Tag Archives: Sherlock Holmes

Pop-Culture Connoisseur: BBC’s Sherlock vs. CBS’s Elementary

-Brianna Huber

When word that CBS was planning to create their own modern-day take on Sherlock Holmes reached the creators of BBC’s Sherlock, they did not take the news well. Sue Vertue, an executive producer of Sherlock, told the press that CBS was interested in doing a remake of the BBC series; but after their interest came to naught, CBS went their own route, and Elementary was born.

When news of Elementary first appeared, I worried that it would be an Americanized rip-off of the BBC series. To add to the drama, CBS cast Jonny Lee Miller as their Sherlock Holmes. Miller was already friends with Benedict Cumberbatch, the BBC’s Sherlock Holmes, after the two actors starred together in a National Theatre production of Frankenstein.

While I worried about developments with Elementary, I was also undeniably curious. When the show’s pilot aired on September 27th last year, I tuned in. It’s been almost a whole season now and I’ve actually grown to like the show. It’s completely different from BBC’s Sherlock and for me, the two are able to peacefully co-exist.

Sherlock begins when Sherlock Holmes and John Watson (Martin Freeman) are introduced by a mutual friend because they’re both in search of a flatmate. They move in together at 221B Baker Street in London and adventure inevitably ensues. A lot of characters from the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are around – including Detective Inspector Lestrade (Rupert Graves), Sherlock’s brother Mycroft (Mark Gatiss), and of course, the nefarious Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott) – but there are also new ones, like lab tech Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey) and Anderson (Jonathan Aris), whose sole reason for existing seems to be to annoy Sherlock.

Sherlock and John are now on a first-name basis. Cumberbatch’s Sherlock is often bitter and aloof, with moments of genuine affection here and there. If Sherlock lets his warmer side show, it’s usually only around John. When he makes deductions, he talks so fast it’s hard to keep up, but that works well in giving the viewer a sense of what it might be like inside his head. Freeman’s John is a retired army doctor who’s recently returned from Afghanistan. Where Sherlock’s the brain, John is the brawn and the heart. When Sherlock goes overboard with his deductions or insults someone, John is the one to smooth it over and bring him back into line. As in the ACD stories, John acts as a “reflector of light” for Sherlock to bounce ideas off of.

Elementary is different from Sherlock in almost every way. Instead of London, it takes place in New York; and instead of having a white, male Watson, the show has Lucy Liu as Joan Watson.

The set-up is that Sherlock is just out of drug rehab and Watson has been hired by Sherlock’s father to be his “sober companion” and prevent him from relapsing. Watson is a former surgeon who left medicine after one of her patients died on the operating table. Both Sherlock and Watson have their own emotional baggage and aren’t as quick to take to one another as their BBC equivalents, but when they do, their dynamic is wonderful.

Compared to Cumberbatch’s interpretation, Miller’s Sherlock has a much softer side. He’s nicer. He still comes with plenty of eccentricities and a dark side that comes out on occasion, but his sarcasm has a more lighthearted vibe to it. He’s more open to input from others, as well as the possibility that he can sometimes be wrong.

Cumberbatch’s Sherlock is tall, svelte, and wears suits and dress shirts while Miller’s take on the character is a bit scruffier, covered in tattoos, and wears jeans and ironic t-shirts.

In Elementary, Watson’s role in Sherlock’s life is a lot more hands-on. In Sherlock, Sherlock and John are best friends and would each die for the other if necessary, but Sherlock does most of the deducing and John’s sort of along for the ride. With Joan Watson, we get to watch her grow. With each new case, she learns more about how Sherlock operates, or draws from her medical background and makes her own intellectual contributions to solving the mystery at hand.

While Sherlock has a large number of ACD characters, Elementary has very few. For a while, I worried that the show didn’t feel “Holmesian” enough and too much like another police procedural, but after seeing the most recent episode, I have a newfound hope. Right now, with our first hint toward Moriarty, there are a lot of possible routes for the show to take.

When Elementary first aired, it created a great schism within the Sherlock Holmes fandom–BBC fans on one side, CBS fans on the other. Since then, things have settled down. It’s clear now that Elementary is nothing like Sherlock. It’s possible to be a fan of both shows at the same time.

If you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes and haven’t yet seen either of these two shows, I recommend checking them out; and if you like them both, don’t worry about picking a side.

Images used in illustration from BBC Press Office and http://fempop.com

Some of the Fall’s Newest and most Exciting TV Shows

-Laura Lundberg

I’m a huge fan of TV, and with many of my favorite shows at their season’s (or series) end, I find that the television has become a wasteland of reruns and filler shows. With only a few TV shows to look forward to this summer, I have found myself looking to the new fall line-up and I already cannot wait for September.

While I have never been able to find many of the trailers for new TV shows, this year I made it my job to scour the internet and find out which freshman TV shows I looked forward to – and which I hope would quickly crash and burn. So, in order to get you through until September, I’ve chosen five different TV shows that I’m excited for, and why you should be too.


Revolution, which will be airing on NBC Monday nights at 10 pm, is one of the top new TV shows that I’m dying to see. J.J Abrams’ newest sci-fi drama is environmentally conscious, intriguing, dramatic, Lost-esque, and full of adventure – and all of this I got from just a four minute trailer. In this show, Abrams posed the question of: “What would the world do and look like if we didn’t have electricity?” and it begins with a mysterious worldwide event that leads to all electrical devices shutting down – never to turn on again. The trailer then flash-forwards to fifteen years later, where the world as we know it has fallen, and a new post-apocalyptic world has risen. The trailer then lays out some of the main characters – a girl named Charlie and her brother, mother and father. Her father seems to know something about why the electricity vanished – but I’m sure it’s going to take many seasons to figure out what that secret is. Hopefully this TV show will last many seasons!

The New Normal

Another NBC show that will be airing on Tuesdays at 9:30 pm, this series follows the life of one woman who has put her dreams on hold in order to raise her daughter. A single mom who begins to feel like she’s drifting away from herself and the world, she vows to make her dream come true however she can. In order to earn money to make those dreams happen, she is enlisted by a gay couple who are looking to start a family, to be their surrogate. A comedy, this TV show looks to be heartwarming, creative, and lots of fun.

666 Park Avenue

A TV show that will be airing on ABC on Sundays at 10 pm, the trailer is filled mostly with mystery. It revolves around an apartment building on the Upper East Side of New York that is more than what it seems. Terry O’Quinn (Locke from “Lost”) plays one of the building’s owners that welcomes a new, young couple into the building to be the Resident Managers. However, he seems to also have a different job, one that is full of the weird and spooky. Still, the posh environment attracts this young couple and they believe the job is perfectly fine and are unaware of the paranormal activity that is centered around the building. Intriguing and mysterious, this trailer seems to mimic what it says about its TV show: “Don’t let the amenities fool you”


That’s right! CBS is jumping on the Sherlock Holmes bandwagon with its new series, Elementary. While the premiere date looks to be unknown at this moment, the behind the scenes trailer alludes to much of what the series will be about, and it’s sure to be different! This time, Sherlock Holmes is from New York, set in a modern-day era (much like BBC’s Sherlock), and the biggest twist is that there isn’t a Dr. John Watson. Now, there’s a Dr. Joan Watson. This seems to be the biggest twist that the creators of Elementary have decided to go with, and who to play a better female Watson than Lucy Liu. Thrilling and seeming to be full of twists and turns just like any other Sherlock Holmes adaptation, CBS hopes to succeed in making its mark on everything Sherlock Holmes.

The Goodwin Games

From the creators of How I Met Your Mother, the Goodwin Games seems to be fun for the whole family. A comedy that will be airing on Fox this fall, the TV show centers around a father who dies suddenly and leaves his entire fortune to his three estranged children, with just one catch: They have to play a game in order to find out who wins the entire fortune. What’s even worse is that all of the questions are about the memories that the kids had growing up and all about them. While the trailer does a much better job of explaining the characters as well as the situations that they’re all in, I’m more excited for how everything is going to turn out, and which child (if any) will emerge victorious.