I’m a fangirl. Nobody who knows me personally, reads this blog, or follows my YouTube channel should be surprised by this fact. Even my coworkers know that I’m an unapologetic nerd. I scarcely get through a day on the job without making some kind of geeky reference that makes my coworkers look at each other in that, “Oh, our Tracey” kind of way.
I’m also a fangirl of equal opportunity. I love all kinds of fandoms, from the ‘Avengers’ to the ‘Green Arrow’, from ‘Star Wars’ to ‘Star Trek’, and from ‘Harry Potter’ to ‘Game of Thrones’. I’m a nerd of many colors, a geek who loves many fandoms equally.
And among those many fandoms that I do so hold dear, there are three particular television shows that have sparked a strange, combined fandom that has taken over the internet. I did not come across this multi-fandom myself. It was my husband who introduced it to me one day after stumbling across the word and looking it up in his confusion: ‘SuperWhoLock’.
When confronted with this odd amalgamation of fandoms I had to admit that I do, in fact, fall into the category of a “SuperWhoLockian”; that is, one who has a great love for the three shows, ‘Supernatural’, ‘Doctor Who’, and ‘Sherlock’. But despite my sudden inclusion into this vast community of squealing fangirls (and boys, presumably) who are quite fun-loving and amusing, my first real question was, “Why?”
Why these three shows? How and why did the internet come together and decide that these three particular shows deserve to be grouped together into some kind of mecha-fandom?
Many others have asked the same question, and no one seems to really be able to pull a real answer together. This is a curious conglomeration that just seems to have sprung out of the ether and entrenched itself in the waiting minds of the many. No one can explain the reasoning. There is no real answer.
The shows have almost nothing in common. ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Sherlock’ are both British programs, but ‘Supernatural’ is American. ‘Doctor Who’ is a very old show that has gained new success in recent years, while ‘Supernatural’ is only a decade old, and ‘Sherlock’ started as a famous series of mystery books. ‘Doctor Who’ is science-fiction/fantasy, while ‘Supernatural’ is occult/fantasy, and ‘Sherlock’ is more firmly entrenched in the realm of actual possibility (i.e. solving crimes). ‘Supernatural’ follows two young adult brothers trying to save the world from monsters and demons, ‘Doctor Who’ follows a centuries-old alien time lord traveling the Universe and trying to save everyone and everything he possibly can, and ‘Sherlock’ follows two middle-aged men matching wits against some of the world’s most notorious criminals.
There are very few ways in which you can group the three shows together. One way I’ve seen people try to explain the connection is by bringing up the intensity of the relationships. In ‘Supernatural’ we have two Winchester brothers who have literally gone to hell and back for each other and always follow each other into the fire. In ‘Doctor Who’ we find that the Doctor is so in love with the human race (and his companions therein) that he’s been willing to die for them on numerous occasions. In ‘Sherlock’, the titular character and his companion Watson become such close friends that the nigh-emotionless Sherlock risks his life for Watson multiple times.
But that can’t just be it, can it?
I’ve also heard the idea that it’s all about the light and dark of humanity. ‘Supernatural’ shows the horrible side of things, the way monsters and demons use the human emotions of anger, lust, envy, and greed to feed and further their gains, while also showing that redemption is always possible. ‘Doctor Who’ shows how, even though humanity does horrifying things, it’s a powerful race with powerful emotions and has done (and will do) amazing things as well. ‘Sherlock’ has constant comparisons of love and hate, courage and fear, terrible evil and self-sacrificing good.
But I still don’t think that’s quite it.
There are always the simple, obvious, completely meaningless points, such as the fact that all three shows feature drop-dead gorgeous actors. (For my part, my husband has added many of the characters from these shows to a mental list he refers to as “Tracey’s Boyfriends”.)
But I’d hate to think that that’s the only reason for the grouping.
Me, personally, I don’t know what the answer is, and I’m actually quite confident that there really is no answer. However, there is a connection between the three shows that binds them together for me.
I’ve written before that I’ve often been moved to tears by an excellent story, especially if that story is brought to life by excellent actors. And while there are certainly other shows and movies that I can put on the list, the three shows that make up the “SuperWhoLock” fandom are three that I have absolutely sobbed like a little baby to in more recent years.
Throughout the seasons of ‘Supernatural’ there have occasionally been deaths of important characters, because you can’t have that many episodes of a show about demons and nightmare creatures without someone eventually dying. A few of those deaths have almost killed me in turn. The most recent one was Bobby Singer, who was always one of my favorite characters and a huge father figure to the Winchesters; during that episode I had to struggle to bite back the tears so that my husband wouldn’t torture me relentlessly. Call me crazy, call me a total sob-queen, but whenever Jensen Ackles gets super-sad it makes me want to burst into tears and hug him to pieces.
Most people probably wouldn’t consider ‘Doctor Who’ an inherently sad show, but there’s at least one episode that weaseled its way into my heart and squeezed, and that is the episode in which the Doctor lost Rose to an alternate universe and used a one-time method to speak to her and explain that they would never be able to see each other again. That tore away at my insides because it seemed so much more horrible than if one of them died…to know that the other was out there, but to never be able to see or touch them again no matter what you were willing to do. It was a brilliant way to end the Rose saga, but it was also a hateful, horrible ending that made me want to curl up into a little ball and cry forever.
‘Sherlock’ also isn’t a show that many people would think is likely to be very sad, but there’s a lot of emotion involved, especially between Sherlock and Watson as they slowly become extremely important to one another. The actors did such an amazing job of bringing the relationship between the two characters to life, which made it all that much more heart-wrenching when Sherlock leaped to his death with Watson watching. Of course, having already known that this was a storyline that played out in the books and that Sherlock was going to turn out to have faked his death, you’d think this scene wouldn’t have that much of a punch, but it really did. In particular Watson’s reaction to the whole thing had me weeping like a little baby.
So maybe it’s a combination of things. Perhaps these are just three awesome shows with great (good-looking) actors, interesting takes on good and evil and humanity in general, and they also happen to evoke an amazingly emotional response in those who enjoy them. But then again, that combination of things could probably quite easily describe a great many different trios of TV shows.
Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever really understand why legions of fans suddenly started grouping these three shows together, but in the end I guess it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that we “SuperWhoLockians” love them, hold them dear, and wish to never let them go.
each has an episode that made me bawl like a little bitch