If the US networks have run out of ideas, I’m happy to see that they’ve turned to the Brits for ‘inspiration’. Elementary is another American remake of a British series (see Shameless). In this case, however, the British series, about a present-day Sherlock Holmes, trumps the American version with a 9.2 rating on IMDB. Like Shameless, I have yet to see the British version so, again, I am happy to judge this show based on its own merit, at least for the time being.
The American Elementary stars Jonny Lee Miller as a modern Sherlock, fresh out of rehab and solving crimes with his uncanny nose for logic and observation. Watson, played by Lucy Liu, is a hired sober companion, whose job it is to keep Sherlock clean and sober. The relationship works and is the foundation of the show. The crimes are interesting but nothing exceptionally new or intriguing. Rather it is how the crimes are solved that makes this show charming.
What I like: Miller’s Sherlock is modern, disturbed, eccentric, obsessive and awkward with just enough neurosis to make him appealing and entertaining. Liu is cleverly unobtrusive as Sherlock’s sounding board. It’s nice to see Aidan Quinn still acting even if he and Detective Bell are constantly made to look stupid. I like that the characters are more important than the crimes and that each episode doesn’t waste 20 minutes on lab testing…
What I don’t like: The clues that Sherlock picks up on are oftentimes a little too convenient but as I mentioned, it’s the characters that make the show interesting so I’ll let it slide.
My rating: Good old-fashioned crime solving with a hint of addiction.
Airs: Thursdays at 10pm on CBS