Monday, October 8, 2012

REVIEW: Elementary

CBS - Thursdays 10/9c

We continue the recent resuscitation of the life of Sherlock Holmes with CBS's newest entry into the crime procedural, Elementary.  This time with Johnny Lee Miller as the title character and Lucy Liu as Watson, in the latest character to get the Starbuck treatment.

Viewers can expect everything they love from a CBS show and they can expect their lead character to be interesting and well-fleshed out.  This is the staple of all CBS shows, which is why so many people watch it.

This is also the very problem with Elementary

1.  Does it entertain me?
Immediate thoughts are going to go to BBC's vastly superior Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.  The world they have created is vast and secretive, with plots and crimes befitting the most famous reasoning detective of all time.  Cumberbatch and Robert Downey, Jr. have each brought something unique to Mr. Holmes, and Johnny Lee Miller has the unenviable task of following them.

People are going to say not to watch those show because it's a blatant ripoff of Sherlock, which doesn't make sense, since that's just an in iteration of Arthur Conan Doyle's work from back in the day.  This show has every right to exist just as much as any other show, and it's nonsense to claim that you shouldn't watch it because you feel you are superior to other people because you watch a British show.

Instead, you should say not to watch this show because it's lackluster and boring, and more of the same police procedural.

The pilot episode features Holmes and Watson out to solve a murder of a man who has been on some sort of medication but whose doctor was also killed, thus taking away the link there.  What follows is something typical to all crime shows: hero sees the crime scene, processes it, goes through the evidence, questions witnesses, then stumbles upon the answer accidentally and makes the connection, much to the killer's chagrin.

They say it's based on reason, but I didn't see anything in the pilot that Sherlock did that was any different than what Grissom does, or Horatio, or Stabler, or Ted Danson, or LL Cool J.  The crime was boring, the characters were not as sharp as they could have been, and all in all the show felt flat.

But maybe that's because it felt like every other show out there, which is something that Sherlock never did.

2.  Is it realistic?
It is.  Miller's Holmes is a brilliant detective capable of reading things into situations because he's observant.  Excellent.  Beyond that, there isn't a demonstration of his abilities in every day life and instead he appears neurotic.  Which is fine, maybe that's how Sherlock Holmes would be.

3.  Are traditional family values upheld?
There is no sex, no cheating, no affairs, nothing that would fly in the face of the family.  Except for when the doctor conspired to have someone's wife killed.  That was not very family friendly.

4.  Are immoral actions defended?
The bad guy committed murder, was caught and presumably sent to jail.  Where he belongs!
 Elementary is a perfect fit for CBS and its overabundance of crime dramas.  It will find an audience there, but in reality, it's nothing more than an interesting character being placed in an uninteresting world.  The pilot didn't have a gripping crime or gotta find out what happened action.  The characters weren't even that great, but it will find a home and will be watched.  It will make nice "watch if it's on and there's nothing else" television, but it will find a hard time making its way onto many dvrs.

Grade: C


  1. Nice review. I too liked the pilot episode.

    Miller definitely is influenced by the performances of Downey Jr and Cumberbatch.

  2. It's got a lot of work to do, but if there's nothing else on, I might flip it on.

    Thanks for reading!