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Elementary… First Thoughts

It’s probably unjust of me to do a review of ‘Elementary’ when there’s only been the pilot episode. It’s probably even more unjust of me to compare it to ‘Sherlock’, and more specifically, Benedict Cumberbatch’s brilliant portrayal of Holmes. The two, despite featuring the same protagonists, are meant to be different. One is the US’s interpretation of Doyle’s character, the other, obviously, is the British. It’s this fact that I’m trying to hold onto.

I am a tad bias – ‘Sherlock’ is one of my all-time favourite shows, and both Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are 2 of my most-loved actors. I *did* try to put this aside when watching ‘Elementary’. & in doing so, you know what? It was actually good.

BUT. Yes, there’s a big but. He’s not Sherlock.

Johnny Lee Miller acted very well. He was erratic, intelligent and obscure. That is, however where the similarities with Sherlock end. The thing that stood out most to me was that you could change the names of ‘Holmes’ and ‘Watson’ to ‘Smith’ and ‘Jones’ and you’d think no different. Nothing would change. What makes the British version so endearing and exciting (yes, I’m comparing!) was the sheer charm the programme emitted. The story-lines were so detailed and cleverly written that when Sherlock later revealed how he deduced a part of the mystery, you were left instantly amazed and in awe of him. I didn’t get that with ‘Elementary’ unfortunately.
Johnny Lee Miller’s Sherlock revealed what he saw as the camera showed you. On one hand, the audience might like to see and appreciate Holmes’ way of thinking. But the whole appeal lies in NOT understanding. You’re left on the edge of your seat, racking your brains trying to follow and comprehend how this man has come to these conclusions. Coming to the end of the episode having desperately followed his genius is one of the highlights of the feature and to lose that is to take away a key element in my mind.

now obviously, in ‘Elementary’, Watson is a lady. A bold move, one I actually found I really liked. She, (Lucy Liu), was my favourite part of the whole programme. In a strange sort of ‘twist’, it was she, who nearing the end of the episode, realised all was not what they thought and essentially cracked the case. (I’ve left out key details so as not to ruin the story!). As much as I loved this unexpected turn, it again takes away from the unique gifts Holmes possesses. I know Watson isn’t just for ‘show’, of course. He (or in this case, she), helps to keep Sherlock’s feet on the ground. They’re his companion, his link to normality and what’s right and wrong.

I won’t say much more on it now (despite having more), as I have only seen the FIRST episode. I will definitely watch again to see how the characters develop and who knows, maybe my opinion might change! However, for now, my deep love for the character of Sherlock Holmes remains with the British series. Let me know what you thought!

Night, you beasts! x

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