Sherlock vs. Elementary: Which Sherlock Holmes Series is Better?

I’m a huge fan of TV Series. Whenever I get into watching a TV series for the first time, and if it tickles my mind. I am hooked. Aside from Korean TV Series that are usually aired in local TV Channels (I stopped at Princess Hour) the first US TV Series that I got hooked into was Gossip Girl. I always believed that in that setup I would be Blair Waldorf. Smart, fashionable, knows all the dirty secrets, popular – dunno about the last one though! But anyways, personality-wise she is my soul sister. And Leighton Meester couldn’t have done a better job at playing that role and I’m still heartbroken by the fact that Gossip Girl is finally over. Recently, my friend procured for me a copy of the latest TV Series called Elementary. It is the US Version of the beloved detective, Sherlock Holmes in the US setting. Now, I’m in love with Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s version, Guy Richie’s version, and even the Benedict Cumberbatch-Martin Freeman version. I’ve read the complete book, seen the Guy Richie version, got hooked over Benedict Cumberbatch’s version and now we have a new one, Elementary.

Now let’s get down to it. WHICH SERIES IS BETTER:

VERSUS

Plot :

SHERLOCK: I love how the UK Version is very close to the original with a more modern twist. They made Sherlock’s plot easier to understand as well as it lets you interact with Sherlock in a new level. Why you may ask? I guess it is because every time there is a clue that is seen by Sherlock, they would show it word for word. For example in the first episode, A Study in Pink (A Study in Scarlet – Conan Doyle version), when Sherlock was going through the clues he noticed how the ring was dirty from the outside but clean from the inside. These clues will eventually lead the viewer into thinking that he should think like Sherlock Holmes does. As we all know, Sherlock is two steps way ahead of the game. By using this pre-defined and determined clues we can now ask ourselves, what’s the next clue? Where to go from here? What does this tell me? It lets the viewer think outside the box and into the mind of the great detective.

Every Sherlock Holmes’ fan would say that the “Come at once if convenient. If inconvenient, come all the same.” is a true Sherlock Holmes saying. And when it was portrayed in the TV Series, I couldn’t help but giggle like a true fan.

ELEMENTARY: The Elementary series provides a very raw plot. Sherlock Holmes creates his deductions based on his observations however it lacks the appeal of Sherlock. It does not provide the same interaction with the viewer as much as I have wanted, like what Mark Gattis did in Sherlock. It only provides glimpses of clues which somehow can often become more like  CSI than Sherlock Holmes. Plus the only way I can find out about the clues found by Sherlock in Elementary is through his constant blabbering as he finds his next clue. Elementary however, is different from the Arthur Conan Doyle version. Its new, and different and the episodes are not as connected as the ones presented in the UK series. It gives us the perspective on how Sherlock would live a life in the United States far away from his humble home of 221B Baker Street.

The only thing that Jonny Lee Miller’s Sherlock has in common with the original Sherlock is the power of deduction. After that, no more, no less.

Characters:

SHERLOCK: Like what I said from the previous category, Sherlock is true to the story of Sherlock Holmes Conan Doyle version. Its characters, even at a modern setting, is true to what Conan Doyle envisioned. Sherlock being the mysterious, narcissist, egotistic, smart, yet sexy self, with pure great talent in playing the violin as well as a dislike in breathing. While John Watson is the humble, ex-military doctor, a psychopath who is the most trust worthy friend of Sherlock, who maybe at times an extreme blabber mouth but wouldn’t mind giving the spotlight to his friend who deserves to be acclaimed for all his wonderful works for the police. Benedict Cumberbatch played the role very well and I could see Sherlock in him more than I can ever imagine. But of course I prefer Robert Downey Jr’s version just because I’m too biased by the fact that I’m in love with this 47-year old man. But kidding aside, Benedict Cumberbatch played it so well that he deserves the recognition for bringing the modern Sherlock that I love from the books to life. Martin Freeman also played Watson very well. He is very similar to the Watson in the book, unlike Jude Law’s character in Sherlock Holmes. Watson is the frequent companion of Sherlock who at times maybe naive but he balances out Sherlock’s egotistical self. And I love the chemistry of Benedict and Martin in this series very much, they look like long time friends just like Sherlock and Watson.

The thing that makes Sherlock so sexy is the fact that he is smart and witty. It is not any of his physical attributes. And the fact that he wears a suit instead of a t-shirt makes him more sexy. I personally think that suits make any man irresistible and appealing.
Martin Freeman’s version of John Watson is similar to the original one. His character is very much lovable and light to understand unlike Sherlock’s deep characteristic.

ELEMENTARY: Sherlock Holmes is Sherlock Holmes. I guess, personality-wise Jonny Lee Miller’s version is not too far off with the book veraion. However the Sherlock Holmes here is not as egotistical as he should be. I mean, there are times when Sherlock holds back whenever he tries to deduce a person, most especially when he met Joan Watson. Oh and yes, you’ve read that right, Watson here is a woman. Now, as a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, this I have to contest. There is a reason, I guess, that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle picked a man to be a companion of Sherlock. Watson in the original book, is like Sherlock’s wingman, his right hand, a friend he can talk to. NOT A WOMAN. I’m a feminist and I do like the idea of incorporating strong-willed and powerful women, but I guess having Watson as a woman is not really working for me. Maybe its because there is an idea in the back of my head that as this series goes on, Sherlock and Watson (Elementary) will have a fling in the end. A guy and a girl living in the same house could not just stay friends forever. They learn to live with one another and its either they end up together as more than friends or they don’t. And I guess its just not right. Oh and by the way, Sherlock Holmes in Elementary is not the thin, tall man we know from the books. He has a lot of tattoos, and he’s a bit of a rebel I guess. So its a bit hard for me to accept that. But thoughts aside, Lucy Liu can be commended as a great lady version of Watson.

Sherlock Holmes is SMART sexy NOT MACHO sexy.
Lucy Liu portrays a great lady version of Watson.

Production:

SHERLOCK: One word: Cinematic. That’s why I think I’m in love with this series, because of the great post-production quality all jam-packed in three mini movie series per season. And I guess that’s why it also takes a while for the series to come up with episodes because a lot of editing is taking place. As they say, good things come to those who wait and this series is no exception! Now I know I couldn’t bear it any longer, when will the third season of Sherlock be aired? Mark Gattis? Anyone?

ELEMENTARY: Not as much of a big fan of the post-production with this but what do you expect? It’s not a mini movie series like Sherlock. Its a weekly 45 minute series and you have to give the crew an applause for actually pulling it off!

Overall Rating:

SHERLOCK: I’m in love with this series so much so that I’m in love with the characters, the actors and the producers of this show. This British crime drama presents a contemporary update of the beloved detective stories. A modern-day version of Conan Doyle’s character in which Sherlock uses the technologies of today and uses popular cultures and actions such as texting, using the internet and GPS in order to find things out and solve crime. No wonder this TV Series has a wide range of fans already! The 90-minute episode is a one-trick wonder full of clues, murders, archnemesis, with a bit of flair of comedy and wit. I will give this a 5 out of 5 stars. I’m a huge fan of Sherlock and I became a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch as well as Martin Freeman. This updated version maintains some traditional elements such as the famous Baker Street address (which I partially visited in London 2 years back) and Holmes’ archenemy, Moriarty. Benedict Cumberbatch has a good reputation for playing brilliant men very well, and his version of Holmes is no exception.

The thing also about Sherlock is the chemistry between this two. Every episode there’s a bit of comic in their lines. And this scene is by far the most hilarious of all.

ELEMENTARY: As a 2012 contemporary American crime drama series, this presents Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character in a more contemporary United States. This stars Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson. Sherlock, in this series, is a former consultant to Scotland Yard and also an addict who travels to New York City to check himself into a rehabilitation center. He eventually stays on Brooklyn with Watson as his sober companion. I will give it a 4 out of 5 stars. Essentially because this is far too off from the original characters which I have grown to love. To summarize, I LIKE it but I am not crazy about it as much as Sherlock. Although, I have to give it up for the producers for actually coming up with original ideas that are actually set in a different time scale as well as seeing Holmes adapt to a new environment which is America. I am looking forward to more episodes to come and I hope the producers will surprise me now and then. Somehow the endings are pretty much predictable and I have to commend that to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for helping me develop my sleuthing skills. If the producers don’t come up with a surprise soon, I don’t think I’ll be up for watching the second season of Elementary, if they even decide on signing up for the second season. Now, there’s one thing that needs to be cleared up for me and I hope anyone can please clarify, Why is the title even called Elementary? Can someone fill me in please on why the producers named the show Elementary?

Both series are a must watch. But if you are a huge fan of the books as much as I do, I prefer watching Sherlock more than Elementary. But if you are willing to take a shot on watching Sherlock Holmes in a different environment, then go ahead and be my guest, watch Elementary.

Now all this Sherlock Holmes feelings is going back to me. I’m either watching Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows or BBC Sherlock tonight. Til next post!

P.S. I’m crazy over SUITS too. I am in love with Gabriel Macht’s character, Harvey Specter. Now if only lawyers are as hot as he is. ;)

Love Always,

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  14. Hi! I totally love Sherlock. I think its the best series ever alongwith GOT. Hoping for Season 3 to air soon. I never knew about Elementary until today and I’m quite excited about it. I think Elementary has the advantage of having more episodes per season. So do you think Elementary is worth my time?

    1. Hi Adnan! Yes! Try watching it. It can be a very C.S.I.-ish at first, but once you get the hang of it, it still is Sherlock Holmes. And why not watch it while we wait for Sherlock right? :)

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  17. Loved the review, never was thrilled with elementary as I was with Sherlock to be honest. with elementary I could just listen to the show and conclude the plot unlike in Sherlock where you have actually to be there and witness everything to keep up.
    p.s. I suspect the name “Elementary” is a reference to a phrase often said by Sherlock as an typical arrogant response to Watson’s questions – “Elementary, Watson”

  18. It’s probably called Elementary because of Sherlock Holmes’ famous phrase, “Elementary, my dear Watson.” By the way, I love Sherlock! It’s what made me like Benedict Cumberbatch (the man is just amazing!). I’ve never seen Elementary, but I don’t really want to, because Watson as a female just throws me off.

  19. I think it’s called Elementary because of the quote “It’s elementary, my dear Watson.” Love that show! Haven’t watched Sherlock yet but I do plan on trying it out.

  20. hi! i like Sherlock and Elementary a lot too, but I agree, BBCs Sherlock is more in tune to the original characters. so I like BBCs version better. Its called Elementary because of the quote “Elementary, my dear Watson.” Good blogging! :) And btw, season three of Sherlock is coming in November, on the 23rd I think. Ciao.

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