CBS’ Elementary has been saddled with the difficulty of distinguishing itself from the beloved BBC Sherlock, and, in a sense, justifying its existence. Sherlock fans were incensed when the rival show started running, and even before episodes aired, many people put in their two cents about the casting of Lucy Liu as Joan Watson, suggesting that her character was an abomination against all that was canon. You can’t have a woman, let alone an Asian-American woman, in the sacred role of Watson! That would ruin everything!
Sherlock fever has struck on both sides of the Atlantic, no mean feat for a character who first appeared 125 years ago. The BBC’s hit Sherlock under the command of Steven Moffat is an intricately layered, complex, highly cerebral show that comes across as a strong homage to the original man himself, complete with modern elements to force the characters into the light of the 21st century. In the US, CBS has ventured into the waters with Elementary, which defies almost all the rules of the canon for a radically different, and oh-so-American, take on a legend.
As awareness of autism spectrum disorders, such as Asperger’s syndrome, in adults increases, characters with autistic traits are becoming increasingly common in television and other media. Temperance Brennan of Bones and Sheldon of Big Bang Theory exemplify this phenomenon, as does Sherlock from the BBC show of the same name.
BBC’s Sherlock has just started running its second season in the US on PBS, and viewers are flocking to watch, particularly after last week’s somewhat controversial Irene Adler storyline. Created by Steven Moffat of Doctor Who fame, the show is brilliant, but shows many of the fatal flaws Moffat’s demonstrated in Who, especially with regards to women. Moffat infamously has trouble grasping social justice-rooted critiques of his work and doesn’t seem to understand why people get so riled up about the women of Who.