Founder / Editor


Associate Editor


Assistant Editor











'Elementary' Not Exactly a Spine-Tinging Whodunit
September 26, 2012  | By Ed Bark  | 3 comments

Editor's Note: For more on Elementary, see Gerald Jordan's Crossing Jordan.

Perhaps in the not so distant future, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson will be "re-imagined" as an extraterrestrial pair putting up with one other in disguised human forms while solving mysteries in tandem with the Canadian Mounted Police.

Until then it's Elementary, in which Watson for the first time is a woman while Holmes consults with the NYPD and tries to stay clean and sober on the side.

The new CBS drama, which premieres Sept. 27 at 10 p.m. ET, takes The Mentalist's place on Thursday nights, although they're both roughly the same kind of mind-bending "crime procedural" series. Patrick Jane and Sherlock Holmes are both ego-centric, off-center geniuses partnered with calmer, steadier female work mates. The Mentalist, which is moving to Sunday nights, could easily work out a "crossover" arrangement with Elementary during a ratings "sweeps" period. Even if putting their two heads together might make both of them explode.

CBS' version of Holmes is played by Jonny Lee Miller, who was pretty good as the brain-impaired star of ABC's Eli Stone series. Lucy Liu (the Charlie's Angels movies, Ally McBeal, etc.) is Dr. Joan Watson, who's been hired to be Holmes' "sober companion" by his rich father.

Holmes is several years removed from a "fall from grace" at Scotland Yard while Watson lost a patient and her medical license three years ago. So you see, they kind of need each other, even though he's prototypically resistant at first and she quickly gets exasperated enough to quit.

As with virtually all CBS crime hours, this one begins with the violent death of a woman. Holmes is soon on the case, but not before Watson pays him a call. She first encounters a bare-chested, heavily tattooed Holmes who's checked out of rehab earlier than scheduled and has just had a little rendezvous involving handcuffs.

"I actually find sex repellent, all those fluids and odd sounds," he informs her. Still, Holmes partakes on occasion to maintain his equilibrium.

The third wheel in this arrangement is police captain Tobias "Toby" Gregson, with Aidan Quinn back in the saddle as roughly the same kind of authority figure he played last season on NBC's American-ized version of Prime Suspect. He and Holmes worked together a decade ago overseas. So he's happy to have him back, damaged goods or not.

Whatever his environment, Holmes still conducts his deductions with what seems to be the greatest of ease. And you'd better know the difference.

"I don't guess, I observe," he snippily tells Watson. "And once I observe, I deduce."

He rapidly decides that the dead woman's husband didn't kill her. "I don't see him as having the berries to take another life." He also gets to exclaim "Bollocks!"

By now you're possibly deducing that I'm not all that enamored of this latest Holmes incarnation. It's far inferior to PBS' Sherlock series, particularly in the dialogue department. And there are so many crime dramas on CBS that it's increasingly difficult to buy into yet another one — even with the Sherlock Holmes brand in play.

Thursday's series premiere ends up being watchable but not really something to phone your friends about. Or "like" on Facebook. Or Tweet an urgent alert with accompanying link to your Followers.

Maybe Elementary will bloom and grow in future episodes. But for now, we have yet another brutally murdered woman for starters, with the eventual arrest of its perpetrator coming at the end of a not exactly spine-tingling whodunit.

It all then ends with Mets fan Watson avidly watching a nearly completed televised game while Holmes is rather bored by it all. So he definitely deduces exactly how the final Mets at bat will go.

Elementary? No, completely preposterous.

GRADE: C-plus

Read more by Ed Bark at 

Leave a Comment: (No HTML, 1000 chars max)
 Name (required)
 Email (required) (will not be published)
Type in the verification word shown on the image.
 Page: 1 of 1  | Go to page: 
Hmmm... this is rather strange. The only thing wrong with this show is that it's a 'rip-off' of the BBC "Sherlock" (Yes, I know it's intentional). Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Lui are so interesting as actors already I wonder if it would've been better to scrap the whole "Sherlock" concept entirely and just give then new names and make it a whole new show.

There's a need for a socially maladjusted "puzzel-solver" since "House M.D." ended - I easily moved right into this series. It was fun and I had no expectations. I'm the type of viewer that will watch a show if I like the characters. I feel with a decent supporting cast Miller & Lui can pull this off.

I was intrigued by the use of tech and tools Holmes would use in modern day New York. I'll atleast stick around till we see Moriarty, Meincroft & Holmes love interest.
Oct 2, 2012   |  Reply
I can't figure out why, but this twitchy Sherlock just isn't appealing, in contrast to the twitchy PBS one. Lucy Liu is great, but the attempt at romantic tension that will interfere with the plots will soon become tedious. What is it with American TV that everything has to have some cornball romantic subplot attached, no matter what the storyline is supposed to be about? The original Holmes.stories did quite well without the sexual drive, and so does the PBS version. This version's arc of poor lonesome Sherlock and eternally frustrated Watson is way too easy to foresee and be preemptively bored by. The charm of Doyle's creation was in the intellectual acrobatics. Why can't our networks either go with that or leave the thing alone?
Sep 29, 2012   |  Reply
This one literally put me to sleep. Enough said.
Sep 28, 2012   |  Reply
 Page: 1 of 1  | Go to page: