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Holmes vs. Elementary

Of­ten movies or TV se­ries come in pairs. These days I watched two se­ries that are ob­vi­ous­ly re­lat­ed, Sher­lock and El­e­men­tary and there is even a movie se­ries by guy Ritchie (which I ac­tu­al­ly like!) but let's talk TV.

I am not go­ing to be orig­i­nal in say­ing Sher­lock is the su­pe­ri­or show. But why is it?

Well, I think it most­ly comes to one be­ing done by peo­ple who have read the book­s, and the oth­er by peo­ple who heard about them.

For ex­am­ple, that evil word "Ele­men­tary". It's not in the book­s. It's in the movies, though. So, if you fo­cus on sec­ond-­hand sources, it makes sense to use it, but if you care about the orig­i­nal ma­te­ri­als it makes sense to care­ful­ly avoid it.

There's al­so the prob­lem of El­e­men­tary's Holmes look­ing like a hobo. Holmes was fas­tid­i­ous­ly neat. He was a slob about his lodg­ings, but he al­ways kept him­self clean and well dressed.

Or let's con­sid­er ad­dic­tion. Yes, in the books Holmes shoots co­caine and does mor­phine, Thing is, those things were not even il­le­gal at the time. Co­caine was a cough medicine. So, trans­pos­ing that in­to nico­tine ad­dic­tion makes sense, spe­cial­ly since Holmes was al­so a very heavy smok­er even for vic­to­ri­an stan­dard­s. Turn­ing it in­to a drug habit that forces Holmes in­to re­hab (re­hab!) does­n't. Al­so, "this is a three patch prob­lem"? Have to chu­cle at that, dude.

The Wat­sons al­so are quite dif­fer­en­t. I quite like Lucy Li­u's dead­pan de­liv­ery of ev­ery­thing, but Wat­son is not sup­posed to be a dam­aged per­son that nur­tures. He's a thrill seek­er, a badass char­ac­ter that is on­ly mild-­man­nered when com­pared to his com­pa­ny. Again, Sher­lock walks clos­er to the books there, while El­e­men­tary tries to shoe­horn some weird per­son­al-­growth side­plot.

Yes, Wat­son is the one that brings out the hu­man side of Holmes, but he does that not by be­ing all soft and cud­dly, he does it by be­ing a hard head­ed bas­tard who stands up to him. He's a true friend, and friends don't take shit from friend­s, at least not with­out giv­ing shit back. In Sher­lock he does that, and clear­ly Holmes re­spects him. In El­e­men­tary, Wat­son is tol­er­at­ed, and treat­ed like a pet.

Winks. Both se­ries try to make ref­er­ence, more or less oblique, to the source ma­te­ri­al. Again, it feels like El­e­men­tary is work­ing from sec­ond hand ref­er­ences. If I could find you the "Holmes in­ten­tion­al­ly avoids learn­ing things of no im­me­di­ate rel­e­vance" bits in both, the El­e­men­tary one was a groan­ing ex­po­si­tion, in­clud­ing phys­i­cal demon­stra­tion of how wa­ter dis­places oil. In Sher­lock? Well, it's an ar­gu­men­t. In­creduli­ty on one side, quirk­i­ness on the oth­er, fun­ny di­a­log.

Be­cause that's what El­e­men­tary is­n't. it's just not fun. And a Holmes that's not fun, is a bro­ken Holmes.

María Amalia / 2012-10-29 18:38:

Genial, definitivamente ahora no voy a ver Elementary :)

Sebastian Galante / 2012-11-02 14:24:

Además, Benedict Cumberbatch se pasa como Holmes en la serie británica...

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