Sunday, April 6, 2014

Comparing Sherlock and Elementary

I just saw this February article on Tor. It's fairly balanced, pointing out flaws in both shows. I do hate what Elementary did to Irene Adler; it's slightly better than BBC Sherlock because Irene is the mastermind, and nobody's puppet. But she's as stupid a mastermind as the psychotic Jim Moriarty, who'd gladly destroy himself and his own criminal empire just because he got obsessed with Holmes. It's a wonder anybody follows his orders; if it's just for the money, then where does he get the money from, when he so shittily implodes his own crimes to play mindgames with Holmes?

As I said, I hate Elementary's Irene also because she was the one who came to New York and sent Moran to harass Holmes, basically putting Holmes on her trail to fuck up her criminal scheme. I hate the psychotic idea that she can't keep away from him, though I admit to not watching the episode where she returned. Also I won't give credit to Elementary anymore for transgender Ms. Hudson as long as she's an offscreen character. No progressive points for you until she comes back on a recurring basis!

I would disagree with Emily though about her opinion that Elementary fans think BBC Sherlock fans are fangirls blinded by sexual attraction. I don't think that's the whole reason. I think BBC Sherlock fans also like the flash and style of Moffat's writing, where no mysteries make any damn logical sense. They like the on-camera text, and the bloody awful mind-palace, and the geek worship (even though no sane scientist would keep body parts in the fridge due to sanitation and uncontrolled experimental environment). It's Moffat's stylized idea of what a geeky genius might be like, without any real knowledge of forensic science or actual detective work. Plus many fans adore Martin Freeman as Watson, and like the exciting bromance; it's all running around, shouting things, and never being boring at all. Sherlock speaks fast for no reason and is rude and dismissive to make it appear that he's smart, when he's actually an idiot with a superiority complex. He's a snob who thinks any crime other than murder is beneath him, when canon Holmes solved all kinds of cases in the books. Canon Holmes learned humility, and that he could be wrong. Canon Holmes had a sense of moral justice and sympathy for victims. Canon Holmes would think BBC Sherlock was an asshole who needed to be taught a lesson.

The BBC show is "cool", and that's what fans love. I was fooled and won over for a while myself, but I see now that it's coolness without substance. Sherlock only looks like a genius; he's not actually one. He's childish and privileged enough to think he can meet the Queen naked, and that anybody else will put up with his petty sibling squabbles standing in the way of mystery. I hated that show and swore off it before ever watching Elementary. The hatred is about the show itself, and the trollish behavior of Moffat trying to assert some kind of copyright claim on modern Sherlock Holmes. I'm even more disappointed in Gatiss because he's running the show too, and people kept telling me that he would make sure Moffat stayed true to canon. Gatiss would protect Irene Adler. Gatiss would make the show good. Gatiss didn't, and he royally fucked up Hound of the Baskervilles. He's just as culpable, and from what I hear, they said "fuck you" to fans who wanted an explanation of the faked Reichenbach death. They don't fucking know what they're doing, and it appears they don't understand the concept of blackmail--that the whole point is to have evidence you can send/publish, not mind-palaces.

I stick with Elementary despite its flaws, because the writers aren't misogynists. There's hope that they can make it better, and there are so many good characters in this world. I love what they did with Bell and more recently Lestrade this season. We got insight into Watson's birthfather being homeless too, and she got to solve a case that wasn't murder. So maybe there can be more branching out. I also want Holmes and Watson to solve a case without the police; they teased us with the idea of a sunken ship treasure hunt in Australia. Perhaps something like that will come to pass in the future.

In the meantime, the NYPD has been just as much part of Holmes's recovery as Watson. I glad that Holmes shows respect to some of them, even if he's rude to the others that he doesn't think are special enough. Sometimes it's not consistent, though, so I hope it's just a different writer doing the contradictory episodes. People need police for a reason. Jonny Miller's Holmes knows that police are useful for making arrests, for doing grunt work, interviewing witnesses, and keeping cold case files. Holmes is not above doing tedious routine work himself to find a killer, and Joan has joined. Holmes is learning to connect with people, and he can help Watson with her issues of guilt as well. It's a true partnership in every sense. I need that. I do agree with Emily that I hope someday we'll see a radical adaptation of Holmes who's a woman. Or dare I say it, queer? People keep claiming that BBC Sherlock is asexual, but they totally fucked that up with Irene Adler. Someday I want to see Holmes genuinely asexual, or gay, or bi. Who knows when?

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