Well, it's August, and the time when TV viewers start looking forward to the fall season, with all its new shows and returning favorites. Unfortunately for those desperate to hear the name "Sherlock Holmes" spoken anew from the surround sound on their fifty inch flatscreen, that's not really happening this year.
After five years of full-court press, CBS has decided to bench Elementary for the fall and bring it back in January with a thirteen episode run. (Twenty-four episodes is the norm.) Such a move makes one wonder if this might not be the end for that procedural Sherlockian fan favorite, and, given that potential . . . that CBS is just running out the clock . . . makes one wonder if the showrunners are just going to go for it.
Now, whatever else backseat screenwriters, disappointed Johnlockers, and grumpy Canon purists had to say about season four of BBC's Sherlock, no one can say that the showrunners weren't running hard at something for that potentially final season. They could have knocked out three comfortably status-quo mysteries where no babies were dealt with, no mommies were killed, no friends or lovers were mercilessly beaten, no homes were exploded, no landladies ran wild, no husbands were unfaithful, no dogs were delusions, no super-geniuses were operating from island fortresses . . . holy crap, they packed a lot into three episodes . . . but it cannot be said that the series creators were not trying to get the most bang for their buck out of their three latest chances to play with Sherlock Holmes.
So, come 2018, we might be seeing the last run of Elementary, and those who run the show are surely fully aware that this thirteen episode order might be the end. Do they go for it, or just wind down as they carried on for five seasons, handing out weekly procedural drama, with individual episodes often ignoring ongoing subplots in favor of the week's mystery?
Jonny Lee Miller's Sherlock character will be getting a new recovering addict buddy named Michael in season six, and some medical unpleasantness is going on with his brain. (Could this Michael be the one stablehand in "The Sussex Vampire" who sleeps in the house? He's the only Canonical Michael.) And twelve episodes is a lot of airtime -- a full season for Netflix or some other cable channels. Will Elementary take the route of "living like it is dying?" Or will it cozy on down for a final twelve procedural cases and finish with a Jonny and Lucy hug sort of scene? Or wilder still, risk it all on the hope of one more season and end on a cliffhanger?
Whatever the case, we probably won't know until next year.