Sherlock creator Steven Moffatt is not impressed with US remake, Elementary!

Steven Moffat, the genius creator behind the phenomenal Benedict Cumberbatch modern-day twist on Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock,  has come out and criticised the American rip-off remake, Elementary, currently in production.

Elementary, which has much of the same format of Sherlock, is being produced by a separate company in America, and is not approved or connected to the hit BBC drama, and Moffat has warned that he is prepared to “take action” against it if there are too many similarities, or if the show makes Sherlock look bad.

Moffat, who is also the brains behind Doctor Who and who was even awarded  the Bafta Special Award by Doctor Who star Matt Smith and Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch at the recent award ceremony, is mostly concerned that the remake will cheapen the Sherlock brand.

In a recent interview with IGN, Moffat admitted that he had been left disappointed with the way in which the network behind Elementary, CBS, had handled the remake, commenting:  “We weren’t ready to do [a US remake] yet, [CBS] said, “We’re great people to come to, we’re full of integrity,” – a few weeks later, we discovered they were just going ahead and doing it anyway.

“So that was another example of what happens in LA television, I suppose. I wasn’t very impressed by it. I haven’t had good experiences in general with that lot.”

Going on to describe the network’s behaviour as “pretty remarkable”, he added:  “It’s tough. If [Elementary is] bad, it debases the coinage of our show [or] if it’s too like our show, we’ll have to take action.”

Despite this vote of no confidence by his boss, Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch seemed to be more enthusiastic about the US show, commenting in a recent PBS  Q&A session in New York:  “As we already know with the Downey Jr movie franchise that there’s room enough for two [Sherlock Holmes projects], so why not three?

“[Elementary will] be different and I don’t think it’ll take away the love for ours, and there’s no reason to be churlish or bitter about them or what they’re trying to do.”

There has been much speculation over how the two shows will differ from one another, with the boldest one being the casting of  Charlie’s Angel’s star, Lucy Liu, as Dr Watson, played by Martin Freeman in Sherlock, who will be the first ever female cast in that role.

Watch the trailer for Elementary below, and let us know if you think its too similar or if it cheapens the Sherlock brand:


  1. Kate on June 1, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Not to nitpick, but your information in the end is a little skewed. Lucy Liu isn’t the first woman to be cast as Doctor Watson; Jenny O’Hara did it first in 1976, and then in 1987 (not as direct but still a Watson figure), Margaret Colin was cast as John Watson’s granddaughter, helping Holmes after thawing him from a cryogenic sleep.

    Other than that, I completely agree with this article. CBS has set itself up for a shitstorm not only from BBC, but from hardcore Holmes fans. This whole thing should be several shades of interesting when all’s said and done.

  2. A Humble Redditor on June 8, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    I agree with Moffat. This looks a lot like a BBC’s Sherlock rip off. While Watson’s gender change is… interesting, to say the least, I’m not quite sure if it will work out well. I have a feeling that this show is going to end up with a lot of sexual tension between Sherlock and female!Watson and not a lot of good crime solving around it.

  3. Charmander on June 18, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Errr…. I also agree with Moffat. It has a couple of similarities I can see already (the scarf!!!), and I feel the only reason they made poor John a woman is so they could “legitimitize” their relationship into something more. I think this will be a lot like shows we have already: a woman and a man working together, they fall in love (but they never say it), BAM BAM explosions, more sexual tension, “Joan” becomes a damsel in distress in every episode, and then it ends with some more intense staring.

    It would be more original if one was to genderbend the entire character list (or at least Sherlock and John, because that would just be too much estrogen in one place). Also, Americans already have a Sherlock Holmes thing going on, and it’s fantastic! But too much of a good thing and people will tire of it. I don’t want to get tired of Sherlock Holmes.

    Besides, Americans already have a Sherlockish show–Psych, anyone?

    I’m American and I think this show will not be able to compete with Gatiss and Moffat. I just adore the platonic “brother-from-another-mother” relationship going on between Sherlock and John in the BBC show, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  4. Jan on June 29, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Gatiss and Moffat and the BBC have nothing to worry about…they have Benedict Cumberbatch. ’nuff said.

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