Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective, worked in London assisting Scotland Yard, until a devastating loss causes him to give in to his addictions. After leaving a rehabilitation centre in New York, he is assigned a sober companion, Joan Watson, to keep him on the straight and narrow while he resumes his work assisting Inspector Gregson of the NYPD. But there are challenges ahead for Sherlock – the devious murderers that populate New York, the ever-present temptation of drugs, some long shadows from his past in London, and, most of all, comparisons with that other guy – you know, same name, works in London, looks like an otter – seriously, check that link out!
I’ll admit, when I heard about this show when it was announced, my first thought was fairly close to my reaction when I heard that Disney were going to cast Jennifer Garner as Miss Marple. I basically couldn’t believe it. Fair enough, if Sherlock had been rubbish, then why not try and do the idea properly, but, let’s face it, Sherlock is a long way from being rubbish. Moreover, it’s still going on, so why on earth was this series being made?
So I ignored it. Not hard, it is broadcast on Sky over here and I’m not a fan of paying for my television. But then I spotted a box-set of the first season of Elementary for £15 and figured, why not? I’d heard some good things about it, so what the hell? At the very least, it can give me some ammunition for a rant on this blog.
No rant, though. Sorry. It’s a damn fine series.
Jonny Lee Miller is outstanding as Holmes. He’s an actor who’s only appeared on my radar as Sick Boy in Trainspotting, but after not watching anything with him in since then – oh, hang on, I did see Dracula 2000 – I wasn’t expecting a lot. As such, it was a remarkably pleasant surprise. As intense as the best Holmes performances and, at the same time, human. This is a vastly differnet Sherlock than Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance, while still clearly being sourced from the same character. Lucy Liu, as Watson, gives a nuanced performance as Watson – not a war veteran this time, but an ex-doctor who made a fatal mistake on the operating table. Watson’s development throughout the series is one of the many highlights of the series, along with the complete lack of any romantic development between the two leads – another concern that I had prior to watching the show.
The non-arc episodes of the series (which is most of them) are highly entertaining. A couple fall into the problem of the villain being obvious due to the lack of any other suspects, but, unlike some recent episodes of Sherlock, the mystery plot is always prevalent and some of them have some very clever twists.
The arc episodes are outstanding, and I’d recommend anyone avoids any spoilers about them. Needless to say, some of the Holmes classic themes are visited – Moriarty, Irene Adler, Sebastian Moran (minor spoiler as to who plays him, but it’s an outstanding performance) – but in an original way. Unless I missed something, there isn’t the wholesale lifting of things such as the central idea of The Bruce-Partington Plans that Sherlock is guilty of at times.
I’m probably not the only person who badly pre-judged this show, so if, like me, you haven’t checked it out, then I heartily recommend seeking it out on DVD. You won’t regret it – unless you get the finale spoiled for you…
Oh, and please don’t spoil Season Two for me in the comments. Ta!