Well continuing on from my theme of new shows from the US pilot season, I have discovered another that I think is well worth a look. Elementary is another in the growing stock of modern day adaptations of Sherlock Holmes. Now this definitely put me off at first especially considering how much I love the BBC series Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and the brilliant writing of Steven Moffat. But this Sherlock has a lot to offer too.
Written and Executive Produced by Robert Doherty who was a consulting producer and writer on shows like Dark Angel, Tru Calling, Meduim and the short lived series Ringer. This guy knows complex crime like the back of his hand and it really shows. The stories are original, unexpected and full of twists and turns. An early episode about a kid kidnapper is particularly brilliant.
This Sherlock is quite a bit sexier than Benedict’s almost asexual Sherlock Holmes and is perhaps a little bit more socially aware. The character is also a drug addict which is something that the Robert Downey Jr’s Sherlock touched on but didn’t really get to the meat of. Though to be fair this is a harder task given the medium of film and the period setting. This show has the time to explore the character of Sherlock as played by the tasty Johnny Lee Miller as a addict more fully. They have already rewritten some of the mythology to make the death of Irene Adler the reason Sherlock hit rock bottom and was sent to rehab. Sherlock’s relationship his father has also been touched upon and I for one can’t wait to see more, the pacing of this show is spot on.
Also the change of Watson from a male former army doctor to a female disgraced former doctor introduces an intriguing new element to the Watson and Holmes relationship, a sexual tension. This sexual tension is not overdone however and is more akin to the sexual tension between Patrick Jane and Teresa Lisbon not Richard Castle and Kate Beckett. Which gives the series a little driving force but is not enough to make the purists feel it’s in bad taste. Also having Watson be a sober companion is also very useful in that it gives the character motive to want to delve further into Holmes’s past and discover more about him as we the audience do the same. The only problem with Watson in this role is that she is only supposed to stick around for 6 weeks which means her role will need to redefined very soon. Especially since CBS just confirmed a 24 episode order.
This show is doing well in the USA and is one of the early winners from the new US ratings session. This in itself is a massive achievement since very few new shows are doing well this year. If I was to compare to anything other than the previous versions, I would say it has quite a few similarities to The Mentalist. This is a compliment since I love The Mentalist. Sherlock is a brilliant consultant for the New York Police Department, with a beautiful but reluctant partner is Watson and dark and troubling past. In fact the only thing that’s missing from the comparison to the Mentalist is a nemesis like Red John. Hopefully they’ll bring Moriarty in soon.