After I gushed over the BBC’s hugely successful and coolly modernised Sherlock Holmes series, Sherlock I thought I should at least write my first thoughts on the little we have seen of US broadcaster, CBS’s upcoming take on the detective: the whimsically titled, Elementary.
There seems to be a lot of hesitation around the series (including from myself) but there is also something infinitely cool about the fact that Johnny Lee Miller, who (in Danny Boyle’s 2011 Frankenstein play) switched between the roles of Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s Monster with Benedict Cumberbatch nightly, making this the second time the pair of them will be ‘sharing’ a role.
In the new three-minute preview (below) we don’t seem to be offered anything gobsmackingly revolutionary or particularly interesting, but if one thing is clear it is that Elementary certainly looks like it will be quite different in look and feel from Sherlock.
I don’t know whether to start with the fact that Englishman, Miller’s Sherlock puts on an uncanny impression of David Hyde Pierce (“Niles Crane, Private Detective!”) or that Dr John Watson has sex-changed into Lucy Liu.
Past the quirkiness of Rubik’s Cubing the discovering of corpses whilst cops blather about how amazing the ‘world’s most famous detective is’ it seems evident that the show is going to also heavily revolve around the chemistry and friendship of Holmes and Joan Watson (I see what they did there) – who appear to meet in a rehab centre after Sherlock’s drug problem takes him to New York.
That chemistry between the leads is arguably one of the greatest things about the BBC’s series, with Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch’s ambiguous harmony creating excellent character-driven storytelling. Worryingly, from the trailer alone, sexual tension seems pretty apparent in Elementary. Hmm, I spy my first major qualm with the show. I don’t oppose to romantic interests in Sherlock Holmes tales, just romantic interests in Sherlock Holmes tales who aren’t Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch.
From the trailer CBS’s Sherlock Holmes looks and feels more human and therefore potentially more vulnerable than the BBC’s which could allow for some great drama if he isn’t going to always remain in a Cumberbatch-bubble of non-existent emotion. Elementary has stuck with an English Sherlock but seems to have changed just about everything else so I am ready to give it a fair chance. In all the Sherlock hype at the moment it is a shame that FOX’s long-running television series, Sherlock Holmes M.D. ends next next week, too.
Anyway, never mind my rubbish opinion, watch the trailer and decide for yourself: