'Sherlocked'

She is such a big Sherlock fan that her colleagues both here and overseas know about her obsession.

When Ms Lim Mae Ann was in Japan last year for a business meeting, her Japanese colleagues didn't present her with a run-of-the-mill glass plaque, but a limited edition Sherlock manga.

She proudly toted the book - still carefully wrapped in plastic - to the 13-hour Sherlock marathon at Shaw Lido, organised by cable channel AXN on Sunday.

The 300 fans present watched the full first and second seasons of the show, and were the first in Singapore to watch the third season premiere here.

The hit BBC crime drama's third season, in which fans may find out how Sherlock faked his own death in the second season cliffhanger, premieres tonight on AXN (StarHub TV Ch 511) at 10pm.

"Truly Sherlocked" was how Ms Lim, 32, who works in clinical research, described the feeling of watching the characters she's obsessed over for over a year on the big screen.

"Sherlocked" is a term that comes from the second season's first episode, in which the usually emotionless Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) finds himself uncomfortably attracted to "The Woman", who ultimately betrays her true feelings for him by using "Sherlocked" as her phone password.

Ms Lim, who's even travelled to Sherlock filming sites in London, isn't the only one in Singapore who proudly says she's been Sherlocked.

But what's the appeal of a brilliant but socially awkward guy with a mop of unruly hair? How has the show become the UK's most watched series in over 13 years?BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH = SEXY

For those who don't "get" Sherlock as a sex symbol, move along. There are plenty of women here and everywhere who do.

Ms Lim says that during one of her lunchtime conversations, a colleague confessed she was desperately looking to buy Sherlock's iconic trench coat. The £1,350 (S$2,850) coat from British luxury brand Belstaff is currently sold out everywhere.

"She said she wanted to get her husband to wear it," Ms Lim said with a chuckle.

Fans like Ms Lim and retail assistant Juriani Jumat, 23, admit to collecting Cumberbatch photos in folders on their computer and their phone.

Ms Juriani says the 37-year-old British actor inhabits the character perfectly. "He's not cute but he's interesting," she said.

She has watched most of the actor's interviews online and even stayed up until 5am one day to participate in an online chat with the star on the website Reddit.

"It was brilliant, he was brilliant," she gushed of the Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) session, in which Cumberbatch cheekily stoked the fantasy that he and fellow popular British actors Matt Smith (Doctor Who) and Tom Hiddleston (Thor) hang out together.

Pop culture geek and Sherlock fan Nicholas Yong added: "His pop culture cache has gone up by infinity. He's in three franchises (Star Trek, The Hobbit and Sherlock), and I think he put it well when he said if he ever went to (pop culture convention) Comic Con, he would be torn limb from limb."

SMART + AWKWARD = SEXY

Mr Yong, who runs the website GeekCrusade.com, said more viewers are connecting with "brilliant but socially inept heroes" like Diane Kruger's detective-with-Asperger's in The Bridge and Hugh Laurie's crabby doctor in House, which was, interestingly, a twist on the Sherlock Holmes character.

"I think people fantasise about being as brilliant as he is," said Mr Yong, 33.

True enough, some fans The New Paper spoke to said they have had some of Sherlock's special deduction skills rub off on them. Undergraduate Tan Wei Jie, 25, said he's learnt how to be more observant, thanks to the show.

"I've started to observe people differently. I will look out for why they do certain actions," said Mr Tan, who is studying mechanical engineering at Nanyang Technological University.

SHERLOCK + JOHN = SEXXXY FAN FICTION

One of the stranger fan-focused Sherlock stories to have gone viral this year was the one in which women in China were reportedly going gaga over fan fiction that focuses on a hypothetical gay relationship between Sherlock and sidekick John Watson (Martin Freeman).

Hilariously called "Curly Fu" and "Peanut" respectively by Chinese fans, the two fictional characters are often thrown together in "slash" fiction, in which fans turn the main men in any show, movie, book or boy band into lovers.

The Singaporean fans whom The New Paper spoke to, however, say they stay far away from this side of the Sherlock fandom.

"One of the reasons I love the show is the development of the relationship between the characters," said Ms Juriani.

"But I'm not into the Sherlock-Watson love. It's a bit uncomfortable."

julrasul@sph.com.sg

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