Fri
Sep 28 2012 11:30am

Plaid on Plaid: Elementary’s Biggest Crime is Being Tame

New American Sherlock Holmes show Elementary isn’t a rip-off of the BBC’s Sherlock, but it should be.

Both fans and honest-to-goodness Holmes scholars agree that the canonical Sherlock Holmes doesn’t just solve mysteries, he has adventures. And depending on which versions you have of the classic stories, chances are most of the titles are proceeded with the words “The Adventure of..” (This gets a little ridiculous when you consider that “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” is a real Sherlock Holmes story, but I digress.) The point is; Holmes stories are not limited to whodunits. They’re complex, adventurous stories containing not only mysteries, but illuminations of aspects of society, class, or the fantastical corners of human nature.

CBS’s new crime drama Elementary contains characters named Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, but these people and their story are neither adventurous, nor illuminating.

To be completely fair, Elementary was not terrible. I was ready to say it was TERRIBLE with a capital T if only because I was pounding my fingers into my keyboard in a rage last year when I found out CBS was essentially “ripping off” the BBC’s beloved 21st century take on Holmes: Sherlock. (Did anyone notice CBS put the hashtag #Sherlock on the screen at the beginning of the show, but switched it to #Elementary later? Just me?) And the giant pipe-smoking, fiddle-playing elephant in the room with Elementary is this: just how much does it borrow from Sherlock? Honestly, probably not enough to make it good.

Structurally, this first episode is similar to Sherlock’s “A Study in Pink,” but then again, any initial meeting of Holmes and Watson will probably echo A Study in Scarlet a little bit. In this version, a 21st century Sherlock Holmes (Johnny Lee Miller) is going through a drug rehabilitation program in New York City by orders of his father. Something “happened” to him in London, and now he’s in America, where Dr. Watson (Lucy Liu) is his sober companion. She’s also a former surgeon, who we later learned lost a patient due to malpractice. This Watson doesn’t seem to show an ambition for being a writer, or chronicling the adventures of Holmes. She’s just kind of doing her job.

The first instance of Holmes showing off his intellectual “prowess” comes in an early scene where Watson comes to his apartment. A hooker, or something, is leaving the apartment (very un-Holmes) and a shirtless hunk is standing in the middle of a bunch of TVs. He recites a moving passage to Watson about being in love and then un-pauses a TV, and the exact same speech plays from a soap opera. I guess we’re supposed to be impressed by his ability to memorize TV shows? Hell, I can do that!

With very little explanation, Holmes whisks Watson to a crime scene, where the cops are totally cool with him checking out the details of a murder. This is explained away expediently by an NYC cop saying he used to work with Holmes when he was stationed in London in a counter-terrorism unit. Here we’re also told Holmes mostly worked on “homicides.” Wrong! Again, Sherlock Holmes did all kinds of stuff in the stories! Why must it only be murders? Yes, BBC’s Sherlock also relied on a murder plot in its first episode, but at least those had a weird twist of being “serial suicides.” The improbable and interesting is where Sherlock Holmes adventures should exist. Not stock crime drama stuff.

Again, to be fair, the plot of Holmes’ investigation in this first episode of Elementary does have a few unexpected twists and turns.  Briefly: a well-to-do woman was murdered in her home and then her body was stuffed in a hidden safe-room that her husband claims to not know was there. At no point does the body language of the actor playing the husband, or the way the show is written, dissuade you from thinking the husband didn’t do it. He obviously did it. The tension (I imagine) ought to be derived from Holmes figuring out how and why this went down. Is it the man who was stalking her? Or was it the other man who was stalking her? Is it a serial killer? More importantly though: how come Sherlock Holmes wears a plaid scarf and a coat he clearly stole from Benedict Cumberbatch? Does the plaid blouse Watson wears indicate she intentionally coordinates her wardrobe with him? Are they like a superhero plaid team now?

Though fairly convoluted, Holmes does prove that the husband did it! But the fiend used a crazy person who he drugged up to do the deed! There are all kinds of weird flaws in the way Holmes slowly deduces this, mostly too numerous and annoying to detail individually. One that stuck out for me towards the beginning of his investigation was when Holmes looks through the dead woman’s phone. He points out that some of the pictures are five years old. Really? Wouldn’t she have had a totally different phone five years ago? My phone was like a little flip phone five years ago, and any of those pictures are totally gone. (Probably a good thing, too.) Again, to prove I’m not too I’m biased, this is similar to Irene Adler calling her phone a “camera phone” in Sherlock’s “A Scandal in Belgravia.” On some level these contemporary Holmes adaptations are just inconsistent or regressive about technology. But then again, when does technology function in a realistic way in any crime-drama?

As a big Holmes fan, I admit there were a few times I actually felt like Elementary was trying to remind me of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle source material. Cutely, this Sherlock Holmes has a bee colony on the roof of his apartment, referencing the canonical Sherlock’s eventual retirement as a beekeeper in the English countryside. Further, in terms of Sherlock Holmes’ famous powers of deduction, I have to say they were best represented by the scene where he explains to Watson how he knew she lost a patient to malpractice. He gets it all from a parking ticket! It’s a shame this kind of writing wasn’t attributed to a scene that had more to do with the mystery plot.

But honestly, I don’t think that’s what this show was going for. Or to put it another way, it split the difference. Is this a buddy-cop romance show? Or a murder of the week with an eccentric genius show? Because the characterizations of Watson and Holmes are so flat (He’s an asshole. She’s the straight man.) that you don’t feel like they should be buddies/partners. And because the mystery was so obvious (and not adventurous) you’re not concerned with seeing if this smarty-pants jerk and seemingly nice person figure it all out.

The final scene ends with Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson watching a baseball game on television. Holmes predicts the subsequent plays and the score to the letter. My prediction for the future of Elementary? It if continues to bunt, it won’t even make it through its first season.


Ryan Britt is a staff writer for Tor.com. He’s written about Sherlock Holmes for Tor.com quite a bit and also for Clarkesworld Magazine. Despite his love of Cumberbatch, his onscreen Holmes will always be Jeremy Brett. 

48 comments
Jeff R.
1. Jeff R.
I'm pretty sure we're supposed to believe that Holmes had internalized the patterns and structure of the soap to the point where he _predicted_ those three lines of dialog, rather than memorizing them.
Ryan Britt
2. ryancbritt
@1 Maybe I misunderstood it, but I mean, it was recorded, right? Because it was on pause? I mean, the scene is still silly, either way.
Jeff R.
3. Rancho Unicorno
Didn't get to see it, but with the tension that you describe and Watson being more of a baby-sitter than a partner it sounds closer to a baby-sitting inversion of The Mentalist than Sherlock or the original stories.

Only not as well written.
Jeff R.
4. Jeff R.
People with tivos and such can pause 'live' TV...
Agreed on the silliness, but certainly no less ludicrous that way than the baseball game.
Ryan Britt
5. ryancbritt
@4 Right.
I mean, I guess for me it was a scene tailor-made for the trailer, so when it happened, it was like a I was watching a commercial for a character, rather than watching a character develop or be introduced for real.
Ryan Britt
6. ryancbritt
@3
Yeah, I'm not crazy about the baby-sitter angle. :-)
Laura Southcott
7. tallgrass
Anyone else think the actual murder plot was more than a little farfetched? I mean, pressuring your wife into getting plastic surgery so she looks more like a serial killer's "type"? What?
Joanna Slupek
8. Spriggana
I literally groaned when Watson ordered Holmes to get out and wait in the car. And he did. Something like that can happen at Castle (and most likely Castle will not wait in the car anyway ;->).
And the deduction of dead patient from a parking ticket was a bit farfetched. All right, Watson’s parents are alive, but one is allowed to have dead friends, fiance(s), spouse(s), any sort of Significant Other(s), cousins, siblings or (insert relationship here), right? She even could have been visiting a grave of her college nemesis to dance on it, for all we know…
Ryan Britt
9. ryancbritt
@7
Yes yes yes! It was absurd! I mean, I think a lot of Conan Doyle stories are a little absurd too (we all know snakes can't hear, so "The Speckled Band" shouldn't work, but whatever.) But, this one was sort of convuluted for the sake of it. And it didn't matter because you could tell it was the husband the whole time!
Jeff R.
10. StrongDreams
American TV already had a Holmes remake, it was called House, and it was pretty good until it wasn't any more. I don't have much interest in watching something that sounds like an inferior version of House, but with cops.

And, prediction is not deduction.
Jeff R.
11. JennS
I feel like this is version number 10,000 of the "obnoxious but brilliant ___" main character type of show.

That said, I didn't mind it as just a tv show (rather than worrying about how true to sherlock holmes it was). However, I sort of felt like Watson made the better detective based on this episode. Sure holmes is full of brilliant deductions and they wanted to make sure we knew she was smart too, but I felt like she did actual detective work and he ran around doing unnecessary pyschological profiling and having emotional outbursts.
Jeff R.
12. rushmc
>>and then her body was stuffed in a hidden safe-room that her husband claims to not know was there

This exact scene was already done (and no doubt much better) on the Mentalist, which this show seems to be ripping off more than Sherlock.
Bernhard Fries
13. Iwan_Emmetowitsch
First off let me say I never read any Holmes stories, whether original or not.
I really liked the Robert Downey JR. movies, not because of the Plot, I liked the Plot to be sure, but not as much as the brilliant relationship portrayed between him and jude Law.
I really like David Cumberbatch's Series, again more so because of the actors than the different Plots. I don't like Martin Freeman as Watson, but for me that hole series rests entirely on Cumberbatch's shoulders!

I had no clear expectations of Elementary, but for at least the first episode I can say that I like Lucy Liu's Watson better than Freeman's and I like Miller's take on Holmes. About the Plot, I liked it better than Mr. Britt, but it sure wasn't anything great.
I have no problem to watch another show about a pairing of sensible and eccentric, as far as I am concerned, "Sherlock" uses the same Formula as Mentalist, Castle or House.
That those series in turn used the Formula from the original Holmes has no bearing on my feelings for either Sherlock or Elementary.

We have to compare everything with everything else, because without points of shared references it would be awfully hard to review anything, still I would argue that the Pilot for Elementary was a good Pilot for a TV Series.
Tudza White
14. tudzax1
So you can memorize the dialog from one show while watching four or five shows simultaneously? Good show.

We can certainly hope for more adventure in these adventures. I don't have benefit of knowing what the next several shows are about to say whether this is how they all will go or not.
Francesco Paonessa
15. ErrantKnave
Is it bad that I spent more time reading this article than I did watching the show? I'm a fan of Miller and I thought he was a great choice, but the first five minutes grated so much that I had to turn the TV off. I could try again, but posts like this one don't give me much hope for the writing or the direction of the series.
Jeff R.
16. Kevin Leslie
Nice write up. And thank you, I was feeling a tad guilty for my 'they ripped off the bbc and i'm not watching it' attitude. Now I can point to this article for (some) justification for my crankiness.
Jeff R.
17. John C. Bunnell
I was also underwhelmed, for some of the same reasons cited above. (The references to The Mentalist are particularly perceptive; that character's shtick is a precise homage to classic Holmesian deduction.)

The problem here isn't the degree to which this show does or doesn't resemble Sherlock (which I haven't seen to any useful degree). The problem is that Elementary fails to establish any sort of consistent relationship between itself and Conan Doyle's original Holmes and Watson.

Two observations here. First, the framing device for this series creates an adversarial component in the Holmes/Watson relationship that's entirely at odds with every other traditional interpretation of these characters. Even if the more explicit aspects of this smooth out over time (which seems likely if the series lasts for more than even half a season), my impression is that the writers think they need a degree of conflict between Miller and Liu in order to maintain the chemistry between their leads. And that's just wrong where the Holmes/Watson relationship is concerned.

Second: I cringed during the opera scene, because while the writers picked up on Holmes' beekeeping, they apparently totally failed to remember that the canonical Holmes was briefly a professional actor and always a serious violin enthusiast. As such, he would NEVER have disrupted a stage performance as this Holmes does simply to get Watson's attention. (Canonical Holmes, the BBC's Sherlock notwithstanding, is not actually all that socially dysfunctional; he is for the most part a proper Victorian gentleman.

I'd have liked the Elementary pilot much better if the characters hadn't been named Holmes and Watson. As it stands, I'm mostly going to be watching to see how long the train wreck can keep from imploding in on itself.
Gregg Anderson
18. digrifter
It's quite Elementary... I'll stick to Sherlock on the BBC.
Igor Toffie
19. toffie
"Tame" isn't the core problem I think (though I enjoy darker tones in series usually), but the main problem is the other thing you described - either keep it as close to stories as you can with spicing it up (like "Sherlock") or you draw the essence of it and turn into an original thing ("House" for example). "Elementary" wants to be cool, different than "Sherlock" but use Sherlock Holmes recent branding from other sources. It almost seems like it's driven by cashing in than somebody actually coming up with a cool idea for a show.
Jeff R.
20. Erik Dercf
Yes, it is a rip off , but with the next season of Sherlock likely to be the last season of the BBC show their may be room for this show if it builds tenison between Holmes and Watson. Beside I like watching Lucy Liu, seeing her again is a treat.
Jeff R.
21. Tehanu
Just watched it ... frankly, there's not enough Benedict Cumberbatch available, since the BBC series only comes out with 3 episodes a year, so even if this is a somewhat inferior substitute, it sure beats having nothing. I've always liked both Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu -- not to mention Aidan Quinn. And frankly, if you're looking for "realism" in this kind of show, you're looking in the wrong place; none of these shows, including the great and late lamented House and the equally fun and watchable Mentalist, is even within a hundred miles of "realistic." Give it a chance!
Jeff R.
22. megablargh
Seems like a lot of these comments are pretty cynical. (@17) I especially loved the commenter above who said he was going to watch it in order to see how long it took until the show bombed entirely. That tells me that he has nothing better to do than be antagonistic for the sake of it.

I agree about the "tame" aspect, it does seem to lack adventure (running,fighting,jumping!) and seems like a standard crime drama, but seeing as how this is the first episode, I don't think the world's gonna explode if we wait a few more weeks to see how the show develops.

Also, I don't think there are only 3 episodes per season like Sherlock, (If it is, scratch this comment) so stop comparing it like it is. There isn't a show out there that wouldn't be more diluted if it had to run 20 episodes a season rather than 3.
Jeff R.
23. C Oppenheimer
1. Given your virulent bias against this show, before you had seen the first episode, you never should have been assigned to review it instead of someone with an open mind.
2. Get over BBC's Sherlock. Of course it was a great show and Cumberbatch and Freeman were wonderful as Holmes and Watson but at this point I would not be surprised if we never see either of them on it again and wouldn't be shocked if it never airs a new episode.
3. Regarding the homicide comment, as I recall 5 of the 6 Sherlock episodes were about homicides. Your bias is showing again.
I am willing to give the show a chance.
Jeff R.
24. James Davis Nicoll
Am I the only one here that thinks Moffatt's Sherlock is kind of awful (although with mercifully fewer episodes per season than his equally wretched Doctor Who)? I thought Elementary was dull and won't watch it again but the bits I saw weren't a loving tribute to the creators' sexism* and racism as Sherlock tends to be.

*Although reducing Adler to a pawn/victim is very popular these days, as the recent movies show.
Jeff R.
25. John R. Ellis
I think I'll stick with Psych as far as American riffs on Sherlock Holmes go. And hey, it's intentionally ridiculous!
Igor Toffie
26. toffie
@JR Ellis: *some 80s movie refference*...pineapple! Yeah, "Psych" I think went the way of "House", taking some of the basics but going for just pure fun. Haven't watched the last season, but what I did watch is always interesting and funny.
john mullen
27. johntheirishmongol
I never judge a series on the first episode. It normally takes most of a season for a show to really get going. That being said, I didn't hate it, didn't love it, but will stick around for a bit just to see where it goes. Always good to see Lucy Liu
Jeff R.
28. Action Kate
So far there have been two seasons of the BBC's Sherlock, each with three episodes.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are both on record as saying they would love to continue doing these characters for many years. I have not seen anything official saying that S3 is the last; if someone has, please provide a source. It has been doing gangbusters in England and abroad and has been a critical smash. There's no reason for the BBC not to continue it.

I'm finding Elementary to be... a CBS procedural. Perfectly serviceable if that's what you're into, but there's nobody "Holmes," so to speak. There is nothing of ACD in these two characters. They're reasonably well-acted and the production values are fine; this just doesn't strike me as a "Sherlock Holmes" story in any way.

Maybe I've read the stories and watched the BBC show too many times, but I didn't find any of the deductions to be particularly amazing. "The oval frames have been moved recently..." Gee, do you think Gregson couldn't see the HUGE oval shadows on the wall? "You have a car because you have a parking ticket." No sh-t, Sherlock.

I'll watch at least one more episode to see if it improves any, but I don't have much hope.
Jeff R.
29. John C. Bunnell
megablargh@22: You're mistaking frustration for cynicism, I think. As executed, Elementary has elements of a promising character-driven detective show -- quirky protagonists, talented performers, brisk pacing. But by calling its protagonists Holmes and Watson, it sets itself a challenge that it simply doesn't meet, because the Holmesian elements aren't implemented thoughtfully or consistently. It's as if the ingredients of chocolate chip cookies have been mixed with those of an angel food cake; the result is uneven and hard to digest.

It's also unpredictable as h*ll, and one of the reasons I'm inclined to keep watching is that I'm genuinely curious to see how (or whether) they're going to attempt to resolve the inconsistencies. And I do like both Miller and Liu; I simply wish they weren't limited here by the material they've been given.
Jeff R.
30. KMK
I agree with C Oppenheimer @23. A reviewer with pre-bias shouldn't be doing this.

With that said, I'm not sure I've seen any regular blogger on any similar site without the elitist attitude of “Sherlock is the greatest and Elementary is ripping it off” As if they both can’t exist in the same world. Especially with the BBC version having a grand total of 6 episdoes.

As to the actual review. The scene where Holmes is introduced, if you can memorize TV lines with mutliple shows going as once, bravo. Even if you had isolated it and were able to pause it at that specific moment, it's impossible.

The murder itself. Yes it was obvious the husband was behind it. But for anyone who thinks it was far-fetched that the husband mind-f*cked (as P-Diddy would say) his wife into getting plastic surgery, it's not. It happens.

The baseball game scene at the end was actually more far-fetched than the influenced plastic surgeries. And even that wasn't so far off the reservation as to be unbelievable. Unlikely, but possible.

In summary, let someone wihtout bias do a review. It was a good show and paried nicely with Person of Interest.
Jeff R.
31. not Bridget
I stopped caring much about The Year's Premieres on the Big Three Networks a long time ago. There's cable, Netflix (plus all the other stuff on the 'net), select DVD's & even more select BluRays. Plus books. And I live in a city where live music & theatre also stand ready to entertain me.

But I'm paying attention! If somebody can tell me that Elementary is excellent in its own right, I'll tune in. Just saying it didn't suck is not enough. And I really don't want to hear about people's Moffat Issues...
Ian Gazzotti
32. Atrus
Even if I'm bored sick of procedurals, I think I would've liked this better if the main characters weren't called Holmes and Watson. It really has very little to do with the original Sherlock Holmes and, unlike the other two contemporary version, it also has very little originality as well to go for it.
As someone else said, elements from Sherlock have been pilfered from years by dozens of other books and shows, so you have to put something of your own into the mix to make it feel like new. Elementary doesn't do this, at least in the pilot, and the final result is quite bland and feels like nothing we haven't already seen.

Miller and Liu on the other hand were very good as usual, within the confines of the script they had been given, so I hope the series will get better in time and give them more room to shine.

By the way, I also hope they keep Zoe Keating's music as the 'Sherlock cue' in future episodes. It seemed quite fitting and it gives deserved exposure to a much underappreciated artist.
Jeff R.
33. Zas678
Here's what I think about Elementary.

I think that Moffat's Sherlock is more a force of nature than a person. He just doesn't entirely 'get' how to interact with people, and everyone's reactions, like the audience's , is awe at this massive force of deduction. It's not always relatable, or even like able, but he is always so incredibly brilliant.

Elementary's Sherlock is different. He is a tone down in brilliance from Moffat's, but he. Is more relatable. And more of a person. I wish his character had been drawn outt more, because I wanted to see that difference. He is still a jerk, but he feels bad about being a jerk. Moffat's doesn't know or care at all.
Ryan Britt
34. ryancbritt
@30 KC
I hear you, but I think when it comes to Sherlock Holmes, many of us have a bias. I was very, very aware of it when I went into watching it, and really tried to compensate for that. I'm willing to give Elementary another episode. I would love to be turned around on it. I'm open to being turned around! But really, I'm not sure why you'd want someone reviewing this who didn't know about Sherlock or the Doyle canon. I mean, I did like certain things, which I pointed out. I don't think I gave this a hatchet job!

As to my comment about the TV-line memorizing. I don't find anything spectacular about Holmes predicting/interacting with
cheesy TV. I'm not sure why. It just really turned me off.
Joe Vondracek
35. joev
I really think this would have worked better if Lucy Liu had played the pseudo-Sherlock character and that guy had played the pseudo-Watson (not a big fan of Miller's, although I did like his work in The Flying Scotsman).

@25: Ditto. "Gus, don't be the American adaptation of the British Gus."
Jeff R.
36. KMK
@ryancbritt 34.

I wasn’t pointing the finger at you specifically, more fandom in general for thinking that the Moffat / Cumberbatch incarnation is this extraordinarily original premise. Modernizing Holmes and Watson is not new. Every Basil Rathbone movie except the Hound of the Baskervilles was set in WWII (present time).

To want to pound your keyboard in rage over Elementary ripping off Sherlock seems inconsistent when there’s a lot of precedence for a modern Holmes (modern being subjective to when the film was made). It’s like being furious that the Brit’s made a Victorian based movie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherlock_Holmes_(2010_film) right after the Robert Downey Jr. version.

With that said, it was not a great show. It's better than the other new shows I've checked out this season, which is a hollow victory since the competition is pretty weak.
Jeff R.
37. John C. Bunnell
No, modernizing Holmes & Watson isn't new -- but there are differences both of degree and of kind in play. The Rathbone films and series -- and most of their traditionalist successors -- simply take the original characters, complete with established history and relationships, and transplant them wherever and whenever the plot demands.

Even most of the less traditional filmed adaptations choose to work with an essentially traditional Holmes -- as, for instance, the two TV movies some decades back that defrosted a cryogenically frozen Holmes in the late 20th century (each supplying him with a modern female Watson), or the animated series Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, which cloned both Holmes and Moriarty (memories intact) into a science-fictional London.

As I've noted above, I've seen very little of Sherlock -- but I do know that that series has more sharply rebooted the canon, significantly altering the characterizations of Holmes and Watson and the relationship between them. Elementary is likewise a reboot -- the back story involving Holmes' evidently wealthy father is wholly new -- though the tenor of that reboot is yet to be seen.

I've liked most of the straight adaptations I've seen, but I'm warier of Holmesian reboots -- including both Sherlock and Elementary -- because it seems to me that a proper reboot needs to address more than the characters. It needs to address the core premise of the original Holmes stories -- namely, that Doyle's Holmes is not merely clever, but unique. In Doyle's stories, Holmes essentially invents modern forensic science and the profession of private detective, and sets the parameters for modern mystery fiction. Thus, logically, Elementary's Holmes can't live in the same Manhattan that Richard Castle does -- at least, not without sacrificing a key component of the Holmes persona.
Ryan Britt
38. ryancbritt
@36
You know you have a good point. It's funny how, in a sense, the most risky thing to do with Sherlock Holmes in TV/movies is a STRAIGHT adaptation. I mean, the Jeremy Brett versions are actually strange in that way. :-)
Jeff R.
39. KMK
@37
You make a very strong case about transplant vs. reboot. I think any show that is going to change the setting from Victorian England has to be aware of the impact that has on the characters and the perception of their uniqueness. Holmes has to be a step ahead everyone else in order to be the character that Doyle created. That's a hard thing to do and be believable in a modern setting. From that perspective I'm not sure Sherlock succeeds and Elementary will have to be a wait and see.

@38
I have fond memories of both the Brett series as well as the Rathbone movies from my childhood. Both have their place in Holmes' lore as I'm sure Sherlock and Elementary will. There are few adaptations that I've run across that I have enjoyed on some level. Though I've not seen the animated series of Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century. That might be beyond my ability to appreciate.
Jeff R.
40. John C. Bunnell
KMK@39: You might be surprised. It's definitely a premise with the potential to be disastrously bad, and parts of the premise work better than others, but I found Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century surprisingly well executed in a number of respects. (It may not be a coincidence that one of the backers was Scottish Television.) And for a wonder, the full series is presently available on DVD very inexpensively.
Ryan Britt
41. ryancbritt
@39
Well, I've postulated before (perhaps a bit hasitly) that I assume Sherlock must exist in an alterante universe from our own; a universe where Conan Doyle does not exist.
Jeff R.
42. Cress
we’re also told Holmes mostly worked on “homicides.” Wrong! Again, Sherlock Holmes did all kinds of stuff in the stories! Why must it only be murders?
Ask BBC Sherlock that. They did murders and serial murders constantly, and made it seem like Sherlock considered every non-murder to be a trivial, boring crime.


In Elementary, Gregson called in Holmes before the body was discovered, while they still considered the case a kidnapping/assault, so he does think Holmes will do cases other than murders. I do hope there will be more variety in cases on the show, and that Holmes will do private cases from clients other than the police. I loved the stories like "Blue Carbuncle" or "RedHeaded League" where you didn't have a murder but an interesting adventure nonetheless. To me, Holmes should not give off the attitude that he's "too good" for a non murder or a case without a crime.

I don't think the reviewer should have such a heavy bias against the show either. Being knowledgable about the Holmes stories and the various adaptations of it does not necessarily mean that you would love BBC Sherlock and pre-hate a show just for "ripping it off". BBC Sherlock's episodes like "Blind Banker" and "Hounds of the Baskervilles" are pathetically bad and illogical mysteries, way worse than the plot of Elementary's pilot.
Ryan Britt
43. ryancbritt
@42
I think I'd agree with you about "Blind Banker" and "Hounds" being illogical. Can't disagree at all. But, overall, I was charmed by those, and not by this. But I was open to being charmed!

Yes. You are right. Holmes should NOT give off the attitude that he's too good for a non-murder cases. Spot on.
Ryan Britt
44. ryancbritt
@42
Oh! And I always forget to mention this. I assumed I was going to dislike Sherlock two years ago! So biases can be broken!
Jeff R.
45. ambar
@35

I've been saying all along that I would be more interested in Elementary if Lucy Liu had been cast as Holmes instead of Watson. If you're going to subvert the original male-friendship theme of the ACD canon, can we not have a woman trailing around being alternately supportive and amazed? Because, that's not all that subversive to begin with.
Jeff R.
46. Jombre
This review is pretty unfair, and most of it is really nitpicky. You have a problem with plaid? Really? Oh my god he's wearing a scarf in cold NYC, what a Sherlock ripoff!!1! If any comparisons can be fairly made between this series and Sherlock, it should be episode vs. episode with the rest of Sherlock put out of mind. And I don't mean the 1st episode. I mean the pilot.
I'm not going to go into why the rest of your review bothers me, because I think then this comment would be nearly as long as your article. I'm just going to say that it's really poor form to judge a series long before it starts and then proceed to write an extremely biased review that grudgingly admits that the series is not "terrible with a capital T" based on just the pilot.
And please, stop putting Sherlock on a fucking pedestal. I feel like every fan who's read the books and thinks Sherlock is the bees knees of modern adaptions clearly did not watch the same version of the Pilot or Blind Baker as I did.
Jeff R.
47. ViscountValmont
Why all the complaining? The show is good. Get over whether something is "far fetched," whether something is "ripped off," (for god's sake, it's an adaptation of a series of books over a century old), or whether it is exactly canon. If you want trash TV, go watch a reality show. Otherwise, be glad they're even bothering to do such a character. I'm a severe Holmsian fan (personal favorite book, Sign of Four), and I'm rejoicing that apparently both TV producers and writers, and the public, is interested enough in these characters to watch shows based on them!
Jeff R.
48. Catskill Gal
Where oh where may I but the cable boa scarf Watson wore with her cream colored coat on last nights show ?
BTW anything Sherlock from both sides of the pond are sheer , grand , entertainment. I have been a fan since I began to read.

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