CBS has released a preview for its upcoming ‘modern’ Sherlock Holmes serial, Elementary.
The video offers up a few short scenes from the pilot, interspersed with some behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast.
Jonny Lee Miller’s Holmes is interesting, he definitely has the spark of Holmes, but it feels a lot like Hugh Laurie’s take on the character rather than a genuinely new approach. The novelty of the attractive female Watson is the high point here - not that it hasn’t been done before, and I’m looking forward to Lucy Liu’s performance more than anyone else's. I have a feeling that she’s going to really make this show.
The series has caused a bit of a kerfuffle in TV land this year, as the BBC runs a very similar show called Sherlock, which places the classic detective in modern London, rather than New York City, but is otherwise the same sort of idea. Basically: Holmes in a world of modern technology and sensibility. Allegedly, CBS asked if it could do an American Sherlock, and when told they could not, the network went ahead and made Elementary regardless.
Personally, what I find the most interesting about Holmes is that there have been dozens of such shows already. Of course, they usually don’t use the name Sherlock Holmes for the protagonist, but the idea of a character with Holmes-level deductive skills partnered with a pragmatic buddy in the modern world is not even a little bit new anymore. So essentially, they are really only quibbling over the name, which has obviously been in the public domain for a long time now.
We do have a bit of distinction here in that Elementary focuses on the character’s addiction, much like House M.D., but unlike Sherlock. As with any adaptation, certain character features will be more in focus while others will suffer according to story requirements. With Elementary, it seems as if we’ll be seeinga Holmes who is abrasive and addictable, but not as arrogant as many interpretations. Of course, every Holmes has to be a deductive wizard.
Frankly, I think it looks interesting, and am looking forward to seeing more, even if it is a bit of a knock-off. Also: if they keep doing the classic 'guess your profession' bit, I'll be happy. As long as the network doesn't try to sneak in a romance with Watson.
Elementary premiere this fall on CBS.