CBS Pilot Review: Elementary

In honor of last night’s Elementary premiere, I have put together a little musical tribute. Enjoy.

Can you hear the fandoms scream?
Expressing their hatred with angry memes.
They feel that since it was done in England,
It can not be done again.
– set to the tune of “Can you hear the people sing?”

Going into the show, pretty much all you heard was “It’s not as good as the BBC version. I can’t believe John Watson is a girl. I mean really Lucy Liu is Watson? What are they thinking? Sherlock Holmes lives in London, not New York! This show is obviously going to suck. I can’t believe people will even watch this shit.”  [Editor’s Note: Yeah, that was mostly me]

Well, there were enough people that didn’t think it would suck, or were just curious because Elementary premiered to some rather good numbers. I, obviously, watched it as well, and rather enjoyed it.

Was it as good as the BBC version? Well, I don’t know that we can even compare them like that. While Sherlock is a mini-movie, Elementary is a typical procedural- we see a murder, cut to title sequence, meet the cops, find a bad guy, it’s the wrong bad guy, sit around with pensive looks, have a EUREKA! moment, find new bad guy, and of course it’s the right bad guy. [Editor’s Note: My point…] If it’s a good procedural, there is enough storyline between the main characters that keep us coming back each week. I don’t know about anyone else, but I watch NCIS more for the relationship between Gibbs’ team than the actual murders they solve.

Johnny Lee Miller is a believable incarnation of Sherlock Holmes. He’s quirky, witty, quick, and intelligent. And he’s got enough of asshole in him that makes it entertaining. He’s not intentionally an ass, as shown by his attempt to not pour salt into Watson’s wounds, but it’s there, just waiting. As he begins his post “junkie jail”/rehab life, his father has hired Liu as Joan Watson to be his sober companion. Blame it on my sheltered life, I had no idea that such a job existed. He has also decided that instead of just sitting around, he is going to return to a job he did with Scotland Yard- police consultant, this time with the NYPD. We all know what Sherlock Holmes is like, and Miller does it well.

Call me nuts, but I like Joan Watson. I don’t know that the leap from surgeon to sober companion is all that believable, but they did a good job at setting it up. I loved Sherlock’s assessment of how much she likes her job though. Can’t say I’ve ever considered the number of alarms set as an indicator of how much one likes their job, but hey, it was fun. Watching her step into the investigator role was rather ingenious. I was afraid it would be forced but it really wasn’t. And can we discuss the fact that Joan Watson is a baseball fan? I love when a woman is a baseball fan. I do want to ask her opinion on pink uniforms, I’m sure we would both agree on that topic.

If there was no other reason for me to watch this show- it would be this man. I would watch Aidan Quinn do anything. ANYTHING! I’m just hoping he has a longer stint as police captain than he did as a police lieutenant in Prime Suspect.

So- the big question is, would I watch it again? I would. Pilots are always a bit messy. They have a lot of back story to fit into a little bit of time and it makes for, at times, an awkward flow. I thought Elementary was successful in navigating those waters. The murder/investigation story vs. the relationship between Sherlock and Watson was pretty balanced. Both Miller and Liu were believable as the characters. I’m looking forward to seeing if/when Mycroft is introduced as he is one of my favorite characters. I’m the oldest child of some crazy siblings, so I can relate to his pain.  What I’m really hoping is that Sherlock will start introducing Watson by a variety of titles, a’la Sean Spencer.

Because there is potential and I’m excited to see how things develop, I’m going to give the pilot episode a 4 grizzly rating.

That wraps up this review- we’ll meet up next week and see what our favorite detective and his sober companion are up to then!

[Editor’s Note – I (Doc) am at a bit of a loss here. I have to disagree with my colleague. I thought the relationship was forced, the characters were boring, and the NYC setting was akin to moving Batman out of Gotham. 2/5 for me. They felt as natural together on-screen as they look in this picture:]

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