Oct 2012 22

 ‘Elementary’ is the American remake of the BBC’s excellent ‘Sherlock’ television series.  Upfront I better say that I’m a fan of the original and have always enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes character in books and film (yes even Robert Downey Jr.’s interpretation).

‘Elementary’ is set in New York although to be honest the opening episode could have been set anywhere in the US.  Jonny Lee Miller takes on the role of Holmes and Lucy Liu plays Dr. Watson.  A female Watson! an interesting idea as there have always been undertones of attraction between the two traditionally male characters.

For me the writing is the biggest failing of the pilot episode, it feels like ‘Sherlock’ lite, softened and made simpler denying the American market what for me is the greatest attribute of the Holmes character his intelligence.  An example of this softening is the fact the Holmes apologies to Watson, not once but twice for his actions.  This struck me as out of character and an attempt to make him more likeable.  Unfortunately for me the American producers have slipped into what they do best ‘Procedural Crime Drama’ which reduces two of the great literary characters into mere bystanders.  I suspect Lucy Liu’s higher star ranking might have effected some of the producers decisions not necessarily for the better. 

I’m trying to imagine what I would think of ‘Elementary’ in a world where ‘Sherlock’ didn’t exist, but I can’t because it does and it is superior on every level to this version.

The only hope in my mind for ‘Elementary’ is that the chemistry between Millar and Liu lifts the show out of ‘Sherlocks’ shadow and creates a niche for its self in the minds of Sherlock Holmes fans.

Tue 23 Oct at 9pm, Sky Living HD

6/10

TW

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