Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Elementary: A good, if underwhelming Sherlock

I'm a fan of Sherlock Holmes. I have the Sir Conan Arthur Doyle stories hanging around.

Elementary is a mixed bag all around. From the rumblings abound, this take on Holmes was supposed to be the Amercanization of BBC's Sherlock. Makes sense as Sherlock became quite popular and US television loves originality. It seems BBC refused this idea, so CBS found a loophole. Sherlock Holmes is in the public domain. Production forward.

The idea of Holmes is very pervasive. As mentioned before, the series Sherlock is a modern version of Holmes. The Guy Ritchie directed Sherlock Holmes movies have been quite the success. Robert Downey Jr.'s charisma in account. Even the television series House is based on the famous detective.

What makes Elementary not Sherlock Homes? Well, everything really. The previous line is truly unfair, but it gives the general feeling of what is wrong. Ever turn on the TV and catch one of those police procedurals, like CSI or countless others? You've seen Elementary. It acts in such a manner that the first case feels ripped off from somewhere else. This Sherlock doesn't have the benefit of being in a different sort of environment, like a hospital in House, he solves the case in a way that other shows have done.

I'm going to admit, I've never seen BBC's Sherlock. Most definitely on the bucket list and I've been recommended it by people with good taste. I just haven't watched it. This puts me in a very interesting position, as my judgement is not clouded by the spectre of another series. Elementary is being looked upon in a proper manner.

Johnny Lee Miller does a good job of portraying the character of Holmes. Too bad here Holmes doesn't seem to be much of a character. Sure, he's an eccentric genius. Shown by him perfectly predicting the lines of a television show or smelling the carpet of a murder scene. Wacky. It is hard to find something of real substance. That can boil down to the fact of being a pilot, but the show lacks a certain something concerning its main character.

Dr. Joan Watson fares little better. She has backstory, yet it all feels meaningless. Every important thing learned is brushed aside a minute later, not much gravitas to be found. Lucy Liu does okay, as in it is acting. Watson is the "straight man" to Holmes "wacky man", so there isn't much to improve with a dull character.

What can be said about the entire show itself? It's a crime procedural, with all the trappings of one. Elementary follows in lockstep as all the CSI's, NCIS's, and Law and Orders in the world. The only aspect that elevates the show above the rest is Sherlock Holmes himself. To be fair, it's not raised by much. Mindless? Yes, yet if someone is looking for a time waster for an hour, Elementary will do. At least better than the others.