I don’t usually do that “compare Sherlock and Elementary” thing because they’re two completely different shows and doing that is pointless
But I love different representations of Holmes and Watson and what’s stuck out for me with regards Elementary is that when you compare it to Sherlock— and House, actually, now I think about it— no-one lets Holmes get away with his bullshit.
There are few scenes of Elementary’s Sherlock unveiling a series of deductions with the sole purpose of humiliating the person in front of him. Casual insults, vicious comments, etc are kept to a minimum— I can believe that much of the offense JLM’s Sherlock causes is accidental, rather than deliberate.
When Sherlock does say inappropriate things, he is called out on it. Joan calls him out on his misogyny and poor behavior regularly. This week, when Sherlock was rude to Pam, rather than being struck dumb or bullied into bemused compliance by his intelligence like in so many scenes of House and Sherlock, Pam simply tells him to get out of her vehicle. Sherlock’s actions during the Moran incident aren’t treated as just “Holmes being Holmes”, they’re recognised as hugely unhealthy and dangerous behaviors that damage his relationship with Gregson, and Sherlock has to make an effort to fix that relationship. And Sherlock remembers the lessons he’s taught; it’s easy to chart his growing respect for Joan and her boundaries, and the points where their friendship is beginning to gradually dissolve those boundaries.
I think what I find so refreshing about Elementary is that although Sherlock has a gift, the narrative doesn’t treat this gift as a get out of jail free card for deliberately being an asshole. Elementary’s Sherlock isn’t set up as being above anybody. Canonical Holmes could be rude, insensitive, reckless, and and demeaning, but he was also often kind and compassionate and guided by a desire to do good— something other modern adaptations have treated as secondary to his love of puzzles. Elementary has rediscovered that side of Holmes, and it’s made him much more interesting to watch.