Fall 2012 Pilot Reviews: Elementary

Premise: Famed detective Sherlock Holmes moves to New York after getting out of rehab and begins a consulting job with the NYPD. Joan Watson is hired to be his sober companion, and moves in with him and begins accompanying him to his job.

Initial Thoughts: I was hesitant about an American version of Sherlock Holmes when I first heard about it. First, I thought it was a little bit of a ripoff of BBC’s Sherlock. Second, we already had a modernized, American Sherlock Holmes, though admittedly not by the same name. Sherlock Holmes was a huge inspiration for House so I felt like we’d already done our own version. Then I heard that they were making Watson a woman, and my hesitation turned to intrigue. I liked that they were making it their own and I began to get excited about the series. I really didn’t have any preconceptions of Lucy Liu, so I started to look forward to seeing this new take on Sherlock’s friendship with Watson.

Series Premiere: 9/26/12

Timeslot Competition: Scandal (ABC), Rock Center (NBC)

Post-show Thoughts: So far, this is my favorite new drama of the season. I love BBC’s Sherlock, but I love the direction that Elementary’s creators have gone with the characters of Sherlock and Watson. Elementary‘s Sherlock is a little less abrasive (though maintaining his intelligence and disregard for social norms when it suits him), which makes him a little more likeable as a character. I love that Joan isn’t afraid to call Sherlock out and take over when he’s being a jerk and I love that Sherlock is willing to admit he’s wrong. There are so few male-female relationships on television that aren’t romatic in nature and I think this will be a really interesting one. 

The show itself isn’t too far outside of CBS’s typical procedural fare. It’s fairly obvious that this will be a case-of-the-week sort of show, which works well with the subject matter. The characters of Sherlock Holmes and Watson are already known, but this is yet another take on them. It suffers from being the 3rd remake of Sherlock Holmes in a fairly short amount of time, but in my opinion, it is different enough to stand out.

Predictions: It did fairly well for a 10 PM show, which is a difficult timeslot. While second episode ratings will inevitably drop, I think it will still perform well-enough to warrant a full-season order. As some of CBS’s other shows age, if ratings hold up, I can see Elementary getting a second season


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