Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Have we hit maximum Sherlock saturation?

The prominence of Holmesian headlines these days is amazing:

TIME:  Court: Sherlock Holmes Is Public Domain, My Dear Watson

Forbes:  Get Ready For More Sherlock Holmes As Appeals Court Affirms Character Is In Public Domain

Smithsonian: “Sherlock Holmes” Is Now Officially Off Copyright and Open for Business

New York Times:  Appeals Court Affirms Sherlock Holmes Is in Public Domain

If you had the least bit of interest in a famous detective named Sherlock Holmes and have missed the fact that his character is now in the public domain, you just haven't been paying attention. And this news bit comes at a very interesting time . . . just after the crest of one of the biggest waves of popularity that Sherlock Holmes has ever ridden. (Individual thoughts on the crest of the current wave may vary -- my gut says we just passed the peak.)

So now we come to the big question: Can Sherlock Holmes get any more popular?

The genie would seem to be loose from the bottle with the decision in that appellate court case, as news outlets everywhere are telling us. And folks looking to make a quick buck by doing something with Sherlock Holmes are going to take advantage, yes, but weren't a lot of them already doing that? The court decision virtually guarantees that there will be more Sherlock Holmes in the days ahead. But will it be high quality Holmes enough to raise that popularity bar another notch?

Or, forget high quality . . . Sharknado was popular, Kim Kardashian was popular, the McRib sandwich was popular . . . will we get Sherlock Holmes in more forms that are more consumable by the masses? The McRib sandwich of Sherlocks?

We've had a lot of Sherlock Holmes lately, but we haven't really hit a saturation point. The fans are far from satiated and non-fans aren't complaining about him like he's World Cup soccer yet. Will that be the tell-tale indicator, when you hear someone at work going, "God, I wish they would quit with all the Sherlock Holmes stuff!" Could we even imagine such a day?

I don't know, ten years ago, it would have been pretty hard to imagine the state of Sherlock that we're in now.

And here we are now, with a public domain Sherlock Holmes and recent demonstrations of just how popular he can be, even in variant forms. The time is ripe for . . . .

You see, that's the really good part. The time is ripe for anything. We don't even know what's coming.

And as we haven't hit that critical saturation point yet, I'm guessing, so it most certainly is coming, whatever it may be.



  1. A question also is, now that he is in public domain, how hard will it be to separate the wheat from the chaff?

    1. And if you do separate it, will the fans of the chaff come after you, claiming the chaff is wheat, since it grows from the same plant?