Friday, November 9, 2012

What do you call a problem like Milleria?

Here's the thing: I find that I cannot seem to call the main character of CBS's Elementary by the name "Sherlock Holmes."

I discovered this last night as I tried live-tweeting the latest episode. The proper nouns "Sherlock" and "Holmes" would just not come off my keyboard together in reference to that guy. Whatever the reason, be it his wrong height, wrong face, wrong city, or wrong accent . . . I'm no Henry Higgins, but that speech pattern definitely hails from a non-Sherlock part of England . . . the label "Sherlock Holmes" just will not stick on Jonny Lee Miller in my mental connections.

But I had to call the main character of the show I was tweeting about something, so I soon settled on "Mr. #Elementary," which added the hashtag as well and saved me a few letters. But it made me start pondering: what do I call this guy?

Sherlocky Lee Holmes? (It is the actor's interpretation.)

El Kaburn? (Due to his treatment of stringed instruments.)

Hobo Sherlock Holmes? (C'mon, doesn't he look like a hobo?)

Chachi Holmes? (As in "Joanie Loves Chachi," an equally fine example of televised entertainment.)

Gregson's little buddy? (When Gregson is around, Mr. Elementary just seems "special" to me.)

Reichenbach Body Double Holmes? (Too long, but Benedict Cumberbatch has to have some way to have survived that fall, doesn't he?)

Elock Stones? (Weak JLM's old show mash-up.)

Future Severed Head? (C'mon, Joan, pull an O-ren Ishi on Oren Goodchild! That dual Oren thing is just weird, by the way.)

Barker from the Surrey Shore? (Oh, so perfect, given Miller's birthplace, but probably too Canonical for most folks to get.)

I really think I'm going to be sticking with "Mr. Elementary." It reminds me of "Mr. Mycroft," from the days when the Doyle copyrights kept F.H. Heard from doing outright pastiches. But if you get a better idea, let me know.

Because I'm still not calling that ragamuffin "Sherlock Holmes."

(Hey, wait a second . . . do you think he could actually be a grown-up Irregular posing as Holmes, and that Benedict Cumberbatch will show up in the third or fourth season and call him out? Oh, man, that would be a glorious day!)


  1. As a longtime Holmesian, I couldn't reconcile with JLM's "Holmes" as well. After awhile, I decided to call him Dick, a slang for detective. He wasn't much different from other detectives in procedural dramas.

  2. Hi! I've been reading your blog for a while and I must say that I love your vocal antagonism against Elementary(I hate it too.) I agree with everything you said on this blog and I hope I would have the courage to say that I hate Elementary in public too. I couldn't do it because the Sherlockians in my circle of friends love Elementary and they think 'More Sherlock Holmes is better than none'. They might flay me alive if I suddenly antagonize Elementary.
    I've been having problems too as to what would I call Jonny's Sherlock because I really can't think of him as Sherlock Holmes. When I livetweet Elementary, I usually refer to him Jonnylock. :)
    (By the way, I love your idea about Jonnylock being a grown-up Irregular posing as Holmes. You should give that as a prompt to a fanfiction writer.)
    Sorry for the incoherent content of this comment. :D

  3. Jonnylock is a pretty good choice!

    That "more Sherlock is better than none" reasoning always escapes me -- Elementary certainly isn't more Sherlock to me.

    Good luck with life among the Elementary lovers! Perhaps one day, with enough exposure to better quality Holmeses, they'll grow out of this phase!

    1. Thank you for your good luck!

      Anyways, before I have read your reply to my comment, I tried voicing out my unpopular opinion to my friends. I was inspired by your courage and thought if they're my friends, they would accept my opinion and move on. However, they didn't take it well as I have expected. They told me that I shouldn't take Sherlock Holmes very seriously because the author himself hated his work(this bothered me a lot). They also called me out for saying that Elementary 'disrespected the canon'. Did I go too far? Their responses were very disheartening. But I do not blame them. I would retaliate too if they bash BBC Sherlock.

      Your reply to my comment lifted my spirits up and I thank you for that.

    2. Sorry to hear it didn't go so well with your friends!

      Elementary does show a bit of disrespect for the Canon with some of its attempted "improvements," done mostly to keep BBC Sherlock folks from suing them, so I don't think you went too far. But as such things go with friends, sometimes you have to make your point and then step back and give it time to sink in.

      Conan Doyle's eventual irritation with the popularity of Sherlock Holmes hasn't stopped fans from taking our hobby seriously for nearly a hundred years, and I don't think that will be changed by Elementary. We've got a long debate ahead with this new show, but I'm sure history will side with those who know and love Sherlock best.

  4. Brad, I am glad that "Elementary" came along if for no other reason than it has energized you to levels of enthusiasm, albeit negative enthusiasm, that I have not seen from you in quite some time. It seems to have given you a new lease on life. I do believe you have a personal mission to be the world's foremost basher of this program, and I think you have succeeded.

    Of course, there is no accounting for taste. I recall my visceral negative rection to the whichever "Hound" had that Christmas party (and I still think it was among worst Holmes movies ever), but you defended it. This time around, I am enjoying "Elementary" quite a bit. I find Miller a better Holmes than Cumberbatch (but don't get me wrong, I like "Sherlock" very much as well).

    And I have indeed been exposed to better Holmeses, I do admit. In fact, I have been exposed to all of the Holmeses of film. I wonder if Lucy Liu would have fit Christopher Morley's idea of a female Watson. I think she's pretty good.

    But if anythng needs bashing in the Sherlockian universe, it is not "Elementary," nor is it "Sherlock," nor is it the Downey series (which I am not so happy with). No, it is crappy, poorly written, barely edited, totally out-of-character print-on-demand pastiches. They are cheapening the game, and the sheer volume of that junk is subsuming the quality works that also continue to appear.

  5. Trust me, Bill, it's not "Elementary" that spurs my enthusiasm. Since the advent of BBC's "Sherlock," the Baker Street Babes, and the "I believe in Sherlock" meme, I have been quite enthused. A new golden age has been rising up overtop the old, but I firmly believe that the producers of "Elementary" are hawking fool's gold to try to take advantage of the trend. Some would say fool's gold is better than none, but there's something I've always gotten from Sherlock Holmes, via Conan Doyle or Cumberbatch or many in between, that doesn't come from Jonny Lee Miller whatsoever. (Though if he'd fall off Reichenbach, I think Lucy Liu might have a watchable show for a few years!)

    Enthusiastic amateur novelists putting out bad Sherlock Holmes pastiches have been with us for almost a century, and I don't sweat them -- quality always rises to the top. In the case of "Elementary," however, corporate power and television target audience machinations are pushing something that isn't good (or even recognizable, to my eye) Sherlock to a level it does not deserve. And if you think the pastiches are bad now, wait until amateur authors start basing their stuff on "Elementary."

    I don't think you could have disliked that version of "Hound" ("You own Stonehenge!") anywhere nearly as much as I dislike "Elementary." It made its one appearance and was gone. You got to heal. This one is going to be an irritating rash of a pox upon my Sherlockian nerves for at least a full television season. So you'll have to pardon me if I scratch. And scratch. And make it worse, so I have to scratch some more . . .

  6. OK. Well, I am enjoying your tirades very much, and this site as well. I will continue to watch "Elementary" and hopefully it will continue to be as entertaining and as good (to me) as it has been. And I will think with affection about you writhing with the pox as I do so.

    Incidentally, Les Klinger, in a dialogue with the producers at the Los Angeles event earlier this year, when we had the chance to see the pilot, stated correctly that he spoke for all in the room that we all hope there will never be a romance between Holmes and Watson. That might indeed push me into your camp.

    And, finally, don't underestimate my dislike of that "Hound" or of any of the Matt Frewer films. I told someone else that, were bad impersonations of Sherlock Holmes a crime, Frewer wold deserve a firing squad.

  7. " you think he could actually be a grown-up Irregular posing as Holmes..."

    You nailed it! He's Wiggins emigrated to NYC and pretending to be The Man Himself! He absolutely looks like it and it would explain everything that is wrong with this show. :-D

  8. Throughout history, soldiers of one army dehumanize those of the other side. "Kraut", "nip", and others. By denying them their proper name, they are easier to kill. We see this today in our political discourse where one side will give the other a demeaning name. Of course, there can be no common ground with those who we don't respect.

    I understand and respect the fact you find Jonny Lee Miller an unacceptable Sherlock Holmes. But why not call him Miller, then?