Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review - Elementary

For years CBS has been the king network of the procedural genre.  So it was just a matter of time before they brought the original top investigator to the airwaves.  And they've done it well with Elementary.

Mind you, this show about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes set in modern times is coming out in the shadow of the incredibly popular BBC series Sherlock, but since I've never seen that show, I get to come into this premise fresh.  Not to mention I'm a fan of both leads.

The lowdown:  In present day New York, Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller, Eli Stone, Dexter) works as a consultant for the police, solving crimes with his mastery for seeing what others can't.  As he puts it, "I don't guess, I observe and I after I observe, I deduce."  The rub is that he's a recovering drug addict fresh out of rehab and has the tendency to be short-tempered, antsy and at times a bit unstable.  Enter Joan Watson (Lucy Liu, Southland, Ally McBeal) - yep, Holmes' sidekick is now a woman - a "companion" assigned to live with Holmes for six weeks to help he re-acclimate into his life and society.

Holmes immediately starts deducing things about her - her past, her personal demons and especially why she's no longer a surgeon - putting her on the defense but intriguing her at the same time.  How could he know so much about her?  In traditional fashion, Holmes walks us through how he comes to his conclusions, detailing what he sees and how the clues come together to create the whole picture.  He is reluctant to have Watson along and yet, when he challenges her too much and she walks, he realizes that he didn't mind having her around so much, especially when she displays a talent for deduction of her own.  When they solve the crime-of-the-week together, a beautiful partnership is born and an interesting new series is born.

Elementary is a very intelligent show without being too high-brow.  It's a series that's clearly going to be about the cases, the clues and how Holmes and Watson work together to solve the mystery and work out their relationship.  This is not going to be a romantic show, a la Moonlighting or Castle - at least I hope it isn't - and I'm glad.  I like the way Miller and Liu play off each other - reminds me of The X-Files' Mulder and Scully.  They're equals, even if Holmes' ego may at times make him deem himself slightly above her in status.  The beauty is that Watson isn't going to take that from him, and that's a tribute to Liu's portrayal.  I buy her in the role and I am pleased with Miller's Holmes.  Not to mention he finally gets to use his natural British accent!

I think this show is a nice addition to the CBS lineup.  I appreciate the filming style, it has moments of humor, a great cast and the pilot impressed me.

Bottom Line:  Elementary, my dear Tourists!  Watch this show.

Elementary premieres tonight, Thursday, Sept. 27 at 10 p.m. on CBS

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