matterstruck: (oh dear)
[personal profile] matterstruck
There are many reasons why Elementary is a far, far better and more faithful adaptation of Sherlock Holmes than BBC's Sherlock. Besides the fact that Elementary, which is also set in a large metropolitan city in 2012, actually features women and people of colour in prominent roles that actually give them agency instead of just serving as cardboard cutouts that flatter the 'genius' of the two main characters, it's just better.

I watched Sherlock. My problem with it, apart from the shoddy writing and Sherlock worship, was this: at no point in the course of watching it did I feel like Sherlock Holmes was smarter than me. More educated, certainly. But not smarter. That's the problem with Moffatt's Holmes: not only does he lack some of the empathy that made the original Holmes what he was, he's really just not that clever. A famous detective who works with Scotland Yard showing up at the home of a woman who's well-connected, conniving and fiercely intelligent and expecting her not to know what he looks like? In the age of camera phones and YouTube? That's not just faulty; that's dumb. It's sloppy and presumes that the audience watching wouldn't bother to think of that sort of thing themselves. I did, and it annoyed me.

To compare: I was watching Elementary and thinking, 'Oh come on, it's so obvious that this guy is a glue sniffer, how can Sherlock not have figured it out-- oh.' Their reveal was much better. I was surprised, I was wrong and that made me happy.

The reason I read mysteries or watch procedurals is not so I can figure out whodunnit ahead of time but so I can have it revealed to me in an awesome flourish of deductive reasoning. Quite frankly if I figure out who did it the story has failed, as far as I'm concerned. I don't want to know how it ends, because if I know, why bother reading? Or watching?

I have an embryonic theory about detectives as a species of superhero. They can't fly or punch through walls. They're utterly ordinary except in their ability to use their knowledge and reason to see things that most people would miss. They get the bad guys just like superheroes do, but in a different way, a way that people can more easily identify with. Something something yeah. I did say it was embryonic. And I have a cold.

At any rate, I really hope Elementary goes on for a while. I'm dying to know how Irene is going to figure in, when she'll show up and wondering how they would (will?) handle a Moriarty character.


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November 2012

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