Elementary (2012– )
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I was surprised at how easy it was to fall in love with Jonny Lee Miller's Sherlock and Lucy Liu's female Watson. Both actors brought their A-Game and succeeded in bringing viewers in, despite the un-original procedural aspect to the show.
The crimes of the week are lackluster and pedestrian at the very beginning, a typical trait of typical procedural dramas on broadcast networks. However, thankfully this did not continue for all the 12 episodes that have been aired. Somewhere along the 6th episode is when I assume the writers got the full season pick-up and felt the support of CBS after being given the coveted Super Bowl episode slot.
Now the crimes are interesting and layered. The best thing is that the characterization of Sherlock and Watson is the best thing I've seen on a drama in years. Lucy and Jonny have a platonic chemistry which brings angst, sarcasm and wit to the show that is very enjoyable.
The character scenes are the best in every episode, and you can't deny the acting skill involved to breath fresh air into an over used double act such as Holmes and Watson. Miller and Liu make you forget about the other interpretations and fall in love all over again with the crime solving duo.
I suggest everyone watches before passing judgement, and be open minded. You can like all Sherlock Holmes adaptions, there is no rule against liking another.
Elementary is going to be a fantastic series, and I hope it lasts a long time on CBS. It's refreshing and adds vitality to a very old network. Great show!
However, if you are willing to "go with" the changes made in this adaptation you will find a clever, well written, well acted crime drama.
I can't get enough of Sherlock Holmes fiction or crime drama for that matter. I truly hope that people can accept it for what it is and it carries on for many series.
Matt from England gives this a thumbs up!
I could never have guessed that years later I would be watching old episodes, while I impatiently wait for the fourth series to be broadcast. All the people involved have obviously worked very hard to create this intelligent and entertaining show, which has fun with the original stories and characters, while still showing respect (in my view) to the books and the author, Arthur Conan Doyle. Oh, and while I like Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock, I think the actors who play Joan Watson, Captain Thomas Gregson and Detective Marcus Bell deserve a special mention, as they have the more restrained and therefore difficult roles to play, as his sidekicks.
Thank you for making and releasing "Elementary". And please hurry up with the next series!
Jonny Lee Miller plays a great Sherlock. He's more human and flawed, where the original Sherlock was almost cartoonishly strong at times, but he still has the same confident eccentric brilliance that makes Sherlock Holmes so interesting. He's a recovering addict aided by Sober Companion Watson, a modern politically correct spin on classic Holmes drug use that feels tacked on and out of place at times, but helps drive the character development of both Holmes and Watson.
The new Watson angle was a big factor in what made me pass on the show at first. In addition to the Sober Companion job, it sounded very generic Hollywoody to find an excuse to shoehorn in a pretty female co-star, but Lucy Liu is very good in her role. She doesn't play a shallow sexy distraction from the story, rather just a different sex portraying the same inquisitive, intelligent, adventurous companion that Watson should be. And (as far as I am in the series - fingers crossed) there's no pointless romantic subplots between her and Sherlock, just a straight played female Watson. Hats off to Lucy Liu for making a tough character change that I was prepared to dislike so likable and real.
The best part of the show however is the writing. Writing good mysteries is a fine line to walk. You can either give too little information and blindside the viewer, leaving them feeling shut out and just along for the ride, or too much information delivered too overtly and ruin the fun of following step in step with the details. The truth has to be there somewhere for you to see but not too soon. Elementary manages to walk that line very well. There have been times when something was too obvious or too unpredictable, but much more often the truth is cleverly masked until just the right time - a little before it's revealed, if you're sharp.
I went into this series with low expectations but very quickly fell in love with it. Whether you like the different spin on Arthur Conan Doyle's characters or not, Elementary does mystery right, and it's worth a watch based on that alone.
It isn't that I am a purist, far from it. I enjoy the utilization of the Holmes and/or Holmes/Watson meme in the form of deductive reasoning and systematic or logical progression. Of course that combined with the occasional last minute twist, the first minute twist or even the w.t.h. or out of nowhere type of twist that was completely missing from the storyline that keeps writers in business and viewers in front of the TV watching isn't it?
Now as to this show? I am in fact entertained for many reasons, and none of them have anything to do with the purism of the title character nor for the particular crimes that are solved. What entertains me is the inner sub plots that are brought to the characters by both Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, and I like Aidan Quinn as well from way back as The Hitchhiker.
I am entertained because I see the kind of s.o.b. attitude that I miss from not having House on the air any more, I am entertained because I have the hots for Lucy Liu sure... but there is something more important than.
I am intrigued at her playing a 'normal' person... not an action hero, not a bad-ass, not a cop with an attitude... she is playing a former professional woman that has taken on a compassionate role and has to deal with a very unprofessional man and I find that particular aspect fascinating.
Anyone could find easily half a dozen reasons not to like this show but I prefer to focus more on what makes me want to watch instead. This show is my addiction and I am thrilled to hear that CBS has given it the green light for a full season. I look forward to more episodes!
I like the Holmes/Watson interaction, it's a challenge for them to keep the relationship on the right side (ie zero side)of romantic.
Holmes is the classic Aspergers dude. In true Simon Baron-Cohen mode here he's paired with a social radar. So I think the woman partner is, in fact, in keeping with the original SH spirit.
I hope a cable channel buys the rights for the next season so the series can advance in length and complexity of stories.
Aside from that, I like the show.
However, I did notice a worrying trend in a recent episode of lessening his deductive powers and in essence having him just follow clues as any normal detective. I hope with all sincerity that this series doesn't cheapen into a regular detective show with gimmicky moments highlighting his powers. i.e. Solving the crime as anyone would through normal police procedure and filling the gaps with inane deductive showcases.
Keep it so that only Holmes and his keen logical mind could have solved the crime otherwise its pointless.
Holmes is also a man who has no love of conventions. It is interesting to watch him navigate his way through a society that tries to force everyone to comply with its standards. In this process, Watson acts as liaison and interpreter. As she gains more information about Holmes, she becomes more useful to him and, perhaps, more of an annoyance to him. He wants to remain an enigma so that he can keep his secrets and demons to himself. She tells him it is good to talk of one's feelings, but he will do so only if forced. One can only hope that the writers eventually create a background for Watson that is equally engaging, though she is somewhat damaged from her experience with a malpractice case. This is only the first season, so there is time for more layers to be added.
Regarding Holmes' crime solving techniques, they are best when he interacts with suspects or witnesses. He has an eye for the truths they reveal when they are trying to hide them. Can he see his own truths as well? Wlll he find the time to deal with his own issues when the world offers so many interesting diversions for his curiosity?
I thought maybe it was just me, but no, my friends say the same thing. Why or Why can't the producers correct this horrible insult to our ears? My television set can only go so high on volume and I am always at the max when this show is on.
My friend in Texas suggested that I do what she does, add the closed captioning and read what Johnny is saying.
This will be my last season of trying to hear what is being said.
Sherlock is an unpleasant surprise for Watson and not at all what she's expecting when she shows up for her first day on the job. It seemed to forced and actually trite when Sherlock goes out of his way to make things very personal and distasteful for her when a man of his supposed intellect would readily deduce that she is not the bad guy, not the Judas goat for his interpersonal difficulties with his father. He's rude and demeaning to her, and when we see the very obvious vulnerability in her character it's not done in a very sympathetic light.
We should revile Sherlock but Lui never comes across as a person we want to empathize with or support. Blame Lui, the writing or both, but it's a key factor in the chemistry between these two characters. When Sherlock finally relents and sees the error of his behavior it's rather flat and anticlimactic. That's a fatal flaw.
This is a strange mix of canon and revision and it could turn into something really interesting but certainly the pilot episode wasn't charming, witty, or thoughtful. Perhaps this is a show that will have some appeal to some demographic but it's definitely a strange fruit at it's beginning. It's a sad fact with today's TV scheduling a show which could have potential might not make it because of a rocky start.
Networks want blockbuster ratings right from the start or else they cancel a show. Viewers are often left holding the bag emotionally if they invest themselves in liking the show or the characters only to find their new interest has been suddenly cut off. This leaves a frustrated and short attention span set of viewers and that's just not a good thing for anyone. It seems unlikely Elementary will be one of those that goes the distance unless the cast and crew can tighten up this show in very quick order.
This is nothing more than your typical Hollywood detective show that features a quirky guy solving crimes with his straight laced sidekick. It's been done millions of times on US television. Monk, Psych, Mentalist, Lie to Me, Perception, Endgame, The Finder, Life, etc.. The list goes on and on.
This is a very mediocre show... The characters are weak, the stories are weak, and the crimes are mundane. Halfway through the second episode I found myself already solving the "mystery" and spent the rest of the episode wondering why this Sherlock character isn't able to see something so obvious.
Furthermore the character doesn't "deduce" anything important and at least half the deductions are more like dumb guesses, they add little to the character or the story.
The use of "Sherlock Holmes" here is nothing more than a hook to get people to watch the show. In the end the "Sherlock Holmes" character is mere window dressing to your basic quirky detective show. One that isn't even as good as the other quirky detective shows.
The show does absolutely nothing to capture the essence of Sherlock Holmes.
If you really want to watch a modern take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's character then you really should watch BBC's Sherlock.
Elementary tries to be like BBC's Sherlock, but other than having a guy with a British accent, it fails miserably on all counts.
In this series, Watson feels like an individual character with her own problems and life. We see her deal with her previous patients and her medical knowledge is helpful more than enough. She also never feels like a "tool" for Sherlock.
Sherlock himself is a wonderfully played, strange man. We can really see the difference between him and normal people, and it doesn't feel forced at all.
Many times he is quite frightening and certainly not a hero. All he wants is to solve crimes and it's personal only sometimes. You get 12 wholesome satisfying episodes before anything that drives the over- all story happens (not counting the introduction of Watson)
It is not a masterpiece, by any means, but it is a great show that any fan on mystery and/or Sherlock would certainly enjoy.
However I gave it a chance and I'm very glad that I did. I have read many reviews of people whining about how it's not some identical/faithful reproduction of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original works and is therefore a sell out and blah whinge blah, but please people - grow up.
The acting is top notch, Jonny Lee Miller is excellent as a modern day Holmes who's amazing intellect is almost as big a burden as it is a blessing & Lucy Liu is great as she shows both strength and humanity whilst dealing with his arrogance and sociopathic behavior. I like how they don't just make Sherlock some perfect crime solving machine like so many other shows and delve into his struggles with manic behavior and drug addiction.
The supporting cast are great also, Aidan Quinn and Jon Michael Hill as their regular NYPD handlers, then some great cameos by the likes of Ato Essandoh as Sherlock's sponsor, Rhys Ifans as his brother Mycroft & Ophelia Lovibond as his stand in apprentice - Oh, and just when you think it couldn't get any better - John Noble joins the cast for season four.... Say no more!
If someone out there knows the writer of this series, please tell him to stop drawing focus to the murderer(s).
I have just watched "The Angel of Death Episode". The elevator scene where Sherlock apologizes to the janitor is unnecessary. As I watched this I was wondering why they would focus on such an insignificant character, just so that Sherlock (who is an egomaniac) would apologize to him? Then you have the whole bit about Watson not being a doctor anymore and I KNEW the janitor had to be the killer. If they left the elevator scene out, we would still have seen the janitor and remembered what a jerk Sherlock was for spilling that water, so when he connected the obvious, that a janitor could have been a doctor, and revealed the killer, we may have been surprised. Then there was the part in the interrogation, when the janitor is convinced the young woman was terminal. An interesting twist, but who could have done it? The only other person that comes to mind is the crazy doctor with the God complex. There are NO OTHER suspects. Mysteries are filled with other suspects!
The greatest of mystery writers always say that they have no idea who the killer is. They write about the murder, populate the scene with character and at the end of an interesting story they pick the least likely character and then rewrite a clue into the story for the big reveal.
The reason they do this is because when you are writing knowing who's done it, you cannot help yourself but write in obvious clues. The clues have to be something tiny that the audience or the reader would not pick upon as they watch or read the story.
So, please for the future scripts give us more suspects, think of a crazy, non obvious scenario and a reason why a murder could be done, and pick the least likely suspect. If you cannot write a mystery (one of the hardest genres to write--that is why Christie and Doyle remain crime royalty) find someone who can and give them a job; even a co-writer who can write mysteries would help.
The show is so far removed from what Sherlock is meant to be that I can only see it as a detective drama where the characters happened to share the traditional names of Sherlock and Watson. In that respect, I suppose watching it as a fun crime show is understandable, but is there anyone that watches this that is an actual admirer of the works of the original stories? I'm not sure it's possible to be one and like this show.
Simply because the characterization of the man they are calling Sherlock on Elementary behaves in exact opposition of the very essence of this man's nature. I am not talking about portrayals, or moving the flat, or making Watson a woman. These are all things that are creative to change and are good to re-hash into something new to keep interest. But I am talking about things that this character does that undermine the core of Sherlock Holmes and therefore he can no longer be himself.
I began noticing these things right away. Sherlock Holmes, as originally written can certainly be referred to as a drug addict. For those unfamiliar with the works it is referenced in the book that to keep his mind from becoming painfully unused he often used cocaine, sometimes for weeks on end during periods where he didn't take a case. In a sense, he is an addict. He is addicted to the feeling of solving cases. When he is not on a case, he is not happy. He is always waiting for the next case to come and when there is not a case, he turns to drugs to fill the hole of his addiction. This is a fundamental character trait and what fuels this man in every thing he does.
It's hard not to notice that in Elementary they removed this component entirely. Yes, Sherlock's drug addiction is a very strong plot point of the series and though the drug his choice has changed, that is not my issue with its presentation.
My issue is that the reasoning behind his addiction is because of a woman. His supposed loss of Irene Adler is what weakened his mind and spiraled his life out of control and into addiction. This is so fundamentally wrong. To take a character that is essentially a human computer, who has one of the greatest brains ever known, and to take him down to the level of addiction because of the loss of a woman (something he disdained) is so horribly incorrect. From this specific point, you have made this a regular crime drama about a man and his lost love. Sherlock does not have a lost love. He has developed his methods and powers of observation through shutting out all emotions. It allows him to see things that others don't. Simply put, he would not waste himself away on drugs because of a simple base human need. I am so disappointed in this fact, that it does not seem that this could be the same character because it directly conflicts with his computer-like brain.
Recently, the character of Moriarty was introduced. This is Sherlock's absolute adversary, because they are at exact opposite ends of the spectrum. One is the ultimate observer and one is never observed. These two concepts are so strongly opposite that they eventually align perfectly and destruction must come upon one of them simply because both cannot exist. Even though I had given up on the show, I was ashamed to admit that I was still looking forward to Moriarty's appearance, who in my mind represents the greatest opposing force ever designed. Needless to even write, I was pretty disappointed when right away he was mixed up with Irene Adler, essentially using her as a pawn to toy with Sherlock's emotions. Which, of course, once again shifts the focus of the show away from intellect and into emotion. Because Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock was all about emotions, right? Right...
In conclusion, I suppose for a mainstream television show, there would be less interest if relationships were not the driving focus. The average person is simply not interested in watching a great mind work. They need the boy meets girl storyline. I am just sorry they had to force that very basic (and trite) concept upon one of the best stories ever written.