This vs. That: Elementary or Sherlock?


Somehow it's been nearly four months since we last convened for a game of TV.com's "This vs. That," where we pit two things against one another and you vote on which one should win... in whatever context you choose. Oops! I blame all the new TV that's been keeping everyone so busy lately. Regardless, it's time for the first match-up of 2014, one that's far from elementary, my dear readers—err, at least in one sense of the word. This pairing's been a long time coming, but now that Elementary's had plenty of time to come into its own and Sherlock is finally back on our TV screens after more than a year away, it's time to finally answer the question of who does a better Doyle. And thus, the poll is afoot:


Show your work in the comments!


PREVIOUSLY: This vs. That: Lost's Series Finale or Breaking Bad's Series Finale?


Ed. note: If there's a specific battle you'd like to see, send it via PM to TVcom_editorial, via Twitter to @tvdotcom, or via email to mailbag@tv.com. (And thanks to those of you who've already submitted ideas!)


Psst! If you've already seen the end of Sherlock Season 3, please be a pal and avoid spoilers in the comments. 


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Both shows are really good although I only started watching Elementary recently. I will say because it has so many more episodes sometimes the plot is a bit thin in certain episodes. It is admittedly difficult to say who plays a better Sherlock, BCs is a bit more Flamboyant and insane and a bit funnier but JLMs has a bit more emotion maybe. The same goes for Watson although I'd give Martin Freeman the edge but Lucy Liu is much better than I though she'd be. I also like the Aiden Quinn character in Elementary a bit more than Strauss in Sherlock. As far as Moriarty goes both shows play a blinder. Andrew Scotts Moriarty is so brilliantly deranged and malevolent while remaining a total genius yet Natalie Dormers is Ice Cold with just a hint of humanity underneath. She's Awesome in everything I've seen her in and it would be great if she was in it more often but I suppose their loss is Game of Thrones gain.
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I confess, I mainly watch Elementary for Lucy Liu. The plots are mostly thin, though once in a while they come up with a good one. Sherlock, on the other hand, is magnificently acted, written, and produced. However, two major drawbacks stop me from giving it the unconditional rave. I don't like the tendency to bring sci-fi elements into such an iconic body of work from Conan Doyle, and they only make THREE episodes per year! That makes the wait agonizing. Still, Sherlock wins on quality, but I watch both.
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Elementary is barely a Sherlock spin off, its like House. The actors arent that great, their almost like the Grim actors. Its flat. Especially from "watson" -___-
BBC Sherlock on the other hand, AMAZING acting and GREAT attention to the original works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Im actually kind of appalled that Elementary is winning over BBC though im sure its because this is a mainly American website.
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I do like Elementary, but my on problem is that Sherlock is portrayed as a sometimes mean-spirited person. The traditional portrayal of Sherlock is that he hurts people's feelings because he's oblivious or blunt or simply doesn't suffer fools lightly. But the Sherlock portrayed in Elementary however has deliberately said mean things about fat people and homeless people on separate occasions. It doesn't sit right with me that he would take aim at groups of people who are already looked down on for superficial reasons.

Most people are just fine with being mean to others, so maybe this won't stand out to a lot of people. What I like about BBC's Sherlock though is that he's not maliciously mean. A couple of times, Elementary's Sherlock was. The fact that he didn't want Joan to help a homeless person and then used language like "hobo olympics" - that was just such a cheap, mean-spirited comment. It made me like the character less.
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You can't compare the two shows. They are totally different. The Bbc Version is based on the stories of Doyle whereas Elementary is based on the character features. I love them both. What I especially like about Elementary is, that they are so accurate and thorough in showing the traits of highly gifted people and the problems of a person suffering from depression and an Avoident Personality Disorder.
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I can't believe this is even a contest. I am a HUGE fan of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, I've consumed any sort of Sherlock reiteration I can get my hands on. BBC's Sherlock is the absolute BEST. It is consistently brings a modern retelling to the table that always delivers the heart and cleverness of the original stories. Not to mention it nails the Sherlock-Watson relationship, the original bromance.
I have forced myself to watch Elementary upwards of ten times. I want it to be good, and trying to like it. But all I can think, is it's trying to be early seasons of House meets BBC's Sherlock and failing to live up to either. I am massively disappointed everytime I tune in. Although mad props to Lucy Lui's Watson, and idea I thought I would hate, but she manages to pull off brilliantly.
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Sherlock is the great guy that you're crazy about but he lives far away so you can only spend time with him for a few weeks a year. Elementary is the really nice guy who's there for you all the time. I don't want to have to choose.
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This is a great discussion. I blogged about the differences between the two shows, inspired by what everyone has said. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frank-h-wu/the-problem-of-the-two-sherlocks_b_4671039.html
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I like Elementary very much, since the beggining, but I have discovered Sherlock the last two weeks and I love it beyond anything at tv nowadays, it´s just so perfect!
But I think it´s not fair putting this two shows in a battle, Sherlock seasons are like 3 x90 min films each one, with a year (two in the last hiatus)to be written, filmed...so it´s a different level...
I thought no one would be a more perfect Sherlock to me, but Benedict had proved I was wrong!
But I will watch the two shows as long as they are on air...
(to be true I have just seen a Sherlock episode (for the second time in a week) and I´m going to watch the last one of Elementary right now, so you can see I like to see them both)
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Putting these two shows in the same sentence is alarming. Sherlock is far from perfect, yet beautifully cerebral. Elementary is dumbed down and for the mass american audience...much like Big Bang Theory or other drivel. Also, Elementary has some of the worst acting and dialogue, not to mention accents. I have no issues with two Sherlock Holmes series running, however when one is so much more competently handled, it only shows up the greater flaws of the lesser simple minded attempt. CBS should never have gone through with this terrible iteration when Steven Moffat declined.
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Are we watching different shows? I've never heard better monologues and dialogues than on Elementary. Some of them are more literature than TV. Just watch the beginning of episode 12 Season 2. I gave the transcripted monologue to language teachers and they said it was great writing and asked me what book it came from. Jonny Lee Miller is one of the best actors I have ever seen. He is absolutaly great in expressing emotions without needing words. So you always know when Sherlock is saying something he doesn't really mean. And the last episodes were so moving that I couldn't get them out of my head for days. There are so many details that you often have to watch the episodes twice and you still don't get everything.
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Beatuful? Yeah, cerebral? Not so much. Shelock its basically the books turned made-for-TV movies without much plot to add or create

If you ask me which is the hotter Holmes, Shelock definitely wins.
If you ask me which show actually puts an effort, I've got to hand it to Elementary.
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Sure Elementary has to put in a lot of effort to even remotely resemble the world of Sherlock Holmes. BBC Sherlock on the other hand is at the heart of it and manages to bring to life every aspect of the Sherlokian world perfectly and effortlessly. That's the difference between brilliant and mediocre tv. You are not meant to feel as if the show puts in effort. You are meant to feel totally engrossed in the world the writers create for you and BBC Sherlock does that spectacular.
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Throwing in a few gender switches and a location change does not constitute effort. Sherlock updated all the cases to match the modern times, which was very well done and creative. There are also some pretty big plot changes (I've read the stories and seen all three seasons) And what's the point of making a show based on a famous series if you aren't going to use source material from that series?
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Effort means to modernize the character, not throw it out in the middle of modern sorroundings:
  • Elementary's Sherlock assumes his drug problem like his book counterpart wasn't able to do a few centuries ago,
  • Elementary's Sherlock is aware how women are smart and capable professionals in a way the old Sherlock was barely able to perceive that one time with that one woman,
  • Elementary's Sherlock knows his own flaws and is able to compensate them where the old Sherlock could only graso he was fallible,
  • Elementary's Sherlock is not disgusted by his own sexuality, he embraces domestic partnership because he has always had a contempt for marriage, he keeps bees because they help him with his pensive mind, etc.
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I noticed a trend, people who watched the whole season 3 of Sherlock (and didnt like it) still voted for it..then there are those who pointed all of the things wrong with it--majority still voted for it. This is noteworthy.
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Agreed. I think that's because Sherlock makes an impression - Even if it goes into a direction some people don't like, it's still better than 95% of shows out there.
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That reply nailed it. Absolutely, even with all its warts, Sherlock is better TV than anything else, not even close. You are magnetically drawn back when you didn't like the last plot twist.
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While Elementary is a good show (mostly because of its main actors) Sherlock is exceptional.
My beef with Elementary is, that it's too generic: give the main characters different names and no one would realize that this should be Sherlock Holmes.
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The replies to this post make many good points, but remember, the original Holmes was just that. Original. Before Doyle, there was nothing like it in literature (one Edgar Allen Poe short story and a few weak du Maurier novelettes notwithstanding). Sir Arthur brought the mystery genre into fiction, spawning countless detective writers all over the world. And he managed to do it while giving his two main characters many levels of depth, strengths and weaknesses - so much so that we all have vivid mental pictures of what they must surely look like. So many movies and TV shows have tried to capture those images and obviously, most have failed. Jeremy Brett and Basil Rathbone are the only ones who have come close in my opinion. Elementary and Sherlock do bring new elements into the equation. Both are interesting and fun to watch; neither is perfect. But given the junk that populates our watered down menu of channels, we should be grateful that these two shows are being produced. The level of interest in this subject proves how durable Holmes and Watson still are.
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I've got a dusty violin, a few bees, an Irene, a Ms. Hudson and Mycroft Holmes that would bear to differ.

The only real difference I see is that Miller's Holmes moved to New York...and he actually paid attention to his drug problem like a XXIst century man would.
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Irene is the same person as Moriarty, Ms. Hudson was in One episode, Mycroft has nothing to do with the Mycroft in the book, in the book Holmes used cocain, etc. So let's look at another show a similar clever but similar social disfunctional consultant of the police with an assistent/partner who looks out for him, who usually works with a certain inspector, who has lost the love of his life and who has an evil antagonist in some episodes -> let's call him... Mr. Monk.
I don't say that Elementary is a bad show. I watch it regularly. I like its characters. But it doesn't differ that much from other generic procedural shows.
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Just because Ms Hudson was born a man doesn't change the warm, maternal presence she used to have, Mycroft is just as devious (albeit slightly more sinister), the bees and the violin as used as the same expression of the same personality.

Even Irene = Moriarty is a brilliant fusion of the one person that could defeat Holmes IMO.
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I have nowhere said anything about Ms Hudson being born as a man. I've said that she appeared just in one Episode. Since you're talking about his personality: his personality is quite different from the original Sherlock Holmes. He's much more compassionate and sensitive than the original Holmes: a very different character.
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I'll give you the violin and the bees - but the rest would be absolutely unrecognisable if not for the names. Basically every single feature they have is different from the books. Irene Adler is not a painter, and certainly not Jamie Moriarty (how would anyone ever make the leap to Sherlock Holmes if not for the name?). And Sherlock Holems was never in any actual relationship with her. Not even taking into account that Ms. Hudson is a transgender woman (which I found really awesome by the way) - that's quite a leap to the original Sherlock Holmes' housekeeper. And then there's Mycroft - nothing about him makes me believe that he could, in any way, be smarter than Sherlock and also his job, his physical appearance - not even close to the books.

I wouldn't necessarily call Elementary completely generic - it constantly does surprising things and also things that make my inner feminist scream with joy, but the truth is - take the names away, and no ones first thought would be "Oh, what a clever Sherlock Holmes adaptation"
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Sebastian Moran is the same [former[ Royal Marine, Professor Moriarty never used "Jamie" but M, like Elementary's Irene did, Mycroft was kinda sketchy since the books, just like Elementary's, etc.
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Just because they use the whole gamut of names from the books, still doesn't make the characters in anyway close to the ones in the original. A character is not just a name and some very basic facts - I'm not denying that they are basing some (very few) things on Doyle's characters - but then again Doyle's characters and their character traits have been used and abused in fiction for so long that they have become quite commonplace. If you then also uproot the characters, change their whole backstory, their occupation, their family relationships, their likes, dislikes and most importantly - the relationships with each other - can you really claim that that's still them? Just a modern interpretation? They keot a few minor details from the books, like the violin playing, the interest in apiculture and oh look, they got Moran's former occupation right, at least, a rarity for supporting characters in Elementary. And of course the names, as you pointed out - this still doesn't make a Holmes.

They should have either found a way to make it truer to the books - and they could have, even with the whole thing being transplanted to NY and the genderflips and character mergers. Or just made another House or Monk, Mentalist, Psych and what they're all called).

And I'm sorry, but I'll really have to disagree with you on Mycroft - there is not one single thing about him in the books that's "just like Elementary's" unless you're referring to the fact that he is male and older than Sherlock.
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The Holmes from the books always thought he didn't have a problem (How is that smart I beg of you?!)
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Oh jeez, I may bash Sherlock for being shallow and not as clever as it thinks it is, but it's head and shoulders better than Elementary that doesn't even have any flash to crow about. Elementary is standard CBS procedural with a few shoehorned character names, but it's dumb as a stump every time I put it on. Sherlock is better than Elementary.
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Sherlock. Elementary is like any generic detective show. Sherlock is different - it's focuses on the detective, but still has this kind of flawless brilliance to both the story and the cinematography that is very rare to see on television. That said, I wasn't too happy with the latest season. But I still think Sherlock is the superior show.
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Sherlcok!!!

Note to next Emmy host, an idea for award presenting:

"please welcome- an actor who plays Sherlcok Holmes..."
out come on stage, from 3 differecnt directions -
Robert Downey Jr,. Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller
looking quite confused at one another-asking ,wondering who should present the next award...

Robert Downey Jr:
" I should present this award My Sherlock is a feature Film!'

Benedict: "Well my show is actually nominated tonight" (here's hoping)

both look at Johnny Lee miller who's looking for words; "Well... I have the prettiest Watson"
Benedict: :"Yeah you're right, mine looks like a Hobbit, Johnny- you should probably present..." :)
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The emmys should give u a job. Good one
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Then the 3 Watons come out Lucy Lui, Jude Law and Freeman and show the Sherlocks how its done
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sherlock is gud in screenplay, lightening deduction, thrill..Elementary is gud in thrill, acting, but not a very gud screenplay

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I'll give this one thing to Sherlock: Cumberbatch is hotter (but I still find Miller the superior actor).
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I think JLM is hotter, Cumberbatch has the most amazing and sexier voice in the world, they both are superb actors, but the writing in Sherlock makes Cumberbatch shine more...but I love them both
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Jonny Lee Miller is cute - but he more than compensates it with talent - Cumberbatch, on the other hand, has the sexier voice, eyes and general looks: he's like a walking super model (he only has to stand up in order to look hot).
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Do you mean superior actor (as Sherlock Holmes) or generally speaking?
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In any and all contexts under the sun, Sherlock is better. Indubitably.
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I personally liked Sherlock better. The deductive webs woven in Sherlock are more intricate and cleaver than those in Elementary. Only problems w/ Sherlock. 1) Little slow on the wind-up at times (every other member of my family likes elementary better because they sometimes got bored and started checking facebook on their phones partway through an ep of Sherlock). 2) Inconsistency: there's at least one episode in every season of Sherlock that sucks ultimate balls (like ep 2 of season 1). It's fairly jarring given the genius on display on the other eps. Elementary, by contrast, tends to be much more consistent. There pros and cons to each. If I had to weight the two, it'd be a 51-49 split.
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No contest. For me, Sherlock is a brilliantly written and brilliantly acted creative and well envisioned take on Doyle's classic stories. Elementary is your standard crime procedural whose main characters happen to be named after the famous detective and his sidekick.
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No doubts. Sherlock!!
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I am not a big fan of the Sherlock Holmes books. I read a few when I was growing up and forgot about most of them. I watched both series on their own merits and do not really care about the references to the original books.

I prefer Elementary mostly because of JLM and Lucy Liu. Both can hold their own in terms of acting and have great chemistry between them. More importantly Elementary is not all procedural. I think season 2 now is even better than season 1. I did not miss a single episode.

I admit I only watch Sherlock season 1 and could not find enough motivation to continue with season 2. I know many here prefer Sherlock but for me its Elementary.
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While I enjoy both, especially for the way both reference, adapt, and clearly enjoy the original stories, Elementary seems to have a better grasp of Holmes from those stories. My understanding of Holmes from ACD and the many, many imitators and adaptations that have followed him is that he is an eccentric, an arrogant man, but one who has passions, compassion, and a love for justice. While Cumberbatch's Holmes is very admirable in many ways, it is Miller's Holmes who best approaches this amalgamation of traits.
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What I like the most about Miller's Holmes is that he plays Holmes brilliance as an awareness that wounds him and fascinates him at the same time.

The audience gets this sense that Elementary's Sherlock would've been happier without it, but its his awareness what moves him to solve the puzzle in order to provide a balance to the injustice of the crime.
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Nicely put!
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Honestly I feel Sherlock is a lot better. They feel like completely different shows to me. Sherlock feels more like a drama, where Elementary feels like a standard crime show with a bit of comedy. I dont know.. I watch both, but if I had to choose between the two... I'd go with Sherlock.
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There is only one real winner. Sherlock Holmes with RDJ!
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That's it, you're out. :)
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I think the big problem with this poll is that they are completely different interpretations of Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock has 1 season every 2 years too, so there is more time for them to write and develop everything as opposed to Elementary which gets a weekly airing in the States and has less time to plan out.
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They are the same interpretation to me: both struggle to put Holmes within the XXIst century: Sherlock by using the exact same character, Elementary by actually making Holmes a XXIst century man.
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I see what you are trying to say in your comment but they are way different. You described it yourself:

"Sherlock by using the exact same character, Elementary by actually making Holmes a XXIst century man."
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Main problem of Sherlock is that it is the exact same character: it's okay a few centuries ago back when criminology was in diapers but after CSI? Not so much.
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CSI is beating the dead horse at this stage, I prefer it when they don't use computers in crime shows and the characters use there brains and perception skills. That's why I loved Monk and the reason Psych has remained one of my favourite shows for years.
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Also I voted for Sherlock!
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Elementary is fun but it is not in the same class as Sherlock.
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I have to say that I like both series. But Sherlock is brilliant while Elementary is just good. I like the twist in Elementary with both Watson and Irene/Moriarty but equally the insanity of Sherlocks Moriarty is also fantastic (He was my choice for the new Dr Who)
Elementary wins as there are many more episodes but the concentration on a few very high quality programmes also shows - especially in the third episode on the current run - one of the finest hour and a half of TV I've ever seen
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Moriarty was cartoonish like insane in Sherlock, but there's a reason to her madness in Elementary: I definitely like Irene = Moriarty better.

She makes things more complex.
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this poll is an insult to Sherlock.
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I agree whole heartedly
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I like both, but Sherlock is way better. better writing, better acting, and shorter. Love the three episode per season gig. Wish it wasn't so long between series.
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Has to be Sherlock, if only because Mark Gatis' handywork is all over it in terms of the comedy writing. As a league of gentlemen fan, I could hear his humour throughout and took great satisfaction at the end spotting an executive production credit. Excellent writing and incredibly funny dark humour. Plus I have to confess to finding Martin Freeman pretty hot actually!
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My favorite Mycroft is Elementary's: funny, sexy, slightly devious and the most mysterious.


I can never tell whether he's good, evil or seriously messed up
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Johnny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch are actually friends. They both performed together in a stage version of Frakenstein, where they took turns playing the doctor and the monster. So i think its okay to like both. Also Natalie Dormer is brilliant and should be in WAY more things, I loved her in the Tudors and Game of Thrones.
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It's always okay to like both. And Natalie Dormer is fantastic.
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Yeah I remember Johnny saying he called Benedict to get his approval before accepting the part. That was sweet.
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I voted Sherlock even if series 3 wasn't as great as the first two. But still I voted Sherlock as I had problems getting through the very first episode of Elementary and never felt the need to go back and Watch another episode of the show.
I love how Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman play off each other - you really can see how they are friends and how their friendship has changed Sherlock for the better even if he's still an idiot at times and don't really interact well with other people. But he'd do anything for John Watson.
And then there's Mycroft. I'd probably love Sherlock (the series) a Little less if not for Mycroft. I can't help but love him even if he's worse than Sherlock in some ways but their relationship is brilliant too.
Also there's so many other good/brilliant things in Sherlock: Molly Hooper, Moriarty, Lestrade, Sherlock's mind Palace, The Woman and on and on. So definitely Sherlock for me.
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You are missing out then. I agree that Elementary's first couple episodes weren't that good but around episode 3 or 4 it got a lot better and by mid season I was ready to ditch the BBC's version.
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I'm already at episode 12 of Elementary and it's NOT getting better. These two don't sell it for me -- they don't have that chemistry I wanted between Sherlock and Watson. God, even the movies' version with Robert Downey Junior and Jude Law had more chemistry. How long am I supposed to wait it out before it gets good like all the fans say? BBC's Sherlock had me interested in 5 minutes. There's really no competition here.
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That's not necessarily true for everybody. I was all ready to love yet another SH adaptation, but was already tempted to quit after the pilot. I still watched until 7, then tuned in for M, since that episode was so hyped and finally gave up on it for good. Elementary might have its moments and I love both actors, but in the end, it just bored me. A shame, because as far as I am concerned, you can never have too much Sherlock Holmes.
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Sherlock, of course. Elementary is good fun and 45 minutes of TV-viewing generally well spent. Sherlock, on the other hand, is compelling, at times even enthralling. The superb acting, directing and imagery and masterful criminal antagonists elevates it far above its adversary.

That's not to say it is perfect; RenataEda has some valid points below, but merely superb is enough for me.
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Elementary plays it too safe, following the "case of the week" procedural format. They tried with Moriarty, but I felt making Moriarty a woman was a mistake. Joan works as Watson, but I don't find the Moriarty actress convincing as a criminal mastermind (see: Red/The Blacklist to see how it's done...)
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Duh.
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Most of the commenters have already said what I wanted to say so I'll keep mine short.
Acting: Sherlock
Characters being who I imagine them to be: Sherlock
Cases: I always felt Sherlock should only deal with abnormal or exceptional cases that the police would not tackle, so again... Sherlock.
Friendship: Sherlock (waiting for Elementary to make me feel like these guys are pals for life...still not seeing it)
Eyecandy: Benedict Cumberbatch and Lucy Liu (it's tied)
Humor: Sherlock. Martin Freeman makes me laugh constantly.
The shift to modern day storytelling: Sherlock.

It's honestly a no-brainer for me. I struggle to watch "Elementary" as I find my attention span consistently wavering because I'm so bored, while "Sherlock" keeps me intrigued and makes me laugh. Check out Watson's blog -- hilarious. I can't wait for the next series to start.
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Even if the material they're based on is the same, they have very different styles, therefore shouldn't be simply compared in terms of which one is best. I enjoy both series quite a lot, but they're certainly not perfect.
I'll focus on Sherlock because my problem with it annoys me much more than the problem I have with Elementary. Sherlock is brilliantly directed, with amazing imagery, outstanding acting and mindblowing crimes. However, I very much dislike Moffat's writing. He has a penchant for glorifying and romanticizing painfully dysfunctional relationships and making it seem like no action truly has any sort of consequence in his stories.
[SPOILERS AHEAD]
Season 3 has left me considerably disappointed because they treat John's suffering as a complete joke, and make it as if he is the one overreacting. They say it over and over again that he's addicted to danger and play it as if the fact that his wife is a former assassin and has lied to him all this time is his fault. Sherlock makes him think that they're going to die to force him into forgiving him and actually laughs about it to his face. I find that the friendship between John and Sherlock comes dangerously close to the relationship between Irene/Moriarty in Elementary, and the fact that the only nod towards how unhealthy it actually is being Sherlock's mention of himself being insufferable during his best man speech (which still made me tear up) bothers me more than a little.
The lack of consequences in Moffat's writing is also seen in how he refuses to let anyone die, not only in Sherlock. Of course, we all knew Sherlock was returning, but instead of having Magnussen as the next big bad, they simply kill him off. Sherlock doesn't suffer any consequences for killing the man, because Moriarty returns before he can even leave London, illustrating my point doubly so. And while I truly liked Mary, I won't even get started on how problematic his portrayal of women in general is. Many people have written about it much better than I could ever attempt to.
[END SPOILERS]
My problem with Elementary is simply the fact that the mystery part is so weak. And for a procedural that relies on an expert deductionist it is something quite hard to overlook. But I absolutely love the dynamic between Sherlock and Joan, and I enjoy how Jonny Lee Miller's portrayal of Sherlock is also more humane. It is a refreshing take on the character, especially because Benedict's version of Sherlock (of no fault of his own) is a cringe-worthy asshole for the majority of the time.
All in all, both series are definitely worth watching!
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I find Sherlock to be rather gimmicky and absurd at times. I just don't see it as being as great as so many fans do. Also, I have trouble understanding the actors on Sherlock because they talk very fast and slur their words a lot. With the Brit accent and my hearing not what it used to be, I struggle to catch the dialogue--even with the volume turned up. So, I prefer Elementary. I like Johnny Lee Miller better as Sherlock also. Elementary isn't particularly clever, but the whole concept of Watson being female has been interesting.
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Sherlock is the better show. However, this past series hasn't been as good as the first two.
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Sherlock is just better in every regard. Impeccable writing, top notch acting and superb direction. Not only are the characters and mysteries compelling but the way they manifest Sherlock's observational powers or his "mind palace", adds another level to the show that only a interconnected writing and directional team could pull off. All things that I do not see in "Elementary".
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I have to say that I like them both, for different reasons. They're very different shows, stylistically and from my perspective it's hard to compare them. They both are appealing.

One thing that popped in my head was... I would love to see Jonny Lee Miller play an episode as Sherlock in "Sherlock". I think he'd be amazing in it. It's hard to see Cumberbatch in Elementary... but I'm sure he'd be awesome as he has in everything else.
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I voted Sherlock, as it has the quality edge on writing and execution, but we are comparing a BBC product and a CBS product. A CBS weekly series like Elementary can't compete with Sherlock's 3 BBC movies a year in execution. However, Elementary's writing is good and the casting is great. Elementary takes the Holmes story even further into the present day by utilizing Lucy Liu as Watson. The story arc turning Moriarty into Holmes ex-girlfriend is brilliant . Jonny Lee Miller does a valiant job of hiding how much better his skills are than the material he is given in Elementary. It was a difficult choice!
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What I really enjoy about Sherlock is Sherlock and Watson's close relationship. You can truly tell that they are best friends. The lengths that they go to save each when either of them is in danger is awesome. Watson kills the bad guy to save Sherlock. Not many people would do that. I wouldn't call Sherlock a dick. He is in his own head so much that he has no tact. He speaks the truth and isn't mean about it. Watson helps Sherlock by teaching him that the stuff he says isn't stuff that you should say out loud.

I don't watch Elementary as it couldn't hold my interest. I expected more bonding for the first few episodes and there was none. I felt like she looked at him not as a future friend, but only as a patient to be helped. That is probably what turned me off the show.
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I love how the relationship is acted and written too. Although please, writers, the gay jokes are really annoying. Since they've made it pretty clear that there's no real ambiguity about the fact that the characters' relationship is asexual, why keep dredging those up?
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Someone else described Sherlock well---it's sloppy in ways that a lot of other shows are sloppy, but it has these kernels of brilliance in the acting and the dialogue that help the show to get away with it. Except I would go further and say that it can't get away with it forever. Every time I finish an episode I come away thinking how sad it is that those brilliant kernels are smothered in razzle-dazzle and sensationalist goop (manfully resisting Season 3 spoilers, but you can find plenty of examples in 1 and 2). For me, Martin Freeman's Watson is the only really, truly GREAT thing the show has to offer. Benedict Cumberbatch also acts his Sherlock very well, but I have more issues with how they've written his character than the Watson character. To me, Watson is perfectly acted AND written. Then again, they could have Martin Freeman eating a sandwich for two hours and he'd still manage to make it a fascinating watch somehow.
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The picture the used for Sherlock alone is better than Elementary! Look at that homade toga!
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I much prefer Sherlock to Elementary although I watch both. Sherlock is fast paced, intelligent and has some low key humorous moments. It's so enjoyable to just sit and watch the actors do their stuff and see how the story-line progresses. Elementary, while fine, is easy to watch but I don't feel like I need to see the next episode NOW. The only thing wrong with Sherlock, IMO, is that there aren't more episodes in a season.
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I enjoy both shows so I asked my self the question "Which show would I rather watch reruns of?" and the answer was Sherlock.
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While I enjoy them both, I feel that Elementary has built a richer world and cast of characters. It's a group effort to pull of the episode, whereas Sherlock seems relies on reactions to Benedict Cumberbatch being "different."
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I really like Elementary - it's a fun show and JLM and LL make a very watchable pair, but I obsess over Sherlock. Someone mentioned that it wasn't a fair fight because Sherlock has the most 'rabid fanbase' and that's true, and also what separates a good show for a great one. Elementary is easily digested and as easily forgotten - Sherlock follows me into my dreams...
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