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Elementary

Elementary Round Table: Series Premiere

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Elementary premiered on CBS this week to big ratings and strong reviews.

Did you catch this take on Sherlock Holmes? Are you ready to run it down along with our TV Fanatic Round Table team of staff writers Carissa Pavlica and Jim Garner and Amanda from Grizzlybomb.com and Brian from Geek Magazine?

Read on and chime in now...

What was your favorite scene from the pilot?
Carissa: I don't know why I love it so much, but the way Sherlock says two when he picks up the second glass bottom from the kitchen of the crime scene. It shows where his character is going to go and it's snarky and fun.

Jim: I really enjoyed Watson and Holmes on the roof as Holmes explained nobody with two alarms loves their job. It's so true yet nobody every says it!

Amanda: My favorite scene would have to be the closing. I'm a huge baseball fan and seeing Watson watch her beloved Mets (blech!) was fun. Of course Sherlock ruining the game was infuriating but I imagine that won't be the first of those moments.

Brian: The sad thing here is that I'm struggling to think of one. I kind of felt like I was watching an episode of the shows BBC counter part in Fast Forward as the pacing seemed pretty hurried. I would have to say though, the strongest statement they made here was introducing Sherlock directly following his random sexual encounter - something that is completely out of character based on the established lore. HOWEVER this (aside from being a deliberately "American TV" thing to do) told us early on that they were going to try something different with the story, for good or for bad.

Elementray RT

Watson as a girl: does it work for you?
Carissa: Totally. It's a nice take on the story and gives the whole premise a lot of leeway to move forward. I'm glad they're not going to delve into love interest territory, however. They fit as friends and it's nice to know we can count on that.

Jim: Absolutely. As mentioned in my review it's going to allow for them to be closer friends as there isn't male bravado to get in the way.

Amanda: It does. Girl power and all that. Watson is a fictional character- who says he always has to be a dude?

Brian: I think it'd be easier to swallow if this wasn't "Sherlock Holmes." The dynamic works okay as a show, but this certainly doesn't feel like the characters that we know and love, just another CBS cop show. I'm not crazy about a female Watson, but if the writing were to pick up they could make it work. Liu is a more than capable performer fresh off her run on Southland, but to me she just didn't feel like a strong enough anchor to hold Sherlock. That said, writing strong female characters has never been CBS' specialty.

Do you think Sherlock works in New York City?
Carissa: Very well. I like that he's basically starting fresh and bringing his British senses to the States. They could have gone all US with him, but they chose to keep him a Brit which works even better.

Jim: With Miller keeping Holmes English, yes. Especially since he also has a history of working in London with Scotland Yard, it allows this to take place after any of his British adventures.

Amanda: I do think that location plays a big part of shows but I didn't really notice New York. I mean, I did, but I think it takes more than a mention of a brownstone to make a show scream "THIS IS IN NEW YORK!!"

Brian: No. Taking Sherlock out of London is like taking Batman out of Gotham. The city is part of the character's very mythology, and I really think you lose something by sending him to NYC. It's one thing to modernize it, but to both change Watson's gender and leave London, just feels like it's 'Sherlock' in name only.

Any hypotheses on who the person was that Sherlock fell off the wagon over in London?
Carissa: A lover of some sort. I'm sure we'll get there in due time. It should be a fun ride!

Jim: Irene Adler seems to obvious, but that doesn't mean it might not be true. A lot is going to depend how they decide to portray her.

Amanda: I'm with Watson, it was a girl. Isn't that the answer to everything?

Brian: One would have to assume that Irene Adler is the only person it could be, but again - to the root of the character, Sherlock Holmes would never give in so fully to anyone that he would become a drug addled junkie. As much as he may have loved Adler, he loves himself more. I don't see him risking his reputation for a high. And while it's true that in the original books he regularly used cocaine (which was legal at that time), he did so only because he believed it to be a stimulant to the mind, he was never a prisoner to his addiction though. I just wonder how many fundamentals can you change and still claim it to be the same character?

Rank these Holmes/Watson duos from most favorite to least favorite: Robert Downey Jr/Jude Law; Benedict Cumberbatch/Martin Freeman; Johnny Lee Miller/Lucy Liu.
Carissa: Miller and Liu are my new favorite duo! Don't mess it up yous guys! I can't stand Benedict Cumberbitch, but love Martin Freeman, so they're second. And last, is Downey Jr and Law since I never saw the first pairs movies. I love RDJ, just couldn't bring myself to get past the first five minutes of the first movie.

Jim: Benedict Cumberbatch/Martin Freeman. The BBC Sherlock get's top vote right now as I have seen many more episodes of it. Then Johnny Lee Miller/Lucy Liu. Miller and Liu were awesome in the pilot, enough to knock RDJ and Law to third place. Lastly, Robert Downey Jr/Jude Law. Both have great banter and wit, but they come up just a tad short for me under Miller and Liu.

Amanda: Hmmmm.... I'm going to go with Benedict Cumberbatch/Martin Freeman as the favorite. I'm a sucker for the BBC and Martin Freeman is a joy to watch. Second would be Johnny Lee Miller/Lucy Liu. I think they have great potential. Will they surpass the BBC duo? Hard to say, but I'll be tuning in to see. And that would make Robert Downey Jr./Jude Law last. I've watched about fifteen minutes of the first movie they did and that was it. They may be amazing, I haven't seen enough of them to know.

Brian: 1.  Benedict Cumberbatch/Martin Freeman. For me this is the clear cut front runner. While modernized, this show still manages to capture the essence of the characters, and it is the on-screen chemistry between the leads that sells the idea from the word go. They benefit greatly from excellent writing as the show blends a nice mixture of the original stories now updated, as well as new material that is on par. It should be no surprise the Brits do this one the best.

2. Robert Downey Jr/Jude Law. While you have two legitimately talented film actors here, who share a decent chemistry with one and other, the two movies they've produced were really mediocre at best, but that's mostly the the fault of Guy Ritchie. This is a case of trying to cram in action and comedy where they simply don't feel natural.

3. Johnny Lee Miller/Lucy Liu. Admittedly it's too early to condemn the newest duo as we've only seen about 40 odd minutes of them together so far. Initial impressions though leave me with the attitude that the two actors don't really share a natural chemistry, but it's not to say they couldn't establish one over time. Right now however, they've got quite a ways to go...

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I truly wanted Elementary to work. I've only seen two episodes now and sadly, there is nothing here that says this is "Sherlock Holmes." Nothing. I won't be watching the third. You can't just give characters the names, fiddle around with them a bit and then pat them on the head and say, "off you go." Lucy Liu is terrific. I can see her carrying her own show. This is just another cop show. Mildly interesting, but it's not Sherlock Holmes, sadly. I doubt if Elementary can go the distance. I hope I'm wrong as both actors are very very good and they deserve this to work for them. The writing really needs to be beefed up and the 'oh look, I'm so quirky and eccentric and damaged' needs to stop.

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Yes PBS is available as a network channel but it also helps to get a lot of publicity so people will know when things are on. Downton does well and is certainly a famous show but it has gotten so much publicity people Know about it. There has been very little, overall, about "Sherlock". Know too many people who know about Downton, but never heard of "Sherlock".
Benedict brings a lot of "underneath" feelings to the character and as time goes on you see more and more. There's a scene where a former schoolmate says to him "we all hated him" and for a split second you see his eyes look down and you know he was hurt by that comment. That is what a nuanced actor does, much is seen in just a look. If just a surface look at something is all that is seen, then its missed in what Benedict does with that character.

Ironbunny

@Dennis Robbins- the song was "Watching the Detectives" by Elvis Costello.
It is also the theme to History Detectives on PBS.
http://youtu.be/Gj-CPouUAWo

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This show is to Doyle's works the way Bello's Jane was to Mirren's: apples and oranges. (If the analogy sucks, well, I hope you get the point!) On its own as a TV show, this was ok; as an interpretation of Doyle's work-- not so much. I'm not sure many of you are familiar with the late Jeremy Brett, but his Holmes was/is still the best IMHO. I'll give it another episode or three to find its legs...

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what was the closing song on the pilot of elementary?

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Most viewers are able to access PBS and can watch Sherlock with Cumberbatch and Freeman. I saw that series and I don't want to see it again in America. Transposing Sherlock to America is an plausible idea. It will be interesting to see how the writers transition Holmes from 6 week caretaker to permanent sidekick. Will she become the chronicler of Holmes' adventures as the original Watson was? JLM is certainly less prissy than Cumberbatch and that is enough reason for me to watch it.

Modwild

@marymary My my, you really ARE quite contrary, aren't you? I can dislike whomever I like, thank you very much, as you seem wont to do with me. I enjoyed Jonny's portrayal very much. He was affable and yet still filled with snark. On Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch couldn't pull off the affability. I'll enjoy his other works, but not Sherlock. If the show sucks, why are you bothering to read the round table discussion of it? There are plenty of other shows on the site for your enjoyment and for which you do not have to insult those discussing it to feel superior in your Americanism. Please get your insults correct, as my name is CARISSA. Perhaps Clarissa might have taken this personally. For shame, Marie, really.

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I'm with Brian. I thought it wasn't bad for a pilot, but it was a totally generic US crime show with totally generic lead characters and I just couldn't see any reason for calling the leads Holmes and Watson other than to cash in on the BBC!Sherlock hype. They could have been called Jones and Smith and it wouldn't have changed a thing.

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Brian I really don't like you.

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I absolutely whole-heartedly agree with every single comment Brian from Geek Magazine said save that I won't be watching Elementary again...as Cumberbatch's Sherlock said, Bored. Bored. Bored!