Sunday, May 26, 2013

TV Series Review: Elementary

I have to admit, I'm really curious what must have been in the water a few years back when writers suddenly started going "you know what we haven't had in a while? SHERLOCK HOLMES STORIES, we should make some!" I suspect that stuff like this is actually part of a cycle, which would also explain weird coincidences like having multiple films in one year based on a certain fairy tale that hasn't been on the silver screen in a number of years, although that didn't make me any less leary when it was announced that there was going to be another tv show based off of Sherlock Holmes, set in the US, and they were making Watson female ("oh great, romance ahoooooy!"). I did change my feelings a tiny bit when I heard that an Asian-American actress had been cast as Joan Watson, the fact that a show was willing to give a non-white actor a leading role gave me some hope that they actually knew what they were doing, and then the first episode leaked and tumblr adored it. Well, not some of the Sherlock fans, but a lot of people did and that sealed the deal, I was going to give this a chance after all and pray that it turned out amazing.


Summary: Joan Watson is a sober companion in NYC who helps recovering addicts transistion back into everyday life and her latest client is a British man who is recovering from a heroin addiction, Sherlock Holmes. He's less than thrilled about having a sober companion especially since he's already come up with his own plan for how to transition back into everyday life and stay focused, by working as a consulting detective for the NYPD which means that Joan needs to tag along and in the process discovers that she has a talent for noticing the details and fitting them into the larger puzzle as well.

The Good: Well to cut to the chase, I loved this show. It completely avoided the biggest thing I was worried about, changing Watson to a woman in order to have a romance with Holmes, entirely and instead we got a really good series with a mixed gender leading couple that weren't a couple at all, I liked that! Plus it had a fairy diverse cast of returning characters AND even though things such as prostitution came up several times none of the characters ever made "prostitution is WRONG" comments, the characters just dealt with the cases making it one of the least problematic things I've seen in a long time. The show also managed to have a small overarching story that set everything in motion and ended the story but at the heart of the story it was about Sherlock and Joan and how the two of them grow which was pretty amazing. This is one of the most human versions of Sherlock I've seen, even if he makes a lot of misteps by the end he's apologizing when he realizes, or has it pointed out to him, what he's done wrong and from the first episode Joan is not afraid to call him out on it. Also, I think this is the first time I've seen a Sherlock Holmes story where Watson goes beyond being the audience's point of view character and rises to become a detective themselves, something that amazes me because it's so obvious in retrospect. It was a rather pleasant surprise to see that this series wasn't just about Sherlock getting over his addiction and becoming a better person at the same time but that it was also about Joan moving farther away from her own past and finding something she really took pleasure in.

The Bad: I am a little worried about what the series will do next, if it had ended her I think it would have had a perfectly fine ending and as such I wonder how they'll make the characters continue to change. I saw a snippet of an interview, I think with Lucy Lui (Joan) who said that they were trying/hoping to do more multi-parters in the second season which would be a great idea but I'm also worried that now that the show has proven to be successful more people will try to meddle with it (since I'm told that's what happens with successful shows, everyone wants a finger in the pie and then too many cooks ruin a good stew after all). But, even after being burned by Once Upon A Time's second season I'm going to remain optimistic that the show will continue to be as good and won't simply cover the same ideas over again.

The Audio/Visuals: This being a series that is a procedural crime drama in current day NYC means that there wasn't a lot that could go wrong with the look or sound of this show so I had no problems there. Although again, the show is so contemporary that as long as nothing looked like something I could never, ever theoretically see in the US I wasn't going to have a problem and nothing came even close to that.

So, giving this 4 out of 5 stars and heck yes I'm watching the second season. Unfortunately it's only sort of streaming online, much like certain deals on hulu, CBS only streams the last four episodes (to air) on their site (and none on hulu at all) so at this point I would recommend that people sit tight and hope that it shows up on Netflix soon. Heck, as soon as it does I am shoving several people I know to that page and having them watch it immediately, fingers crossed that this happens sooner rather than later.

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