Friday, 27 January 2012

BBC and CBS in Sherlock Legal Battle?

As quite a lot of you might know, there is kind of an overlap between the people of this community and the fandom of Stephen Moffat's non-Doctor Who tv show, Sherlock. For those of you that don't know what it is, it's a modern day adaption of the Arthur Conan Doyle novels, not exactly a straight adaption but it's still a very entertaining, visually original show with two very good leads in the form of Benedict Cumberbatch (voice of Smaug in the upcoming Hobbit movies as well as the villain in the next Star Trek one) as Holmes and Martin Freeman (who will actually be starring as the titular Hobbit) as Watson.

The show has done both very well in the UK and abroad, particularly in the US and in Korea, though in the latter case they are putting a different spin on how they're marketing it.

Anyways, as is seemingly standard for shows made in the UK now, the BBC attempted to pitch an American-based adaption to an American channel, specifically CBS. This isn't really anything new, as there have been numerous British shows that have been remade for the American market, such as the Office, Steptoe and Son, Being Human, Life on Mars, Shameless, Skins, Misfits (yes, that's getting a remake too) etc. etc. BUT, some time after BBC pitched the show to NBC, they announced that they were going to be making a modern-adaption of Sherlock Holmes based in New York, under the title Elementary.

Fair enough, I might hear you cry, but that's to be expected surely, as what with Sherlock Holmes being in the public domain, everyone has the right to use him in their own works (hence that movie by the Asylum made to cash in on the first Robert Downey Jr. Holmes film), and what with the success of both Sherlock and Sherlock Holmes: A Games of Shadows, there can't really be anything more going on with Elementary other than it being another Holmes adaption in a contemporary setting? After all, basing Holmes stories in the present isn't exactly a new concept, there were versions based in the 1940s and even one where he settled in San Francisco in the 1991 movie... Sherlock Holmes in San Francisco.

Well the BBC seem to think so, are are launching legal proceedings against CBS, not because it's an adaption of Sherlock Holmes, but because it's an adaption of SHERLOCK. The main issues seem to be that the American version will use elements from the Sherlock series that are unique to that series, such as the inserts Sherlock uses, the text messages appearing on screen, the look they chose for the Holmes brothers and John, and the editing style.

These elements appear to have been introduced into Elementary after the BBC pitched their version of Sherlock to them.

Whether it's true or not I can't say, as I haven't yet seen Elementary, but's definately interesting from my perspective anyways.

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