Is Elementary Better Than Sherlock?

Noah Berlatsky recently posted an essay at Splice Today called “Elementary is Better than Sherlock”. He argues that the CBS series is better than the BBC series. In the end, he makes the bold assertion that “it is in fact the best Sherlock show.”

Being something of a nitpicker myself, I find some of his claims a bit specious, and his focus seems to center on proving why BBC Sherlock is worse than Elementary, rather than why the latter is better than the former. He echoes some of the complaints heard elsewhere about the fourth season (and especially the final episode) of Sherlock.

Still, the head-to-head comparison of Sherlock Holmes as written for CBS and portrayed by Johnny Lee Miller and Sherlock Holmes as written for the BBC and portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch is interesting to chew on. Their respective Watsons come under examination, too. Berlatsky favors the way Liu’s “Watson not infrequently catches details in a case that Sherlock misses” over the way “Freeman’s John Watson really is as far beneath Sherlock mentally as Sherlock says he is.”

I know we have BBC and CBS fans among our members. Elise Eliot (JHWS “Lucy”) contributed a thoughtful essay on “Why Joan Watson is Exceptional” to the Fall 2016 issue of The Watsonian. In the Spring 2015 issue, Michael J Quigley (JHWS “Roy”) and Christopher Zordan (JHWS “Flash”) compiled a list of eight key Watsonian traits. They measured several Watson portrayals against this rubric: Freeman’s John matched 8/8, and Liu’s Joan made a good showing with 6/8. (One of the two missing traits is patriotism as evidenced by military service. Joan as a former Army doctor would have been really cool. I wish the folks behind Elementary had made that a part of her story.)

Personally, I’m a fan of both shows. If you love one or both of the shows, I’d love to hear why in the comments.

[This should go without saying, but, well, it is the Internet, so…. We at the Watson Society firmly believe that we can have different opinions and discuss them without attacking one another. Be excellent to each other.]

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“You Know Why I’m Here”

Just in case you somehow missed the news, the latest teaser trailer for the fourth series of the BBC’s Sherlock hit the Internet this past weekend.

There has already been plentiful discussion and dissection of the 48 seconds of footage, and there are still two weeks to examine each frame for those clues that might be seen but not observed.

What are your thoughts on what the new season might hold?

Weekly Forum #47

There’s a “new” book out titled Sherlock: The Essential Arthur Conan Doyle Adventures which collects 19 famous cases that the BBC Sherlock creators, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, view as essential reading.

If you’re like me, you’re not particularly interested in this book because you already own at least half a dozen different versions of the complete Sherlock Holmes canon (How did I end up with so many versions? How much is too much?). However, I did find their listing of 19 “essential” stories interesting. Here is the list of stories that they selected for the book:

A Study In Scarlet
The Sign of Four
A Scandal in Bohemia
The Red-Headed League
A Case of Identity
The Man with the Twisted Lip
The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
The Adventure of the Speckled Band
Silver Blaze
The Yellow Face
The Musgrave Ritual
The Greek Interpreter
The Final Problem
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Empty House
Charles Augustus Milverton
The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans
The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot
The Adventure of the Dying Detective

(This reminds me of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s selection of 19 stories.)

So! If you were going to put together a collection of “essentials” or if you were about to offer a selection for a friend to read the Canon for the first time, would you agree with the above list?

If you don’t agree with the list, what ones would you replace and what have they overlooked?

Sherlock: A First Look at the Sherlock Special

As a special event at San Diego Comic Con today, PBS gave fans a sneak peek at the upcoming BBC Sherlock Christmas special:

What are your first impressions of this take on Holmes and Watson? (Personally, I fear that Dr Watson’s mustache is going to steal every scene. It’s epic.)