Sherlock Holmes is not Aquaman.
An obvious statement, that. Any five-year-old could look at Sherlock Holmes, look at Aquaman, and tell you that Sherlock Holmes is not Aquaman.
So why are the creators of Elementary treating Sherlock Holmes like he's Aquaman?
Aquaman, for those of you in need of a refresher, is a superhero who lives in the same world as Superman and Batman. He swims very fast, is kinda strong, and talks to fishes. Sometimes Aquaman is the king of Atlantis, sometimes not. The one thing that has always been true of Aquaman, since his debut in 1941, is that his comic books have never been strong on sales.
As a result, every new creative team who has been handed the assignment of writing and drawing Aquaman comes at the assignment with the same attitude: Our Aquaman is going to be the version that makes Aquaman popular at last.
And Aquaman has been through a lot of changes as a result. He's been a king and a lone wolf. He's had a hook for a hand and a beard. He's had a hand made of water and magical powers. He's been a young man, an old man, and he's been a dead man. Married, single, friend of humanity, foe of "land-dwellers" (humanity), and more.
Like Rodney Dangerfield, Aquaman just don't get no respect.
And it kind of makes sense. Since Aquaman has never been as big a hit as Superman or Batman, everyone thinks they can re-create him and make their particular vision of him the one that sticks in the public mind.
And this is where the thing that separates Sherlock Holmes and Aquaman becomes quite plain. Arthur Conan Doyle got Sherlock Holmes right the first time. For a hundred years, other writers have not been trying to build a better Holmes . . . they've been trying to do as good as Doyle did to start with.
So when the creators of Elementary come along this year and basically try to re-create Holmes and Watson like they're two-dimensional comic book characters in need of another layer of personality, one can't be faulted for considering that they might just be making a mistake.
Because Sherlock Holmes is not Aquaman. Not even close.