I think I like the American version a little better.
Yes yes, bring on the flame war, winter is coming and the angry mob torches will help save on my heating bill.
Now let us look at just the facts. I have only seen the FIRST episode of each series. So I am just judging this entirely based on the pilot episodes. (YES I plan on watching more episodes but right now I'm just a bit more excited for next week's ELEMENTARY. )
Let's look at the heroes
In ELEMENTARY (US) Holmes is a tattooed, bondage loving former drug addict fresh out of rehab. Right off the bat you get the idea that this is a flawed, damaged, and more INTERESTING character.
In SHERLOCK (UK) Holmes comes out as a near "MAGICAL" super sleuth who's only fault is being socially awkward at times. He used to smoke a lot and it IS hinted that at one point he may have had a drug problem. However, he doesn't show it. At no point does the UK Holmes look like he's not 110% in control of the situation. He's like a British BATMAN. Just flawlessly awesome and therefore a little boring. (I'm 99% positive there is or will be a later episode delving into his back story, but again, judging by the pilots here)
So Point goes to the US version.
Now let's look at the style of each show.
Both shows have some good moments of snappy dialog but one thing I did like about SHERLOCK is that the visual style has just more well... STYLE! There are little bits of floating text that let us see things from UK Holmes' point of view. Giving the viewer a chance to MAYBE put it together themselves. The same thing is done for when people get a text on their phones. Instead of an awkward shot of their screen at an angle we just get the text in big bold floating letters. Nice touch. I like it. ELEMENTARY doesn't do anything like that. It just sorta lets US Holmes look around and real quick and then point stuff out. Kinda like MOST cop/mystery dramas. Dull.
Point goes to UK version.
Now, the tie breaker.
BOTH versions of the character have interesting back stories that are just mostly hinted at or revealed in some dialogue. (TELLING us now and most likely SHOWING us in later episodes.) But let us look at the KEY differences. BESIDES the UK version being male and the US version being female.
In ELEMENTARY, Watson is Holmes' sobriety rehab buddy/sponsor. So there is a real reason for her to follow him around ALL THE TIME! To make sure he doesn't try coke, crack or meth again. Which comes off as a real threat since the US Holmes DOES look like he could relapse at any moment if things don't go right for him. (Calling it right now, if Moriarty shows up then he will probably find a way to put Holmes back on drugs.) Again, THIS JUST SEEMS MORE INTERESTING!
In SHERLOCK, Watson is just a vet back from war looking for a roommate. He has no reason to follow UK Holmes around other than BOREDOM. I guess that reason is more loyal to the original books but just comes off as "I have to follow him! It's in the script!" So yeah, still a cool character but not quite as interesting a motivation.
Point and GAME go to ELEMENTARY! The show I'm looking forward to watching next week.
Now this by NO means that SHERLOCK is a bad show. It's well written and well acted and I can totally see why people love it if they're looking for a more TRADITIONAL Sherlock Holmes show.
But for now, I'll keep ELEMENTARY on my must watch list.