The Sherlock Fandom Explained: Sherlock vs Elementary

Benedict Cumberbatch vs. Jonny Lee MillerOver the past few years the Sherlock fandom has exploded and grown in popularity with the creation of multiple TV series and films dedicated to Arthur Conan Doyle’s finest work. There’s the BBC’s Sherlock series, CBS’s Elementary, and, of course, the popular film where the character of Sherlock himself was played by actor Robert Downey Jr.

A fandom is a community, large or small, that follows and supports books, films, artists or even individual actors! Thanks to modern day adaptations, fans of Sherlock now have a large variety of content to keep them going after finishing off the original novels. However, the two recent television shows mentioned above have caused quite a deal of controversy within the Sherlock fandom with fans debating which is better: Sherlock or Elementary?

Sherlock, produced by the BBC, is a British television adaptation of the original detective stories; Holmes is played by British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, while Doctor John Watson is played by Martin Freeman. The show is set in a modern day London and therefore is sticking close to its Victorian roots.

The TV series has been highly praised, with many saying Benedict makes the perfect Sherlock by accurately portraying the witty intelligence and demeanor that is characteristic of Sherlock. The show also has received high praises for its production value, with each plot line containing many twists and turns, always with a surprising conclusion to keep viewers glued to their seats until the last second!

Although popular, many watchers complain about the long wait between seasons, with the gap linking seasons 1 and 2 resulting in a two-year break. Some also argue that the British adaptation relies too much on clever gimmicks and filler content. Another complaint that keeps cropping up from fans is that although Benedict Cumberbatch portrays Sherlock astonishingly well, many argue that the character lacks any depth in terms of personality development and can sometimes be robotic.

Elementary is an American adaptation of the famous books and first premiered on CBS in 2012. In this modern day version, Sherlock is played magnificently by Jonny Lee Miller and Watson is portrayed, for the first time in female form, by actress Lucy Liu. This version of Sherlock has a completely redeveloped plotline, as it is set in New York and portrays him as recovering from his drug addiction.

Like its British counterpart, Elementary has received particularly high reviews that, in some cases, exceed those of Sherlock. Fans and reviewers state Jonny Lee Miller is a far better fit for the role of Sherlock, as he is viewed as being a more traditional version and truer to the book’s version of what Sherlock should be. Lucy Liu’s portrayal of Dr Joan Watson also has received high praises, as her character is portrayed as highly intelligent, competitive, and well able to manage Sherlock’s narcissistic ways. The interchange and chemistry between them is well balanced, believable, and many times heart-warming.

As with the BBC Sherlock series, there are also fans who believe the Elementary series does not quite live up to the high expectations from the original books. Although set in modern times, fans see Elementary as a traditional drama series, which may have trouble distinguishing itself from other detective television shows. Many also believe that setting the show in New York takes away from how Sherlock should be portrayed.

Which show is better? It’s all about personal preference! Both shows are amazing and definitely worth your time if you are a fan of Arthur Conan Doyle’s books. They are very different from each other, but for those of us who simply can never get enough of the great Mr. Holmes, I say VIVA LA DIFFERENCE!

What is your preference? Are you a fan of Sherlock or Elementary? Or are you a purest and a die-hard fan of the books?


Who is Holly Lewitas?

Holly Lewitas is the author of the Spunky Murder Mystery Series — cozy mysteries for dog and cat lovers. Books include: The Nose KnowsThe Nose Sees All and An Army of Noses. You are invited to connect with her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest.

Photos: Benedict Cumberbatch by Bellaphon is licensed under CC BY 2.0; Jonny Lee Miller by Genevieve719 is licensed under CC BY 2.0


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