There has been talk of a debate over the worthiness of CBS's Elementary, but after watching last night's big post-Super Bowl episode (at least until I couldn't take it any more), I'm less concerned about anyone putting forth a reasonable argument that this lazy knock-off is Sherlock Holmes and more interested in something I have yet to see: why they actually like it.
I've seen a number of people, Sherlockians included, say "But I enjoy Elementary!" But I have yet to see anyone explain just why, other than some cuteness factor involving any of the three leads. All TV shows have cute actors and actresses on them. That's the nature of television. But having enjoyed a lot of good television over the years, and having seen what makes a good show (continuity, sympathetic attachment to even the most unlikable characters, whip-smart plotting, etc.), I would not even recommend this show if the faux-Sherlock factor wasn't so annoying.
Because that isn't the only annoying thing about the show. How many times can they bring in promising characters with potential for development whose interplay might even develop Jonny Lee Miller's character or make him more sympathetic . . . and then drop then after a few moments in one episode. The AA sponsor Watson recruited was especially memorable as he drew Mr. Elementary out with his car and displayed a charming ability to work with the show's main character. There at the end of one episode, and never to be seen again.
Last night we got a criminal profiler whom Mr. Elementary had once taken as an apprentice, who then betrayed him and used what he taught her to further her own career. The concept was actually interesting and had some potential, but when she was murdered by the serial killer's sister (Yes, serial killer's sisters are apparently someone to watch out for as well.) she quickly became another dead end plot device.
One could have seen this coming when they made Irene Adler a corpse from the start, foolishly wasting the potential of that great character by making her a cheap excuse for Mr. Elementary's drug use. It was such a waste.
And that it probably the biggest thing that annoys me about Elementary. The waste.
All that money being thrown at a character pretending to be Sherlock Holmes. All those eyeballs watching someone who will never be Sherlock Holmes no matter how many references like "Oh, look a singlestick!" get tossed in by people who don't seem to have read the sixty stories, just an encyclopedia article about the sixty stories. One could even have titled the series Wasted Potential instead of Elementary.
So someone please sit down and explain to me exactly why you enjoy this show. I am just not getting it.