Monday, 18 August 2014

Elementary

Being a big fan of the BBC series Sherlock, I, along with many other Sherlockians, was very wary of the new American adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, Elementary. At first, before any of the episodes had aired, the general opinion of Elementary was that it can only be a rip off of Sherlock, considering how quickly it came about after Sherlock series 2 and how the BBC Sherlock team did not give permission for an American version but they did it anyway. What shocked people more was that Jonny Lee Miller, who had co-starred with Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch in Frankenstein, would be playing Holmes. Internet forums EXPLODED. Trying to be as unbiased as I could, I tried to stay out of the internet craziness and concentrate on finishing my copy of "Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Stories".

When it first aired a couple of months ago, the positive reviews came pouring in and I was rather excited to see what everyone was hyping about, being the nosey so and so that I am. As soon as it came on Sky Living I watched it, and thought I'd take it all in before I came to a judgement on it. But then decided that I couldn't possibly have an opinion on it after just one episode, and waited until I'd seen the next episode, then the next, and then the one after that. If I'm honest, I was just coming up with excuses to keep watching it. It is genuinely good and I don't think it's fair to just compare it to Sherlock, and I am not just saying that so that I don't have to choose between the two of them. Yes I am...

The pilot episode had to be taken with a pinch of salt. Being biased against the programme didn't help in any way, but we sat down and gave it a chance. Jonny Lee Miller is impeccable. No one can fault his performance as Sherlock Holmes; his take on the character is brilliant. He's strange, rude, and a genius and very witty. My Dad and I gave him the thumbs up immediately. What makes Sherlock a great character is how alien he seems being one of the only Brits in a sea of Americans, making him seem even more unique than before. Even having a female Watson doesn't bother me anymore. The Holmes/Watson dynamic is still intact, although it seemed to take a few episodes for it to get comfortable. I am a big fan of how Holmes treats Watson in Elementary. He sees her as his partner (most of the time), and I can see him treating her as his equal in the near future, as although no one can ever be his intellectual equal, she is ballsy and brave and is picking up many useful skills from Holmes, mirroring the relationship built up by Conan Doyle, in which Watson is able to start making his own deductions and help Holmes a great deal more than their first few cases together. Although the stories were initially slow and not mysterious enough to be worthy of a Holmes story (I figured out one of the murderers before Holmes even found the evidence that led to it once!) once they picked up speed they started to boggle your mind and have you amazed at the conclusion.

Small tributesto the original Conan Doyle stories are seen, even though the stories are brand new, such as the classic love interest speculation surrounding 'The Woman', Irene Adler, and Captain 'Gregson', the American version of Lestrade. I must nag a tiny bit about certain things, however. After coming across a random review comparing BBC Sherlock to Elementary on Tumblr, I've started to get annoyed at small things in the show. At first, I was really happy about the fact that Sherlock was a recovering drug addict and was open about his sex life; it seems like a very Sherlock-thing to do, and instantly made him different to Cumberbatch's Sherlock. BUT, this magazine had decided that they preferred Miller's version because he had his top off and it was 'yummy'? I disagree. Cumberbatch does not need to take his shirt off to impress the female audience. He didn't even show his arms or legs in any episodes and girls still swooned. And it's not like Miller would need to do that either, if I'm honest, as his Sherlock, despite his oddball arrogance, is also quite charming as well as witty and, obviously, intelligent. Taking his shirt off is part of the way his character does things, not necessarily because they need more lusting females watching it. (At least, I hope not...)

Other things that are getting on my nerves are things that are similar to Sherlock. It has to be said. Despite the different styles of both shows - Elementary being like CSI and BBC Sherlock being like short feature films - the music is unbelievably similar, as is the idea of the last frame on the opening sequence. I'm just very glad that text on the screen as Holmes makes his deductions was not included in this list, otherwise I know a few thousand people who would not be impressed at all.

Overall, I'm quite happy to watch Elementary, which is a brilliant adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes stories. Most of the people I've talked to about it have really enjoyed it, and other recent adaptations like the Guy Ritchie Films starring Robert Downey Jnr and Jude Law, who also make a fantastic traditional Holmes/Watson duo. I'm really curious to see how things progress and if there will be. Moriarty and a Moran reincarnation popping up at some point before the first season ends, and where they will take the Irene storyline. If you're a fan of Sherlock Holmes, or detective stories in general then I'd recommend it.

3 comments:

  1. There are almost no words to describe your writing. I feel as if you could move me to tears in a single paragraph. A wonderful review yet again, keep them coming!

    ReplyDelete