Thursday, August 8, 2013

Corporate Sherlock wars.

Suppose there was one guy who decided he like a particular incarnation of Sherlock Holmes, say Robert Downey Jr.'s version, and didn't really want people to watch another incarnation, like Jonny Lee Miller's attempt. And that one guy could actually do something about it. And then did.

Seems like a fantasy concocted by an Elementary hater, something that could never really happen, right?

Well, thanks to a recent spat between Time-Warner Cable and CBS, we're actually getting to see the potential for such a thing to occur. In a dispute over what they're paying for CBS content, Time-Warner Cable recently pulled CBS networks from their cable systems, blocking viewers in Los Angeles, New York, and Dallas, among others, from being able to watch Elementary and other CBS shows. CBS retaliated by blocking Time-Warner customers from being able to see their shows via their web site. If that all holds out through this evening, that means no Elementary for a significant number of folks. Lucky for the fans, it's in reruns.

Now, Time-Warner Cable has been split off of the Time-Warner whose Warner Brothers division was involved with the Downey Sherlock Holmes movies for a while, but suppose they were still a part of the same corporate empire when this tussle went down. And suppose, instead of fees, the head of one corporation was just overly proud of his Sherlock and really wanted to be rid of that other corporation's Sherlock. As this little cable fee tussle shows, all of the mechanisms would be in place to do some damage there. Sure, they're probably not going to do it. But the ability is there.

What does this mean, in the grand scheme of Holmes?

Well, it's interesting to me that even as the "Free Sherlock" lawsuit could be pushing our favorite character into the public domain, big corporate entities will still control his fate no matter what the outcome. But then . . . why should Sherlock Holmes be any different than the rest of us?

PBS delaying Sherlock. Time-Warner blocking Elementary. The life of a TV Sherlock is certainly not an easy one.

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