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It would be hard to go wrong with Sherlock Holmes as your base story but the writers have captured even more than the original with this series. The 2 main players Sherlock (played exceptionally well by Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (played just as well by Lucy Liu)just add depth to an already interesting story each week. This can be called a bromance, but one of the bros just happens to be a woman. He said that from the very beginning and I think it's really an apt description. There's this idea that a man and a woman can't be together on a show especially without needing to be together sexually or in love or whatever, and this is really about the evolution of a friendship and how that happens. Watching that should be as much the story of this show as the mysteries that you see week in and week out about who killed who. I just know that after 3 episodes I am already addicted. The addition of Aidan Quinn as Captain Tobias Gregson of the New York City Police Department was genius. He genuinely likes Holmes and the two have mutual respect for each other so we get to avoid the good cop bad cop plot lines that many shows that have talented citizens playing at detectives, I love The Mentalist but this show takes the genre to a new level of entertainment.
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on September 4, 2013
The dynamic between Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Joan Watson was a surprise. I was concerned the gender switch of Dr. Watson was being done just for the sake of novelty, but Lucy Liu brings a very good balance to the role. Her take on Dr. Watson blends admiration for Sherlock's talents with repudiation of his lack of tact and regard for others.

This version of Sherlock Holmes is also distinctive from other incarnations beyond simply the change of locale to New York city. Jonny Lee Miller's portrayal of Holmes is fresh and compelling. He manages to bring a quiet intensity to the portrayal while still capturing Holmes' penchant for tantrums. 'Sherlock', the BBC version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective, stars Benedict Cumberbatch (notable for his work in Star Trek: Into Darkness) as a Sherlock Holmes who is, by his own admission, a high functioning sociopath. Miller's Holmes is driven not only by his need to solve puzzles/homicides, but by his desire to see justice served. Miller judiciously lets Holmes facade of confidence and imperiousness slip just enough to give us glimpses of the character's vulnerability. He allows just enough of a peek behind the curtain so we can see the regard he holds for Watson while not devolving into a sentimentality that would rob the character of all credibility. Thank God it was renewed for a 2nd season.
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on October 6, 2012
I am so glad that finally we are moving away from reality TV and back to great scripted television shows like Elementary. For those who love mysteries, this show will be very enjoyable and you won't be able to take your eyes off Johnny Lee Miller--he's that good!
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on April 26, 2013
First of all, may I just say here and now that, apparently if you already watch and enjoy the BBC Sherlock series, you will be inclined to hate this one. I am not entirely sure why, but just to prove my point, look up all the 1 and 2 star reviews of Elementary here and count how many times the BBC show or it's actors are mentioned. Then go to the 5 star reviews and notice the depth of critique and the simultaneous lack of comparison to another show's take on Sherlock Holmes.

Okay. That aside:

This show is exceptional. Not only would it stand alone quite well without Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes ever having been written (which to some insults their ideas and affinities for SACD's work), but also adds societal context, modernity, and depth to Sherlock Holmes (something no one can say is easy, much less executable in such an artistic and subtle way as this series).


First, let us look at trying to place such a genius intellect and deductionist in today's cynical, apathetic, passive, low resolve and high civil retaliation context of modern London. This is where we must put a modern day Holmes, from his infancy up to his (SPOILER ALERT) inevitable heroine addiction. In the early London of Sir Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, there was this resolve, this popular tenacity in London, not to mention a clear cut notion of right and wrong, that permeated it's core culture and drive. A young man with Sherlock Holmes' gifts would have found quite a station and calling as he grew up in the higher learning institutions and accepting fields of forensics, police work, and medicine with their backdrop of solid morality and unwavering credos. He would have undoubtably arisen as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's main man as written. Logic trumps superstition and evil manipulation.
Now let us compare that same intellect, growing up in the morally empty, cynical, awkward avoiding culture of today's London. He, like many who dare to cling to what is right and shun what is wrong, end up shunned themselves; usually living alone with their non-utilized giftings, or moving somewhere where they may be exercised. Sherlock grows up cynical, brash, and arrogant (increasingly popular in London these days as potential and drive is squandered, replaced by entertainment and erased morals/sense of station). In this context, Sherlock Holmes arises as a frustrated genius young man who finds his only shelter lay in his crime foiling deductions and in the arms of a young woman whom he finds he can love-Irene.
SPOILER: Irene is murdred by "M". A serial killer eventually known as Moriarty.
Holmes then turns to Heroine and then loses His other shelter-Scotland Yard.
In the opening episode of ELEMENTARY, Sherlock has moved from London to New York, where he has just begun consulting for the NYPD. He had a destructive addiction to injecting heroine while working for Scotland Yard and was eventually forced to retire. His father now pays for him to live in an apartment called the Brownstone (in New York) where his sober companion, Joan Watson, lives with him in a non romantic professional relationship. Watson and Holmes sharpen each other. Watson keeps Holmes accountable. Holmes begins truing Watson in the art of Deduction.

Elementary's Sherlock Holmes feels out of place and alone in a world where he sees more than anyone else. Appropriate for a man like this in these modern times. A genius in the middle of a new breed of culture that shuns excellence for the comfort of mediocrity, and he knows it. This is revisited many times throughout the first 20 episodes.

This Sherlock Holmes lives a balance of escaping the tensions of this reality through debauchery (Prostitutes) and hyperkinetic medicating through constant activity (learning to pick locks and handcuffs, single stick fighting, watching 6 televisions at once, etc.) and his using his gifts of observation and deduction for good (good being very real and constant for him as so many shows today seem to despise).

This Sherlock is daily confronted with reality, both in the horrors he must do his best to prevent from happening again (Putting murderers out of the public domain), and in his addictive tendencies in dealing with pain. Sherlock does not run from his pain. He instead operates in the other two self destructive ways of handling pain. He shuts off emotionally and he medicates. The writers do an exceptional job in having Holmes respond to pain like a normal, albeit a genius of dynamic proportions, human being and Watson is the perfect counterpart to His medicating and shutting off emotionally. She keeps him focused on the only healing way to deal with pain. Feel it.

Aside from these things, Elementary also stands as one of the best "whodunnit" shows ever. The crimes are complex, the clues are given in a way as to have your own deductionist skills sharpened, and the plot twists are more often than not unexpected.


1) Great writing.
2) Great characters that can be related to.
3) Great job articulating a modern Sherlock.
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on May 3, 2013
A very original series, fun and the crime solving is top notch, Sherlock (Johnny Lee Miller) is brilliant and his counter part Miss Watson (Lucy Lui)is a wonderful change to the original male character Dr. Watson. A great twist on an old story. Definitely a Keeper....A Class Act.....
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on December 5, 2012
Well written, excellent acting, and an amusing premise. It's certainly no depiction of real life, but as entertainment it is as engaging as it gets. The charactor of Holmes is an interesting take on the stories by the author Conan Doyle and a delight to watch in action. Watson is well acted, as only Miss Liu is capable of doing, with an acid touch to the relationship between these two which lends spice to an old format. Set in the present in New York city the stories, thus far, have been original in their settings and themes. Aitogether a very watchable show that should catch and hold the public's attention for many seasons to come.
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on June 5, 2013
There are three takes on Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes" franchise in the media today: Robert Downey Jr.'s ongoing Warner Brothers "traditional" portrayal; Benedict Cumberbatch's updated portrayal with Martin Freeman as Watson on the BBC, and this one, Jonny Lee Miller with Lucy Liu as an interesting twist on the Watson side-kick. Each has it's own strengths and exploration of twists in the plot driven by the "alternative universe" of characters.

Of the three, however, "Elementary" stands apart in the most distinct and exciting ways. It bends the "Holmes" saga in a truly new direction, not only substituting a woman for Watson, or America for England, but expanding the stories into new and thoroughly modern cases in a more "realistic" police environment. The role of Watson becomes more transparent; amazingly, because Liu as Watson comes from a completely different direction than the previous incarnations. The ancillary details that Doyle carefully skipped in his stories: dinner at Holmes home, the banter around the house, the more detailed interaction of Holmes and his "companion" becomes more central to the story, and explains much about the relationship that we've KNOWN was there before, but is openly displayed in "Elementary". This alone would make the show outstanding as a "companion" to any of the other Holmes arcs...but combined with the ingenious plots and superb characterization, and adding in the "dark" side of Holmes that we glimpsed only once before (in the 1980's film "The Seven Percent Solution"), we have a richer tapestry of the character than ever before.
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on December 20, 2012
I should preface this review by stating that I am a Sherlock fan. I've read a couple and I've seen all of them (save a few silent films). From Jeremy Brett (stellar) to Robert Stevens (ick) to Benedict Cumberbatch (solid...very). This show has some fun with the Sherlock model, casting a female as Watson who is, true to form, an actual doctor --though minus the war scars. She coaches (or attempts to) Sherlock on social skills as he struggles with addiction, also paying homage to the original. The pair are fun to watch as Sherlock slowly insinuates himself into every part of Watson's life, and drags her from one grizzly crime scene to another.

They haven't gone anywhere. The overarching story seems secondary to the CSI -like formulaic crime drama. The cases became old hat and standardized by the end of the season, and Sherlock's "brilliant" deductions are often lackluster. This Sherlock doesn't really seem as much the genius as I'd say he should. He comes across as a bit of a savant--good at picking puzzles apart, and with a flare for snooping. And, thus far, the story has gone nowhere. There are no villains left standing, no one who truly challenges Sherlock, and there is no actual plot that ties one episode to another aside from a blah-blah-blah-I'm-an-addict schtick. At the end of each episode they give you a grey's anatomy song and get nice and sentimental about themselves. It's as predictable as much of the dialog between an exasperated Watson and an overbearing Sherlock becomes.

Overall, this show could, possibly, grow into a story and a show that has depth and range and something with a meatier entertainment value, but it's not there yet. In fact, I was getting pretty bored by the end, and one of my roommates swore it off at the second to last episode (saying he couldn't keep watching the same story over and over). That said, I did watch the entire season...the actors were well played and I'm, well, a glutton for Sherlock.
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on June 26, 2013
There are plenty of positives with this program. Johnny Lee Miller delivers a brilliant incarnation of the famed Sherlock Holmes. Egotistical yet flawed, its impossible not to love this characters razor sharp whit paired with confident, sound deductive reasoning and observational prowess. He's a genius and he'll let you know it. My only concern is, put it bluntly, is it too smart for the television viewing masses? I hope not. This show is a bright spot in an otherwise dismal network television landscape. The cable networks have overtaken the ratings and viewers. This show deserves its place among these highly rated shows (we all know what they are) and should stand tall as an exceptionally smart, funny, and thoroughly entertaining program. Sherlock has never been so cool!
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on September 3, 2013
As a fan of the BBC version of the updated Sherlock Holmes, I was very pleasantly surprised by the "American" version of the same character (s). Clearly the writers put a different twist on the famous duo, but it works well. The appeal is in the character of Sherlock himself. He is a fictional personality, and given that he knows a myriad of facts, is not just well-read, but virtually is a "super" intellect and truly fascinating. His egocentricity and slightly narcissistic qualities make him endearing if not annoying. Joan Watson manages him well with maturity and compassion. They have overall done a splendid job of providing stimulating and fascinating stories and the human element is handled delicately and kindly. Well done!
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