Doctor Who's Steven Moffat hasn't been silent, per se, on the subject of CBS' Elementary, a modern-day take on Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes that is following in the wake of Moffat's own Sherlock. And as stills from the Elementary pilot shoot leak, Moffat has decided that the time to be polite has passed.
According to BBC Radio, Moffat is less than pleased that the Jonny Lee Miller-Lucy Liu "Holmes in Manhattan" reboot has gotten as far into the process as it has—the pilot is currently shooting in NYC—especially given that, apparently, CBS tried to simply import Sherlock and was rebuffed.
"It isn't a version of our show. ... They've just decided to go off and do one of their own, having been turned down by us to do an adaptation of our version. So how do you think I feel about it? Annoyed is in there.
"The bigger problem for us with Elementary is, what if it's terrible? What if it's awful? Then it degrades the brand. ... I remember there was a legitimate American version made of Coupling, actually adapted from our version. It was terrible and it was a disaster and it did sort of diminish the original. So if there's this completely unrelated rogue version of Sherlock going around and it's bad, it can be bad for us."
And while Sherlock producer Sue Vertue is sharpening her legal knives, Moffat is taking a more guarded position when it comes to pursuing any legal action:
"We don't own Sherlock Holmes. ... We don't even own the idea of updating it. It's been done before. I hope they know their Sherlock Holmes very, very well indeed because we know what's in our show and wasn't in the original. So if we did discover our material had made it into somebody else's show we would have a problem with that. If there is no such incidence of that, then there's nothing we can object to."
The more we hear about this, the more it seems like a game in which everyone loses. Can Elementary be as good as Sherlock? Maybe, but that's an awfully high bar to clear ... knowing there's another fantastic show on the other side. And if Elementary isn't as good, it'll just have gotten people peeved for no good reason.