The either/or dynamic of the two makes it very difficult to remember this. Because of how thoughtless the reviews and bubbling enthusiasm about Sherlock season 3 have been, I've been really frustrated with the show. I was frustrated with season 1 in similar ways, but back then it wasn't the cultural phenomenon it is now, and I'm frustrated with myself that I find myself more negative about the show as a result of its popularity.
Sherlock's lazy handwaving of stuff for cool effect. Elementary's sometimes predictable cases. Sherlock's "sociopathy." Elementary's presentation of Sherlock Holmes as a lecher.
Sherlock Holmes was not a period piece when it was first written. The Basil Rathbone films were modern thrillers, just as obsessed with spy-fi tech and gadgets as Sherlock is (and to their credit, Moffat and Gatiss do acknowledge this fact in their interviews). Having Watson as a woman is the central point of a fascinating, moving (if deeply flawed and dated) film focused on a man who believes he is Sherlock Holmes, They Might Be Giants. It's been done before. Yes, Elementary and Sherlock bring amazing things to the Holmesian table. But they aren't the only ones, and we won't know if they're the best for quite some time (though I will say it's a great time to be a Sherlock Holmes fan).
There are some really wonderful Sherlock fans I've had the honor of knowing and conversing with. But every time I look at a post about Elementary, or about something that gets in the way of John being in love with Sherlock, there is a consistent presence of Sherlock fans who threaten, denigrate, hate, and abuse anyone who doesn't hold Sherlock as the best and only Sherlock Holmes and show and mystery and everything. It would be one thing if it were a consistent but minor thing - but it's absurdly loud and nasty. From ridiculous death threats to actors and people who are part of the show to mass-downvoting of anything that is even slightly negative about their show (or even tries to have a slightly different perspective), Sherlock fans are persistently thoughtless and cruel to those who disagree with them.
I am a very conservative person, both personally and politically. As a semi-minority, I do understand the joy of seeing Lucy Liu as a non-stereotypical, awesome character. But that does not make the show or character morally superior to Martin Freeman's amazing Watson. I am thrilled that when I see both Freeman and Liu's faces, I now jump up and down and say "Watson!" I do not like the way Elementary fans seem to embrace the show's choices of diversity and representation as an artistic, rather than a political virtue. And I really resent the fact that even though the Sherlock fandom has rightly earned their place in my mind as the absolute worst fandom I've ever had the displeasure of engaging with, the Elementary fans are more interested in scoring social justice points than anything else.
I'm tired of England vs. America, or social justice and representation, or mental health, or creators and their antics online. I want people to delve into whether the choice to have Watson leave medicine because of failure in the surgery instead of a war injury makes sense in the context of creating a new Watson. I want people to cheer at the blending of The Man With The Twisted Lip and Charles Augustus Milverton in His Last Vow. I want people to notice Charles Augustus Milverton in Dead Man's Switch. I want people to scratch their heads at the three separate instances of the Thor Bridge case in Elementary. I want excitement over the updates of "I am lost without my Boswell." I want people to weep at Sherlock's desire to have been born earlier, believing he might not have been a drug addict if he'd lived in a time less distracting - because we know he would still have succumbed. Most of all, I want people to talk to each other in joy at the shared source, instead of competing for power and influence.
People reading and loving the books is what I want most of all. I met a lady on the plane the other day who was reading the books because of the Robert Downey Jr. films. I have been known to wax nearly apoplectic about these films - but I'm still grateful to them for inspiring this one person (and I imagine many more) to read the stories that shaped my ideas of what a great detective should be.
Sherlock Holmes is the most adapted literary character. Some of these other adaptations are very enjoyable, intelligent, and influential. Some of them should be better known. It would be great to see Sherlock and Elementary bringing a revival of interest in them as well as in the original stories.
I think this is more of a problem in Sherlock, where I hated the way Irene was both a prostitute and actively wicked (though that's not to say there aren't interesting things about her or Lara Pulver's portrayal, just that it's on balance much more frustrating than interesting), and Moriarty simply doesn't work at all for me with his giggling. I actually quite like Irene and Moriarty in Elementary, but I'm very glad that it's likely that Moriarty won't be appearing very often at all. Sherlock's obsession with making Moriarty a part of every single episode really annoys, especially since there are other fantastic villains from the canon that would be just as interesting - I'm still waiting for a great Abe Slaney or Dr. Grimesby Roylott.
I feel like I'm the only one who points out that Jonny Lee Miller looks like the Holmes of my childhood - very lean, excruciatingly sharp chin, balding, and occasionally blue-chinned (though Miller is exclusively so). I've never been a fan of the Gillette-influence look for Holmes, with the very square jaw, and much as I love Brett and Cumberbatch, they do not look like my Holmes (even though I still hold Brett as my ideal Holmes).