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I don’t want to be this person. I don’t want to be the individual who dumps all over a new version of something in a hipster I-prefer-the-original fashion. It’s just stupid to hate on something that hasn’t even come out yet, but Elementary just gives me a sickly feeling in my stomach. And I have to get this feeling out of me and where else do you spew your bile but on Tumblr? Anyway, this is a rant, you have been warned. I’ll try not to just blindly rage at you. As much as I hate to admit it, when it comes to Elementary, I’m a hater. And a hater’s gonna hate.
The reasons why Elementary will be bad and that it should feel bad about being bad:
1. Why would you take a British icon and set it in New York?
It’s a legit question. There is no reason whatsoever to move it from London and put it in New York. Why not put Huckleberry Finn in England, or put Clancy of the Overflow in France or put Arsène Lupin in Hong Kong. I don’t understand why the change in location needs to be made at all, besides making it even more American. It just seems like another example of American media looking down on their audience and thinking that they will be too stupid, or xenophobic to appreciate Sherlock unless it’s set in the good old US of A. And I reject that notion. I reject the idea that middle-America isn’t capable of enjoying a show that isn’t set in their country. (For those who are wondering, I’m not American or British. I’m Australian. And I wouldn’t be keen on an Australian Sherlock either)
2. America already has a modernised version of Sherlock Holmes. It’s called House.
Many American’s on Tumblr see the attack on Elementary as an attack on America and American TV. I want to make it clear, for my part, it’s not. There are plenty of good American shows that I adore. However making an American Sherlock Holmes series seems redundant because you’ve already got a plethora of crime shows over there, with a range of quality. So if it’s not for the crime-solving (and I am firmly of the belief that Sherlock should be all about the crime-solving) then it should be about the characters, right? It should be about an anti-social genius, with a fiction with authority, trying to solve mysteries while his best friend keeps him from going over the deep end. Oh that’s right. You’ve already got that. It’s called House. Everyone and their cat knows that House is an homage to Sherlock Holmes. If you don’t, let me break it down: House, Holmes. Watson, Wilson. Vicodin, cocaine. Piano, violin. Mysterious ailment, mysterious crime. Go to Wikipedia or TV tropes. Have a look at the parallels. House IS America’s Sherlock. So… why do we need another?
3. Lucy Lui as Watson
Yeah before you start throwing about the racism and misogynism claims at me (after all this IS tumblr) I would like to say that I don’t have a problem with changing the race or the sex of a famous fictional character for an adaptation. I mean, everybody loves Starbuck in the newer version of Battlestar, Angel Coulby has done an amazing portrayal of Guinevere in Merlin, and I have never been more disgusted with a fandom as I was when the whole controversy surrounded Idris Elba’s role in Thor took place. However I would like to raise the question of why a female or a POC isn’t playing Sherlock. Females and Asians are fine for playing the side-kick but not for the main role? Sherlock once again is another white guy, because we know, they are the only ones allowed to be eccentric genius’. Also have you read her role description. “Joan” Watson isn’t an army doctor shot in the line of duty. She’s lost her medical license after losing a patient. Yes you’ve read that right. Joan Watson is an incompetent doctor who needs male Sherlock to get her life back on track. And what is worse is that we all already know, deep down, that they only switched the sexes because this way they can shove in some sexual tension between Holmes and Watson. I know that there are lots of shippers out there, but there are a huge amount of us who loved the stories because of the bromance. It was a deep connection between two people without the sexual element (at least in the books). I would love for “Joan” and Sherlock to have a Doctor and Donna relationship, but I highly doubt that’s going to happen.
4. Johnny Lee Miller as Sherlock
C’mon, CBS. Really? You really think wouldn’t notice how you chose a guy who was in Frankenstein with Benedict Cumberbatch? As our beloved Sue said in interviews “Jonny is a very fine actor, who I saw recently in the theatre when he and Benedict played alternative roles in Frankenstein”, she told The Independent. “Let’s hope their pilot script has stayed further away from our Sherlock than their casting choice”. And also the whole part about Holmes just getting out of rehab when the story begins? That shows a fundamental lack of understanding for the character. He’s a functioning addict. It was always an understated section in the stories, but never the main focus. This just smells of CBS going for drama over subtly.
5. CBS’s underhanded dealings when it came to Sherlock
The whole way CBS went about making their own Sherlock is very shonky. Once again we have Sue Vertue’s comments to go on:
“We understand that CBS are doing their own version of an updated Sherlock Holmes. It’s interesting, as they approached us a while back about remaking our show. At the time, they made great assurances about their integrity, so we have to assume that their modernised Sherlock Holmes doesn’t resemble ours in any way, as that would be extremely worrying.”
So, what I get from this is that CBS liked Sherlock and approached Sue, Mark and the Moff about making a remake but, once they realised that Sherlock is in the public domain, decided that they would just take the concept of a modern Sherlock and not pay BBC a cent. This is amazingly distressing because Gatiss and Moffat are huge Sherlock fanboys. As someone who is a massive Doyle fangirl herself, it is easy to tell that they get the characters and the story. You can just tell. The geek interpreter! The speckled blonde! These guys are just two massive Sherlock nerds giggling about their love for Doyle on international television. Whoever does the CBS version probably won’t have the same kind of love for the stories. After all they have already gone and called the series Elementary (something that Holmes never said in the books). How telling of their lack of care, is that. In fact, how do we know that it won’t be Sherlock Holmes in name only? And if it’s just in name only, what’s the point? The whole way CBS has gone about doing this is sleazy. Sue has made it clear that they aren’t going to stand for it.
We are very proud of our show and like any proud parent, will protect the interest and wellbeing of our offspring. The concept of a new Sherlock Holmes is unprotectable. But if the unusual elements of the BBC series – the modern settings, characters, clothes, plots and distinctive visual style – were closely reproduced in the CBS version, that could form the basis of a potential copyright claim.
I secretly hope CBS throw in Molly Hooper or Sally Donovan without realising they belong to Moffat and Gatiss. That would be priceless.
As any die hard Sherlock fan will lament at you whenever they get the chance that there are only six episodes of Sherlock (seven if you include the unaired pilot). My question is once CBS has done their rendition of all these stories, where are they going to go? I think CBS is about to dig themselves into a hole, right here.
It may never happen. Heaps of pilots never get picked up and if they do cross the line, Vertue seems poised to swoop down on them like the avenging Valkyrie she is. It may not even be worth their while making Elementary. Maybe it will actually be a decent series and I’ll have to swallow my words. However between the Kuzuis muscling Joss Whedon out of the next Buffy movie, Max Brooks’ World War Z being transformed into a Brad Pitt vehicle with Zombies and this… sigh. It’s getting harder and harder to be a fangirl and not have your heart broken.
EDIT: Okay, my bad. Sherlock did say the word Elementary in the books. Just never ‘Elementary my dear Watson” Thanks to those who have pointed it out.
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