Elementary – Are Two Holmes Better Than One?

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By now you’ve probably heard that CBS is trying its hand at bringing the great detective Sherlock Holmes into the modern world and landing him in New York, no less.  There has been some controversy surrounding this move since the network’s original plan was to get permission from the producers of the excellent BBC-aired (and PBS stateside) Sherlock to remake that series.  When that plan did not come to fruition CBS decided to continue development using the characters, which are in the public domain, but changing the circumstances so as not to infringe on the BBC property.

Besides moving the characters to modern-day New York City, Watson (Lucy Liu) is getting a gender change and the show will not be based on original stories by Conan Doyle.  Jonny Lee Miller will be playing Holmes and thankfully using his actual British accent.  Take a moment to watch the video which is a combination of a trailer and behind the scenes clips.

ELEMENTARY stars Jonny Lee Miller as detective Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson in a modern-day drama about a crime-solving duo that cracks the NYPD’s most impossible cases. Following his fall from grace in London and a stint in rehab, eccentric Sherlock escapes to Manhattan where his wealthy father forces him to live with his worst nightmare – a sober companion, Dr. Watson. A successful surgeon until she lost a patient and her license three years ago, Watson views her current job as another opportunity to help people, as well as paying a penance. However, the restless Sherlock is nothing like her previous clients. He informs her that none of her expertise as an addiction specialist applies to him and he’s devised his own post-rehab regimen – resuming his work as a police consultant in New York City. Watson has no choice but to accompany her irascible new charge on his jobs. But Sherlock finds her medical background helpful, and Watson realizes she has a knack for playing investigator. Sherlock’s police contact, Capt. Tobias “Toby” Gregson (Aidan Quinn), knows from previous experience working with Scotland Yard that Sherlock is brilliant at closing cases, and welcomes him as part of the team. With the mischievous Sherlock Holmes now running free in New York solving crimes, it’s simple deduction that he’s going to need someone to keep him grounded, and it’s elementary that it’s a job for Watson. Rob Doherty, Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly and Michael Cuesta, who directed the pilot, are executive producers for CBS Television Studios.

Upon first hearing about this new incarnation I wouldn’t be surprised if your reaction wasn’t very positive, especially if you’re already a fan of Sherlock.  I know I wasn’t very pleased when I first heard what CBS was trying to do, but after watching this video I may have just changed my mind.  At the very least I’m willing to give it a fair chance.  After all, the outcry over an Americanized Being Human was eventually proven to be groundless, so who’s to say Elementary won’t be worthwhile?

The video gives us clues that this show has real promise and changes the premise enough to make it feel original or at least different enough to stand on its own.  Any good detective would say we can’t close the case until we’ve examined all the evidence, so let’s get out our best spyglass, a comfy chair and watch a few episodes of Elementary.  My deduction is we will be pleasantly surprised.

Tom Gardiner