Saturday, December 27, 2014

Non-compliments of the season? Isn't Elementary on break?

Today is the day, the second day after Christmas, when Sherlockians traditionally wish each other "compliments of the season," as Watson called upon Sherlock Holmes to do in "The Blue Carbuncle." And I offer those greetings to all my Sherlockian friends out there, and also those who happen to wander by these pages just to see "what that deranged fellow is up to now."

But among my Christmas gifts was a very thoughtful gift from one of my nephews, who plainly had read enough of my blog to know what Sherlockian item I would not have on my selves already: the DVD collection of season one of Elementary. The note enclosed read simply, "I figure you'll either burn this in effigy OR hate-watch it on an infinite loop." (An Amazon gift card was also enclosed as a "palate cleanser," but I was quite happy to get the set for future reference, without the emotional distress of having to actually spend money on the thing and risk encouraging such behaviours.)

With the DVD set, however, comes a new well of unseen Elementary material: the DVD extras, and a load of material about the thoughts behind this show. And boy, do the producers, writers, and actors have a lot of thoughts about the show. A lot of thoughts . . . and most of them like they're making Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson up from the whole cloth, which, to be fair, they were.

"I re-read a few of the books . . ." -- Rob Dougherty

"It's more about sort of developing a take, and then trying to find what pieces sort of fit your . . . my . . . parameters of that."  -- Rob Dougherty

"I think Watson exists, in some ways, to challenge Sherlock." -- Lucy Liu

"It's such rich material that there's a hundred ways you could go with it really." -- Jonny Lee Miller

"I'm smarter than everyone I meet, Watson. I know it's bad form to say that, but in my case, Watson, it's a fact." -- Mr. Elementary

"Will another client make you happy?" Joan Watson's mother on the prospect of Joan leaving Mr. Elementary

"This is Joan Watson. She keeps me from doing heroin." -- Mr. Elementary

"When you first meet the guy, he's going off on theses elaborate theories, and it sounds like nonsense." -- Jon Michael Hill

"How did you know I used to be a surgeon?" -- Joan
"Google. Not everything is deducible." -- Mr. Elementary

Ah, memories.

Combined with CBS promos for the show, it all takes me back to a time when Elementary was all shiny and new, and I was still trying to figure out how anyone could possibly accept this as a Sherlock Holmes pastiche after we just had Sherlock. This wasn't 1980s syndicated genre television, where Elementary packaged as Sherlock Holmes: The Next Generation might have fit right in, slotted alongside such shows as Kung Fu: The Legend Continues. As we come to the last week of 2014, a little looking back is in order, but now it's time to look ahead again . . .

But . . . oh, wait, they're already re-running the Martin Freeman Saturday Night Live from a few weeks ago, where Sherlock didn't get a single mention. And watching Freeman in the monologue, I wonder how Elementary would have looked had they cast him in the lead role, and kept Jonny Lee Miller in England to play Watson on Sherlock. There's a pair of alternate universe DVDs I'd like to stumble across, to sit on the shelf next to the collection from this universe I now own.


  1. Why did you open it? You could have exchanged it for Peter Cook & Dudley Moore in "HOTB", or Charlton Heston in "Crucifer of Blood", or perhaps better yet, a ham sandwich.

  2. Does your nephew hate you...? ;-)

  3. Observant nephew. :-)

    It was odd that Freeman's SNL had zero Sherlockian content; I found its absence quite loud. Perhaps it was the curious incident of the dog in the night.


    1. And that, Korina, is the best observation about that curious incident that I've heard!