Now in its third season, this show is perhaps one of the most underrated ones of its kind in the eyes of the media. As strange as the title of the show may sound, Elementary is actually a modern-day adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, set in New York City. Now, you’d probably be thinking that there is no need to watch an American version of Sherlock Holmes when BBC has already got one. But hold your thought right there, and let this review convince you to give Elementary a chance.
A modern-day version of Sherlock Holmes – how will that ever turn out right? Yeah, being a Sherlock fanatic, I thought so too, but I was taken by a rather pleasant surprise when I finally willed myself to watch the first episode of Elementary. For starters, there may be a few ‘improvisation’ in the show that may sound quite discomforting at first, but when each of these ideas are introduced into the show, it fits ever so perfectly!
Let’s start with the odd fact that John Watson is played by a female character, Joan Watson (Lucy Liu).
Surprisingly, this uncanny combination actually struck some sparks and in this version of Sherlock Holmes, we can actually see some really solid grounds in the friendship between Sherlock and Watson. Indeed, Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu faired pretty well for themselves in their roles. At this point, although the chemistry between the former and the latter is admittedly very charming, it was wise to prevent an escalation of their friendship to a romantic relationship. I think I’d like to retain that bit of originality from Sir Arthur.
I also particularly liked the technicalities of Watson’s and Sherlock’s partnership. In Elementary, Watson wasn’t just Sherlock’s assistant, but was in fact Sherlock’s partner. It also has a very modern voice portraying the theme of gender equality – hinting that men and women are able to form partnerships and that women aren’t just men’s assistants. In this version of Sherlock Holmes, Watson actually provides major contributions in solving cases; sometimes even so substantial that she’s like Sherlock’s left brain. In the same light, I also liked how Moriarty is played by a female character, not to mention that the plot twist is brilliant right there!
Jonny Lee Miller, who played Sherlock Holmes, definitely made his mark in Elementary. His characterisation of Sherlock is just spot on from the pitch of his voice to the smallest nuances – it all reflects the eccentricity and quirkiness that belongs to Sherlock Holmes (and no one else!). Not to mention that it is also comforting to hear, not just the original Sherlock’s British accent in the city of New York, but some British slang perfectly creep into some of the lines (like bollocks, nick, etc) as well.
Elementary also portray a very real side of reality, where Sherlock Holmes is a recovering addict. I think the fact that they showed Sherlock going to support groups and getting a sponsor to portray reality. Not that the show isn’t awesome enough already, but this also adds some good moral values to the show.
Although the modern twist also phases out the original stories, the modern plot plus the characters give this legendary show an exciting element. Simply put, the first season of this show is nail-biting, thrilling, yet straightforward without any unnecessary drama – just perfect for those who loves watching the detective part in these crime shows.
Starring: Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu, Aidan Quinn, Jon Michael Hill
Release Date: 27 September 2012