Friday, August 12, 2016

The best Sherlock Holmes adaptation . . . on television . . . at this moment . . . if nothing else is on . . . or . . .

Every now and then, one of my friends likes to point me in the direction of an article on TV's Elementary like the one on Den of Geek today. Its title?

"Elementary: The Sherlock Holmes Adaptation You Should Be Watching"

No, Den of Geek, I shouldn't be watching Elementary. That would be a very bad thing.

From the outset, this article bravely calls out "the wildly popular Sherlock" and attempts to start citing Elementary's superiority . . . even though, for some odd reason, it's just not as "wildly popular."

"If you're not watching this CBS show, then you're missing the best Sherlock Holmes adaptation on television ..." the article's subtitle reads and from that moment forward, it's on . . . .

Claims that the longer seasons means better characterization than Sherlock. Claims that Joan Watson is treated more like an equal and painted more realistically than John of Sherlock. Claims that making Irene Adler turn out to be Moriarty "gives Irene agency and a life outside of the men in her life," as opposed to Sherlock's "lazy" attempt at same by making her a dominatrix.

Lines abound like "The police in Elementary don't feel as worthless as the detectives in Sherlock do. It feels like they could solve some of these crimes on their own and Sherlock and Joan help do it faster."  (Because we all want a Sherlock Holmes adaptation where he's basically unnecessary.)

I really don't think this article is going to convince a Sherlock fan who has never seen Elementary to watch the show objectively after calling Rupert Graves' Lestrade "worthless." That guy totally has worth. Anderson, Donovan . . . nobody on Sherlock feels as worthless as most of so many Elementary characters who can disappear from the show for weeks or months without note or notice.

Even the article's best claim . . . that Elementary's diversity doesn't "feel shoehorned in," written under a picture of the show's rarely-seen Ms. Hudson . . . rings a little hollow. Females take on standard gender roles. A certain race is stereotypically turned to if you want to learn to steal a car. A surface coat of diversity hardly makes up for the show's very conservative guts.

Have you ever read one of those "news" pieces on some channel opposed to your views and watched them outright turn reality on its head just to make a point that all evidence runs contrary to? Then you might have some idea how I reacted in reading this little piece of creative visualization.

But I have to tell you, I agree with the main point of the article. If you have never watched CBS's Elementary, maybe you should. Will you come away thinking, as the article's writer does, that while "Elementary is not the perfect show. The first season is very hit-or-miss until the twelfth episode, and the second season drags a little, but -- overall -- the show is very, very good?" Maybe so. If you can look far enough past something's flaws, it can be very, very . . . even very, very, very . . . good. And may the Baker Street Irregulars bless you if you are such a fine soul.

For me, however, I still feel like I should be watching the next season of Sherlock. Right now. Boy, would that feel better than reading articles from links passed along on Twitter. Soooo much better.

And P.S. -- no, I'm stopping here. Back to happier Sherlockian topics.


  1. Not in the canon of original Conan Doyle novels and stories. Holmes says ‘Elementary!’ and ‘my dear Watson’ at various points, but the idea of putting them together was a later meme, which possibly arose because it neatly conveys Holmes’ effortless superiority to his ‘dear’ friend and foil. The first recorded use of this exact phrase is actually in a P. G. Wodehouse novel of 1915, Psmith, Journalist.

  2. I like you best when 'Elementary' is on.