Elementary Review: A Worthy Remake?

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Many believe that CBS has taken a big chance this season with Elementary, as it will undoubtedly be compared to its BBC counterpart and Jonny Lee Miller will be stood up beside the talents of Benedict Cumberbatch.

After watching the pilot (twice), I'm willing to say it's a risk that will pay off big time.

Elementary Premiere Pic

Jonny Lee Miller is an exceptional Sherlock Holmes; he possesses all the quirkiness and intelligence we have come to expect from the iconic detective in recent years. Where Miller stands out from previous actors is that he has toned down the narcissistic tendencies and has exposed a small sliver of vulnerability towards Watson.

And Watson... probably the boldest move made in the updated story is that Dr. John Watson has become Dr. Joan Watson. However, it's this change that allows Miller's vulnerability to work so well. Let me be clear that I see no romance happening between these two, something backed up by the series creator, but a closer friendship than two 19th century British gentlemen might have.

Additionally, having Holmes getting along with the Captain Gregson (Aidan Quinn) allows for a more plausible reason why Holmes would be asked to consult with the New York Homicide Department. I fully expect there will be many-a-detective with which he'll clash, but that's part of the fun, isn't it?

As mentioned previously, I watched the episode twice before attempting to write this review. There were so many little moving parts to view in the relationship of the main characters. I can't wait to learn more about the woman in London that caused Sherlock's downfall into drugs. Is she Irene Adler or will we meet Irene during the season as an American?

What did you think of the first episode? Did you catch all the great Elementary Quotes this week? Sound off below and tell us what you liked or didn't like. 


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (236 Votes)

Jim G. is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


The problem for me with any update of the Sherlock Holmes franchise is that it exists in a parallel universe - the one in which Arthur Conan Doyle never invented Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is one of the most famous in fiction and movies. Its' a commonly recognized name, and people make jokes about it all the time. The pretense that no one has ever heard of him is disorienting.


as far as a pilot goes, i would this one is decent. it lets the characters play themselves out a little bit without making things feel forced. with that being said, i was a little disappointed with the "case", it just felt so lightweight. i just watched it and i am beginning to forget parts of it already. as much as im interested in seeing how the characters interact with each other the future, i really do hope they amp up the cases a little bit, or maybe just amp up the presentation of the case at least. another issue i have is that i am slightly underwhelmed by Lucy Liu's performance. i must admit, the initial news that Watson was going to be played by Lucy Liu totally threw me off a bit, but then i started to think about how interesting things can be?! that said, i didnt really feel anything at all from Watson form the pilot, i do hope things get better as we go along because i am rooting for this show, despite being a Sherlock fan. really appreciated Johny Lee Miller's intepretation of Sherlock though. understated and yet true to the origin, more down to earth than most other sherlocks; which is different and at the same time likable! i think elementary is being set up to accept all of the challenges that it will face, what with Sherlock being so totally awesome and not to mention the truck load of police procedural shows out there. it definitely has promise, i suppose we just need to be a little patient and let the show figure itself out and hopefully, we can have interesting new show to look forward to every week! (instead of the dreadful 3 episodes a year thing)


Surprised at the amount of positive feedback because I lost interest halfway through. Kinda full of plot holes, why didn't the doctor take/ swap the pills, why did the killer take a token if it's a crime of passion, how did he know about the hidden room etc... But I guess I had high expectations (love Lucy Liu), I sincerely hope the show will get better after (in my opinion) a very mediocre start.


I am surprised that viewers wanted instant chemistry between Holmes an Watson. Things like that take time to develop, and I'm willing to watch it happen over the course of the season. I've read and watched all that Sherlock has to offer and his deductions are fun but his personality is annoying. I didn't think about the similarities to House, but now I realize that is one of the things I hated about that show. The BBC version with Cumberbatch was entertaining, but I really don't need to see the upteenth version of "Hound of the Baskervilles". I willing to watch a new mystery.


Diane I couldn't agree more, Basil Rathbone is my favourite Sherlock too.


I agree with @strawberry fields on it working best for the long run with Watson a woman. I think the problem many have with Liu (in the pilot) is that both characters are being portrayed as broken individuals and Liu came off (to me, anyway) as the more vulnerable of the two -- and, as a hint of where they are going with the characters, by the end she was trying to contribute to their partnership in crime-solving. It seemed to lift her up to where she didn't quite hate herself so much, like a reason to live. The sidekick characters in Mentalist and House are far more down-to-earth than Liu is playing Watson. This might be an interesting twist??


This show is decent and good if you don't take into account that this is a Sherlock Holmes adaptation - if you just pretend that it's simply characters with names Holmes and Watson, it's better.


I enjoyed it. It's a run-of-the-mill procedural, but Jonny Lee Miller is engaging. Oh - and the show gets a trillion bonus points for using Elvis Costello's "Watching The Detectives" to end the episode.


Very unlikeable Sherlock! Certainly no competition for BBC Sherlock. Everything seemed forced and contrieved.


Uncompelling. It's just another CSI. The characters lack chemistry. The sound quality is poor. On a plus side, the series can only get better.

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Elementary Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Holmes: Why do you suppose you hate your job so much?
Watson: I don't hate my job.
Holmes: You have two alarm clocks. No one with two alarm clocks loves their job. Two alarm clocks mean it's a chore for you to get up in the morning.

Watson: How do you do it, guess things?
Sherlock: I observe and then I deduce.
Watson: How did you know I was a doctor, you said you could tell from my hands.
Sherlock: Hand, singular. It was soft no calluses.
Watson: How did you know my father had an affair?
Sherlock: Google. Not everything is deducible.