There have been a few TV series that I’ve resisted watching for a number of reasons – most of those reasons have been petty princess objections to something or other. Occasionally, I’ve ended up watching the series anyway, much later than anyone else, and only then finding out what I had missed out on.
Elementary is one of those shows.
I know exactly why I avoided it for three whole years, despite it being about my favourite consulting detective in all the world: The same time Elementary came out, the BBC’s Sherlock was airing its second season, which still remains the humdinger of seasons. I was bowled over by Sherlock, and couldn’t imagine watching someone other than Benedict Cumberbatch play the role. Especially in yet another “modernized” version.
Oddly enough, Sherlock was another show I resisted watching until my son urged me to try it. I didn’t like that the unknown actor they’d cast looked so young and so…fresh. So glad I got arm-twisted into watching that one!
Jonny Lee Miller, the Sherlock in Elementary, looks anything but fresh. He looks tired most of the time, ill-used, unshaved and he fidgets.
As I write this, we’re nearing the end of the second season and we’re about to roll over to the third, which is currently airing. We’re binge watching – as much as we can in our spare time, anyway. Usually that’s one or two episodes a night. That’s one of the advantages of coming to a series late – lots of episodes stockpiled.
And there’s a turn of events: Even Mark is enjoying Elementary. He hated Sherlock and doesn’t sit still for most renditions that are out there, including Downey Jnr’s. In Sherlock, Sherlock Holmes is a sociopath with some social skills, and all the impatience for stupidity that the traditional one displays.
But Elementary is different. The primary difference is the way they treat Sherlock’s character. Sherlock is a recovering drug addict, with poor social skills…but he learns, especially under Watson’s supervision, how to be more human. He does have feelings – very strong ones, and I’ve delighted to see some of the little cameo moments when he shares his feelings with Watson; they’re very well done. Sherlock’s character doesn’t seem to have feelings at all, and the character never tries to redeem himself, like Elementary’s Sherlock does.
Elementary’s treatment of Sherlock Holmes is a departure from the cannon in many respects. He enjoys a vigorous sex life, with a huge range of women that linger in the morning only long enough for Watson to give them coffee…in a take-out cup.
Watson, of course, is a woman, but they don’t have sex. Their relationship is much closer than that.
There are lots of little “moments” in Elementary, most of them quiet reflections by Sherlock, when he admits to hurting in some way, and only to his best friend Watson.
Even more odd trivia: The two stars of the two Holmes shows appeared on the London stage together. They played Frankenstein, which was a huge commercial success. Each night, they would swap roles; Cumberbatch would play Frankenstein and Miller the monster, then the next night, the roles were reversed.
Talk about a small world…