“If in one hundred years I am only known as the man who invented Sherlock Holmes, then I will have considered my life a failure.”
– Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes books.
Today, 109 years after the first Sherlock Holmes book was written, over 50 different people have played the great consulting detective in over 50 different adaptations of Doyle’s original work.
Two of the more recent versions have both been television shows. BBC’s Sherlock and PBS’s Elementary. Naturally, a rivalry has risen between the two over which show is better, but honestly one is far superior in every respect.
Sherlock is the modernized version of Doyle’s work. The actors and writers have fantastically brought it to life; there isn’t a single dull moment in the entire six episodes created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.
Sadly, there are only six episodes in the entire series so far, and the worst part is that those six were dispersed over three years. Fans can, and have, gone crazy in the amount of time between episodes.
“Sherlock is an interesting show,” said sophomore Alex Barnes, “with one of the most unique portrayals of a famous literary character, and the story is amazing”
Elementary, on the other hand, is a brand new show taking place in New York City and the only thing it has in common with the original Sherlock Holmes is that there is a British police “consultant” named Sherlock Holmes. That’s it. While it has produced episodes more frequently than Sherlock has, the quality of those episodes is basically CSI with a Brit and less blood.
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock, is the best at what he does. His version of Sherlock Holmes is the perfect combination of a genius, a pirate, and a fully functioning sociopath who gets very bored very easily.
“[It’s] a better show because it takes place in the city where the whole thing started,” said sophomore, Kara Hooker.
Jonny Lee Miller, Holmes in Elementary, is an all right actor. His version of Sherlock is and ex-drug addict who got kicked out of England, hardly makes a single deduction, and really only has the mind of an average, yet highly attentive, detective.
Martin Freeman, who plays Doctor John Watson next to Benedict is perhaps one of the greatest versions of Watson ever created. He is an army doctor who would do anything for his friend, Sherlock, including keeping him in line with a few punches to face every now and again.
Also, the obvious bromance between John and Sherlock is the one thing every good TV show needs. “The bromance is the best part,” said Hooker.
Watson in Elementary is named Joan Watson. Joan? This is so very, very, extremely, terribly, wrong. Not that I have anything against women, I only have something against women playing characters that have traditionally been played by men.
Seriously, did the writers think that changing one letter in her name would make people like her more?
“It doesn’t seem like it fits with the rest of the Sherlock universe.” Said Barnes.
“[It] isn’t a great show because it replaces John Watson with a female character and that just doesn’t work,” said Hooker.
As for her medical and military background, well, she shows no sign of having ever been in the army (as mentioned in the Sherlock Holmes book A Study in Scarlet), and my sister’s roommate majoring in nursing seems to have more medical experience than the highly experienced doctor Lucy Liu tries to portray.
The writing in Sherlock is pure brilliance. One of the three writers, Steven Moffat (A.K.A. The Rory Killer, the Troll King, the Reichenbach Push, etc.), has created crimes, criminals, climaxes, and cliffhangers so complex and so emotionally infuriating yet so brilliant he is one twisted moustache short of being an evil genius.
However, with what he is known for and the nicknames he has earned, Moffat is practically one season finale away from an angry mob turning up at his door.
The other writer, Mark Gatiss, writes the ingenious deductions used by Sherlock Holmes to give him an almost supernatural way of observing the world.
With Elementary, like I said earlier, it is nothing less than CSI with a Brit, less blood, and fewer people investigating. The writing could have been done so much better, it passes for a decent American show, but it isn’t anything special and, frankly, it seems like CBS got jealous of Sherlock and tried to make one of their own.
However, the writers of Elementary did go to Gatiss and Moffat to ask permission to make their new show, and apparently were approved to create their cheap knock off.
To be blunt: Sherlock is better than Elementary. Nothing anyone says or does can change that fact.
When Sherlock first aired, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle rolled over in his grave and felt peace. When Elementary aired, he rolled back over and face palmed.
In all reality, Great Britain has produced more great shows than the United States has (Sherlock, Doctor Who, etc.); however, the U.S. has had several televised triumphs as well (Supernatural, The Walking Dead, etc.).
Differences aside, these two television shows have proven two things. First, Sherlock Holmes has been immortalized more and more with every new actor to portray him. Second, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s life was not a failure in the slightest possible way.