With the Elementary’s first season completed and BBC Sherlock’s third season still in the works, I’d like to take the time to write a potentially dangerous post: a side-by-side comparison of both of these modern reimaginings of Sherlock Holmes. By the end of Elementary’s finale, a few of us here at Nerdophiles were in agreement: Elementary had surpassed our expectations, and even dethroned Sherlock as our favorite interpretation of the Conan Doyle stories.

Now wait a minute, before you start typing angrily at me, you should know I’m of the opinion that you can be a fan of both shows. That opinion got me into hot water early on with Elementary fans, but in their defense, people were saying absolutely horrid things about the upcoming show, particularly about Lucy Liu being cast as Joan Watson. I don’t blame them for not wanting to hear, “Why can’t we all just get along?” I’d been skeptical of the show creators’ intentions early on, but I was never skeptical of Liu being cast. In fact, that was the one thing that ensured that I would be watching the show.

Joan Watson did not disappoint. None of the characters did. But I understand that some people who did give the show a chance didn’t stick with it. The trouble with 20+ episode seasons is that many episodes are bound to feel like filler, and Elementary is no exception. But the series got its sea legs, the character development was gorgeous, and the Moriarty arc in particular was stunning.

Anyone who was worried that Elementary was going to be a cheap rip-off of Sherlock needs to know that that’s not the case at all. So against my better judgment, I decided to do a side-by-side character comparison to show how Elementary is different, and how different is very, very good.

(NOTE: If you’ve managed to avoid major spoilers and wish to continue to do so, do not read the sections on Irene Adler and Moriarty.)

Sherlock Holmes/Sherlock Holmes

HolmesHolmes

When Benedict Cumberbatch’s Frankenstein costar was cast to play CBS version of the modern Holmes, it somehow felt like a sort of sinister plot against the existing BBC show. In retrospect, it was probably an incredibly clever decision. If you’ve seen both versions of Frankenstein, you know that while Cumberbatch and Miller were taking turns playing both lead characters within one play, they managed to bring their own flavor to each role. They’re both stunningly brilliant actors. So who better to take a recently updated classic character and play him completely differently?

Cumberbatch is often (deservingly) praised for the way he completely immerses himself in his characters, and if you haven’t watched Elementary, I need you to read this very carefully: Jonny Lee Miller is deeply committed to and immersed in his version of Holmes as well. His speech, his mannerisms and physicality, his penchant for novelty t-shirts while also choosing to button his dress shirts all the way up, his intense emotional responses despite his efforts to stay disconnected, his passion for bees, and of course, his incredible observational skills – it all makes for a seriously compelling character, and one that is very different from all the other portrayals that are out there, while maintaining the core of who Sherlock Holmes is. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Miller talked about how he read the original Holmes as someone who generally likes to help those in need, despite his cool and sometimes detached personality. Miller also discussed working on Holmes’ physical ticks and how he felt they matched the way Holmes’ mind works. And with that, Elementary fans rejoiced all over again, because Miller gets it. He really does.

John Watson/Joan Watson

WatsonWatson

While I adore Martin Freeman’s long-suffering army doctor Watson, I’m going to be frank: Joan Watson is a hell of a lot more helpful on a case. Before Elementary was even a thing, I wondered why Sherlock would bother having John examine a body or Carl Powers’ shoe if all John ever provided was incorrect deductions or correct deductions that Sherlock had already deduced himself. Points for effort when John was left on his own in “The Great Game,” but even then, Sherlock tells John he “knew he’d get there eventually,” implying that Sherlock already had the answers he needed.

Joan, on the other hand, was solving cases on her own by the end of the season. Already sharp and observant, Joan was more than capable of growing into a high-caliber consulting detective. You’ll notice that Sherlock actively cultivated her natural talents, and praised her accomplishment. Both the professional and personal relationships between Sherlock and Joan took time to develop and we see that development, whereas it feels we missed a lot of the development between Sherlock and John. But perhaps that’s the downfall of having short seasons.

D.I. Lestrade/Captain Gregson

LestradeGregson

All I want is a silver-fox spinoff about Lestrade and Gregson working together to solve crimes while their Holmeses and Watsons are on vacation or something. Because remember, Lestrade and Gregson were the most competent officers of Scotland Yard. They’d get stuff done. But anyway, I think the only thing I really have to say in this case is that I’d like some more insight into Sherlock and Lestrade’s relationship. There are a lot of headcanons and fanfictions out there that explore Sherlock’s assumed days of drug use and Lestrade’s possible role in his recovery. But I want more. Elementary gave us Sherlock the confirmed addict and focused heavily on his feelings of failure, guilt, and his recovery, which I think was a great way to address Sherlock Holmes’ canon drug use in modern context. And it gave us Gregson, who knew Sherlock was a recovering addict before he told him, and still trusted him to get the job done. There’s a friendship and professional respect between Sherlock and Gregson that I really appreciate.

Sally Donovan/Anderson/Marcus Bell

DonvanAndersonBell

Sally and Anderson are entirely undervalued. While Sherlock Holmes is supposed to be a step or several ahead of the police force, they’re still, you know, the police force. “Anderson lowers the IQ of the whole street” was funny for a while, but now Anderson had become synonymous with stupidity, and it’s more annoying than funny. But it’s not like the show has given fans much more to go on when it comes to secondary characters. And when the writers have given Anderson and Sally agency – particularly when they go to Lestrade with their suspicions about Sherlock – the fandom hatred comes pouring down in buckets. Sally is a competent detective with every reason to question Sherlock. But instead of considering this, fans just call her a bitch, which is as much the fault of fans’ blind love for title character as it is of the writers using potentially great secondary characters for cheap jokes.

Elementary’s Detective Marcus Bell gets the traditional introduction to Holmes, Bell is like, “Who the heck is this guy,” and Sherlock’s all “I’m a consultant and I see things you don’t [deduce deduce solve].” But the working relationship between Sherlock and Bell doesn’t end there. They actually work together. Bell is also a very competent detective. He furthers the investigation. Sherlock may have a special skill set, but he still doesn’t find everything on his own. And hallelujah, we get to know Bell as a person as well. Check out “Details” (episode 16) for some Marcus Bell backstory and some wonderful acting from Jon Michael Hill.

Mrs. Hudson/Ms. Hudson

HudsonHudson

Una Stubbs is a lovely woman and a lovely Mrs. Hudson, caring for her tenants boys while reminding them she’s not their housekeeper. It would have been easy to find someone to play a similar landlady on Elementary, but it was just as easy to make the character their own. So they gave us Ms. Hudson, a beautiful, brilliant trans woman, played by Candis Cayne, a beautiful, brilliant trans woman. It’s been said already, but this is really important. Ms. Hudson is not tokenized or stereotyped, or portrayed by a cis woman. She’s a self-taught expert in Greek and a trusted consultant on many of Sherlock’s cases. Her introduction was about the time I started hearing people say that Elementary was “trying too hard to be diverse.” News flash, guys: There’s no such thing as being “too diverse.” Pretty much everything else out there is not diverse enough, and that’s been accepted as the norm. I hope to see a lot more of Ms. Hudson in season two. Ms. Hudson consulting on cases. Ms. Hudson clearing the clutter Sherlock has made (and in the process, helping to solve a case). Ms. Hudson sitting by the fire with Joan. Give me more Ms. Hudson.

Irene Adler/Irene Adler

AdlerAdler

I’ve already written a gender-and-pop-culture paper on Sherlock’s Irene Adler, so I’ll try to keep it brief. While on the surface, Adler the dominatrix is an interesting take, giving the character both professional and sexual agency, she was also made a victim (depending on how you read the end of “A Scandal in Belgravia”) and a single line identifying her as queer was mostly used to further the reading of Sherlock and John’s relationship.

Of course, Elementary’s Irene Adler isn’t much more than a love interest for Sherlock at first. I did love the bit about her keeping the original painting instead of restoring it because it took away from the history. But let’s move on to the next character comparison so we can really talk about Natalie Dormer’s part on this show.

Jim Moriarty/Moriarty

MoriartyMoriarty

Ah yes, the Napoleon of crime. I was blown away by Andrew Scott’s portrayal of Jim Moriarty, particularly on the roof in “The Reichenbach Fall.” I know not everyone was into Scott’s campy portrayal, but I thought it was interesting and different. It was all a game to him, but he also appeared to be tragically unhinged.

So you have to understand, when I say Natalie Dormer is my favorite Moriarty of all time, it’s coming from someone with high expectations of the character of Moriarty. To me, this is the most common-sense consolidation of canon Sherlock Holmes characters that could possibly be made. Irene Adler is supposed to be the only woman to ever outsmart Holmes. Yet, someone else (another man) is Holmes’ greatest adversary. Why couldn’t the only woman to ever outsmart Holmes be his greatest adversary as well? Natalie Dormer plays her as clever, conniving, and sophisticated, and I am just beside myself because she rocked it. I would also like to give props to Elementary for addressing the fact that she sometimes had to do her work using men as mouthpieces, because despite being who she is, who she is is a woman and in this sexist society, it’s very conceivable that she would still have difficulty doing business with some clients. And as good as I feel about Joan being the one to figure her out, I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of Moriarty and that’s really exciting.

Molly Hooper/Alfredo Llamosa

MollyAlfredo

Molly Hooper is another one of Sherlock’s characters who I just need a lot more of. I don’t hold anything against her for her crush on Sherlock, but I do hope there is a dynamic shift when the show returns for it’s third season, now that Sherlock has actually addressed how important Molly is.

Like Molly, Alfredo is a non-canon character who has gained a lot of love from the show’s viewers. Particular talents of his that have gotten him into trouble in the past are now used to assist Sherlock and Joan on cases. But he’s no lackey. Like Joan, he keeps Sherlock in check, because while they genuinely want to help with cases, they are also there to monitor Sherlock’s well-being. Neither Alfredo nor Joan do that job by coddling him or taking any crap from him. Alfredo is another character that could have been limited to stereotypes of his upbringing or history with addiction and theft, but that’s not how things are done on Elementary.

If you ask me, Sherlock has something to prove in its next season, particularly after the stink that was made when Elementary was in its beginning stages. But listen, just give it a chance, guys. I promise you, the similarities between BBC’s Sherlock and Elementary end at the stories by which they were inspired. If you can’t stand to sit through the build-up (but you should, because character development!!!), go watch “M.” (episode 12), which is the beginning of the Moriarty arc.

Remember, shows are not romantic partners.

You’re not cheating on one by seeing the other.

175 thoughts on “Why, Even as BBC Sherlock Fans, Elementary Has Become Our Favorite”

  1. Ridiculous. It’s like comparing chocolate to caramel – equally delicious, equally sweet, nothing alike.

  2. Ridiculous. It’s like comparing chocolate to caramel – equally delicious, equally sweet, nothing alike.

  3. I watched both and ended up preferring Sherlock, although I think it’s hard to compare because the format and actual meat of the shows, the narrative style, are entirely different. Trying to compare two things that are telling a story in entirely different ways and formats is a bit pointless since their strengths and weaknesses will partly come from format/style limitations.

    For example, Sherlock will never develop secondary characters like Elementary does because it doesn’t have as much time to spare (big complaint up above), but Sherlock also doesn’t have as much throwaway airtime as Elementary did (you could lose about 1/3 of its episodes overall and have a better series). Oddly, I watched Elementary first, so I went into Sherlock expecting to hate it, but it was my fault for letting fandom influence me. Don’t let other people make up your mind for you.

  4. I watched both and ended up preferring Sherlock, although I think it’s hard to compare because the format and actual meat of the shows, the narrative style, are entirely different. Trying to compare two things that are telling a story in entirely different ways and formats is a bit pointless since their strengths and weaknesses will partly come from format/style limitations.

    For example, Sherlock will never develop secondary characters like Elementary does because it doesn’t have as much time to spare (big complaint up above), but Sherlock also doesn’t have as much throwaway airtime as Elementary did (you could lose about 1/3 of its episodes overall and have a better series). Oddly, I watched Elementary first, so I went into Sherlock expecting to hate it, but it was my fault for letting fandom influence me. Don’t let other people make up your mind for you.

    1. Thanks for sharing Kirstie’s post! All these comments are great to read through. I know Kirstie was really worried people were going to chase after he with pitchforks and torches so we’re all glad to see that we’re not the only ones who feel this way. (Well, as I said, except Amy, lol.)

    1. Thanks for sharing Kirstie’s post! All these comments are great to read through. I know Kirstie was really worried people were going to chase after he with pitchforks and torches so we’re all glad to see that we’re not the only ones who feel this way. (Well, as I said, except Amy, lol.)

  5. You can’t be serious. It’s like comparing Macdonalds with with a fine dining restaurant, Elementary is okay for a bit of mindless couch potatoing but Sherlock is superior in every possible way. The difference in the critical acclaim worldwide makes that perfectly clear. Elementary is typical network pap form people who can’t handle anything that makes them pay attention.

    1. There’s plenty of critical acclaim for Elementary. A quick Google search will yield plenty of reviews, and the response is generally positive and enthusiastic. The show and its actors are Emmy contenders. If you want to talk attention span of viewers, then the way I see it, you have it backwards. I’m not denying that Elementary had a slow build, but people who quit two or three episodes in didn’t try very hard and are missing out. Elementary’s viewers were in it for the growth of the characters, for the rising action of the Moriarty arc. Even with the hokey cases here and there, it made viewers want to pay attention. As for Sherlock, the seasons are short, so they have to get to the point fast, often at the cost of character development. It works sometimes. “The Great Game” is a masterpiece, but I would never equate “The Hound of Baskerville” to fine dining. Tastes vary of course, but to make the sweeping statement that Sherlock is superior in every way is simply fallacy.

      1. The American reviews perhaps. Over here in Germany, all the reviews, professional and otherwise, said exactly the same: You can watch it, but it’s not a must, and it’s a failure as Sherlock Holmes adaptation. And while the pilot episode got good ratings, the numbers tanked very fast (keep in mind that the average German tends to be less invested in “Sherlock” than the average British viewer).
        Let’s keep it real: The ratings of Elementary are, after the buzz around the first episodes died down, mediocre for CBS, barely what the Network expects of their average crime drama. And that’s exactly what Elementary is. Perfectly made for the American audience, but not unusual and above all, not a valid Sherlock Holmes adaptation. If not for all the discussion about it, it wouldn’t have gotten so much attention in the first place. Weather you like Sherlock of not, it was a show which practically reinvented TV, not just because it’s an adaptation with heart, but because it’s beautifully shot and turned over a lot of conventions, starting with simply writing what Sherlock notices on screen. It’s a show which invites the audience to think and to reread the book. But in the end: This doesn’t really matter. Elementary never had to proof to be as good as Sherlock, it only had to offer a new take on the character. And it didn’t. Instead it just slapped names on characters which have barely a resemblance with the original. I raged over the end of Scandal in Belgravia to no end, but what CBS did was ten times worse from the get go (when will they finally learn that Irene Adler is NOT Holmes love interest? Or a femme fatal?)

  6. You can’t be serious. It’s like comparing Macdonalds with with a fine dining restaurant, Elementary is okay for a bit of mindless couch potatoing but Sherlock is superior in every possible way. The difference in the critical acclaim worldwide makes that perfectly clear. Elementary is typical network pap form people who can’t handle anything that makes them pay attention.

    1. There’s plenty of critical acclaim for Elementary. A quick Google search will yield plenty of reviews, and the response is generally positive and enthusiastic. The show and its actors are Emmy contenders. If you want to talk attention span of viewers, then the way I see it, you have it backwards. I’m not denying that Elementary had a slow build, but people who quit two or three episodes in didn’t try very hard and are missing out. Elementary’s viewers were in it for the growth of the characters, for the rising action of the Moriarty arc. Even with the hokey cases here and there, it made viewers want to pay attention. As for Sherlock, the seasons are short, so they have to get to the point fast, often at the cost of character development. It works sometimes. “The Great Game” is a masterpiece, but I would never equate “The Hound of Baskerville” to fine dining. Tastes vary of course, but to make the sweeping statement that Sherlock is superior in every way is simply fallacy.

      1. The American reviews perhaps. Over here in Germany, all the reviews, professional and otherwise, said exactly the same: You can watch it, but it’s not a must, and it’s a failure as Sherlock Holmes adaptation. And while the pilot episode got good ratings, the numbers tanked very fast (keep in mind that the average German tends to be less invested in “Sherlock” than the average British viewer).
        Let’s keep it real: The ratings of Elementary are, after the buzz around the first episodes died down, mediocre for CBS, barely what the Network expects of their average crime drama. And that’s exactly what Elementary is. Perfectly made for the American audience, but not unusual and above all, not a valid Sherlock Holmes adaptation. If not for all the discussion about it, it wouldn’t have gotten so much attention in the first place. Weather you like Sherlock of not, it was a show which practically reinvented TV, not just because it’s an adaptation with heart, but because it’s beautifully shot and turned over a lot of conventions, starting with simply writing what Sherlock notices on screen. It’s a show which invites the audience to think and to reread the book. But in the end: This doesn’t really matter. Elementary never had to proof to be as good as Sherlock, it only had to offer a new take on the character. And it didn’t. Instead it just slapped names on characters which have barely a resemblance with the original. I raged over the end of Scandal in Belgravia to no end, but what CBS did was ten times worse from the get go (when will they finally learn that Irene Adler is NOT Holmes love interest? Or a femme fatal?)

        1. Well, to be fair the site serienjunkies.de was quite enamored with “E” and in a poll which Sherlock was the “more canonical/better/mostliked” (forgot what it was) even voted in favour of JLM. But otherwise I totally agree with you, swanpride.

          Interesting that out of 14 individual commenters 7 argued for “Sherlock” and only 5 (mostly from the site itself) for “Elementary” while 2 remained neutral.

  7. The fact that sites like this and ONTD can never argue for Elementary on its own merits but rather are just so focused on convincing themselves how much better it is than Sherlock tells you all you need to know about how dominant Sherlock is among critics, the culture and fans. If you look at sites like ONTD or Television Without Pity in threads ostensibly devoted to Elementary, you can’t go more than a page without people running in circles trying to convince themselves how much better Elementary is and bashing Sherlock to try and build it up. Which begs the question: what are they trying to prove? If the show is really so good, why can’t it stand on its own? It’s been an entire season and Elementary fans are STILL obsessively talking about Sherlock rather than the supposed merits of the show they claim to like. They seem more interested in talking about Sherlock than about Elementary. OTOH, looks at threads and sites devoted to Sherlock. They’re talking about Sherlock, just as people on Game of Thrones sites are talking about Game of Thrones, or Scandal fans are talking about Scandal. The true measure of Sherlock’s dominance is that the people who love it love it passionately, and even the people who dislike it are obsessed with it and use it as a standard.

    1. I tried watching Sherlock expecting the shows to be similiar but they are so different. I think BBC Sherlock is supposed to be a younger, pre-fall Holmes, while Elementary Holmes starts off at a later point in life, post-fall. They’re are two very different points in their overall development arcs, with BBC Holmes naturally being more ego-centric/cocky because he hadn’t had a major blow yet. You can compare them, I guess, but it seems pointless as BBC Holmes is basically what CBS Holmes was before he left London. At least until the new season airs.

      1. I’m an American so I can say this, but Elementary is a distinctively American network take on Sherlock Holmes. He’s made a promiscuous ladies man so there’s none of that “gay stuff” or ambiguous sexuality present in the original stories or other adaptations. He’s dumbed down so the supporting characters can be smarter and the audience can follow along with the 40 minute mysteries. He’s a drug addict so he’s a fragile bad boy, but he’s in recovery so he meets network standards of not advocating or showing the effects of actual drug use. He has an acceptable reason for the addiction (a lost lover drove him to it). He lives off his rich daddy’s money but it’s non-threatening hipster rich, designer t-shirts and a Brooklyn brownstone. But we’re told his dad doesn’t pay him enough attention so the audience won’t resent him for being a trust fund kid.

        The female characters on Elementary are weak through their actions but mainstream viewers will buy the gloss that a female character is strong as long as she’s goodlooking and makes the occasional sassy comment or eyeroll while accepting the abuse. On Elementary, Holmes makes repeated misogynist comments and crosses lines with his female Watson (picking out her clothes, invading her private space, commenting about her sex life, stealing her car, physically attacking her, all while she’s actually his employee). The show portrays those as positive things for a man to do a woman because after those actions, the only consequence is that Watson is increasingly devoted to him. She sacrifices her career (giving up being an addict counselor), her livelihood (she stays without him even after being terminated and having no income) and her home (no income forces her to move in permanently and become financially dependent on Holmes). There was even an episode where it showed that she’d been isolating herself from her friends and family in favor of Holmes. They were concerned but by the end of the episode their concerns were made to seem silly.

        The Irene Adler/Moriarty plot collapses if you think about it for two seconds. How did a woman in her mid-twenties become a criminal kingpin with a vast empire who can make grizzled fiftysomething vets like Vinnie Jones and F. Murray Abraham her terrified minions, especially when she’d also been inactive for several years? How did Sherlock Holmes live with her intimately for so long and not realize she was living a secret criminal double life? How come he figured out she wasn’t a hostage because a removed mole indicated she’d had medical treatment but her manicured nails, colored hair and groomed eyebrows didn’t clue him in? At the end she’s defeated by her love of Holmes and sent to prison. There aren’t any other regular females on the show. Their Mrs. Hudson appeared in one episode, was promised a job and then was never seen or mentioned again. Many of the criminals of the week defeated by Holmes have been conniving women either killing or being killed for cheating on their spouses. There was more than one female criminal who was a secret, high priced prostitute. The one Asian guest star was basically a passive sex slave whose happy ending was getting married to a white guy at the end of the episode so she wouldn’t get shipped back to her terrible homeland (China I think it was) and could stay in ‘Murrica.

      2. @PennyDay

        If you think that the ‘ambiguously gay stuff’ in Sherlock is something to be proud of then that’s a problem. Queerbaiting =/= actual LGBT representation. Holmes and Watson have at least one ‘lol we’re gay but not really’ joke an episode. You cannot take real life people’s, real life identities and use it as a punchline. And to add to Sherlock’s mistreatment of the LGBT community, the took Irene Adler, a self-identifying lesbian, and had her fall in love with Sherlock. They literally had Sherlock cure her of her gayness. Like, how can you defend this. I would take Elementary’s ladies man (if you can call him having sex with women twice in 24 episodes being a ladies man) 100 times over this mess. Also, why do you assume that just because he is mostly with women that his sexuality cannot be ambiguous? That’s just really narrow-minded.

        Here’s the thing: having a misogynistic character does not necessarily make a show misogynistic. And I wouldn’t say that Elementary’s Sherlock is misogynistic either. In the beginning, he treats her like he treats everyone and doesn’t go easy on her just because she is a woman. Which is not to say that he hasn’t had his moments, but the show is always quick to call him out and show that that sort of behavior is not acceptable. Joan even calls him a misogynist herself! I have to say that Joan is one of the best written female characters on TV today. She is not defined by being a woman, or by being Asian, and the show never sexualizes her. In the scene where he picks out her clothes for her, she camera focus is on Sherlock and allows Joan to get dressed without even showing her body, she is allowed to do normal things (like getting dressed) without being objectified. She is allowed to be smart, to be competent, to know things that Sherlock doesn’t without the show putting her in her place for being a woman. Her relationship with Sherlock is one of equals, they both grow to be devoted to each other. I might even say that he is more devoted than she is. Her friendship is the one thing that allowed him to cope with coming to face with Irene’s supposed killers instead of trying to avenge her.

        If you can’t even entertain the idea that a woman in her early thirties could become an international crime kingpin, that says more about you than it does about Elementary. Please examine your internalized misogyny. Why didn’t Sherlock realize that she wasn’t who she said she was? Because she is smarter than him, as she is supposed to be. Irene Adler is supposed to be the only woman to ever outsmart Sherlock Holmes. BBC Sherlock completely undermines this by having her lose in the end and then needing Sherlock to save her, yuck. If she is supposed to be one of the smartest people on the planet, it must only be her the fact that she is a woman that makes it so hard for you to believe that she could accomplish that much. And the only reason she was defeated was because of A) her own arrogance (generally, extreme intelligence and extreme arrogance go hand in hand) and B) Watson. It was Watson who tipped the scales, she was the element of surprise. Holmes and Watson’s combined intellect and ingenuity that brought her down.

    2. I guess it all comes down to who has the greatest number of obsessive fans for you, PennyDay. I think you make some very good points in your criticism below. I don’t agree with them and many of the types of criticism you make against “Elementary” can and have been made successfully against “Sherlock”. I happen to like both shows and and find faults with both. I also think both are excellent in there own ways and as a Sherlockian, I have been impressed with the depth of Canonical knowlegde the writers of “Elementary” have shown; subtly, not in an in-your-face, look-how-clever-we-are way. Ms. Haruta’s post is the kind of thoughtful, fair and trenchant article that is in short supply when an examination of the CBS and BBC shows are had. It never ceases to amaze me when an article is posted that finds merit in “Elementary” how a segment of “Sherlock” fans feel somehow affronted and must make their dislike of the CBS show known. You should read her final two sentences again: “Remember, shows are not romantic partners.You’re not cheating on one by seeing the other.” And the existence of “Elementary” does not lessen or cheapen “Sherlock”.

  8. The fact that sites like this and ONTD can never argue for Elementary on its own merits but rather are just so focused on convincing themselves how much better it is than Sherlock tells you all you need to know about how dominant Sherlock is among critics, the culture and fans. If you look at sites like ONTD or Television Without Pity in threads ostensibly devoted to Elementary, you can’t go more than a page without people running in circles trying to convince themselves how much better Elementary is and bashing Sherlock to try and build it up. Which begs the question: what are they trying to prove? If the show is really so good, why can’t it stand on its own? It’s been an entire season and Elementary fans are STILL obsessively talking about Sherlock rather than the supposed merits of the show they claim to like. They seem more interested in talking about Sherlock than about Elementary. OTOH, looks at threads and sites devoted to Sherlock. They’re talking about Sherlock, just as people on Game of Thrones sites are talking about Game of Thrones, or Scandal fans are talking about Scandal. The true measure of Sherlock’s dominance is that the people who love it love it passionately, and even the people who dislike it are obsessed with it and use it as a standard.

    1. I tried watching Sherlock expecting the shows to be similiar but they are so different. I think BBC Sherlock is supposed to be a younger, pre-fall Holmes, while Elementary Holmes starts off at a later point in life, post-fall. They’re are two very different points in their overall development arcs, with BBC Holmes naturally being more ego-centric/cocky because he hadn’t had a major blow yet. You can compare them, I guess, but it seems pointless as BBC Holmes is basically what CBS Holmes was before he left London. At least until the new season airs.

      1. I’m an American so I can say this, but Elementary is a distinctively American network take on Sherlock Holmes. He’s made a promiscuous ladies man so there’s none of that “gay stuff” or ambiguous sexuality present in the original stories or other adaptations. He’s dumbed down so the supporting characters can be smarter and the audience can follow along with the 40 minute mysteries. He’s a drug addict so he’s a fragile bad boy, but he’s in recovery so he meets network standards of not advocating or showing the effects of actual drug use. He has an acceptable reason for the addiction (a lost lover drove him to it). He lives off his rich daddy’s money but it’s non-threatening hipster rich, designer t-shirts and a Brooklyn brownstone. But we’re told his dad doesn’t pay him enough attention so the audience won’t resent him for being a trust fund kid.

        The female characters on Elementary are weak through their actions but mainstream viewers will buy the gloss that a female character is strong as long as she’s goodlooking and makes the occasional sassy comment or eyeroll while accepting the abuse. On Elementary, Holmes makes repeated misogynist comments and crosses lines with his female Watson (picking out her clothes, invading her private space, commenting about her sex life, stealing her car, physically attacking her, all while she’s actually his employee). The show portrays those as positive things for a man to do a woman because after those actions, the only consequence is that Watson is increasingly devoted to him. She sacrifices her career (giving up being an addict counselor), her livelihood (she stays without him even after being terminated and having no income) and her home (no income forces her to move in permanently and become financially dependent on Holmes). There was even an episode where it showed that she’d been isolating herself from her friends and family in favor of Holmes. They were concerned but by the end of the episode their concerns were made to seem silly.

        The Irene Adler/Moriarty plot collapses if you think about it for two seconds. How did a woman in her mid-twenties become a criminal kingpin with a vast empire who can make grizzled fiftysomething vets like Vinnie Jones and F. Murray Abraham her terrified minions, especially when she’d also been inactive for several years? How did Sherlock Holmes live with her intimately for so long and not realize she was living a secret criminal double life? How come he figured out she wasn’t a hostage because a removed mole indicated she’d had medical treatment but her manicured nails, colored hair and groomed eyebrows didn’t clue him in? At the end she’s defeated by her love of Holmes and sent to prison. There aren’t any other regular females on the show. Their Mrs. Hudson appeared in one episode, was promised a job and then was never seen or mentioned again. Many of the criminals of the week defeated by Holmes have been conniving women either killing or being killed for cheating on their spouses. There was more than one female criminal who was a secret, high priced prostitute. The one Asian guest star was basically a passive sex slave whose happy ending was getting married to a white guy at the end of the episode so she wouldn’t get shipped back to her terrible homeland (China I think it was) and could stay in ‘Murrica.

      2. @PennyDay

        If you think that the ‘ambiguously gay stuff’ in Sherlock is something to be proud of then that’s a problem. Queerbaiting =/= actual LGBT representation. Holmes and Watson have at least one ‘lol we’re gay but not really’ joke an episode. You cannot take real life people’s, real life identities and use it as a punchline. And to add to Sherlock’s mistreatment of the LGBT community, the took Irene Adler, a self-identifying lesbian, and had her fall in love with Sherlock. They literally had Sherlock cure her of her gayness. Like, how can you defend this. I would take Elementary’s ladies man (if you can call him having sex with women twice in 24 episodes being a ladies man) 100 times over this mess. Also, why do you assume that just because he is mostly with women that his sexuality cannot be ambiguous? That’s just really narrow-minded.

        Here’s the thing: having a misogynistic character does not necessarily make a show misogynistic. And I wouldn’t say that Elementary’s Sherlock is misogynistic either. In the beginning, he treats her like he treats everyone and doesn’t go easy on her just because she is a woman. Which is not to say that he hasn’t had his moments, but the show is always quick to call him out and show that that sort of behavior is not acceptable. Joan even calls him a misogynist herself! I have to say that Joan is one of the best written female characters on TV today. She is not defined by being a woman, or by being Asian, and the show never sexualizes her. In the scene where he picks out her clothes for her, she camera focus is on Sherlock and allows Joan to get dressed without even showing her body, she is allowed to do normal things (like getting dressed) without being objectified. She is allowed to be smart, to be competent, to know things that Sherlock doesn’t without the show putting her in her place for being a woman. Her relationship with Sherlock is one of equals, they both grow to be devoted to each other. I might even say that he is more devoted than she is. Her friendship is the one thing that allowed him to cope with coming to face with Irene’s supposed killers instead of trying to avenge her.

        If you can’t even entertain the idea that a woman in her early thirties could become an international crime kingpin, that says more about you than it does about Elementary. Please examine your internalized misogyny. Why didn’t Sherlock realize that she wasn’t who she said she was? Because she is smarter than him, as she is supposed to be. Irene Adler is supposed to be the only woman to ever outsmart Sherlock Holmes. BBC Sherlock completely undermines this by having her lose in the end and then needing Sherlock to save her, yuck. If she is supposed to be one of the smartest people on the planet, it must only be her the fact that she is a woman that makes it so hard for you to believe that she could accomplish that much. And the only reason she was defeated was because of A) her own arrogance (generally, extreme intelligence and extreme arrogance go hand in hand) and B) Watson. It was Watson who tipped the scales, she was the element of surprise. Holmes and Watson’s combined intellect and ingenuity that brought her down.

    2. I guess it all comes down to who has the greatest number of obsessive fans for you, PennyDay. I think you make some very good points in your criticism below. I don’t agree with them and many of the types of criticism you make against “Elementary” can and have been made successfully against “Sherlock”. I happen to like both shows and and find faults with both. I also think both are excellent in there own ways and as a Sherlockian, I have been impressed with the depth of Canonical knowlegde the writers of “Elementary” have shown; subtly, not in an in-your-face, look-how-clever-we-are way. Ms. Haruta’s post is the kind of thoughtful, fair and trenchant article that is in short supply when an examination of the CBS and BBC shows are had. It never ceases to amaze me when an article is posted that finds merit in “Elementary” how a segment of “Sherlock” fans feel somehow affronted and must make their dislike of the CBS show known. You should read her final two sentences again: “Remember, shows are not romantic partners.You’re not cheating on one by seeing the other.” And the existence of “Elementary” does not lessen or cheapen “Sherlock”.

  9. So, basically you love “Elementary” because it adheres to your personal political agenda. Funny enough that is not one of the criteria I even think of when it comes to my entertainment choices. I judge creative works on their merits as creative works and here I do find “E” sadly lacking, whereas I think “Sherlock” is a brilliant work of art.

    1. A “personal political agenda” is not a separate entity of a person. It’s a part of a personality. You are not just a sum of random parts, and a person’s opinion can have standing in their beliefs. You proved that in your own comment. Also wanting more diversity, if you want to call it an “agenda” is the best one that could ever exist.

  10. So, basically you love “Elementary” because it adheres to your personal political agenda. Funny enough that is not one of the criteria I even think of when it comes to my entertainment choices. I judge creative works on their merits as creative works and here I do find “E” sadly lacking, whereas I think “Sherlock” is a brilliant work of art.

    1. A “personal political agenda” is not a separate entity of a person. It’s a part of a personality. You are not just a sum of random parts, and a person’s opinion can have standing in their beliefs. You proved that in your own comment. Also wanting more diversity, if you want to call it an “agenda” is the best one that could ever exist.

  11. @PennyDay Not sure if we were watching the same show, but to my count, BBC Sherlock’s female characters continuously get berated verbally, mocked, looked down upon, and forgotten. For godsake, Sherlock basically takes a shit on Molly and somehow I’m suppose to root for him as a hero? Sherlock Holmes is not canonically an asshole that no one is suppose to like ever. Because while I enjoyed the story by BBC and the stylistic approach, I never once fell for the allure of Sherlock. He was an ass who egotistically stood above everyone else, unable to see fault in himself, unable to mature. You want to talk about misogyny? Let’s take a look at any female character Moffat ever built. He forces them into a damsel-in-distress hole that they can spend their whole careers digging out of only to fail.

    She never “sacrifices” her career. She chooses to give up doing an addict counselor because she loves the life of being a detective. There was legitimately an entire episode on it. Though, I guess you probably missed it. She only has no income because she gives up her job, she could easily take it back up. That entire episode of “isolation” as you call it, is an entire episode of her realizing that detective work is what she wants to do. She goes through growth from a person who is seemingly being dragged along to someone realizing a part of themselves that they might not have had. Elementary’s Sherlock is willing to grow, willing to accept his mistakes with Joan by his side. Meanwhile John is nothing more than a bumbling sidekick with a laptop. Never able to match up to Sherlock.

    As for Irene/Moriarty, it’s not hard to imagine at all how a woman, most likely in her thirties (as Natalie Dormer is in her early 30s), got into the career. No matter how you want to look at it, she could have done it. She has already shown she has no moral qualms about breaking a person a part mentally, you don’t think she did that to her opponents? You don’t think she used every asset to get what she wanted and then left them simpering in a corner? You don’t think she could have picked up a gun and shot someone dead for the face of business?

    The show is not perfect, but your analysis is seriously lacking and highly biased.

    1. Ah @Therese, how you show your true colors by bashing Sherlock generally and bringing up Steven Moffat’s other shows. You just prove that Elementary can’t stand on its own merits.
      Your general ignorance of both shows greatly and exposes the lie that you’re a fan of Sherlock. Instead of your vague assertions, how about specific examples? You claim Sherlock “shits” on the character of Molly. He’s definitely guilty of being rude to her (for example taking her coffee) and sometimes ignoring her while working. Yet she also called him on that behavior (“You always say such terrible things”) which kowtowed him. When she said that, Sherlock realized how he’d hurt her, apologized, and then their relationship improved, culminating in him turning to her for help in a moment of crisis.
      None of that approaches the bad behavior Elementary’s Sherlock Holmes exhibits towards women. For example, he steals Joan’s car in the pilot and crashes it. Instead of her telling him to fuck off, he says “sorry” and gets off scott free. He also makes a racist comment to her when they first meet. He often barges into her bedroom uninvited. He picks out clothes and demands she wear them. In one episode, he claims to know the state of her vagina by the way she walks and that he can tell she hasn’t gotten laid recently. He then suggests that if she had sex she’d be less cranky. Where’s the “growth” you talk about? Unlike Sherlock, who after being called out by Molly actually changes the way he interacts with her, the Sherlock on Elementary says sorry and then the reset button is hit and by the next episode does something equally bad to Joan or another female character.
      In one episode, Holmes waits in the dark and physically attacks Joan as she comes home. That’s to “show her” she’s weak and needs to take self-defense classes. He has sex with prostitutes and openly flirts with female suspects they’re trying to investigate. In one episode, he has a threesome with two women and parades them in front of Joan, his female roommate. It’s highly implied that such behavior makes her uncomfortable yet he does it deliberately. Near as I can remember, none of the women playing his sexual conquests have had lines or names.
      I find it sad that you can’t accept what a weak character they’ve created in Joan Watson, which is a shame because the premise of gender-switching Watson has so much potential for someone who wants to stick with the original character. Like on BBC Sherlock, where John is a seasoned military veteran and still works as a doctor independent of his cases with Sherlock. He not only helps Sherlock with cases, but is a crack shot and despite being a smaller man, can physically best even Sherlock. In addition to muscle, he has the brains to be a writer who popular enough that his blog gets media attention. On Elementary, Joan is not a veteran because the creators said viewers wouldn’t accept it, even though we live in a country where a disabled, female Asian-American military vet currently sits in Congress. Instead of a practicing doctor, Joan Watson is a washed out surgeon. Despite her medical experience, in the pilot they show her gasping and running out of a room when she sees a dead body (and in another episode, she covers her eyes, while in both scenes the male characters handle the situation professionally). She’s not a writer. In the show, she became a drug counselor because of a boyfriend at the time after losing her medical career. She doesn’t voluntarily give up that, she loses it when she takes on Sherlock and is fired by his father. For the first part of their relationship, she’s forced to be with Sherlock because she’s getting paid to be his companion, then after she gets fired she’s forced to give up her own apartment and move in with him. Would she ever decide to be a detective if she was financially independent and had other options? That would be an interesting question that unfortunately the show didn’t answer, instead hobbling her at every turn and making her career decisions dependent on men. An ex-doctor who became a drug counselor who was forced to move in with a client after being fired is a lot less interesting than an independent career woman. It’s less her choice to be a detective then a last resort. What woman would accept the destruction of her personal property, misogynist and racist remarks, sexual harassment and physical attacks like Joan Watson does? One who doesn’t feel like she was has any other options. Unlike other Watsons or the original, she’s not a veteran, a doctor or a writer who has a life independent of Holmes. Compared to female characters like Olivia Pope, Olivia Benson, Kate Beckett (and the list goes on an on) the way Elementary’s writers treat Joan feels like a remnant from the Dark Ages.

      1. You’re really picking and choosing which instances of poor treatment of female characters are acceptable to you, and which are unforgivable misogyny. Molly calls Sherlock out. Where’s the dynamic shift? He still takes advantage of her lab access and skills. She’s still just there for his benefit. By your own analysis, the kiss at Christmas was a reset button. And by the end of Reichenbach, she counts, but he tells her this when she needs him to do something for her. It’s a shame, because it really is quite a moving scene. But only time will tell if Molly actually gets treated better.

        In terms of Joan, you see her forced into everything, I see her taking charge of her career path. Her companionship with Sherlock began as an arrangement, but SHE ENJOYED the detective work. Her friends disapproved, but she knew she was doing good work and doing it well, and so she continued. THAT’S independence. And because I guess it needs to be said again, Joan actually uses her medical knowledge on cases. I actually believe she’s a doctor, and that she was a good surgeon while she was practicing. With John, I’m most impressed by headcanons about his medical practice in the army. His medical knowledge doesn’t really further the cases. Sherlock could basically determine cause of death without him.

        And it really upsets me to see the tired argument of “Oh, Joan gasps and leaves the room when she sees a dead body, some doctor.” Context matters, guys. There’s a difference between being in your element doing what you’ve been trained to do as a surgeon, and seeing a murdered woman lying in a pool of blood in her own home.

        Sure, Elementary’s Sherlock acts like a twat too, but there’s a lot less of the long-suffering that we see on BBC Sherlock, and a lot more calling out and getting back done by Joan, Alfredo, etc. I read a comment somewhere that someone had wished I’d stated this, so I’ll do it now: Joan is taken out of the role of sidekick and becomes a lead herself. It’s called Elementary – there’s no title character. If there was, it would certainly have to be Holmes AND Watson or Sherlock AND Joan, because she’s solving cases now too.

        I highly doubt that every single female character you deem strong and well-written has never had an instance of misogyny that comes from her male co-leads. I watch enough SVU to know that even Benson deals with a lot of bull. What about when a kid gets killed at the subway station and Stabler blames Benson, saying he can’t always keep an eye on her, as if she can’t handle herself. How many times has she alone stood up for a victim who all the men in the squad room think is lying? It’s picking and choosing, and it comes off as people not wanting to see Joan succeed as a strong female character, and therefore reading her as weak.

      2. @Kirsite
        You’re really picking and choosing which instances of poor treatment of female characters are acceptable to you, and which are unforgivable misogyny.
        I thought it was pretty clear wheat behavior Elementary’s Holmes I find unacceptable? I find it unforgivable when a male character physically attacks a female character, I find sexual harrassment (telling a woman she needs to get laid to get less bitchy) unforgivable.
        The worst thing BBC Sherlock has done is when he humiliated Molly by talking about her Christmas present not realizing it was for him. That made her calling him out on it right away and his apology that much more satisfying. Unlike the Sherlock on Elementary, I can’t see BBC Sherlock making racist or misogynist comments to someone, attacking a woman, using prostitutes, treating and discarding women as nameless one night stands. Etc.
        Molly calls Sherlock out. Where’s the dynamic shift? He still takes advantage of her lab access and skills.
        After the Christmas scene where Sherlock apologizes to Molly, she’s in two other scenes in the show. (She also shows him and Mycroft the body in the morgue he thinks is Irene but they don’t interact except when he asks her to see the body, so I don’t count that as it’s so brief). In those two short scenes, we already see a dynamic shift between the characters. When Sherlock wants her to help out, it’s to do the same work in the lab as he and John are doing. Unlike before, when he took her coffee in the first episode, this time he recognizes she’s spending her lunch break helping him and brings her a snack (she also goes off to get something from the cafeteria and shuts him down when he’s about to say he wants something, too). She’s also the only person who correctly deduces about Sherlock himself and leaves him literally speechless, which makes him realize that he can trust her with the big secret his life depends on.
        Her companionship with Sherlock began as an arrangement, but SHE ENJOYED the detective work.
        That would be a better argument if she had chosen to do the detective work and become Sherlock’s apprentice BEFORE she was fired as a drug counselor and had no other choice. In the real word, she probably wouldn’t be able to find another client after moving in and then being fired from her last client, but the show doesn’t need to follow those rules and could’ve easily shown her getting another client. [They actually should’ve shown her dropping him as a client once he stole and wrecked her car in the pilot like any sane person but I guess she had to stick with him because she needed the money and couldn’t get another client.]
        That’s a major difference between the two shows. John on voluntarily interacts with Sherlock. He’s not Sherlock’s employee or apprentice. On the show it’s established that Sherlock had a blog before John but no one read it. John then came along and bested Sherlock at that, becoming a successful writer and it’s only due to John that Sherlock starts getting an income from private clients. [That’s in addition to the show establishing that John can practice as a doctor.] Similar a little bit to Molly, how she’s the coroner and Sherlock only gets to work at the lab or in the morgue with her cooperation. He has no power over her because she’s the one who can kick him out at any time.
        Joan OTOH relies on Sherlock for a place to live, for her income and for her work. Where’s the independence? She can’t be a detective without him because he’s the one with all the access. He’s her only source of income because she’d paid by him [or his father] first as his employee then as his apprentice. Unlike other Watsons, she can’t go make an income as a doctor and doesn’t have a military pension. She lost her own home and without Sherlock already owning a place, who knows what she would’ve done. She couldn’t have just got another apartment with no job and after being evicted from her previous place.
        That difference can be summed up when you look at how both shows dealt with their Watsons having money troubles. On Sherlock, when John was low on money he too a job as a doctor at general practice clinic. On Elementary, when Joan was low on money she sublet her apartment to a guy who ended up using it as a porn movie shoot.
        Her friends disapproved, but she knew she was doing good work and doing it well, and so she continued.
        Her friends probably disapproved because they knew she’d given up on being a doctor and became a drug counselor in the first place because of an ex-boyfriend, and now they saw her suddenly moving in with a former drug addict she was supposed to be treating and giving up on THAT career to suddenly become a detective. I would certainly have an intervention with any friend who did that.
        Context matters, guys. There’s a difference between being in your element doing what you’ve been trained to do as a surgeon, and seeing a murdered woman lying in a pool of blood in her own home.
        Yes context matters. Surgeons are used to see mangled, bloody bodies, including dead ones. The body she saw at a crime scene was fully dressed and there was barely any blood. Joan also saw it for about a second across the room. But as she’s the woman, the show gave her the freaked out, emotional reaction while the men in the scene had no problem being close to the body and a male civilian with no police or medical experience (Sherlock) didn’t flinch when examining it. They also gave her a backstory as a female surgeon who couldn’t handle the pressure of a career in medicine, washed out and took a much lower position.
        Have you read Conan Doyle’s original stories? The point of him making Watson a doctor was so that Watson wouldn’t be squeamish at crime scenes. A significant moment in A Study in Scarlet is when he steps in and examines the body at the first crime scene when he visits with Holmes. That’s reflected in the BBC show when John visits a crime scene with Sherlock for the first time and gets on his hands and knees and examines the body, giving Sherlock valuable information about how she died. [Or compare it to how Molly on Sherlock doesn’t even flinch when dealing with mangled bodies.]
        My mother is a cardiologist so it was personally offensive to me to see a female doctor portrayed so unprofessionally. Like any doctor, my mother unfortunately has plenty of experience with corpses, including crime victims. No doctor except an extremely bad one who do such a thing. Can you think of any examples of a male doctor on TV gasping and running out of the room at the sight of an injured or dead person?

        1. It is tempting to refute PennyDay point by point (it can be done). However, while I respect her opinion, it is only that, her opinion. There are those who have concerns with BBC Sherlock’s depiction of women, Irene Adler being a prime example. There are those who see Joan Watson as a strong female figure. These people are not espousing an agenda but expressing themselves in thoughtful and respectful ways, as Ms. Huruta did in her post.

      3. You are aware that Molly is considered one of the best female characters on TV, and not by Sherlock fans, but by feminist sites? Because she (and Mrs Hudson btw) are both female characters who have become rare in TV, but who are desperately needed. Characters who aren’t kick-ass, who don’t snark, who are allowed to be girly and, for the lack of a better word, “normal”, but who nevertheless show hidden strengths in the right moment, showing that the shy woman or the old woman are not persons you should underestimate.

  12. @PennyDay Not sure if we were watching the same show, but to my count, BBC Sherlock’s female characters continuously get berated verbally, mocked, looked down upon, and forgotten. For godsake, Sherlock basically takes a shit on Molly and somehow I’m suppose to root for him as a hero? Sherlock Holmes is not canonically an asshole that no one is suppose to like ever. Because while I enjoyed the story by BBC and the stylistic approach, I never once fell for the allure of Sherlock. He was an ass who egotistically stood above everyone else, unable to see fault in himself, unable to mature. You want to talk about misogyny? Let’s take a look at any female character Moffat ever built. He forces them into a damsel-in-distress hole that they can spend their whole careers digging out of only to fail.

    She never “sacrifices” her career. She chooses to give up doing an addict counselor because she loves the life of being a detective. There was legitimately an entire episode on it. Though, I guess you probably missed it. She only has no income because she gives up her job, she could easily take it back up. That entire episode of “isolation” as you call it, is an entire episode of her realizing that detective work is what she wants to do. She goes through growth from a person who is seemingly being dragged along to someone realizing a part of themselves that they might not have had. Elementary’s Sherlock is willing to grow, willing to accept his mistakes with Joan by his side. Meanwhile John is nothing more than a bumbling sidekick with a laptop. Never able to match up to Sherlock.

    As for Irene/Moriarty, it’s not hard to imagine at all how a woman, most likely in her thirties (as Natalie Dormer is in her early 30s), got into the career. No matter how you want to look at it, she could have done it. She has already shown she has no moral qualms about breaking a person a part mentally, you don’t think she did that to her opponents? You don’t think she used every asset to get what she wanted and then left them simpering in a corner? You don’t think she could have picked up a gun and shot someone dead for the face of business?

    The show is not perfect, but your analysis is seriously lacking and highly biased.

    1. Ah @Therese, how you show your true colors by bashing Sherlock generally and bringing up Steven Moffat’s other shows. You just prove that Elementary can’t stand on its own merits.
      Your general ignorance of both shows greatly and exposes the lie that you’re a fan of Sherlock. Instead of your vague assertions, how about specific examples? You claim Sherlock “shits” on the character of Molly. He’s definitely guilty of being rude to her (for example taking her coffee) and sometimes ignoring her while working. Yet she also called him on that behavior (“You always say such terrible things”) which kowtowed him. When she said that, Sherlock realized how he’d hurt her, apologized, and then their relationship improved, culminating in him turning to her for help in a moment of crisis.
      None of that approaches the bad behavior Elementary’s Sherlock Holmes exhibits towards women. For example, he steals Joan’s car in the pilot and crashes it. Instead of her telling him to fuck off, he says “sorry” and gets off scott free. He also makes a racist comment to her when they first meet. He often barges into her bedroom uninvited. He picks out clothes and demands she wear them. In one episode, he claims to know the state of her vagina by the way she walks and that he can tell she hasn’t gotten laid recently. He then suggests that if she had sex she’d be less cranky. Where’s the “growth” you talk about? Unlike Sherlock, who after being called out by Molly actually changes the way he interacts with her, the Sherlock on Elementary says sorry and then the reset button is hit and by the next episode does something equally bad to Joan or another female character.
      In one episode, Holmes waits in the dark and physically attacks Joan as she comes home. That’s to “show her” she’s weak and needs to take self-defense classes. He has sex with prostitutes and openly flirts with female suspects they’re trying to investigate. In one episode, he has a threesome with two women and parades them in front of Joan, his female roommate. It’s highly implied that such behavior makes her uncomfortable yet he does it deliberately. Near as I can remember, none of the women playing his sexual conquests have had lines or names.
      I find it sad that you can’t accept what a weak character they’ve created in Joan Watson, which is a shame because the premise of gender-switching Watson has so much potential for someone who wants to stick with the original character. Like on BBC Sherlock, where John is a seasoned military veteran and still works as a doctor independent of his cases with Sherlock. He not only helps Sherlock with cases, but is a crack shot and despite being a smaller man, can physically best even Sherlock. In addition to muscle, he has the brains to be a writer who popular enough that his blog gets media attention. On Elementary, Joan is not a veteran because the creators said viewers wouldn’t accept it, even though we live in a country where a disabled, female Asian-American military vet currently sits in Congress. Instead of a practicing doctor, Joan Watson is a washed out surgeon. Despite her medical experience, in the pilot they show her gasping and running out of a room when she sees a dead body (and in another episode, she covers her eyes, while in both scenes the male characters handle the situation professionally). She’s not a writer. In the show, she became a drug counselor because of a boyfriend at the time after losing her medical career. She doesn’t voluntarily give up that, she loses it when she takes on Sherlock and is fired by his father. For the first part of their relationship, she’s forced to be with Sherlock because she’s getting paid to be his companion, then after she gets fired she’s forced to give up her own apartment and move in with him. Would she ever decide to be a detective if she was financially independent and had other options? That would be an interesting question that unfortunately the show didn’t answer, instead hobbling her at every turn and making her career decisions dependent on men. An ex-doctor who became a drug counselor who was forced to move in with a client after being fired is a lot less interesting than an independent career woman. It’s less her choice to be a detective then a last resort. What woman would accept the destruction of her personal property, misogynist and racist remarks, sexual harassment and physical attacks like Joan Watson does? One who doesn’t feel like she was has any other options. Unlike other Watsons or the original, she’s not a veteran, a doctor or a writer who has a life independent of Holmes. Compared to female characters like Olivia Pope, Olivia Benson, Kate Beckett (and the list goes on an on) the way Elementary’s writers treat Joan feels like a remnant from the Dark Ages.

      1. You’re really picking and choosing which instances of poor treatment of female characters are acceptable to you, and which are unforgivable misogyny. Molly calls Sherlock out. Where’s the dynamic shift? He still takes advantage of her lab access and skills. She’s still just there for his benefit. By your own analysis, the kiss at Christmas was a reset button. And by the end of Reichenbach, she counts, but he tells her this when she needs him to do something for her. It’s a shame, because it really is quite a moving scene. But only time will tell if Molly actually gets treated better.

        In terms of Joan, you see her forced into everything, I see her taking charge of her career path. Her companionship with Sherlock began as an arrangement, but SHE ENJOYED the detective work. Her friends disapproved, but she knew she was doing good work and doing it well, and so she continued. THAT’S independence. And because I guess it needs to be said again, Joan actually uses her medical knowledge on cases. I actually believe she’s a doctor, and that she was a good surgeon while she was practicing. With John, I’m most impressed by headcanons about his medical practice in the army. His medical knowledge doesn’t really further the cases. Sherlock could basically determine cause of death without him.

        And it really upsets me to see the tired argument of “Oh, Joan gasps and leaves the room when she sees a dead body, some doctor.” Context matters, guys. There’s a difference between being in your element doing what you’ve been trained to do as a surgeon, and seeing a murdered woman lying in a pool of blood in her own home.

        Sure, Elementary’s Sherlock acts like a twat too, but there’s a lot less of the long-suffering that we see on BBC Sherlock, and a lot more calling out and getting back done by Joan, Alfredo, etc. I read a comment somewhere that someone had wished I’d stated this, so I’ll do it now: Joan is taken out of the role of sidekick and becomes a lead herself. It’s called Elementary – there’s no title character. If there was, it would certainly have to be Holmes AND Watson or Sherlock AND Joan, because she’s solving cases now too.

        I highly doubt that every single female character you deem strong and well-written has never had an instance of misogyny that comes from her male co-leads. I watch enough SVU to know that even Benson deals with a lot of bull. What about when a kid gets killed at the subway station and Stabler blames Benson, saying he can’t always keep an eye on her, as if she can’t handle herself. How many times has she alone stood up for a victim who all the men in the squad room think is lying? It’s picking and choosing, and it comes off as people not wanting to see Joan succeed as a strong female character, and therefore reading her as weak.

      2. @Kirsite
        You’re really picking and choosing which instances of poor treatment of female characters are acceptable to you, and which are unforgivable misogyny.
        I thought it was pretty clear wheat behavior Elementary’s Holmes I find unacceptable? I find it unforgivable when a male character physically attacks a female character, I find sexual harrassment (telling a woman she needs to get laid to get less bitchy) unforgivable.
        The worst thing BBC Sherlock has done is when he humiliated Molly by talking about her Christmas present not realizing it was for him. That made her calling him out on it right away and his apology that much more satisfying. Unlike the Sherlock on Elementary, I can’t see BBC Sherlock making racist or misogynist comments to someone, attacking a woman, using prostitutes, treating and discarding women as nameless one night stands. Etc.
        Molly calls Sherlock out. Where’s the dynamic shift? He still takes advantage of her lab access and skills.
        After the Christmas scene where Sherlock apologizes to Molly, she’s in two other scenes in the show. (She also shows him and Mycroft the body in the morgue he thinks is Irene but they don’t interact except when he asks her to see the body, so I don’t count that as it’s so brief). In those two short scenes, we already see a dynamic shift between the characters. When Sherlock wants her to help out, it’s to do the same work in the lab as he and John are doing. Unlike before, when he took her coffee in the first episode, this time he recognizes she’s spending her lunch break helping him and brings her a snack (she also goes off to get something from the cafeteria and shuts him down when he’s about to say he wants something, too). She’s also the only person who correctly deduces about Sherlock himself and leaves him literally speechless, which makes him realize that he can trust her with the big secret his life depends on.
        Her companionship with Sherlock began as an arrangement, but SHE ENJOYED the detective work.
        That would be a better argument if she had chosen to do the detective work and become Sherlock’s apprentice BEFORE she was fired as a drug counselor and had no other choice. In the real word, she probably wouldn’t be able to find another client after moving in and then being fired from her last client, but the show doesn’t need to follow those rules and could’ve easily shown her getting another client. [They actually should’ve shown her dropping him as a client once he stole and wrecked her car in the pilot like any sane person but I guess she had to stick with him because she needed the money and couldn’t get another client.]
        That’s a major difference between the two shows. John on voluntarily interacts with Sherlock. He’s not Sherlock’s employee or apprentice. On the show it’s established that Sherlock had a blog before John but no one read it. John then came along and bested Sherlock at that, becoming a successful writer and it’s only due to John that Sherlock starts getting an income from private clients. [That’s in addition to the show establishing that John can practice as a doctor.] Similar a little bit to Molly, how she’s the coroner and Sherlock only gets to work at the lab or in the morgue with her cooperation. He has no power over her because she’s the one who can kick him out at any time.
        Joan OTOH relies on Sherlock for a place to live, for her income and for her work. Where’s the independence? She can’t be a detective without him because he’s the one with all the access. He’s her only source of income because she’d paid by him [or his father] first as his employee then as his apprentice. Unlike other Watsons, she can’t go make an income as a doctor and doesn’t have a military pension. She lost her own home and without Sherlock already owning a place, who knows what she would’ve done. She couldn’t have just got another apartment with no job and after being evicted from her previous place.
        That difference can be summed up when you look at how both shows dealt with their Watsons having money troubles. On Sherlock, when John was low on money he too a job as a doctor at general practice clinic. On Elementary, when Joan was low on money she sublet her apartment to a guy who ended up using it as a porn movie shoot.
        Her friends disapproved, but she knew she was doing good work and doing it well, and so she continued.
        Her friends probably disapproved because they knew she’d given up on being a doctor and became a drug counselor in the first place because of an ex-boyfriend, and now they saw her suddenly moving in with a former drug addict she was supposed to be treating and giving up on THAT career to suddenly become a detective. I would certainly have an intervention with any friend who did that.
        Context matters, guys. There’s a difference between being in your element doing what you’ve been trained to do as a surgeon, and seeing a murdered woman lying in a pool of blood in her own home.
        Yes context matters. Surgeons are used to see mangled, bloody bodies, including dead ones. The body she saw at a crime scene was fully dressed and there was barely any blood. Joan also saw it for about a second across the room. But as she’s the woman, the show gave her the freaked out, emotional reaction while the men in the scene had no problem being close to the body and a male civilian with no police or medical experience (Sherlock) didn’t flinch when examining it. They also gave her a backstory as a female surgeon who couldn’t handle the pressure of a career in medicine, washed out and took a much lower position.
        Have you read Conan Doyle’s original stories? The point of him making Watson a doctor was so that Watson wouldn’t be squeamish at crime scenes. A significant moment in A Study in Scarlet is when he steps in and examines the body at the first crime scene when he visits with Holmes. That’s reflected in the BBC show when John visits a crime scene with Sherlock for the first time and gets on his hands and knees and examines the body, giving Sherlock valuable information about how she died. [Or compare it to how Molly on Sherlock doesn’t even flinch when dealing with mangled bodies.]
        My mother is a cardiologist so it was personally offensive to me to see a female doctor portrayed so unprofessionally. Like any doctor, my mother unfortunately has plenty of experience with corpses, including crime victims. No doctor except an extremely bad one who do such a thing. Can you think of any examples of a male doctor on TV gasping and running out of the room at the sight of an injured or dead person?

        1. It is tempting to refute PennyDay point by point (it can be done). However, while I respect her opinion, it is only that, her opinion. There are those who have concerns with BBC Sherlock’s depiction of women, Irene Adler being a prime example. There are those who see Joan Watson as a strong female figure. These people are not espousing an agenda but expressing themselves in thoughtful and respectful ways, as Ms. Huruta did in her post.

      3. You are aware that Molly is considered one of the best female characters on TV, and not by Sherlock fans, but by feminist sites? Because she (and Mrs Hudson btw) are both female characters who have become rare in TV, but who are desperately needed. Characters who aren’t kick-ass, who don’t snark, who are allowed to be girly and, for the lack of a better word, “normal”, but who nevertheless show hidden strengths in the right moment, showing that the shy woman or the old woman are not persons you should underestimate.

  13. Sam is right; the “we” in this title does not include myself, and my heart will forever belong to Sherlock (though I am giving Elementary a second chance, because I am a reasonable person, after all).

    I agree with Joay in the sense that BBC Sherlock, as the creators have stated, is supposed to be a younger Holmes and one with less experience. In the canon, Watson mentions that Holmes used to be much less reasonable and caring than we find him to be in the books, which could be the direction that BBC wanted to take it. BBC Sherlock is definitely a jerk, and like he says himself, he’s NOT a hero. This might change after the events of Reichenbach, but either way I believe we’ll see significant character development in season 3. Elementary Sherlock is quirky and I love it, and while I personally am having a hard time connecting him with ACD Holmes, I think the two shows are simply highlighting different aspects of the character’s personality.

    I am first and foremost a fan of Sherlock Holmes, and I have criticisms of both shows. BBC Sherlock could loosen up a bit, sure. I personally love Cumberbatch’s character and his snark (maybe I feel a connection, and maybe I’m a terrible person because of it, oh well). Don’t even get me started on the failings of Moffat; we could talk about that all day. But he is not the ONLY one running the show, and again, I think to be fair, we should let Sherlock have another season before we go around claiming one better than the other. Just the fact that the show has gained this much popularity and worldwide critical acclaim over 6 episodes says a lot about its merit.

    I think I will always be slightly bitter about how Elementary pretty blatantly took BBC’s idea for a modern Holmes, but before you flame me, I do believe the show stands on its own. The similarities really do stop at the source material (and the time period). Miller’s character is different enough, but to me, the show plays out like most American crime dramas, of which I am not a huge fan. People say it gets better after episode 12, but BBC Sherlock is fantastic all the way through. So while I will continue to watch Elementary and disconnect myself from my biases, I just prefer the way Sherlock operates as a show–so far.

  14. Sam is right; the “we” in this title does not include myself, and my heart will forever belong to Sherlock (though I am giving Elementary a second chance, because I am a reasonable person, after all).

    I agree with Joay in the sense that BBC Sherlock, as the creators have stated, is supposed to be a younger Holmes and one with less experience. In the canon, Watson mentions that Holmes used to be much less reasonable and caring than we find him to be in the books, which could be the direction that BBC wanted to take it. BBC Sherlock is definitely a jerk, and like he says himself, he’s NOT a hero. This might change after the events of Reichenbach, but either way I believe we’ll see significant character development in season 3. Elementary Sherlock is quirky and I love it, and while I personally am having a hard time connecting him with ACD Holmes, I think the two shows are simply highlighting different aspects of the character’s personality.

    I am first and foremost a fan of Sherlock Holmes, and I have criticisms of both shows. BBC Sherlock could loosen up a bit, sure. I personally love Cumberbatch’s character and his snark (maybe I feel a connection, and maybe I’m a terrible person because of it, oh well). Don’t even get me started on the failings of Moffat; we could talk about that all day. But he is not the ONLY one running the show, and again, I think to be fair, we should let Sherlock have another season before we go around claiming one better than the other. Just the fact that the show has gained this much popularity and worldwide critical acclaim over 6 episodes says a lot about its merit.

    I think I will always be slightly bitter about how Elementary pretty blatantly took BBC’s idea for a modern Holmes, but before you flame me, I do believe the show stands on its own. The similarities really do stop at the source material (and the time period). Miller’s character is different enough, but to me, the show plays out like most American crime dramas, of which I am not a huge fan. People say it gets better after episode 12, but BBC Sherlock is fantastic all the way through. So while I will continue to watch Elementary and disconnect myself from my biases, I just prefer the way Sherlock operates as a show–so far.

  15. Kristie, as a fan of both shows, i’ll let the data speak for itself and leave the biases aside . . . for a moment. 😀

    For this i’ll be using the #1 internet source for tv shows and movies, imdb.com, which ranks as the 53 most visited site in the world.

    Sherlock is ranked 9.2 from 162,656 users and for awards has 31 wins & 46 nominations.

    Elementary is ranked 7.6 from 25,993 users and has 1 win & 9 nominations.

    Johnny Miller (Sherlock Holmes) has 1 win & 7 nominations as an actor and his win is for best ensemble cast for 1997 afterglow.

    Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes) has 7 wins & 12 nominations and 3 of those wins are for best actor for his portrayal of Sherlock.

    Lucy Liu (Joan Watson) has 9 wins and 14 nominations none are for her role as Watson.

    Martin Freeman (John Watson) 4 wins & 7 nominations 1 win for best supporting actor in Sherlock.

    Natalie Dormer (Moriarity) has 3 nominations for the Tudors none are for Elementary.

    Andrew Scott (Moriarity) has 3 wins and 2 are for best supporting actor in Sherlock.

    Steven Moffat has won best television teleplay for Sherlock episode Scandal in Belgravia, and best writer for the same episode.
    and they won the peabody award for a study in pink. a peabody award is Reflecting excellence in quality rather than popularity or commercial success, the Peabody is awarded to about 25-35 winners annually from more than 1,000 entries.

    i could go on and on, but i think this is more than enough data to draw our conclusions.

    I realize that Elementary is a new show with only one season, and that Sherlock has 2 seasons and it’s 3rd will be airing October of this year, but these are the facts as things stand now, perhaps things will change, but until then one show seems to be superior in nearly every way and it isn’t Elementary my dear. *do you see what i did there 😀

    1. While plenty of those nominations and wins were well deserved, I’d rather hear the opinion you’ve formed as a viewer instead of having awards stats copy/pasted and used as an argument. You even acknowledge that Sherlock has been around longer and so regardless of how much stock you put in awards, this really isn’t evidence of superiority. Elementary hasn’t even been around long enough to go through a whole awards cycle, but again, you have to think about who is giving out these awards and what their biases are. Have all of your favorite films and shows been huge award winners?

      And as silke ketelsen pointed out, there’s been no confirmed air date yet for series 3, and it certainly won’t be in October. Please guys, check sources and confirm these things before getting excited and passing on false information.

  16. Kristie, as a fan of both shows, i’ll let the data speak for itself and leave the biases aside . . . for a moment. 😀

    For this i’ll be using the #1 internet source for tv shows and movies, imdb.com, which ranks as the 53 most visited site in the world.

    Sherlock is ranked 9.2 from 162,656 users and for awards has 31 wins & 46 nominations.

    Elementary is ranked 7.6 from 25,993 users and has 1 win & 9 nominations.

    Johnny Miller (Sherlock Holmes) has 1 win & 7 nominations as an actor and his win is for best ensemble cast for 1997 afterglow.

    Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes) has 7 wins & 12 nominations and 3 of those wins are for best actor for his portrayal of Sherlock.

    Lucy Liu (Joan Watson) has 9 wins and 14 nominations none are for her role as Watson.

    Martin Freeman (John Watson) 4 wins & 7 nominations 1 win for best supporting actor in Sherlock.

    Natalie Dormer (Moriarity) has 3 nominations for the Tudors none are for Elementary.

    Andrew Scott (Moriarity) has 3 wins and 2 are for best supporting actor in Sherlock.

    Steven Moffat has won best television teleplay for Sherlock episode Scandal in Belgravia, and best writer for the same episode.
    and they won the peabody award for a study in pink. a peabody award is Reflecting excellence in quality rather than popularity or commercial success, the Peabody is awarded to about 25-35 winners annually from more than 1,000 entries.

    i could go on and on, but i think this is more than enough data to draw our conclusions.

    I realize that Elementary is a new show with only one season, and that Sherlock has 2 seasons and it’s 3rd will be airing October of this year, but these are the facts as things stand now, perhaps things will change, but until then one show seems to be superior in nearly every way and it isn’t Elementary my dear. *do you see what i did there 😀

    1. While plenty of those nominations and wins were well deserved, I’d rather hear the opinion you’ve formed as a viewer instead of having awards stats copy/pasted and used as an argument. You even acknowledge that Sherlock has been around longer and so regardless of how much stock you put in awards, this really isn’t evidence of superiority. Elementary hasn’t even been around long enough to go through a whole awards cycle, but again, you have to think about who is giving out these awards and what their biases are. Have all of your favorite films and shows been huge award winners?

      And as silke ketelsen pointed out, there’s been no confirmed air date yet for series 3, and it certainly won’t be in October. Please guys, check sources and confirm these things before getting excited and passing on false information.

      1. see, when i was mentioning the awards, it’s because i was actually comparing two like things, differences aside. comparing greys anatomy to sherlock simply because it has won awards is a ridiculous comparison, because they are nothing alike. i do not watch greys anatomy, but i have seen episodes of it, (married), but i will say this again, imdb is the top movie/tv show website in the world, and more everyday people, not critics, voted that elementary and sherlock are better shows with sherlock leaving the other two in the dust. so do awards mean it has to be the better show, not necessarily, but when the majority of both the people and critics say that sherlock is better than greys and elementary, i tend to think that where there’s smoke there’s fire. i’m sure others will disagree, but according to the numbers, more people agree with me. 😉

      2. I understand that, but I was giving an example of how a show can make itself out to be something better with the use of certain cliche devices and how this can actually fool people, such as critics, to give it awards. I’m not saying that’s the case with Sherlock, just pointing out that many GREAT shows, like Fringe for instance, are not appreciated by critics while lousy ones do. And many good shows that are nominated for Emmys every year, despite being “deep” or “thought provoking”, are not really that entertaining to the masses. So no matter how many times I am told that *insert name here* is a good show, if I can’t enjoy it, if I can’t relate to the characters, I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon just because so many “COOL” people like it. I’ve seen a lot of movies that are hyped up by sites like IMDB. and on actually watching them they turned out to be mediocre(also, lots of non-critics can grade stuff on IMDB. Pretty much everyone,actually). Also, when critics review a series they take into account a plethora of factors: plot, characters, acting, special effects, cinematography etc. And to many people, some of these aspects aren’t that important and don’t contribute that much in the over-all enjoyment of a show. It’s like when at a cooking contest, the jury grades a meal based also on its appearance, when to most people all that matters is the taste. So if the characters, for instance, are the most important aspect to me, I will be less impressed by the fact that Sherlock has amazing visual effects and more putt off by how much of an ass the main character is and how clueless the rest of the characters are.

  17. October this year definitely not. Ep3 isn’t even in the can right now and will only start filming by the end of this month.

  18. October this year definitely not. Ep3 isn’t even in the can right now and will only start filming by the end of this month.

  19. Also, I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I’m stoked that discussions have been started in response to this article (and thank you to Therese for posting some replies, I’ve been slacking) but the one thing I’m tired of seeing is “Why are you STILL comparing the two shows???”

    So first of all, I don’t know all the other posts that are out there (apparently there are a lot?) but I didn’t want to do an analysis until Elementary had run through its entire season. It wouldn’t have been fair otherwise. Second, because most of the hostility towards Elementary came from Sherlock fans (and, let’s not forget, Sherlock’s own crew), the show and those fans had this coming. Even if there hadn’t been all the backlash, both shows are currently running, modern-day adaptations of the same stories. They are going to be compared and contrasted whether you’re tired of it or not.

    That’s why I feel the comparison is merited. Not because Sherlock is the standard. If anything, this should tell you that I and other viewers of Elementary feel that if Sherlock was the standard, in many ways, it’s not anymore.

    1. t wouldn’t have been fair otherwise. Second, because most of the hostility towards Elementary came from Sherlock fans (and, let’s not forget, Sherlock’s own crew)
      Let’s not forget that the people connected to Sherlock have either had no comment on Elementary or, like Benedict Cumberbatch, have had positive things to say.
      CBS tried to get the American rights to remake Sherlock and were turned down. After they failed to do that they proceeded to dig up an old spec script about a modern Holmes series called Elementary, but didn’t give that original writer any credit either. Sue Vertue, the producer for Sherlock, was forced to comment on Elementary when CBS let erroneous press reports go out that she was to be a producer on Elementary. CBS didn’t correct them so she was forced to, which was a frustrating situation for her. She also commented about the unprofessionalism of the CBS executives in their dealings but had no comment about the quality of Elementary since it obviously hadn’t been made yet. When asked by the media about the situation, CBS president Nina Tassler said she was a huge fan of Sherlock and claimed she had no idea what went on and that it was all handled by CBS Television Studios.
      After Elementary premiered, the misinformation continued with Lucy Liu referring to Elementary in New York magazine as a “remake” of Sherlock, calling Sherlock “the original series” and falsely claiming that Sherlock’s creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss had seen Elementary, loved it and given it their blessing. Again, that forced Sherlock’s producers to reiterate that they have no connection to CBS and had no comment as they hadn’t seen the show. (Apparently not letting a network get away with using your name to promote their new television series is ” hostile.”)
      Compare that to the behavior of Elementary’s creator, Rob Doherty. When the show first premiered, he claimed the show had nothing to do with Sherlock and was the brainchild of another executive producer, which was false and resulted in an embarrassing incident where that producer had to correct Doherty in front of the media. Doherty was also the one who caused Lucy Liu to inadvertently lie to the press when he claimed that the creators of Sherlock had seen Elementary and loved it. She repeated that, not knowing it wasn’t true. Doherty then gave a passive-aggressive interview where he basically insulted both Andrew Scott and Jared Harris’ portrayals of Moriarty and said how he would do Moriarty so much better (he’s also bragged about not reading all of the Doyle stories). Natalie Dormer, who played Irene Adler on Elementary, also insulted Lara Pulver’s performance as Irene to the press.
      Compare that behavior to Benedict Cumberbatch, who Jonny Lee Miller said saw the pilot for Elementary and sent him a lovely text about it. Or Martin Freeman, who Lucy Liu raved about after meeting him at the Emmys. Though he hadn’t seen Elementary, she said Freeman couldn’t have been lovelier to her, gave her a big hug and indulged her request to take a photo with her.

  20. Also, I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I’m stoked that discussions have been started in response to this article (and thank you to Therese for posting some replies, I’ve been slacking) but the one thing I’m tired of seeing is “Why are you STILL comparing the two shows???”

    So first of all, I don’t know all the other posts that are out there (apparently there are a lot?) but I didn’t want to do an analysis until Elementary had run through its entire season. It wouldn’t have been fair otherwise. Second, because most of the hostility towards Elementary came from Sherlock fans (and, let’s not forget, Sherlock’s own crew), the show and those fans had this coming. Even if there hadn’t been all the backlash, both shows are currently running, modern-day adaptations of the same stories. They are going to be compared and contrasted whether you’re tired of it or not.

    That’s why I feel the comparison is merited. Not because Sherlock is the standard. If anything, this should tell you that I and other viewers of Elementary feel that if Sherlock was the standard, in many ways, it’s not anymore.

    1. t wouldn’t have been fair otherwise. Second, because most of the hostility towards Elementary came from Sherlock fans (and, let’s not forget, Sherlock’s own crew)
      Let’s not forget that the people connected to Sherlock have either had no comment on Elementary or, like Benedict Cumberbatch, have had positive things to say.
      CBS tried to get the American rights to remake Sherlock and were turned down. After they failed to do that they proceeded to dig up an old spec script about a modern Holmes series called Elementary, but didn’t give that original writer any credit either. Sue Vertue, the producer for Sherlock, was forced to comment on Elementary when CBS let erroneous press reports go out that she was to be a producer on Elementary. CBS didn’t correct them so she was forced to, which was a frustrating situation for her. She also commented about the unprofessionalism of the CBS executives in their dealings but had no comment about the quality of Elementary since it obviously hadn’t been made yet. When asked by the media about the situation, CBS president Nina Tassler said she was a huge fan of Sherlock and claimed she had no idea what went on and that it was all handled by CBS Television Studios.
      After Elementary premiered, the misinformation continued with Lucy Liu referring to Elementary in New York magazine as a “remake” of Sherlock, calling Sherlock “the original series” and falsely claiming that Sherlock’s creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss had seen Elementary, loved it and given it their blessing. Again, that forced Sherlock’s producers to reiterate that they have no connection to CBS and had no comment as they hadn’t seen the show. (Apparently not letting a network get away with using your name to promote their new television series is ” hostile.”)
      Compare that to the behavior of Elementary’s creator, Rob Doherty. When the show first premiered, he claimed the show had nothing to do with Sherlock and was the brainchild of another executive producer, which was false and resulted in an embarrassing incident where that producer had to correct Doherty in front of the media. Doherty was also the one who caused Lucy Liu to inadvertently lie to the press when he claimed that the creators of Sherlock had seen Elementary and loved it. She repeated that, not knowing it wasn’t true. Doherty then gave a passive-aggressive interview where he basically insulted both Andrew Scott and Jared Harris’ portrayals of Moriarty and said how he would do Moriarty so much better (he’s also bragged about not reading all of the Doyle stories). Natalie Dormer, who played Irene Adler on Elementary, also insulted Lara Pulver’s performance as Irene to the press.
      Compare that behavior to Benedict Cumberbatch, who Jonny Lee Miller said saw the pilot for Elementary and sent him a lovely text about it. Or Martin Freeman, who Lucy Liu raved about after meeting him at the Emmys. Though he hadn’t seen Elementary, she said Freeman couldn’t have been lovelier to her, gave her a big hug and indulged her request to take a photo with her.

  21. “I’d rather hear the opinion you’ve formed as a viewer instead of having awards stats copy/pasted and used as an argument.”

    that’s coming next, it was late, and i had work in the morning so i wanted to post those stats, before stating my opinion.

    but i find it interesting that you in a comment above stated “There’s plenty of critical acclaim for Elementary. A quick Google search will yield plenty of reviews, and the response is generally positive and enthusiastic.” and then when i take your vague and general statement that cites no sources, and i in fact get very specific and cite mine and show that Sherlock is ranked “by the people” two whole number notches above elementary on the number one movie/tv show website and that in addition to the average joe, the critics that you felt fine in using in defense of elementary, were shown to favor sherlock in every category. that, logically speaking, is the fallacy of cherry picking. because you appeal to the critics and reviews to defend your view, and then basically say “so what?” when i get specific with them and show Sherlocks dominance with them.

    by the way the above comment wasn’t copy/pasted at all. i researched all of it, and then typed into the above comment. (this is a website called nerdophiles . . . right? good, just checkin’ :D)

    perhaps elementary will get better, perhaps it will pick up a bigger audience, and all of the above actors will win awards for their portrayals of their character, but as of now they haven’t.

    If you are going to compare the two shows and claim elementary is superior, that is your opinion and you’re entitled. i’m just using those stats to illustrate that it’s the minority perspective.

    but hey, it’s all chocolate ice cream. it’s just that more people think Sherlock is better ice cream that’s all . . . and the people in places that judge the ice cream think Sherlock’s ice cream is better . . . so much so, that they have these neat little trophies that . . . well, you get the idea. 😀

    “You even acknowledge that Sherlock has been around longer”

    yes it has, but not by much, and elementary has 17 more episodes than Sherlock and i have yet to see one single episode of those 23 that is better than, “a study in pink, “the great game”, “scandal in belgravia” or “the reichenbach fall”. Those Sherlock episodes are absolute works of art. the writing is clever, the dialogue witty, numerous tongue in cheek references to the cannon, and while it’s serious enough, it has enough humor to keep it from becoming stale as elementary can become for it’s lack of. and i am way more impressed by the performances of the Sherlock cast as opposed to elementary. and i care about all of that a lot more than whether or not Watson becomes an apprentice, or that they changed his gender, if it’s politically correct enough, if the surrounding peripheral police characters are being respected enough, or the twist of making Irene Adler into Moriarty.

    the truth is that elementary is way too episodic in its formula. Sherlock and Joan solve another case, and perhaps a tidbit about each other is revealed.

    the “M” arc is really the ONLY arc, and if it fails to impress than so does the show i’m afraid. I remember when the M arc showed up, I was like finally some REAL story, but better than the great game or the reichenbach fall? Not a chance.

    each of the above stated sherlock episodes have story oozing out of them and are central to the main character. the gensis of a lifelong friendship, the adversary, the love, and the fall. all very dramatic and epic pieces which move me much more than anything in elementary.

    “And as silke ketelsen pointed out, there’s been no confirmed air date yet for series 3, and it certainly won’t be in October. Please guys, check sources and confirm these things before getting excited and passing on false information.”

    i apologize if you are sure that the information is false. i’m aware of the filming schedule and “that the third episode 3 isn’t in the can yet.”

    this was taken from wikipedia

    “The availability of Cumberbatch and Freeman dictated that two episodes for the third season would be shot beginning 18 March.[70] On 23 May, production finished on the second episode, the final episode is scheduled to be recorded in late summer.”

    so if they finished both shooting and production (i’m assuming post production, but perhaps this isn’t the case) for 2 ep in 2 months, then why if they begin shooting in august or September couldn’t they be ready by October 31?

    i got the date from a semi reliable source. it’s from the Sherlock page on imdb.com, where the creators put the tentative dates for the release. these dates come from the creators and are on a reliable website, they may be subject to change. but hey, it’s the best we have in terms of a tentative release date for now from the creators.

    see for yourself

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1475582/episodes?season=3&ref_=tt_eps_sn_3

    it’s also here, each episode has it’s own imdb page

    the empty hearse Oct 31 2013
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2189771/
    sign of the three Nov 7 2013
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2781042/
    ep 3.3 Nov 14 2013
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2781046/

    but again if you guys know more than me and can cite your sources for “knowing” that the above is impossible, then by all means please enlighten me. i just want to know what’s really going down.

    1. I totally second everything you say Ian, especially

      “the “M” arc is really the ONLY arc, and if it fails to impress than so does the show i’m afraid. I remember when the M arc showed up, I was like finally some REAL story, but better than the great game or the reichenbach fall? Not a chance.”

      It seems that even many regular “E”-viewers share your opinion as the viewer count dropped steadily for the last seven(!) episodes from 11.33 for “Déjà-vu” to 8.98 for the last two eps “The Woman” and “Heroine”.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Elementary_episodes

      But, of course, stats are only good if they can be used to further your own argument and are totally meaningless when they seem to support the opposite view. 😉

      As for S3’s airdate Sue Vertue herself repeatedly stated that there is no date confirmed. Okay, that was in May, but there have been other instances of denying any confirmed airdate by the creators. I’m just too lazy to look for them now.

      https://twitter.com/suevertue/status/337579242764255234
      https://twitter.com/suevertue/status/337592477290754048

      1. As for the ratings numbers, those are live viewers. Increasingly, viewers are watching their favorite shows on DVR, numbers that the ratings systems are just now struggling to reflect.
        • The top seven scripted TV show belong to CBS– NCIS, The Big Bang Theory, NCIS: LOS ANGELES, Person Of Interest, Two and a Half Men, Blue Bloods and Elementary.
        • The top five dramas belong to CBS– NCIS, NCIS: LOS ANGELES, Person Of Interest, Blue Bloods and Elementary.
        • Elementary is the number new series.
        • CBS is the number one network in gaining L+7 viewers—that is live viewers plus those watch it within seven days by DVR. Out of the top 20 gainers, Elementary is number 6, with 3 million average additional viewers. (Figures from TV By the Numbers.) Like book readers viewers are seeking out “Elementary” and squeezing it into their busy schedules.
        “But, of course, stats are only good if they can be used to further your own argument and are totally meaningless when they seem to support the opposite view. ;-)”

  22. “I’d rather hear the opinion you’ve formed as a viewer instead of having awards stats copy/pasted and used as an argument.”

    that’s coming next, it was late, and i had work in the morning so i wanted to post those stats, before stating my opinion.

    but i find it interesting that you in a comment above stated “There’s plenty of critical acclaim for Elementary. A quick Google search will yield plenty of reviews, and the response is generally positive and enthusiastic.” and then when i take your vague and general statement that cites no sources, and i in fact get very specific and cite mine and show that Sherlock is ranked “by the people” two whole number notches above elementary on the number one movie/tv show website and that in addition to the average joe, the critics that you felt fine in using in defense of elementary, were shown to favor sherlock in every category. that, logically speaking, is the fallacy of cherry picking. because you appeal to the critics and reviews to defend your view, and then basically say “so what?” when i get specific with them and show Sherlocks dominance with them.

    by the way the above comment wasn’t copy/pasted at all. i researched all of it, and then typed into the above comment. (this is a website called nerdophiles . . . right? good, just checkin’ :D)

    perhaps elementary will get better, perhaps it will pick up a bigger audience, and all of the above actors will win awards for their portrayals of their character, but as of now they haven’t.

    If you are going to compare the two shows and claim elementary is superior, that is your opinion and you’re entitled. i’m just using those stats to illustrate that it’s the minority perspective.

    but hey, it’s all chocolate ice cream. it’s just that more people think Sherlock is better ice cream that’s all . . . and the people in places that judge the ice cream think Sherlock’s ice cream is better . . . so much so, that they have these neat little trophies that . . . well, you get the idea. 😀

    “You even acknowledge that Sherlock has been around longer”

    yes it has, but not by much, and elementary has 17 more episodes than Sherlock and i have yet to see one single episode of those 23 that is better than, “a study in pink, “the great game”, “scandal in belgravia” or “the reichenbach fall”. Those Sherlock episodes are absolute works of art. the writing is clever, the dialogue witty, numerous tongue in cheek references to the cannon, and while it’s serious enough, it has enough humor to keep it from becoming stale as elementary can become for it’s lack of. and i am way more impressed by the performances of the Sherlock cast as opposed to elementary. and i care about all of that a lot more than whether or not Watson becomes an apprentice, or that they changed his gender, if it’s politically correct enough, if the surrounding peripheral police characters are being respected enough, or the twist of making Irene Adler into Moriarty.

    the truth is that elementary is way too episodic in its formula. Sherlock and Joan solve another case, and perhaps a tidbit about each other is revealed.

    the “M” arc is really the ONLY arc, and if it fails to impress than so does the show i’m afraid. I remember when the M arc showed up, I was like finally some REAL story, but better than the great game or the reichenbach fall? Not a chance.

    each of the above stated sherlock episodes have story oozing out of them and are central to the main character. the gensis of a lifelong friendship, the adversary, the love, and the fall. all very dramatic and epic pieces which move me much more than anything in elementary.

    “And as silke ketelsen pointed out, there’s been no confirmed air date yet for series 3, and it certainly won’t be in October. Please guys, check sources and confirm these things before getting excited and passing on false information.”

    i apologize if you are sure that the information is false. i’m aware of the filming schedule and “that the third episode 3 isn’t in the can yet.”

    this was taken from wikipedia

    “The availability of Cumberbatch and Freeman dictated that two episodes for the third season would be shot beginning 18 March.[70] On 23 May, production finished on the second episode, the final episode is scheduled to be recorded in late summer.”

    so if they finished both shooting and production (i’m assuming post production, but perhaps this isn’t the case) for 2 ep in 2 months, then why if they begin shooting in august or September couldn’t they be ready by October 31?

    i got the date from a semi reliable source. it’s from the Sherlock page on imdb.com, where the creators put the tentative dates for the release. these dates come from the creators and are on a reliable website, they may be subject to change. but hey, it’s the best we have in terms of a tentative release date for now from the creators.

    see for yourself

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1475582/episodes?season=3&ref_=tt_eps_sn_3

    it’s also here, each episode has it’s own imdb page

    the empty hearse Oct 31 2013
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2189771/
    sign of the three Nov 7 2013
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2781042/
    ep 3.3 Nov 14 2013
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2781046/

    but again if you guys know more than me and can cite your sources for “knowing” that the above is impossible, then by all means please enlighten me. i just want to know what’s really going down.

    1. I totally second everything you say Ian, especially

      “the “M” arc is really the ONLY arc, and if it fails to impress than so does the show i’m afraid. I remember when the M arc showed up, I was like finally some REAL story, but better than the great game or the reichenbach fall? Not a chance.”

      It seems that even many regular “E”-viewers share your opinion as the viewer count dropped steadily for the last seven(!) episodes from 11.33 for “Déjà-vu” to 8.98 for the last two eps “The Woman” and “Heroine”.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Elementary_episodes

      But, of course, stats are only good if they can be used to further your own argument and are totally meaningless when they seem to support the opposite view. 😉

      As for S3’s airdate Sue Vertue herself repeatedly stated that there is no date confirmed. Okay, that was in May, but there have been other instances of denying any confirmed airdate by the creators. I’m just too lazy to look for them now.

      https://twitter.com/suevertue/status/337579242764255234
      https://twitter.com/suevertue/status/337592477290754048

      1. As for the ratings numbers, those are live viewers. Increasingly, viewers are watching their favorite shows on DVR, numbers that the ratings systems are just now struggling to reflect.
        • The top seven scripted TV show belong to CBS– NCIS, The Big Bang Theory, NCIS: LOS ANGELES, Person Of Interest, Two and a Half Men, Blue Bloods and Elementary.
        • The top five dramas belong to CBS– NCIS, NCIS: LOS ANGELES, Person Of Interest, Blue Bloods and Elementary.
        • Elementary is the number new series.
        • CBS is the number one network in gaining L+7 viewers—that is live viewers plus those watch it within seven days by DVR. Out of the top 20 gainers, Elementary is number 6, with 3 million average additional viewers. (Figures from TV By the Numbers.) Like book readers viewers are seeking out “Elementary” and squeezing it into their busy schedules.
        “But, of course, stats are only good if they can be used to further your own argument and are totally meaningless when they seem to support the opposite view. ;-)”

  23. In addition to the points both Kristie and Penny keep bringing up about which Sherlock is the bigger douche, i’m surprised neither has mentioned the fact that BBC Sherlock is truly socially inept, and that most of the time when he comes off as rude, or whatever, he genuinely doesn’t get it. Which is where John comes in. He isn’t there to function as the hope for women to become Sherlock or to be his equal. John, in addition to being his best friend, is Sherlocks connection to people. In voicing their exploits so that people are aware of them, and by constantly telling Sherlock the correct thing to do with regard to social niceties, and Sherlock is constantly complying to them even though they don’t make sense to him.

    Like when Sherlock tells Molly that Jim the IT guy whom she is seeing is in fact gay and into Sherlock, not her, and does so in a very blunt and unfeeling manner. He actually believes that he’s being kind to her. and once again John has to explain to him that it wasn’t handled kindly at all.

    This is part of the charm of the character. Yes he can come off as rude or a bit of a jerk, but he can’t help it, he really doesn’t know better. And we marvel at him being so utterly brilliant in so many ways and like his spectacular ignorance of things such as primary school knowledge of the solar system, he is equally clueless with proper social behavior. which also adds to the humor of the show.

    The elementary Sherlock while also not connected to people, is still very different from this and seems to have a much better grasp on what acceptable forms of behavior are, and acts out anyway.

    1. Personally I don’t like CBS Holmes because I think that he doesn’t have much to be arrogant about. If your are a former drug addict, living in a house your father provides you, getting help from a companion you father initially paid for, you have in my eyes no right to complain about said father. And if even said companion can upstage you with a little bit training, there isn’t much to your intelligence either.
      BBC Sherlock might be socially inept, but at least he does a job he himself invented, pays for his rent by himself and earned the special deal he got by helping his landlady out. If you are really the smartest man in the room (unless Mycroft in present), you are allowed to call everyone else an idiot.

  24. In addition to the points both Kristie and Penny keep bringing up about which Sherlock is the bigger douche, i’m surprised neither has mentioned the fact that BBC Sherlock is truly socially inept, and that most of the time when he comes off as rude, or whatever, he genuinely doesn’t get it. Which is where John comes in. He isn’t there to function as the hope for women to become Sherlock or to be his equal. John, in addition to being his best friend, is Sherlocks connection to people. In voicing their exploits so that people are aware of them, and by constantly telling Sherlock the correct thing to do with regard to social niceties, and Sherlock is constantly complying to them even though they don’t make sense to him.

    Like when Sherlock tells Molly that Jim the IT guy whom she is seeing is in fact gay and into Sherlock, not her, and does so in a very blunt and unfeeling manner. He actually believes that he’s being kind to her. and once again John has to explain to him that it wasn’t handled kindly at all.

    This is part of the charm of the character. Yes he can come off as rude or a bit of a jerk, but he can’t help it, he really doesn’t know better. And we marvel at him being so utterly brilliant in so many ways and like his spectacular ignorance of things such as primary school knowledge of the solar system, he is equally clueless with proper social behavior. which also adds to the humor of the show.

    The elementary Sherlock while also not connected to people, is still very different from this and seems to have a much better grasp on what acceptable forms of behavior are, and acts out anyway.

    1. Personally I don’t like CBS Holmes because I think that he doesn’t have much to be arrogant about. If your are a former drug addict, living in a house your father provides you, getting help from a companion you father initially paid for, you have in my eyes no right to complain about said father. And if even said companion can upstage you with a little bit training, there isn’t much to your intelligence either.
      BBC Sherlock might be socially inept, but at least he does a job he himself invented, pays for his rent by himself and earned the special deal he got by helping his landlady out. If you are really the smartest man in the room (unless Mycroft in present), you are allowed to call everyone else an idiot.