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Sherlock vs Elementary

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In reply to an earlier post on Oct 8, 2014 11:54:05 AM PDT
TIM says:
Yes I think I'd enjoy it better with Lucy in the lead. But I also thought John Candy would have been better as the lead in Splash and I definitely could see Tom Hanks as the sleazy brother.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 6, 2014 8:57:29 AM PDT
Hikari says:
Do you mean to say you want Lucy Liu to be Sherlock and Jonny Lee Miller to be Watson?

Well, casting a female Sherlock would be certainly out-of-the-box thinking and even more controversial than making Watson a female. Jonny Lee Miller could play as required, being a classically-trained and well-rounded professional actor. Lucy Liu is more problematic for me because in my humble opinion, her slight talents can barely accommodate this underwritten part of Joan Watson, never mind carrying the show as the lead character.

Lucy has her fans, I know. I will go out on a limb and say that 97.8% of those fans are male. Ironically, she and Miller both are much more loosey-goosey, smiley and relaxed when goofing around on-set than either of them appear in character. In character, at times their scenes together feel as though both are enduring some intrusive, uncomfortable dental work and wish they could be elsewhere. They get on in real life and both know how to smile and laugh so that's a bit of relief. Because they both often look completely miserable together in the show.

Sherlock makes many references to how very extraordinary Watson is . . . this I completely fail to see. What's so extraordinary about her? After being inept enough as a doctor that she killed a patient and then quit rather than learn from her mistakes, she makes a living (and very well too) by attaching herself to addicts with money as their live-in help. In Sherlock's case, the addiction is under control but Watson has never gone away, continuing to live rent-free in a gorgeous house in the most expensive metro area in the country. She has a grating voice and the personality of a dishrag. Confuses emoting with squinting a lot, and looking 'worried'. The most extraordinary thing about her is how she manages to produce a never-ending parade of new wardrobe, with 6-8 different complete changes of outfit, coat, hat, scarf and handbag in every episode, including an extensive wardrobe of loungewear . . out of a closet that looks only slightly bigger than a standard-issue toilet cubicle.

Female Sherlock types are out there: Temperance Brennan aka Bones could be considered as one. Brenda Leigh Johnson of 'The Closer' had definite tendencies. As does Lisbeth Salander. Do I think Lucy Liu could pull it off? No, I don't.

I have often thought, and continue to think so, that Jonny Lee might have made an interesting addition to his friend Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock show in some capacity. Watson and Moriarty are already taken, and I wouldn't dream of replacing them at this stage. But before I ever heard of Andrew Scott, I would have said that Jonny would have made a crackerjack Moriarty. He's got those crazy eyes.

Posted on Oct 5, 2014 6:02:03 PM PDT
TIM says:
Am I the only one who thinks Elementary would have been better had they switched the parts the 2 lead actors play?

Posted on Oct 2, 2014 2:38:53 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 5, 2014 11:03:15 AM PDT
Hikari says:
So here I am, resurrecting this thread from over a year ago . . . "Elementary" is on my radar again.

I have a few days off work this week, and just before I left, I found the new season of "Elementary" on the new releases shelf. Despite my well-documented disappointment elsewhere about Season 1, I snatched this up. I have time to see it, for one. For two, and the main reason was to see Rhys Ifans as "Mycroft". Mr. Ifans appears in the season opener as our duo of Sherlock and Watson go to London to assist Inspector Lestrade out of a jam. Mycroft, a chef who has parlayed his love of cookery into a string of successful restaurants, has moved into 221B Baker Street in Sherlock's absence and claims to have burned all of Sherlock's stuff. Sherlock is not happy. Only addresses his elder brother as "Fatty". Mycroft is not fat now.

It was a bit unsettling to see the CBS pair in London, walking the haunts of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman . . .I almost expected to see the BBC pair turn up as background. We do know how Ben loves to photobomb people. :)

I am happy to report that Mr. Ifans' 'Special Guest Star' status continues throughout this season. I'm on episode 12, and he's turned up several times.

The sets of the show are pretty fantastic, portraying an affluent-boho Manhattan/Brooklyn . . where you too can live in shabby-chic splendor if you have enough money. Some of the crimes have turned out to be quite interesting; Aidan Quinn (underutilized, in my opinion) remains compellingly authoritative (and handsome) as Capt. Thomas Gregson, Sherlock's NYPD contact. Sherlock and Watson's dodgy (illegal) methodology will put their consulting status in jeopardy, as well as the life and career of Det. Marcus Bell, the officer usually tasked with working closely with the dynamic duo.

Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock often gets dense, but impactful little snippets of dialogue that he delivers at a rapid clip which summarize Sherlock's singular world view in a nutshell. A sample: "Romantic love is a delusion; a pathetic dodge to avoid the terror of our singularity."

Chaming, as ever. Sherlock is sober now, and Joan is no longer his 'sobriety coach' but his consulting partner in the detective biz. She has also signed up for an Internet dating site, which Sherlock mocks with tedious regularity. Now that he is completely drug-free, he's even more of a pill than he was when he was still tempted to get high. I'd say the main problem of this partnership, beyond the breathtaking liberties they have taken with the canon is what I see as a complete lack of chemistry or bond of any sort, other than needling, between Sherlock and Watson. This pair is completely and utterly humorless with one another and themselves. I can count the smiles evidenced by either of them on one hand--and I'm halfway into the second season. This is a very glum business. There is no sparkle and no evident reason, beyond the demands of the script, why these two people would saddle themselves with each other. A few chuckles wouldn't go amiss either, from my point of view . . some light comedy once in a while, domestic or otherwise, to show how the comfort level and relationship between our detectives has grown over the 18 months of their association. I don't really get the sense of this. What are Sherlock and Watson if they do not share the cameradie of a mutual goal? These two are living separate lives under one roof and seem to retreat to their respective corners unless they are out together on a case. Lucy Liu changes outfits a lot. She's got dozens of printed gauzy little shift dresses and layered t-shirts that, while all different, create the effect of essentially being Watson's uniform. The costume designer has made the decision that all of Jonny Lee Miller's clothing should be closely tailored--a size too small, in fact. Sherlock looks perpetually uncomfortable with his too-small clothing and his shirts buttoned up to his neck. The intent is obviously to copy Benedict Cumberbatch's signature close-fitted shirts on the BBC show, but whereas his Sherlock looks good that way, as though he has intentionally kept a tailor on retainer . . .Jonny Lee's Sherlock looks like he gets his clothes down at Goodwill and doesn't bother to check the sizes.

Spoilers to follow!
At the end of last season (apparently, didn't see it), the love of Sherlock's life, the one and only, the woman he believed to be dead, and the reason he took up grief-stricken heroin addiction, Irene Adler . . . was revealed to be alive. And also . . Moriarty (Jamie). Moriarty/Adler is played by Natalie Dormer who certainly keeps herself busy--she was 'Marjorie Tyrell' on Game of Thrones, but I guess Marjorie was killed, freeing her up to appear here.

Not content to give us a female Watson, they had to make Moriarty a chick, too. Also Mycroft is in cahoots with some mystery voice on the phone to bring Sherlock down. Maybe? Who knows?

As ridiculous as it is, I feel a strange compulsion to finish these. There are occasional nuggets and flashes of potential here, but it's largely potential squandered from where I'm sitting. Certainly an insult to the Sherlock mystique that has been the property of the world for over 100 years. I pity the fool(s) who are so deprived as to think that *this* is "Sherlock Holmes".

P.S. to add:

It may be d@mning with faint praise, but S2 of "Elementary" is an improvement over the first. Must be, since I couldn't get through more than half of S1 and I have reached the finale episode of S2 with some small regret that there isn't more, at least til next year's release of S3.

This season is helped immeasurably by two factors:

1. The addition of Rhys Ifans to the cast in the recurring Special Guest Star role of Mycroft Holmes. This Mycroft is a very slippery character--it takes a good long while but they do introduce M.'s traditional tie to Her Majesty's Secret Service in a roundabout way, after much misdirection.

This Mycroft also has sex with Watson . . . an issue never raised in any prior versions. But then neither has Mycroft been portrayed before by a rangy blond Welshman with such a distinctive persona which manages to be vaguely repellant while being quite seductive at the same time. Ifans is a good choice for an ambiguous, potentially morally-compromised Mycroft, because he is a specialist at these kind of dark, vaguely (or outright) creepy fringe characters. The plausibility of our Watson, a tiny, self-possessed Asian doctor falling instantaneously into bed with this Mycroft on their first date will depend on the viewer's own perspective, I suppose. Sherlock was definitely not pleased about it.

2. It seems to me that the role of Captain Thomas Gregson of the NYPD (Aidan Quinn) has been expanded quite a bit from last season, and that is a welcome thing from here. In one episode, the focus shifts to Gregson, who becomes the target of a killer who invades his home and threatens his estranged wife.

Does "Elementary" ever feel authentic to the mythos of Sherlock Holmes, updated to a contemporary New York? From my perspective, no. Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu answer to the character names of "Sherlock Holmes" and "Watson", but they don't inhabit those characters as such. The only way to make peace with this show for the hardcore Sherlock Holmes devotee, whether on the BBC or in print is to view this Holmes and Watson as a pair of modern eccentrics who just happen to share famous literary last names, and who inhabit a mutually beneficial partnership and domicile, and occastionally assist the NYPD with baffling murders. But this has nothing to do with Conan Doyle's Sherlock . . even if they do have a housekeeper named Hudson and 'Sherlock' keeps beehives on the roof of his Brooklyn brownstone. This pair could just as well be called "CSI: NY: A Deux".

There is evidence that at least a few of the writers are well-read and have an impish sense of humor. Jonny Lee Miller occasionally gets some Holmes-worthy dialogue. In reference to his absent, contentious father, Holmes, Sr., Sherlock calls him a "Lovecraftian horror". Unfortunately, the scripts only rarely and briefly rise to this level of wit. For the majority of run time, "Elementary" is a run-of-the-mill contemporary police procedural that blend some of the grislier aspects of certain peers in the genre with a self-conscious attempt to be profound by sprinkling random bits of Conan Doyle's creation in willy-nilly. Lucy Liu's Watson does very little other than change clothes and look fetching in various coats and hats on the streets of New York. It's pretty mediocre run-of-the-mill series TV, though the production visuals are nice. Jonny Lee Miller has the requisite jumped-up demeanor and rapid-fire delivery down pat . . .he's got nice eyes, which are his best feature. In contrast to all the other Sherlocks I have known, I do not find him particularly attractive or magnetic. Peevish, definitely. But Capt. Gregson is definitely dishy.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2013 6:47:13 AM PDT
Hikari says:
Hi, contant reader,

Based on the sadistically brief teaser clip for Season 3 that was posted recently, these are things that are in store for Dr. Watson, though what's in store for Sherlock remains hazy:

1. A mustache. Ye gods--I hope they let Martin shave that off after Sherlock gets back. It's really not a good look. He was deranged by grief and I have no other explanation for this burst of Victorian sensibility into our very modern tale.

2. A wife . . .or at least a fiancée. Mary Morstan appears, played by Amanda Abbington, who is Martin Freeman's real-life partner and the mother of his children. Ms. Abbington realized that between his career and her career (she was also in "Case Histories", the second set of which aired this summer at home, and "Mr. Selfridge"), the only way the couple could spend any time together was if they were on the same set!

As for Sherlock, who knows? We shall be waiting for an explanation of his 'Death' and resurrection . . .and a healthy punch in the face (or a couple) from the good doctor as payment for putting him through three years of hell would not go amiss. :p

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2013 5:10:58 AM PDT
To each his own, I guess.

Posted on Aug 22, 2013 7:12:43 PM PDT
I like cheesy, too. But there is a difference between cheesy and mindlessly boring and inept. Honest--John Carter is quite the worst film I have sen in some time. Particularly if you have read the original.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 22, 2013 6:54:42 PM PDT
Mr Smith- Maybe I like ridiculously cheesy movies like John Carter. I've never thought about it like that. Hmm...

How can anyone not be surprised by Sherlock? In a good way I mean. Not like the way the movies surprised people.

Posted on Aug 22, 2013 6:16:23 PM PDT
constant: Well, I got through 30 minutes, and the flesh could endure no more.

Bully for you if you could take it. Our standards are clearly different.

For Sherlock season 3--well, first we have to have the resurrection--the updating of The Adventure Of The Empty House. Beyond that, I have no idea,and I look forward to being surprised.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 22, 2013 3:22:08 PM PDT
John Carter is a great movie if you can get past the first ten to twenty minutes.

What do you think is in store for Sherlock season 3?

Posted on Aug 22, 2013 1:17:48 PM PDT
Cavaradossi says:
Funny thing about Elementary - I recorded the whole first season, but stopped watching mid way through. Moreover, I can detect no desire within myself to catch up or watch the new season. How big a fan am I?

Posted on Aug 22, 2013 1:08:54 PM PDT
Hikari says:
From 2 clever film students in New Zealand, a Sherlock parody:

"The Consultant"--starring Laurie and Jakob

Watch it. I bet it's more clever than an episode of "Elementary".

Posted on Aug 22, 2013 9:47:53 AM PDT
H: One has to be somewhat charitable about the flops, and give them a chance. Ishtar isn't nearly as bad as its reputation. There are some who find a lot of virtue in Heaven's Gate. That's why I gave John Carter a try.

It does demonstrate one principle--no filmmaker, however hot, should have absolutely free reins. von Stroheim proved that with Greed and Queen Kelly. John Wayne proved with The Conquerer (which is, at least, amusing in full Bad Movie mode.) Heaven's Gate torpedoed the studio. Stanton had never directed anything except animation. No one at the studio was monitoring the enormous number of retakes he was making--nor, apparently, looking at the rushes, or the CGI work as it progressed. (Or, I daresay, read the script.) They would have been better off firing him part of the way through principal photography and sending the project back to development. I honestly don't think I do justice to just how very dull the film is. Contrary to what some might believe, there are very few films that I do not finished watching. When a film running somewhat over two hours hasn't really started 30 minutes in, there is a big problem.

Well, even the most bankable actor has an occasional flop. Sounds like the problem isn't Ford, but a God-awful script that never should have been filmed. I don't think it will damage Mr. Ford in the least. Or Mr. Oldman. Or even Mr. Hemsworth.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 22, 2013 9:18:56 AM PDT
Hikari says:
I saw your review of John Carter. Rather confirmed my opinion of the likelihood of me ever sitting through this movie: ie., never. I was not drawn to it even before word of its odious miasma reached me.

An extremely expensive mistake for Disney. What were they thinking? Then they go and compound that with "The Lone Ranger" . . are they trying to bankrupt themselves?

Of course, I read today that "Paranoia", the new thriller with Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman is a certified flop, with the worst opening of 2013. With two leads of the wattage of these guys, that was unexpected. It cost a fraction of "John Carter" to make, but that's gotta be rough news for H. and G. Harrison is (gasp) is near 70 years old and really hasn't experienced a flop of this magnitude in his career. Flop of the year, opening-wise? Ouch, for a guy nearing his retirement years--not the way for Indiana Jones to go out.

Gary can still rebound. Wonder if they swapped reminiscences of 'Air Force One' days. One of Oldman's very few hammy performances in his career.

Posted on Aug 22, 2013 9:03:44 AM PDT
H: Do not discount the impact of reviews coming from those employed by the producers.

That is the only possible explanation for some of the 10 stars reviews of John Carter on IMDB.

Posted on Aug 22, 2013 8:35:00 AM PDT
Hikari says:
Season 1 of "Elementary" releases on Tuesday.

I really couldn't find a single negative review over on the product pages for this series--all positively fawning.

I deduce that no one writing one of those has seen BBC 'Sherlock', or possibly read any Conan Doyle.

TAS is the exception, but he hasn't posted a review.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 25, 2013 6:20:05 PM PDT
G. Garner says:
I can understand modest changes to the tone or pace, because I know they all want to show a profit. But as you say, these recent motion pictures seem to be pretty much Holmes in name only.

I think part of the magic of the original tales is that they center around a cold,hard, rational man.....but they are narrated by Watson, who is much warmer, more emotional.....and much more human. Thus, you have access to the great deductive reasoning, yet feel as if you have the warm, loyal guy along for the ride, too.

Plus, since Holmes WAS usually so undemonstrative, when he DID show some emotion, it kind of let the reader know that something major was transpiring.

In The Three Garridebs, for instance, and his panic over seeing Watson very nearly killed......or in The Veiled Lodger, and the compassion he shows for the horribly mangled woman......The fact the he never showed much made it all the more moving when he finally did reveal some humanity.

Posted on Jul 25, 2013 11:22:28 AM PDT
Hikari says:
Would you like to be married by Sherlock Holmes? Now you can! (Doctor Watson is not included, but you might be able to make arrangements with him directly to serve as groomsman, usher, or ring-bearer).

Benedict Cumberbatch took an Internet course and now is an ordained minister. He did this in response to the request of some friends who want him to perform their wedding ceremony.

No word on whether he's also available for christenings, First Communions or marriage counseling.

Seriously. As if he's not busy enough!!

Posted on Jul 25, 2013 11:00:51 AM PDT
klopas says:
There's something about Elementary that just rubs me the wrong way, and I'm not canon purist. Love the BBC series though, having watched those six episodes more than a handful of times over.

Posted on Jul 25, 2013 10:45:12 AM PDT
H: As I have elsewhere noted, the Rupert Everett isn't bad, although it's got some serious flaws in the plot department.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 25, 2013 10:44:13 AM PDT
GG: The Downey films have almost nothing to do with Canonical Holmes.

When I evaluate versions of Holmes on screen, my first test is fidelity to the original text. Then to the physical appearance--where the standard has to be the original illustrations by Sidney Paget.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 25, 2013 6:51:48 AM PDT
Hikari says:
G. Garner--
I agree with you about the Guy Ritchie Downey-Law Sherlock movies. Watched the first; the second looked so bad just based on promos that I didn't bother. You are right about what goes far wrong with those. Law makes for a fetching Doc Watson, but RDJ, god love him, is ridiculous as Holmes. But RDJ isn't even the main fatal flaw--it's the turning Sherlock into an action hero, all running and explosions.

Our BBC pair is somewhat more athletic than the Victorian conception, perhaps, but I think the spirit is true, even if the particulars of Sherlock's environment are different. As Mr. Smith said, it's audacious--and it works, largely because the writers, unlike the Elementary team, know their Conan Doyle.

Sherlock is an enigma and a singular character, so it stands to reason that he should elude being *completely* captured by a single 'ordinary' human representation. Rupert Everett gives him a go, with not unpleasing results in "The Case of the Silk Stocking"--seen that one?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 24, 2013 6:56:40 PM PDT
G. Garner says:
I have had the same experience time and again. (for instance, with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which I have always loved). When I have read something, I have my own notions of what it should be like. Thus, the odds are always long of coming across someone else's version that will correspond to my own.

For instance, I felt Peter Cushing was reasonable as Holmes.....but his physical personna just didn't match what I had always envisioned. Too short, if nothing else. I have seen a number of actors try-including some, such as Christopher Plummer, that I liked-but no portrayal of Holmes has ever satisfied me.

These recent Holmes films have been every bit as absurd as I'd expected. They seem to have wished to make him into a 19th century version of James Bond rather than Sherlock Holmes. But, for a mass audience, I guess they felt they had to keep things moving along at a fast pace in order to show any profit.

Posted on Jul 22, 2013 7:55:40 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 25, 2013 10:42:32 AM PDT
G. Garner: You are even most extreme that I am.

Some of the Rathbone films, and some of the Jeremy Brett series, do quite a good job with the Canonical Holmes. (Watson is another story. The only Watson I've found--speaking here Canonically--that is almost fully satisfying is David Burke in the early adaptations in the Brett series.)

The BBC Sherlock is an audacious reimagining of the original that works far better than, frankly, I expected. But it's no substitute. I can't say that I have much patience with those who go on about the adaptations without ever having read the originals.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 21, 2013 8:14:13 PM PDT
G. Garner says:
No tv series-or feature film-has EVER done justice to Sherlock Holmes. None have even come close.

I don't know why they bother. The Victorian sensibility of the original Holmes may appeal to a handful of literate, quality people......but will hardly work with the masses, the kind of people who watch shows about crippled midgets and hillbillies hauling rotting logs out of rivers, etc.

Holmes and Watson are for those who love the books. They are remembered over a hundred years later because of those tales, certainly not because of any tacky contemporary tv series.
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Initial post:  Nov 23, 2012
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