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I’ve gotten to the point of my life where all I feel is primarily anger. Dull anger, at just about everything. So I ramble.
I wanted to rant about Ukraine for a while, about Putin, about the jet, about Crimea, about… about…

Ah, fuck it. I’m going to rant about “Sherlock” and “Elementary” instead.

I keep hearing “Elementary is crap!”, “Give us Sherlock and take that shit away!”, and “It’s a cheap rip-off!”. And the last straw was the Blockbuster Buster’s rant on the subject.  And you know what? I disagree with all of these people. Here’s why.

Before I get started, I want to clarify a few things. “Elementary” is not an exceptionally great  show.  It feels like it has a rather low budget, low production value, it has third-rate actors (with a few exceptions), it has CSI-style storylines. It has Lucy Liu, for crying out loud, and I absolutely hate her.  
With that said… I like it.

I’m a Sherlock Holmes fan. Back in the USSR books were kind of a commodity. Especially good books and classical foreign literature. I remember the time when finding “Lord of the Rings” was all but impossible. My only copy was bought from a street-dealer. It was used, it didn’t have the paper cover, it didn’t have the Appendix booklet, and it cost like a freaking gold bar. Let that not make a false impression that we couldn’t find ANY books… I was loaded with them, I spent days reading. And my grandfather’s library was a god damn treasure trove. It had the complete works of Jack London, Jules Verne (I had that back at my home, too), and the complete collection of books by Conan Doyle. So I grew up on “Sherlock Holmes”. It had basically shaped my preferences for fictional characters. Mind over matter, brain over brawn.

But as for a good film adaptation… well, I was tougher to please. We have a Russian version, an 11-part movie series, and I am not a fan. I don’t hate it, it is quite close to the original, it’s okay, for the most part… It’s just… too Russian. It’s like Basil Rathbone’s version is too American… Jeremy Brett is excellent, though. He may be a tad over the top,  but everything else – just right. Plus, it has an intelligent Watson character, who finally masters at least in some basic form the art of deduction.

Anyway. I’ve always had trouble finding good Holmes movies, but that has changed. Guy Ritchie’s “Holmes” is actually quite good. I don’t find Downey Jr. to be of any resemblance to the character, but he makes it up by just being cool.  
And let me first explain what I mean by a “good Holmes story”. It has a character who behaves like Sherlock Holmes, or at least in the realm of probability. It has Watson, who is integral to the story. It has a strange and unusual crime. And, most importantly, Holmes solves the mystery USING HIS FUCKING BRAINS.

And here comes “Sherlock”.
Oh god.
Now, “Sherlock” has all the makings of a great Holmes story. It has a good cast, it has an interesting take on the matter, it is fun. Its production values are much higher than those of “Elemetary”. It is simply better by default… And yet, by comparison, it loses to “Elementary” in a fucking landslide. In my opinion. Why?

Because of two important factors.

The first is Watson. I hate Lucy Liu, did I mention that? I mean, not as a person, I’m sure she’s okay, but as an actress. She’s just not a very good actor. I guess, she has grown since the Angels, I’ll give her that, but she is still no Meryl Streep. Freeman is a better actor by far. And yet, her Watson is smart. His Watson is as dumb as a brick. Her character is a doctor, and is an apt student of Holmes. Her character is a great sidekick, a good friend. Kudos. I still dislike her, severely, but her Watson doesn’t make me cringe. And Freeman’s drooling idiot does.

And now the big problem.

In the two seasons that I have watched, “Sherlock”… well, he was not a very bright detective. Out of the first six episodes, Sherlock had managed to solve only ONE case using his intellect (the fifth episode). In the first one he had valiantly deduced that the killer had a lighter instead of a gun (wow!)… and then he got suckered into a “chicken” game worthy of Marty McFly… The second episode ended in a brawl with the bad guy (or girl) escaping, the third episode was a deus-ex-machina, a blunt one at that. The fourth episode… really? He managed to get his ass to Iran and nobody noticed that?! And here’s the most damning thing of all – Moriarty had him beat. Moriarty had caught Sherlock in the very same trap that failed to catch Guy Ritchie’s Holmes. There was no magic, no secret mcguffin, it was all a sham. Everyone was bribed, everything was staged, and Sherlock absolutely failed to see through this. And at this point my interest for the series had evaporated. When I hear “Holmes”, I don’t think of two guys being the butt of every gay joke in town. I think about a person who solves mysteries and foils the bad guy’s plans. And Sherlock has a very poor record in that regard.

So, “Elementary”. It gets flack from all over the net, and I understand why. But the moment someone says “It’s a “Sherlock” rip-off!”, I feel like comforting that person and saying “No, no! Don’t worry, it’s not. Miller’s Holmes actually SOLVES CRIMES USING HIS INTELLECT.”  Jonny Miller’s Holmes is okay, I guess, and he even comes as a much human character that the “Sherlock” one, although that might be attributed to the significantly larger number of episodes to expand on the character.  But one thing is certain – at the end of the day, Miller’s Holmes gets the bad guy, he solves the crime. He wins. He is not the victim in a “choose your fate” game, he arranges the game for the villain. And at least that is the Sherlock Holmes that I know and remember.  

In every other aspect “Sherlock” beats “Elementary” soundly. But I don’t care anymore. Never even watched the third season. Do not intend to do so.

A friend of mine once said that he prefers “Sherlock” because he doesn’t want to see crimes being solved. Well, it’s his party. But I keep remembering what the villains in “Batman Beyond” told Terry: “You are not Batman”. Well, Cumberbatch’s character may be Sherlock, but he is not Holmes.    

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crashcatt Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2014
I disagree with you on why it's a bad show.

I stopped watching it about a year ago for the reason I stop watching most shows I dislike: it turned into the same "every episode is a small story, but every ten minutes we hit on the overall arc of the season (Moriarty) through scenes completely unrelated to the small episode story". I like shows that are complicated, do not just have two arcs, and follow the same overall theme. Understandably, it's hard for shows to do this for more than 2 seasons, especially when they have a 13-22 episode/season target to hit. But it still makes them shitty.

Anyways, I feel you dislike this show more because it is unlike the original, unlike the books. And yet, everytime someone hits on this for any given show, I feel it should be quite clear that not every reboot is supposed to feel the same way. In fact, I prefer this Sherlock Holmes to the original because his genius is more realistic in this iteration, more troubled, remarkable yet ineffective. Like the way the Daniel Craig bond was different from the rest.

So I don't think it's worse; I think it's a matter of preference. And this falls in line, since I was one of the people that liked Russian Sherlock.
Xatchett Featured By Owner Edited Sep 27, 2014
I'm not saying "Elementary" is a good show. As a matter of fact, it is not. All of your comments are true and valid, and I agree with them.
And I'm all for reboots. Reboots are good, if they are good. "Sherlock" is a good reboot. Way better than "Elementary".
But that's not the point of my criticism.
My point is that he doesn't do what Holmes was famous for. Craig's Bond gets the bad guy by killing the bad guy, which is what we expect from JB. We as an audience expect him to hit a low point, to climb back, to find evildoers and punish them. By killing them, not by letting them escape and die on their own of old age. And, well, Craig delivers at least that part of the bargain.
All-Star-Batman-&-Robin suffered the same fate as "Sherlock" - that Batman was not a good Batman. To quote Linkara, he was a crazy hobo who stole Bruce Wayne's costume. That "Batman" killed people. Which is not what we expect from Batman.  It undermines the whole idea of Batman.
So that's why "Sherlock" doesn't work for me - he is, as you have put it, "ineffective". And "Elementary" Holmes IS effective. Yes, the stories are boring, predictable, whiney, shitty... but he is an effective detective. He gets the bad guy using his brains. He is anything but ineffective. That's my point. I am not discussing quality here, I'm underlining the basic principle of Holmes the Detective - he solves the crime by using his deductive reasoning. And this is an aspect in which "Sherlock" has failed to deliver in 5 out of 6 episodes.
Everything else about the series is superior to "Elementary", but that key element is missing. And in "Elementary", that element exists.
PSOWILL Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014
:nod: Hit every point on it's head.  I'm with you on elementary.
Xatchett Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2014
Yeah... Just rewatched parts of "Elementary" and it gives off that certain vibe - that Miller's Holmes will crawl out of his skin, turn himself inside out, but he will bring the bad guy down in the end. He comes across as dedicated, while Cumberbatch's Sherlock looks kind of bored most of the time. Sigh... Cumberbatch is an actor whom I'd like to like more than I currently do...
PSOWILL Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2014
The more I hear about him the more I think he's like fangirl bait or something.
Xatchett Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2014
I want to belive that he's not getting a chance to really let loose - he's got charisma and energy, and most of the problems with "Sherlock" are not of his doing... Yet still...
PSOWILL Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2014
Yeahh.  Here's hopping waiting and seeing changes that perception.
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Submitted on
July 28, 2014