Wednesday, September 17, 2014

TV Series Review: Elementary (season two)

As readers of this blog already know, back when I started working full time in the spring my watching took a hit and once Agents of SHIELD really picked up I ended up having to put Elementary to the side for a while, even though I had really really enjoyed the first season and this season was just as good. It certainly doesn't help that the only (legal) way I can watch the series online is to do it through CBS's website which only has the last five aired-on-tv episodes and my god the most annoying ads ever. I know some people complain about hulu's ads but here they have four or five commercial breaks and five to seven ads each, all 15-30 seconds long. "So, it's basically just like cable tv then?" Pretty much and it is terrible, please put this show on Netflix streaming so I can recommend it more easily!

Elementary (season two)

Life continues at the brownstone as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson live together and solve crimes both on their own and with the NYPD. Plenty of people come and go from their lives but of particular interest is Sherlock's brother, whom Joan didn't even know he had, contacting them again and the light he can shine on Sherlock's past.

I feel as if there's not much to say about this show that I also said about the first season, it's a very consistent show and while I am still worried that someday the show will start to bore me I'm more than ready for more with the third season this October. So let me reiterate, Elementary is not the story of Sherlock Holmes but of Holmes and Watson, Joan has her own life (and having her life being too closely connected to Sherlock's does cause issues) and sometimes she's the one approached with a case, not him. She doesn't undergo character growth the way Sherlock does since she started out in a much more stable mental place but there are a few times this season when we see her lose her temper that made me realize that she's at her most honest with him but I don't think she's realized it herself yet, clever writing. And the show still does not make it seem as if she and Sherlock will ever hook up, nay-sayers to the contrary, although there is a bit of a romantic subplot towards the end and I didn't quite like how it was handled. Joan has this really great speech on trusting people and that's why, even if she still has feelings for a person, that she just can't allow herself to be with them, she knows that the uncertainty after this previous betrayal would always be in the back of her mind. And then of course she finds out The One Key Detail which changes her feelings and I was simply left rolling my eyes at the screen, I think that's been my biggest complaint of the tv series so far which is frankly astonishing.

I have a bit less to say about Sherlock himself since his most interesting moments came at the very tail end of the show and come close to being spoilers, I will say that the show did a great job at making a subtle hook for the next season and I'm really interested to see how everything plays out (I am also very amused at how willingly he goes along with the demands of "Everyone" whenever he needs them to hack something for him, to quote Joan "can't we find a collective of hackers who accept money as payment?"). I actually wish the show could figure out a way to get Moriarty to come back for another episode or two since they really were an interesting villain and I liked their episode this time around, none of the other criminals really stood out to me. Finally, I don't have much to say on Mycroft either, this iteration just didn't really click with me but I find it fascinating that both this and (BBC) Sherlock have chosen to make Mycroft and Sherlock be at odds with each other. They don't play the idea exactly the same but it's a real departure from the original books or the Granada series where Sherlock and Mycroft are rather jovial towards each other, of course Sherlock in the original series seems to be a bit more restrained in social situations as well, comparing the character writing between all of these series would be a post in and of itself so I shall save the rest of that for a rainy day.

To have a quick word on the appearance of the show, about halfway through the show I paused the show to check something else, came back and thought "wow, this show actually looks really good" and haven't been able to stop thinking about it since. I know that some shows are super contentious of how each and every detail plays into a scene, done to the color scheme, and while Elementary didn't feel that choreographed it was clearly put together by someone who has a great understanding of light and shadows and color schemes, I actually used a screenshot from it to argue why a particular anime I was watching at the same time clearly did not understand these things. I remember also seeing an article during the first season of the show with the costumer for the show talking about each character's style and it made me realize that even if this is a live action show, and that theoretically they don't have to create and plan out each individual detail the same way you have to in animation, an amazing amount of work goes into this. Which should be a "duh" moment for most people but when a show makes you forget this, when you keep thinking that the characters must've just stepped into an area and the cameras started rolling, then you can say that the show is doing an amazing job at holding your suspension of disbelief and those shows should be applauded, it's not as easy as you'd think!

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