, 2012 in US
First Fanwork on Ao3
The Perils of Urban Warfare
by phantomjam

July 27, 2010

a thousand roads
by Medie

March 4, 2012 (prior to first airdate)
Fanworks on Ao3 after 9 mos
1988

(as of April 30, 2011)

514

(as of June, 30, 2013)
Total Fanworks on Ao3 as of July 7, 2013
33,661

525
Created with the HTML Table Generator

I find this an interesting snapshot. After the first 9 months, there were more than three times as many fanworks under the Sherlock TV tag than the Elementary TV tag. There are no doubt a lot of factors at play here including the fact that Sherlock's far fewer episodes and longer wait time mean fans have more time on their hands to create whereas Elementary fans have more episodes to look forward to each week. It could also suggest that Sherlock fans felt they needed to fix something about the show that Elementary fans do not (as suggested by the writers of the article above). Or it could mean that there is something about Sherlock that generated a lot of enthusiasm in its viewership that resulted in the creation of creativeworks. It could be that Elementary fans may be more likely to engage in different fannish practices that aren't archived on Ao3.

I am going to continue to dig around a little more because this is relevant to my interest in uncovering stories on fandom (and fangirls in particular) for my documentary. This was a spur of the moment thing brought on by reading that article. Your own thoughts and advice and checks on my methodology are welcome.

 

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