Wow, really? I quite like Elementary but think Sherlock is the better show. The interaction between the two main characters in both is startlingly good, but the Elementary take is telling its own story and going its own way (which startede with Irene Adler and Moriarty). The two leads could have been called anything really. IMO.
I don't agree. Sherlock
's versions of Holmes and Watson are just as revisionist as Elementary
's, merely in different ways. Sherlock
's John Hamish Watson takes the military background and adventurous spirit of Doyle's Watson but pairs it with a thrillseeking, danger-addicted persona that makes him an enabler to Sherlock rather than a balance. While Elementary
's Joan Watson has the stalwart, level-headed everyperson quality of Doyle's Watson paired with a new background as a civilian ex-surgeon and sober companion, and with a keener deductive eye that more often rivals that of Holmes. Each of them takes a different half of Doyle's character and adds different things to it.
And both Sherlocks are recognizable as Holmes -- although many TV detectives are inspired by Holmes, so in that sense there's an air of familiarity. But Sherlock
's version exaggerates his erratic and antisocial side to a cartoony degree (just like pretty much everything Moffat does), while Elementary
's version builds on his drug addiction while modernizing his attitudes (so that he can accept women as his equals in a way the original never could).
As I said in my article, I think a lot of the difference between the two Sherlocks comes down to the difference between their Watsons -- John Hamish being an enabler for Sherlock's worst qualities while Joan is a balance and gadfly who tempers his excesses. So they might have been much more similar before meeting their respective Watsons.