By now, regulars readers are not only aware of my opinions of CBS's Elementary, but surely a bit weary of them. The show's basic premise, "Ex-addict consulting detective is paired with a sober companion by his father and introduces his new partner to the world of murder investigation," just never rang particularly Sherlock-y to me. So, one might ask, what would I find a better premise for a modern day Sherlock show on American television?
Let's start with the obvious.
A small hamlet in Canada is rocked by beastly slayings that an aged local farmer attributes to his family curse. The local doctor tries to get a London criminal specialist interested in the case via the internet and does, only to have the specialist and his husband show up in the small town to disturb the locals even further with their unorthodox urban ways.
Fairly straight forward. Next up . . . ?
I Am Sherlock Holmes.
After disappearing during a climactic battle with a master crimelord named Moriarty, the world's most famous consulting detective travels the world incognito as Magnus Sigerson following the trail of his brother, an cornerstone figure in British intelligence who disappeared at the same time Moriarty was killed.
Something is still missing. A female character?
The Six Wives of Dr. Watson.
Dr. Watson, retired and living in Miami Beach, is kidnapped, a crisis that brings together all six of his ex-wives. In the absence of Sherlock Holmes (presumed dead), the six discover that together they embody all the qualities that made Holmes the world's greatest detective, and after rescuing Watson, they band together to form their own consulting detective agency.
Okay, maybe too many female characters. Irene is the go-to, right?
A singer's incredible popularity sparks a variety of adventures -- from the too-energetic pursuit of royal lovers to a willingness to help a fan in need. Her legal counsel Godfrey Norton is ever at her side and frustrated by her interest in Sherlock Holmes, a consulting detective who turns up in her adventures a little more than mere coincidence would demand.
And for those who think drugs are necessary . . . .
A Criminal Addiction.
A kingpin named Moriarty has come up with a new drug "seven percent," and isn't selling it on the open market -- he's getting the highly addictive substance into the hands of key individuals whose addictions he uses to build a network of pawns. A detective named Sherlock Holmes must enter those ranks to find just how far the network has spread . . . and what the true effects of "seven percent" are.
There's a lot that could be done with Sherlock Holmes that isn't being done now . . . even with all the pastiches being written, most traditionally published ones stick to the same old formula. But as we've seen, there's a lot more to Sherlock Holmes than a given time and place. And given all the ideas that are out there in the fan fiction universe, I'm betting we get some Sherlock shows so totally different in the next twenty years that they make the above seem practically Canonical.
But you know Sherlock Holmes. He was, quite literally, made to have adventures.