We love Sherlock. We dress out dogs like Sherlock. All of our dogs love Sherlock.
Why do we love Sherlock…he’s a rather anti-social unpleasant man? That big mystery – Why is Sherlock Holmes Still So Popular? – was the name and subject of a panel, headed by author Tony Lee, at this year’s Comicpalooza.
The first clue is Sherlock’s character flaws. Yes, Sherlock has his imperfections. After all, he is quite antisocial and arrogant, not to mention he’s a drug addict. But we forgive him for all that because of his brilliance. In fact perhaps because of his faults we appreciate his genius of deduction and crime solving even more. Flawed characters are fun to write and read, especially when they are so arrogant they have no idea they are imperfect. Maybe that’s why we love him, we wished we didn’t realize our imperfections. Or maybe because despite all his weirdness, he’s so good. When we try to figure out a mystery before he does, we can’t. We love his mind even more because of his character flaws.
Another clue to the mystery of Sherlock’s continual popularity is that he fits into any timeline. Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes in 1887, a contemporary character of the time, the Victorian era, the 19th century. Many of our parents or grandparents grew up with Basil Rathbone as their idea of Sherlock Holmes from the 1939 film, The Hound of the Baskervilles and thirteen other movies in which he played the famed detective. Those films had a contemporary setting of the time, the WWII era of the 20th century and Sherlock fit right in.
Then from the 19th century to the 20th century Sherlock moved into the 21st century with the television shows and actors: Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Elementary with Jonny Lee Miller. Another contemporary television version of Sherlock is House with Hugh Laurie, which is a medical version of Sherlock Holmes.
Of course there is also the outstanding Steampunk adaption of Sherlock in the Robert Downey Jr. films: Sherlock Holmes, the second film, The Game Of Shadows and Sherlock Holmes three is apparently in development.
Sherlock continues to evolve with us. And everyone has their own favorite Sherlock Holmes like everyone has their on favorite Dr. Who.
Sherlock Holmes will probably be around a hundred years from now playing in some form of interactive hologram entertainment. People might read, watch or listen to Sherlock Holmes stories in a spaceship or in a domed community on Mars or the Moon. I wouldn’t doubt it. And they’ll be trying to answer the question, Why is Sherlock Holmes Still So Popular?
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Maeve Alpin, who also writes as Cornelia Amiri, is the author of 19 books. She creates stories with kilts, corsets, fantasy and happy endings. Her latest Steampunk/Romance is Conquistadors In Outer Space, which is as crazy and as entertaining as it sounds. She lives in Houston Texas with her son, granddaughter, and her cat, Severus.