Elementary | TV Review
When it was announced that CBS was planning on modern-day remake of Sherlock Holmes for the fall TV schedule, there was a bit of an uproar from fans of the ongoing BBC series Sherlock. Of course, this outrage was a bit silly. Holmes is one of the most adapted literary characters of all time, and of course Robert Downey Jr.'s been busy playing him on the big screen lately, as well. If anything, Elementary will suffer much more from comparisons to its British counterpart than the other way around, as creator Robert Doherty's version of the famous detective draws attention to just how hard a character Holmes is to get right.
This version of Sherlock Holmes, played by Jonny Lee Miller, is recovering drug addict from England, currently living in New York City at the discretion of his well-moneyed father. Holmes's patriarch has hired a sober companion to attend to his son after his release from rehab. Enter Joan Watson (Lucy Liu), a former surgeon who Holmes introduces us to using his famous powers of deduction. To keep himself from getting bored, Holmes works as an unpaid consultant for the NYPD, using his unique skills to help them solve cases. He brings Joan along with him and she uses her own skills as a former medical professional to help him reveal a murderer.
Those familiar with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous character will find something off here. Miller is a talented actor, but there is something missing to this Holmes. He's a little too cold, a little too much of a machine, and his dialogue is too often him explaining how clever he is. A lot of this can be laid at the feet of Liu's Watson, who should be helping us connect with Holmes, but doesn't seem to really like him herself. When it was revealed that this Watson would be female, concerns were raised of an implied sexual chemistry between her and Holmes, but there's little danger of that since the chemistry between them is so lacking they barely pass as friends. Doherty's failure to properly adapt these characters places a heavy burden on the show that it struggles to overcome.
Elementary may fail at depicting a faithful adaptation of its central characters, but its case-of-the-week storytelling has some amusing twists and turns that are sure to please fans of other CBS crime dramas.
Elementary airs Thursdays at 9pm on CBS.