Thursday, November 15, 2012

Self-flagellation, a.k.a. watching Elementary.

Forgive me if this posting is slightly clunky. I wasn't in my right mind as I wrote it. I had Elementary on the tube (which is still a tube, sad to say), and the constant irritation did nothing for my wordsmithing.

Tonight, Mr. Elementary ditched Joan Watson to go work on a case. Does this show even pretend that its writers have read up on Sherlock Holmes?

You know, I can forgive all the innocents on Twitter that are just watching another detective show on CBS for just accepting this , and even liking it. There are fans of all kinds of really weak television programs  out there.  The idea that any long-time fan of Sherlock Holmes is happily accepting this nonsense as anything similar to Holmes just astounds me.

Due to the weekly nature of the show, and the fact that Mr. Elementary apparently has to be involved in murders every single week,  it really seems like NYC detectives Gregson and Bell are just letting Mr. E. do all of the work for them (as well as their forensic lab – because the human eye is now supposedly better at bullet analysis than computers) , but that has happened before. 

The strange part is the way Mr. Elementary follows Gregson around like he’s the ghost of his dead lover,  standing in the back of rooms,  instead of working with Watson.  It doesn’t seem to matter how much he irritates Gregson, the supposed police captain just takes it and lets the ex-drunk (or whatever he is) keep following him around. 

Watson, of course, has to have something to do on this show, and  is occupying herself wandering around investigating Mr. Elementary . . . supposedly helping him with his addiction.  And when Elementary and Watson have a verbal exchange about  intimating that the former might have just urinated in Watson’s bedroom . . . I just have to sigh. This has nothing at all to do with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, does it?

Watson’t current investigation is to find out who “Irene” is, and even Irene Adler isn’t living up to her true character in this show. Apparently she kept sending  Mr. #Elementary letters after he went to America.  When the real Irene went to America after her encounter with the real Holmes,  neither of them dragged it on with a long distance correspondence . . . but then,  nobody in this show is up to specs.

Mr. Elementary likes to dole out his investigation a little at a time, instead of saving it up for that dramatic conclusion that Sherlock Holmes liked to do. He’s just a little too in love with his own voice to wait until he’s got it all figured out.

And then there’s the Irene issue. At the end of last episode, they teased that there was an Irene in Holmes’s life that he reacts badly to a mention of. At the end of this episode, he says she died and he took her death badly.  Elementary just wasted one of the great characters of the Sherlock Holmes mythos. Off-screen, with a couple of comments. We all know they’re trying hard not to be the BBC Sherlock,  and Holmes’s father apparently has already replaced Mycroft (but stays off-screen), but to just  drop Irene with a few comments?

By Season Two, if there is a Season Two, this thing is going to bear  less resemblance to the original Sherlock Holmes than it did to start with,  as astounding as that might seem.


  1. If you want to see something a little truer to Sherlock, there's a kids play coming up that mixes Sherlock and Christmas. And this is not your typical kids' Christmas play--professional sound mix, 42 speaking parts, a fog machine (I hope), and a clip of "The Blue Carbuncle" to kick it off. It's called "The Greatest Mystery of All" (Sherlock Holmes investigates the mystery of Christmas), and it plays Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. at Richwoods Christian Church on Knoxville. It's free and open to the public. (We usually get around 300-400 people.) There are a few references only a real Sherlock fan will get (e.g., Violet Hunter is focused on her hair; there's a reference to "Norbury" near the end; and I keep trying to teach the kids how to say "Colonel Sebastian Moran"...but don't get your hopes up on that one...) If any Sherlock fans come, try to find me one I know loves Sherlock like I do (which is a theme for two characters at the beginning of the play). I'll be introducing the play at the beginning. I hope it comes together...the Baker Street Irregulars are having trouble with their lines... :-)

  2. In an early interview - which I can't find anymore, but swear I've read - Doherty admitted to not having read ACD. It was only later, I think after the pilot aired, that he suddenly had "always been a fan".

  3. Agree on all points. I do, however, enjoy the live tweeting snarkfest--a Sherlockian Mystery Science Theater 3000 of references and running commentary as Elementary bumbles its way through attempting, feebly, to grasp at random canonical straws. "He threw an orange! Five Orange Pips!" "He lifted the corner of the rug! Second Stain!" "Irene Adler!"


  4. This must be seen to be believed....

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  6. Perhaps you underestimate "Elementary's" Irene. We know Miller's affinity for prostitutes. Like "Sherlock", this Irene maybe a high-priced sex-worker, a profession whose skill set, as we know from Laura Pulver, contains the ability to procure, non-criminally, look-alike corpses to fool coroners. This Irene may not be dead as well. Or perhaps you maybe right and "Elementary" may never achieve the high level of plot believability that "Sherlock" has.

  7. I had to roll my eyes a bit (pun intended) at the "visiting the suspect's flat instantly proves that he's monocular" bit in this episode. Okay, so I'm not an ophthalmologist or anything, but I'm monocular and I'm pretty sure it doesn't cause a person to arrange all of their belongings on the other end of their bathroom shelves. After all, the loss of one eye really only diminishes your range of vision by one fifth. Sigh.