CBS just announced that Elementary -- a modern-day retelling of the Sherlock Holmes stories starring Jonny Lee Miller as the lead and Lucy Liu as his Dr. Watson -- would be joining the schedule, Thursdays at 10 p.m. Alongside PBS Masterpiece's Sherlock (currently airing series two), that is the second updated incarnation of these tales. But Sherlock showrunner Steven Moffat isn't worried. In fact, he thinks Elementary is taking too many liberties with its storytelling.
"What we did with our Sherlock was just take it from Victorian times into modern day," he tells TheInsider.com. "They've got three big changes: it's Sherlock Holmes in America, it's Sherlock Holmes updated and it's Sherlock Holmes with a female Watson. I wonder if he's Sherlock Holmes in any sense other than he's called Sherlock Holmes. It's almost like they should have made Watson a woman but kept the show in Victorian times. Actually ... that would actually be quite interesting."
It's no surprise Moffat has a few ideas of his own, since CBS initially approached him and producing partner Mark Gatiss to steer this American incarnation. "It's a slightly odd situation because [CBS] approached us to do an adaptation and we declined – then, coincidentally, they announced they were doing an updated version of Sherlock Holmes," he chuckles. But lest you think Moffat is bitter, he's quick to add, "I don't want it to sound like Mark and I don't want other people to try this. We welcome it, but don't damage the brand."
For her part, Lucy Liu tells TheInsider.com that the show will be much more about the characters than the cases. "Elementary is a little more character driven in the way that it's a network show, it's probably a little more conservative," she says, comparing it to her last TV gig on TNT's Southland. "Elementary is a little bit more about covering the characters. It's so fun to play a character who is different from the lore of this white man. You know how I like to break the rules," she laughs.
Find out how the two compare when Elementary launches this fall on CBS, while Sherlock can be seen Sundays at 9 p.m. on PBS Masterpiece.