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Elementary – An American take on Sherlock Holmes | TV Series Review

Although Sherlock Holmes considered his powers of deduction perfectly natural and to someone of his intellectual stature elementary, he remains one of the most enigmatic and appealing fictional characters ever since he was created. The stories of Sherlock Holmes and Watson have appealed a few generations and there have been countless adaptations in various forms of art including drama, radio, motion pictures and television. In a last couple of years, two contemporary TV series have gained attraction of media and general public. Both shows present a modernistic adaptation of Sherlock and Watson. These are the British show “Sherlock” and the American show “Elementary“. Although there were plenty of speculations around the content and copyrights for these shows, both series have been successful and critically acclaimed, and have now run beyond one season. Let’s talk about the “Elementary” here.

Created by Robert Doherty and produced by CBS, “Elementary” features the Sherlock Holmes who has moved to Manhattan. While the books give only a glimpse of an intelligent detective, the modern adaptations including the movies starring Robert Downey Jr. have tried to highlight many a different shades in this intriguing character. Here, he is a recovering drug addict who needs a keeper. His wealthy father pays ex-surgeon Dr. Joan Watson to become his sober companion. A brilliant doctor, Joan is trying to come to terms with losing a patient and considers this an opportunity to help people. She is methodical, intelligent and thorough.

TV Serial : Elementary
Executive Producers : Robert Doherty, Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly, John Coles
Producer : Alysse Bezahler
Editor :
Cinematography :
Based on : Characters by Sir
Purchase Link(s) : Season One @ Amazon.com

Sherlock starts to provide help to New York Police Department in solving crime cases. He is eccentric, but his extraordinary interests and observation powers prove to be a great help and slowly the police detectives start relying on him. Although Watson has no such background, while she is helping Sherlock they discover that she has a knack for investigation. She also develops a caring streak for Sherlock and when her employment term expires, she lies to Sherlock that his father is still paying her. She stays on and Sherlock later takes her on as a detective apprentice. “Elementary” follows their journey as they develop the personal bond of friendship while going through the exciting adventures.

The supporting characters comprise of Sherlock’s brother Mycroft, who later becomes Joan’s very good friend, detective Bell and Captain Gregson. But, Sherlock’s nemesis and the chief protagonist Moriarty is given a twist and she also appears as his former girlfriend Irene, who faked her own death. These two keep facing each other time and again.

Here is the list of some of the actors who appeared almost throughout.

Actor Character
Jonny Lee Miller
Sherlock Holmes
Lucy Liu
Dr. Joan Watson
Aidan Quinn
Captain Thomas “Tommy” Gregson
Jon Michael Hill
Detective First Grade Marcus Bell
Ato Essandoh
Alfredo Llamosa
Rhys Ifans
Mycroft Holmes
Natalie Dormer
Irene Adler/Jamie Moriarty
Sean Pertwee
Gareth Lestrade
Candis Cayne
Ms Hudson

The series is a delightful watch because it is light, contemporary and the actors display a wonderful chemistry. Watson being a girl was discussed widely in the media but this is not the first time. In 1987, CBS made a television movie called ‘The Return of Sherlock Holmes’, wherein his alter ego was a Jane Watson. In the current “Elementary” Jonny Lee Miller plays Sherlock and Lucy Liu plays Joan Watson. Jonny Lee Miller has been loudly applauded for his portrayal of the modern, eccentric Sherlock and rightly so. He is captivating on the screen and Lucy Liu matches him in all respects. The show proves that if rightly done, a modern adaptation can renew the appeal of classic characters. The supporting cast is equally well chosen and it is the script and the performance of these actors that make this series different than hundreds of crime and detective dramas aired everyday.

In addition to being a commercial success, the show also won number of media awards. It has successfully aired in United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and United Kingdom. We’ll be talking about some of its interesting episodes in the next few months.

Here are the season-wise episode details:

Season 1
Title Director Writer Aired on (in US)
Michael Cuesta
September 27, 2012
While You Were Sleeping
John David Coles
October 4, 2012
Child Predator
Rod Holcomb
October 18, 2012
The Rat Race
Rosemary Rodriguez
October 25, 2012
Lesser Evils
Colin Bucksey
November 1, 2012
Flight Risk
David Platt
November 8, 2012
One Way to Get Off
Seith Mann
November 15, 2012
The Long Fuse
Andrew Bernstein
November 29, 2012
You Do It to Yourself
Phil Abraham
December 6, 2012
The Leviathan
Peter Werner
December 13, 2012
Dirty Laundry
John David Coles
January 03, 2013
John Polson
January 10, 2013
The Red Team
Christine Moore
January 31, 2013
The Deductionist
John Polson
February 03, 2013
A Giant Gun, Filled with Drugs
Guy Ferland
February 07, 2013
Sanaa Hamri
February 14, 2013
Possibility Two
Seith Mann
February 21, 2013
Déjà Vu All Over Again
Jerry Levine
March 14, 2013
Snow Angels
Andrew Bernstein
April 04, 2013
Dead Man’s Switch
Larry Teng
April 25, 2013
A Landmark Story
Peter Werner
May 2, 2013
Risk Management
Adam Davidson
May 9, 2013
The Woman
Seith Mann
May 16, 2013
John Polson
May 16, 2013
Season 2
Title Director Writer Aired on (in US)
Step Nine
John Polson
September 26, 2013
Solve For X
Jerry Levine
October 3, 2013
We Are Everyone
Michael Pressman
October 10, 2013
Poison Pen
Andrew Bernstein
October 17, 2013
Ancient History
Sanaa Hamri
October 24, 2013
An Unnatural Arrangement
Christine Moore
October 31, 2013
The Marchioness
Sanaa Hamri
November 07, 2013
Blood Is Thicker
John Polson
November 14, 2013
On the Line
Guy Ferland
November 21, 2013
Aaron Lipstadt
December 5, 2013
Internal Audit
Jerry Levine
December 12, 2013
The Diabolical Kind
Larry Teng
January 2, 2014
All in the Family
Andrew Bernstein
January 9, 2014
Dead Clade Walking
Helen Shaver
January 30, 2014
Corpse de Ballet
Jean de Segonzac
February 6, 2014
The One Percent Solution
Guy Ferland
February 27, 2014
Ears to You
Seith Mann
March 6, 2014
The Hound of the Cancer Cells
Michael Slovis
March 13, 2014
The Many Mouths of Aaron Colville
Larry Teng
April 3, 2014
No Lack of Void
Sanaa Hamri
April 10, 2014
The Man With the Twisted Lip
Seith Mann
April 24, 2014
Paint It Black
Lucy Liu
May 1, 2014
Art in the Blood
Guy Ferland
May 1, 2014
The Grand Experiment
John Polson
May 1, 2014

CBS has announced to continue to tales of Sherlock Holmes via Elementary Season 3. The third season is planned out to be aired from October 30, 2014.

It is also worth to note that a lot of episodes (and even behind the scenes – stuff) is available online for viewing at: http://www.cbs.com/shows/elementary/video/. Remember: These videos are region restricted.

Image curtsey: Wikipedia

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