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January 08 2013

elementarian

Here we go, Sherlock vs Elementary

When Elementary was announced, as most of the people I thought it just can't turn out to be good. Then I actually watched and I'm hooked. It's hard to say which show is better, but in some respects Elementary is actually better than Sherlock. (here be outraged voices of hardcore sherlockians)

(note: in order to not to have things mixed up, I will refer to Elementary-Sherlock as Steve, I do this with my friends all the time)

First of all, main character. I have a lot of problems with BBC's Sherlock. Some of his flaws are typical Moffat's (whom I can't stand) doing I suspect. For example, how he's always dressed in elegant and perfect way. This guy doesn't even know how our solar system looks and somehow he cares about his clothes. It doesn't quite fit the character in my opinion. On the contrary, Steve's outfit usually looks like it was composed of the first three random things pulled out of the closet. In overall Sherlock looks too 'perfect' (Benedict Cumberbatch isn't attractive at all in my opinion, just not my type, but I can see the appeal), he couldn't possibly pull this off if he wouldn't care, and caring about appearance isn't something likely to trouble the great detective's mind in my opinion. Steve is also much more 'human' in his behaviour and therefore more believeable character. And there's the thing how other people react to them. Sherlock is as we know extremely moody, arrogant and doesn't care about people's feelings at all. And just because he's brilliant, everyone has to put up with this. He's clearly on the pedestal, glorified by everyone. Now Steve. He's also a bit like that, but mind this - a bit. Healthy amount. Whenever he starts to be too arrogant, not caring etc, he's being calmed down by Joan, Gregson or even himself.

Right, Joan vs John. Lot of people complained about how ridiculous it is that Steve's companion is a woman. To be honest it completely doesn't make a difference in the show for me. So let's skip that. My problem with John is that he's pre-defined as a totally usual man, even with his military past the show doesn't want you to see anything special in him. No, that's all Sherlock. It's all about Sherlock. John is only supposed to complete him, help him, show him more 'human' way when he loses it. And it goes so far that without Sherlock, John could as well just stop existing. Martin Freeman is praised by this role, and I agree - his performance is very good. What I don't like is this character's concept. Joan is much more independent, she is presented as much more equal to Steve than John to Sherlock. She's still fascinated by his work, but there's a good balance to it. Chemistry between Joan and Steve is great, and I don't think there's any possibility of romance between them, while it was the thing that many people were afraid of.

Other characters... Well, in comparison Lestrade vs Gregson, the former wins hands down. Gregson is a really plain character so far, even the episode which dwelled on his past didn't help him much. Detective Bell is a bit more interesting, but nothing special either. As for Moriarty - Andrew Scott's performance is something absolutely perfect for me so I don't think Elementary can challenge Sherlock on this field - that is when they eventually introduce this character, which is an inevitable thing I think. Elementary could really use one or two 'colorful' characters more. So far the void is filled by constant Steve-Joan chemistry but they can't base whole series on this forever.

As for the shows themselves. Cultural difference is visible. If you're an Anglophile, there's a chance that American reality in Elementary will not suit you. There's a number of people complaining about how the mysteries in Elementary are too easy to figure out (dumbed down for American viewers etc). I must agree on that, although it's not as bad as some would like you to believe. Sherlock on the other hand goes too far in the other direction, sometimes it's just ridiculous.

Right, a summary of some sort would be nice. None of this shows is perfect, each has its flaws. Sherlock goes to extremities in quite a lot of aspects while Elementary is much more balanced, but the American show can be a bit too simple in some moments and doesn't have some bigger story connecting the episodes (at least so far).
Reposted bysherlockbuffyrulezheimademoiselee

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