Thursday, January 3, 2013

Taking the Bull by the Horns

I had wanted to post this at the beginning of the year, and than I got into a bit of trouble with Blogger. Anyway, here it is.

I suppose that now is as good a time as any to quickly go over my opinions on "Elementary." I have not mentioned the show in any of my previous posts, and honestly I hope to keep things that way. I was not impressed by the show - and I gave it more than a fair trial. So, without further ado, let's begin the one and only post about this show.

I suppose that I ought to begin with the positive. The best thing about this show (or at least what I saw) was Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes. He is by no means up there with the likes of Rathbone, Brett or Cumberbatch, but he delivers as best as he can. Miller's Holmes does at least have the same inhuman, cold calculating qualities of the original character. Attempts at humanizing the character were not too plentiful, which can be extremely tiresome. However, aside from this I could not identify this television detective as being Sherlock Holmes.

I am not all too familiar with American crime dramas, however I know of their reputation. "Elementary" felt like a regular crime drama. The types of cases which Holmes is called out to work on are the type of cases which are dime-a-dozen on shows like "CSI." The first two episodes are simple murder mysteries, while the third was a case of kidnapping and murder. It was after this that I stopped watching the show altogether. Should I have given "Elementary" more a chance? I honestly cannot say. The best I could do was try it, and it left me twith a sour taste in my mouth.

Aside from Jonny Lee Miller, the other leading character, Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) got on a my nerves to no end. She evoked none of the spirit that the original John Watson had. Throughout the three episodes, Holmes and Watson did nothing but bicker - it just seemed like childish bickering to me, and over things which perhaps did not warrant such arguing. She was sadly a wooden and one-dimensional character. The same applies to all of the police officers in the show. Captain Thomas Gregson (yes you read that right - Gregson, as in Tobias Gregson) acted like your simple run-of-the-mill police officer, featuring none of the character that Inspector Lestrade does in "Sherlock."

As Steven Moffatt so aptly remarked that once you have taken away so many elements of the stories that it no-longer appears to be Sherlock Holmes. The setting is changed, the names are changed - even the gender of Holmes' friend and associate is changed. What with all these changes, can you really say that the end result is Sherlock Holmes? That is perhaps my biggest gripe with this show. It's not that the stories lack originality or inspiration, it is that it boldly calls itself a Sherlock Holmes television show and it is not. To the casual observer, "Elementary" is not a series featuring the world's greatest detective, but just another crime drama.


  1. Lucy Liu truly baffles me. With all the hype her Watson got, you'd expect her to either be excruciatingly bad or surprisingly good, and she's neither. She's just... there, and while she's good at times, at other times her "acting" made me want to laugh.

    Miller was OK as Holmes.

    I should hate this show a lot more than I do -- which I explain in an article I wrote for the next issue of Mysterical-E -- but for some reason I like it fine. I stopped following it over a month ago, but not because I gave up: it was because I had better things to do.

    Shows like this make me wonder if TV crime shows would have show more originality if a concept like PROBE got off the ground for more than one season instead of just one, strike-aborted season.

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