Elementary – TV Series Trailer

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:

Mild Concern and the Case Of Why We’re Sherlocked

It seems like there is a subtle abundance (ignore the oxymoron) of Sherlock Holmes right now: Guy Ritchie’s abomination looks like it’s going to live in Sequel Town for a while longer; there was the terrible idea of a Sacha Baron Cohen film franchise not long ago (that was thankfully dropped); the young adult novels of Young Sherlock Holmes by Andy Lane also show no signs of slowing, and finally, let us not forget the 2010 direct-to-DVD Sherlock Holmes (WHICH HAS A GIGANTIC OCTOPUS AND A T-REX IN IT). It almost feels a shame that the only Sherlock Holmes revival worth any interest to the many is The Beeb’s Sherlock.

Now mid-way through its second series (episode two of three); unlike its other reincarnations I don’t want it to stop. Incidentally, I recently spoke to an American reviewer who was gobsmacked at the idea of Sherlock having ‘only’ three episodes [per “season”]. There lies one of the reasons that the quality of our British television is often far superior to the Yanks’: we Brits don’t like to beat a dead horse. Instead we give you three, focused feature-length episodes of pure modernised brilliance and leave it at that for another year.

Helmed almost entirely by the men that injected Doctor Who into the hearts and minds of today’s generation and starring some fine British talent, it’s hard to argue against the quality of Sherlock. Another attribute to the show’s success is its contemporary modernisation of the beloved classic tales. Renovating the old novels to the level that showrunners Mark Gatiss and Stephen Moffat do, Doyle’s most renowned work becomes relevant to another century; extremely kinetic and an absolute pleasure to watch.

And lest we not forget just how great Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are in their oh-so-suited roles. Before Sherlock they were minor blips on the mainstream consciousness – though both had arguably already enjoyed successful careers, and now they have also attained Hollywood success (amongst other films, both appearing in the upcoming The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as Smaug and Bilbo Baggins respectively).

So what has Sherlock’s second season series brought us then? Well, Mr Holmes was photographed in that famous hat he (allegedly) loves to wear in the books (which he absolutely despises in the show) adding physically to the characters evolution this year; his sexuality is constantly being referenced (as well as numerous droll Holmes/Watson homosexual jokes) and he’s definitely got some of those mad fighting skills that Guy Ritchie loves to show off in slow motion. Amongst other stories, the most recent episode also saw the re-imagining of ‘The Hounds Of Baskerville’, which is arguably one of the most popular of the Sherlock tales. This year, the show has also diverted its plots from aggravating coppers to a more fluid mystery-solving-for-hire show as Watson has begun to blog and Twitter about their cases, bringing in more ‘custom’ to satisfy Holmes’ needs.

The show doesn’t quite get away with zero qualms, however. For example The Daily Mail refused to give the show any slack over making this series more sexy as they evidenced in their article over Lara Pulver appearing naked “a full 25 minutes before 9pm”(!!!), as well as Moriarty’s likeness to Skins’ series one baddie, Mad Twatter PHD becoming a little too scarily WTF-like.

Some will complain, some will see it as genius television-making (and we need something to lift us up after the recent brutalities done to the British film industry) and I for one will be very sad when the doors to 221b Baker Street close for another year after this Sunday’s finale.

You can watch the series two finale this Sunday (Jan 15th) on BBC1 at 9pm and catch up with this series on iPlayer here. Series two will be released on DVD on the 23rd January.

We’re Off to See the Wizard Again and Again

When Sherlock Holmes entered the public domain a few years back two different projects were announced and over time the version starring Sacha Baron Cohen has been completely buried by Guy Ritchie’s crack at the famous detective. When it comes to The Wizard of Oz, which came into the public domain in 1956 it is right now that a large number of adaptations are in the works and they don’t seem to bothered by the competition.

Rumours were running wild yesterday about Robert Downey Jr. teaming up with Sam Mendes in a prequel called Oz The Great and Powerful with Downey Jr. as the great wizard himself. Warner Bros. are getting into the Oz game with two different films, the first of which will be a straight forward remake of the classic film called simply Oz. The second film, Wizard of Oz, will be a more modern take as Dorothy’s granddaughter returns to Oz to fight evil. Universal also has a film they want to make; a film version of the hit musical Wicked as loved by theatregoers everywhere.

With all these new films in the works, Tim Burton’s version, Sci-Fi’s woeful Tin Man from 2007 and Over the Rainbow on the BBC Dorothy and her ruby slippers seem to be everywhere. I have no idea why now is the time for Oz to take over the cinema but with so many versions soon to trickling into cinemas at least one of them has to be good.

Empire Awards: The Horror! The Horror!

Thought the awards season was over? Well yesterday Empire Magazine held their own awards ceremony and the results are mostly horrible.

Avatar won both best film and best director with Zoe Saldana picking up best actress. Another major mistake was Sherlock Holmes winning Best Thriller. Without getting into a debate about what constitutes a thriller I dispute Holmes being a better film than Inglourious Basterds.

On the plus side In The Loop finally won something as it acheived Best Comedy beating out a four more successful, but less brilliant films. Sadly Moon and District 9 were again overlooked in favour of the more flashy Star Trek, at least Cameron didn’t get this one. The full list of winners can be seen here.

What happened Empire? You used to be cool man!

It makes me wonder when the Mild Concern awards are.