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Let's revisit Elementary and have a rambling commentary...

Now seems a good time to revisit the age old Sherlock Vs Elementary debate. Both shows have been around for a while now - one over, to all intents and purposes, and the other nearly over. I think it was only ever possible to truly compare them at the end rather than the beginning.


I am only now just viewing Elementary  so this is an opinion in progress - it may change (keep that in mind). Because I don't subscribe to certain UK satellite services, I had no opportunity to see it. The first series was broadcast on UK terrestrial TV and I got about seven episodes in before dropping it. This was because of life pressures rather than disinterest. However, now that Amazon Prime is carrying (I think) the first six series I am working my way through on the daily commute.

The one thing about Elementary that sets it apart from Sherlock (based on my current viewing) is the focus on the crimes rather than the characters. If you read the original stories it is clear that they are a series of stories that feature the same detective - they are not stories about the detective. Elementary gets this right - Sherlock does not. The second the BBC series became about the characters, it went a different way and started to turn many fans against it.

Elementary is a police procedural - there's no getting away from that. That's not to say it's a bad thing. You could argue that is precisely what the original Strand stories were. Both programmes have their faults but Sherlock began to verge on soap opera and was viewed (rightly or wrongly) as both pandering to and insulting its fans. As far as I know, Elementary was not accused of that (I'm sure you'll all correct me if I'm wrong).

One thing that amused me about the final episode of Elementary series 1 and the first of Sherlock series 2 is that both featured the defeat(?) of an intelligent and resourceful woman. In the UK the writers got some grief for having Sherlock beat Irene because it was seen, in some quarters, as a male superiority angle. In Elementary they got round that by having it that the defeat of the female Moriarty was the result of an idea by the female Watson subsequently executed by Holmes. Masterfully done as we clearly could not have Moriarty, irrespective of gender, winning.

These are my current thoughts. More to come as I work my way through...


Written by Alistair Duncan Buy my books here
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