After sitting down to watch the series premiere of Elementary, I can honestly say that it was not a complete train wreck. The writing did not make me cringe as I had been expecting. However–and this is not a real surprise–it was a far cry from Sherlock. Sherlock is fully of heavy, intellectual writing that practically oozes awesome; Elementary is lighter in tone and does not ooze awesome. At least, it didn’t in this episode.
Sherlock Holmes is different in this series, too. A recovering drug addict, he has decided to employ his consulting detective skills in his new home of New York City. And he has a tattoo on most of his upper left arm. I know; it confused me, too. Johnny Lee Miller actually did a better job than I was expecting; his Sherlock is somewhat more restrained in the awesome intellect category. Miller will state observations as common sense facts whereas Benedict Cumberbatch’s whole attitude is something along the lines of, “I am Sherlock Holmes; I am brilliant, and you are an idiot for not seeing how obvious that [fill-in-the-blank random fact] is.” Miller’s detective also has slightly better people skills–emphasis on the “slightly”. And *gasp* he has feelings! Or had them anyway! For a woman in London who was apparently indirectly involved with his downward spiral into drug addict land (shades of Irene Adler, anyone?). This Sherlock has a need to be amused, too, or he will cause trouble. When asked why he broke out of his rehab facility on the same day he was supposed to be released, his response was, “I was bored. And they should be thankful I pointed out the flaws in their rubbish security system.” Oh, and he keeps bees on the roof of his house. And he’s writing a book about them.
And now we come to Lucy Liu as Joan Watson. In this version, Watson is assigned to be Holmes’s sober companion, someone who makes the transition from rehab to regular society as easy as possible. Watson as a woman is…um…um…how do I put this politely? Um…let’s just say I like Martin Freeman much better, can’t wait to see him as Bilbo in The Hobbit come December, and leave it at that, shall we?
To summarize, Elementary was not the train wreck I had been anticipating and was enjoyable to watch. Will I watch again next week? Probably not. It’s good but not so good that I will feel deprived if I miss an episode or three.