Thursday, March 10, 2016

Another fifty years, and Elementary will have the whole Canon done.

Lucy Liu has always had sort of a timeless look. Jonny Lee Miller, not so much.

But I'm kind of hoping they're both immortal vampires or Highlanders at this point, so they can complete their adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's sixty Sherlock Holmes stories at the pace CBS is allowing it currently. It could take a while.

Now that Elementary has gotten its version of The Hound of the Baskervilles under its belt, what do we have to look forward to in their future Canon-based exploits, if tonight's episode was any guide to what's to come?

Well, an odd bit of that disjointed thing that suffices for continuity in place of the cozy Baker Street scene with Holmes and Watson.

And then a death scene that culminates in a visual of a recognizable Canonical name after a very low-budget, kinda-sorta Canonical scene.

An immediate drop into a murder investigation with no local speculation, no color, and . . .  oddly for Elementary . . . no police presence, but perhaps a mention of another current-continuity character who doesn't appear.

An American setting that could have been filmed about anywhere, even in Peoria.

And then Watson left alone to work the case because her partner is actually doing something with nothing to do with crime or investigation. (Have to thread that random "continuity" subplot through the main story . . . must be a mandatory CBS thing.)

An almost pathological avoidance of Canon-based dialogue. (For example, "a giant glowing wolf!" The word "hound" seems word-ana non grata.)

A tie to some controversial modern social issue, and then a quick reveal of the maguffin from the original story about fifteen minutes in.

More names from the mind of Conan Doyle than the average episode.

A second currently controversial issue.

A veer into beyond Casebook-era elements of the cheese fantastic, like Professor Presbury.

A third controversial current issue.

And then a totally ridiculous twist that leaves the source material far behind and goes from mystery into sci-fi. Did I say Casebook cheese? Let's try Sherlock Holmes and Dinosaurs turf.

Sherlock Holmes and Dinosaurs without the fun.

Another Canonical name used, with any secrets or guises stripped away.

More of the previous elements, just repeated.

A sudden yo-yo back to the original tale's plot, only with a stand-in for the original villain, as using that same name would just be too obvious. So, similar conclusion, different name. ("Ah-ha! We have you now, Wilford Brimley Roylott!")

As always, with Elementary, it is attaching the names to whatever characters the writers throw in that will be the key.

A little return to the continuity thread that takes the place of the cozy Baker Street scene, another minor character seems to ride off into the sunset where the show won't have to keep him or her on the payroll, and that future Elementary "version" of a Canonical tale will be over, as tonight's was.

If Elementary stays on long enough to adapt the complete Canonical sixty, I really hope they just complete their dipping-a-toe-in-the-water dive into Sherlock Holmes and Dinosaurs territory. They've teased it once before with a robot mosquito, so you know they'd really enjoy just cutting loose and going for it. It might ease the pain of at least one viewer.

While I'll never be one to agree that "all Sherlock is good Sherlock," because, man, can there be some bad Sherlock, I'm totally on board with this statement: "All Sherlock Holmes references are Sherlock Holmes references." And when people actually refer to the original Sherlock Holmes . . . well, they've referred to something I like.

And I look forward to more references to that thing that I like. Even if it hurts now and then.

Side note: In the preview of next week, Mr. Elementary states he got his powers of deduction because "I was bitten by a radioactive detective." Explains a lot!


  1. Does this review mean you failed your forward thinking approach for this month. Not that I don't agree with you, but it was sort of a promise. . . .

    Just sayin'

    1. Still counts as forward thinking, as I'm just thinking ahead to future Canonical adaptations on Elementary. I guess the lesson is that not all forward thinking is happy-future forward thinking!

    2. I believe the quote is "Bad Sherlock is better than no Sherlock" which is not the same as "All Sherlock is good Sherlock". I kinda liked this episode. I was trying to explain to my wife Jennifer the expected plot from the original story during viewing and the screenwriters kept doing interesting twists. I fell for the glowing dog genetic experiment. The robo-dog was like Jaws and not as scary when finally seen. But a whole novel cut into 40 minutes was at least recognizable and we even got the turtle just for you.

    3. Ah, Brad, that is to easy a way out for your promise :)

    4. T'was a resolution, not a promise, and you know how resolutions go . . .

    5. I thought you of sterner stuff;)

    6. I could see where you might think that with all the Elementary I've tolerated, but alas, I am but a mere mortal. :-)