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.

Strawberry fields

What can I say, I liked it. I understand why hardcore Sherlock Holmes fans may have a problem with this show, but here's the thing: it was never supposed to be an adaptation, so don't treat it like one. The way I see it, it's a show where two main characters are happened to be called Holmes and Watson. And it's cool. I really enjoyed the pilot, I think Jonny Lee Miller is awesome as Holmes, just like I think he was awesome in everything else he did before. Even if this show sucked, I would still watch it, just for him. I also don't understand why so many people have a problem with Lucy Liu. She's fine by me. I wasn't sure about the idea of Watson being a woman, but after watching this I think it was the right move. Sometimes for a chemistry to work in the long run, you need a man and a woman. I couldn't imagine having two guys here and no female power week after week for a whole year.


@ Peter Postman - I would like to point out that fact that "The Great Mouse Detective" was also a parody poking fun of the original.


I might have liked the show if I could understand what they were saying. Horrible sound and I don't lip read. His accent ruined it and she wasn't loud enough half the time so I missed half of the show or more. Maybe will try the next, maybe not.


Being a Sherlock Holmes fan for many years I thought I would give this show a chance. BTW, I personally think Basil Rathbone was the best Sherlock Holmes ever. That being said, I agree with some of the posts that Lucy Liu was a bit stiff, but remember she thought she was just helping an addict adjust, she had no idea what he did and how he does it. I hope that once she has a better understanding of what he's about, she will be fine. Fingers crossed
I will watch more episodes in the coming weeks.

Beverly brooks

Enjoyed pilot. Will continue watching to how the show develops. I agree that the chemistry between Jonny and Lucy seem stiff. Maybe she will get warmer as the season goes on. Being a fan of Sherlock Holmes, I was surprised to find I did like this Sherlock.


Well, I gave the pilot a chance. I came away kind of, meh. After thinking about it a bit, for me, the problem seems to be Lucy Liu. She just came across as kind of wooden - not much chemistry between her and Jonny Lee Miller - yet. I did think Miller was quite good. I really liked Aiden Quinn in this cast also. Overall, to me the pilot was just OK. I'll give it a chance and catch the next couple of episodes. No show should be graded on just one episode. It has the good fortune of having mega hit, Person of Interest, as its lead in - but it's also up against another hot show, Scandal, in that 10PM slot. And that in itself could be very "elementary."


Miller - good in his take on Holmes; Liu - while contrast w/Holmes is necessary, she seemed utterly flat and frankly, not terribly interesting. Will watch a few episodes, but not terribly impressed.


@Miss Millie Guns -- I have corrected Jonny's spelling... thanks for the catch!


I am a fan of the genre and of procedurals but I don't find anything Sherlock Holmey about Elementary rather the names of the lead characters, half-baked back stories, and some odd quirks and frankly every other show based on this model is like that but the others are better executed.
The combination of smart, damaged, quirky, puzzle solving has been done so many times and they haven't done the source any justice with this adaptation. Forget BBC's Sherlock, if I compare the pilot to TNT's Perception it still falls short. There are better, more interesting shows based on the model and I'd watch for a few episodes to see if Elementary becomes as good or better than them but thats it.


I adore the late Jeremy Brett as Sherlock! No one did it better. But, let's move into this century & this year and Elementary was fun and interesting. The fact that there will be close friendship & not romance between Sherlock & Watson will be fun to watch unfold. Those stuck with the original, wonderful as it is, will miss the fun of this series whilst they watch the re-runs of House-never-changing. Give this show a chance, it should be a great ride! As long as this Sherlock has some emotions to show us & Watson.

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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.