Why I won’t be watching Elementary

Last night, CBS showed the pilot of their new procedural, titled “Elementary”.  This is another incarnation of Sherlock Holmes.  I am a huge fan of the BBC Sherlock and the Robert Downey Jr Sherlock, so it’s not like I couldn’t love one more Sherlock…but I won’t be watching.

There has been a lot of uproar over CBS’s new show.  CBS approached Steven Moffatt, the creator of the BBC version, and asked if he would help with an American adaptation.  When Moffatt said no, CBS proceeded anyway.  There has been  a lot of discussion (http://screenrant.com/elementary-cbs-bbc-sherlock-holmes-comparison-similarities) about the controversy and even Benedict Cumberbatch has been talking some smack (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/24/benedict-cumberbatch-elementary_n_1908478.html).  Of course the Sherlock “fandom” has also been in an uproar. (Sorry for some reason I can’t get links to work in wordpress)

There are a few reasons that people in the fandom are upset.  First of all, in the CBS version, Watson is a woman – Joan Watson – played by Lucy Liu.  Another issue with the Watson character is that she isn’t a military surgeon.  Why can’t a woman be ex-military?  I don’t know.  It’s an important facet of the Watson character. And it goes without saying that having Watson be portrayed by a woman causes the stories to lose that subtext that most of us fangirls enjoy so much.  If Sherlock and Watson are finally going to fuck, of course Watson has to be a woman.  THERE’S NO OTHER WAY, RIGHT?  RIGHT, AMERICA???

If Watson is played by a woman, the caretaking, nurturing and worrying that Watson does in regards to Sherlock will just make the woman seem subservient.  Instead of a tender story about two male friends who become better people when they meet each other, it will be about a crazy detective and his nursemaid.

Sherlock’s character is not supposed to be interested in women (or men, for that matter).  From what I have gathered, this version of Sherlock is a horny bastard who is warm for Joan Watson’s form.  Johnny Lee Miller has stated in interviews that he thinks they will end up having sex eventually.  This is not in character with Sherlock.

If CBS wanted to create a new procedural with a will-they-or-won’t-they couple, why did they need to use the Sherlock and Watson names?  These characters are not even Sherlock and Watson anymore. 

BBC Sherlock was created by two huge Arthur Conan Doyle fans, Steven Moffatt and Mark Gatiss.  CBS created Elementary as a money-grab and I have a feeling that none of the writers/producers or anyone else has any reverence for the source material.  This is my greatest complaint and concern, and is the reason why I will not be wasting my time watching the show.


11 thoughts on “Why I won’t be watching Elementary

  1. shazza91321

    Thanks for your post, lets not forget to mention Lucy Liu can’t act her way out of a paper bag!!! She’s one of the worst actors out there if you ask me. Jonny Lee Miller however, might have been able to pull this off if they didn’t write so poorly. I can just go on and on about this but I will stop here.

  2. rubi1234

    I totally one hundred percent agree with this!!!!! my whole family likes elementary, even though they watch Sherlock as well. but i hate it!!! i almost vomit every time i see the adds on TV. i hate i hate i hate it i hate it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it disgusting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Ricky George

    What makes you all so scared to watch a different version of Sherlock Holmes?. I was shocked when i heard Watson’s being played by a women and mainly Lucy Liu but was more interested to know how they would actually carry it on and i must say they are doing a commendable job. To compete with Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock they had to be different and Jonny Lee Miller has portrayed a very interesting side to the famous detective. Curiosity is the first lesson to becoming a Holmesian disciple. Otherwise your just a random viewer. Please do watch the show for that.

    1. Mariah

      I agree with you. I had the same impression when I heard about the show but decided to give it a shot. John always was my favorite character so i had a cold feet when i heard he was going to become a woman, but i must say, they are doing an awesome job and this watson kicks ass

  4. melajo83

    I have to totally agre with you. Elementarty sucks!! BBC Sherlock’s Better!!!! CBS should’ve done it’s “holme”-work before writting such crap. (pardon the Language) Praise to Mr. Moffat and Gatiss. They really honour and respect the work of the late, great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Bless them and the cast and crew.

  5. Girl on fire

    I respect your opinion, but elementary is actually a good show. I have seen BBC’s Sherlock and I love it. I have to say, Sherlock and Elementary are nothing alike (except for the characters) and shouldn’t be compared). In Elementary, Waston and Holmes have no romantic interests whatsoever.

  6. iBeg2Differ

    It’s hardly fair to judge a show if you haven’t actually sat down to watch it. Elementary is less concerned with how “cool” it looks and more with the human elements of the characters. Compared to BBC Sherlock, Elementary is written with more respect for women, and a much more mature and level-headed approach to the topic of sexuality. (instead of the “I’m not his date” mantra that characterizes BBC’s Watson) Elementary is written for a more adult audience who is more accepting of these issues, and understand that regardless of gender, ethnicity, and occupation, Holmes and Watson’s beautifully unfolding friendship is the spirit of the canon.

    I used to be a huge fan of Moffat’s work, but his writing can really come off as manipulative and disingenuous at times. I’ve also grown tired of all the gay-baiting that happens in the BBC version, the acting’s top notch, but really guys, give it a rest. Not to mention that shameful depiction of Asian culture in that episode-which-shall-not-be-named.

    I don’t know where you’re getting your info, but the actors and writers of Elementary have all explicitly stated that there will be no romance between Holmes and Watson, and really, this refreshing platonic bond is what draws me in to Elementary. It’s a beautiful show.

  7. Hammy

    I’m gonna be straight with you. The show is pretty good. You remind me of the devil may cry fans who wouldn’t accept the new devil may cry reboot just cause they changed his hair color and style. It’s a little different ok. Not everything has to follow word for word. I would hate it if a character is the exact same in every adaptation. God imagine. He likes fish in one series, in the next series he’ll like fish. What’s wrong with making him like having sex with women? News flash a lot of guys want to have sex with a woman. If a woman is being Watson so what? She’s an ex surgeon, sober companion, and she later becomes a consultant. Not some “nurse maid”. No they do not have sex cause Sherlock only sees her as a partner in work. Not a sex partner. And a friend. And fan girls for what? Gay love between two men? Lol just calm down and watch it. It’s pretty good.

  8. Michael

    I believe you guys are more catholic than the pope. I watched both tv-shows. and I actually prefer Elementary. It brings a new vibe and tells the story from a different perspective. I find Johnny Lee Miller to be better than Cumberbatch also. And for those who say shitty things about Lucy Liu, it’s just not true, she’s a wonderful actress, with experience and she does a really good job on the show. And finally, Natalie Dormer as Moriarty seems an excellent choice!

  9. Sandy

    Unfortunately I did not watch BBC version so I will not say anything about it contrary to that people who judge a serie without watching it ! I think it is very stupid. I can understand that Watson as a woman is a disturbing fact (you imply that CBS is not open minded because they refused to depict a homosexual relationship but you seem to be the same since you refused a female version of Watson) when we used to be familiar with the original version of Sherlock Holmes. But I am pretty sure, that nowadays we need not only a perfect representation of the original work but also something new, original which is not necessary THE original. And it is in the confrontation between the original version and a new one that we can build a stronger representation of Sherlock Holmes who remain for ever an enigma, a ridlet, a puzzle… even for himself. So stop speculating about who he is. It is nonsense. Personally I am always surprised by the way CBS succeeded in reorganising this show by keeping some deep elements and fans would be like “ah yeah they do it this way, ok…it is clever… or not!”. Of course, it is not literature and I do not think this is the aim of CBS. So my advice is that you should (I repeat it is only an advice !) stop thinking with your memories of Sherlock Holmes (otherwise you are condemned to live in a melancholic past without being open minded) and understand that a new adaptation brings some wealth to an original version. This is entertainment, and sometimes we really need just that, so appreciate it for what it is but stop giving a negative opinion just because you watch a trailer since you can influence some people. I have to confess, that if I had read your notes before watching Elementary, I would never ever try it.


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