Television Translates: The Modern Storyteller

Schaffner (2009) explains that “…fanfiction is simply the practice of writing fiction based on other people’s work,” and it enables fictitious characters to assume a life beyond what has been prescribed to them by their original authors (Penny, 2014).
This means that fanfiction provides the fans of a work of fiction (movie, tv show, book), a means of extended the story and filling the details that aren’t addressed in the main original work.

Certain stories, myths and legends, have been public domain for so long, and have become so popular that they effectively “…belong to everybody and nobody” (Schaffner, 2009). This allows fan authors to profit themselves over these stories, for authors that usually are doing unpaid work.

A popular example of fanfinction, a fictitious character that has entered the public domain, is  the detective Sherlock Holmes. The popularity of this character on a global scale, has seen many adaptions created in locations all around the world.

This means that there are many significantly different versions being reworking into different cultural contexts by re-imagining the work. Conan Doyle’s stories have evolved into a limitless number of texts with circulating images, characters, settings and plotlines.


Sherlock Holmes delivers a post-modern awareness of fan culture, some versions even  incorporating fan response into the series. Penny (2014) explains that Sherlock is merely an example of a modern fan fiction, written by well-paid, well-respected middle-aged men with a big fat budget.


Frew, C. 2014, ‘Television in Translation: Drama Focus’, Lecture Week 8, BCM 111: International Media and Communications, UOW, 16/9/14

Penny, L 2014, ‘Sherlock and the adventure of an overzealous fanbase: whose wankfest is this anyway? the BBC’s Sherlock doesn’t just engage with fanfiction, it is fanfiction,’ New Statesman, 12 January, viewed 20 September 2014, < >

Schaffner, B 2009, ‘In defense of fanfiction,’ The Horn Book Magazine, Nov/Dec 2009, viewed 20 September 2014, University of Wollongong, Proquest, item: 1352806022


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