Robert Doherty (Ringer, Star Trek: Voyager) has blessed our television sets with a brilliant adaptation of the ever popular Arthur Conan Doyle creation, Sherlock Holmes. Premiering in 2012, Elementary follows Sherlock Holmes in present day New York City, where he lives with his sober companion, Joan Watson, whose job it is to make sure that he doesn’t use any sort of drug or substance, as per his father’s wishes.
Johnny Lee Miller (Dexter, EastEnders) gives Sherlock a delightfully human aspect to him, making him likeable, despite sometimes being incredibly rude, but really it’s all part of his act of not letting people close to him, after what the last person who did get that close abandoned him in the most unfortunate of circumstances. Holmes is portrayed as a recovering drug addict, a British man who used to work for Scotland Yard and now consults for the NYPD on several cases that include murder, fraud, kidnapping and mysterious disappearances.
Lucy Lui (Kill Bill Vol. 1, Charlie’s Angels) portrays Joan Watson, a female version of the original John Watson. A former surgeon, Joan is now a sober companion, making it her job to stay with former drug addicts and make sure that they no longer end up ‘using’, and finds a great deal of accomplishment in helping Sherlock with his cases, eventually deciding to abandon her job as a sober companion and join him as a consulting detective. She is the perfect opposite to Sherlock’s impulsive, sometimes unbearable, behaviour – grounding him, keeping him in check, and most of the time, making sure he solves the case without hurting himself. She proves a valuable asset to the team and doesn’t let the fact that she’s a woman dither her from doing her job properly amongst a male-populated job.
Also joining the cast in the last three episodes of Season 1 is Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones, The Tudors), playing The Woman – Irene Adler – who, surprise, is the one person Sherlock ever let into his life so intimately. The three-episode finale of Sherlock leaves the audience on the edge of their seat, waiting to find out what happens next, as the mysterious Moriarty is finally brought into play, and Joan and Sherlock face their biggest dilemma yet.
What I particularly enjoyed about this series is that Joan and Sherlock’s relationship is made strictly platonic. There are no underlying hints of romance between the two, though they share a house and a job and are never apart for more than three hours (as are the rules of Joan’s companionship to Sherlock). For once, it’s nice to watch a show where the leading male and female aren’t forced into a relationship, and it has been made clearly by Doherty that he would like to expand on this relationship rather than turn them into a romantic couple. And it seems that as long as Doherty is in control of the show, then this will surely be a promise.
Fans of the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories may not particularly enjoy Elementary as it does not incorporate any of the original texts into this new universe.
The Hound of the Baskervilles, A Study in Scarlet, A Scandal in Bohemia, The Final Problem – these are all forgotten and instead replaced with situations that have nothing to do with the original stories. However, these new stories are perhaps more interesting, and just as challenging to solve for Sherlock. Children being kidnapped, with balloons left in their wake; illegitimate children claiming their dead father’s inheritance; a break-in into a completely impregnable bank vault called The Leviathan; a young girl taking over the legacy of her parents who happen to be Russian spies. Why, yes please!
Overall, Elementary is a brilliantly executed show, that leaves you waiting for more. Season 1, made up of twenty-four episodes, was a brilliant success, and season 2 shall be partially placed in Sherlock Holmes’ original home – London.
Season 2 premiered on September 26th.