Thoughts on CBS’s upcoming new TV show Elementary, Part II

Here’s the second part of my live chat about CBS’s upcoming show, Elementary, with Shadowfax! Our conversation continues after we take a look at the second trailer released by CBS for Elementary, which was an extended version of the first. Watch the trailer below before reading any further!

endodo: Okay, did you just go through the same thing I did? Wow. Talk about not judging a TV show by its first trailer.  I think my initial impressions for this show just changed. Granted, it’s a slight change, but a change nonetheless.

Shadowfax: Oh, are we talking about a “slight change”? I think what I went through counts as an entire paradigm shift, and then some. Will it sound totally ridiculous if I say now that I desperately want this show to turn out well?

endodo: No, absolutely not. Just look at the number of “likes” for the extended trailer on YouTube compared to the first trailer. Clearly a number of people have changed their opinions about this show entirely. [The first trailer had more “dislikes” than “likes” by a landslide, by the way.]

Shadowfax: Looks like CBS has a finger or three in the public opinion polls and took steps. They certainly changed our perception of the show with this latest preview. What caught your eye? 

endodo: Um. Everything, like–

Shadowfax: Like Jonny Lee Miller without a shirt?

endodo: OMG YESSSS! But he’s a tad too hairy for my tastes. Still, abs are abs. A lady can’t complain.

Shadowfax: Wasn’t expecting anyone to, really. But the #1 reason [haha] aside, what else stood out?

endodo: There was definitely a lot more focus on Sherlock and Joan, and so we got a chance to see the two interact (even bicker) more. Also, because the second trailer was a little less than five minutes, we were able to also get a feel for the tone of the series. It looks like it’ll be great fun and not as dull as I previously thought it might be.

Shadowfax: Oh definitely. The scene of that first meeting was just bizarre enough [“Do you believe in love at first sight?” Really? Really.] and perfectly brilliant enough to be trademark Holmes. I can’t say that I’ve ever considered it before, but it would be just like Sherlock Holmes to watch trashy television and try to deduce the next lines. And to be sure, Jonny!Sherlock is a subtly fresh new take on Sherlock Holmes, the great detective.

endodo: He reminds me of an energetic little boy, albeit with a body of a man and the mind of a genius. Furthermore, we see that he’s really insightful and I think I’m going to borrow Lucy Liu’s words and say that Jonny!Sherlock has a colorful personality. He’s quirky and playful, but also layered. I love the introductory tagline to this second trailer: “[Obsessive]. [Impulsive]. [Volatile]. Welcome [inside] the mind of the world’s most famous detective.” I love the brackets around the one-word descriptions of Sherlock because the producers/writers want to point out that there’s so much more to this Sherlock than to what we’ve already seen from previous adaptations. I’m always up for some onion, er, character peeling.

Shadowfax: Hehh. It’s funny that you point out the opening captions of the extended previews. I was looking at “[inside]” and couldn’t help but associate the other brackets with that word. I think we’re definitely meant to see a version of Sherlock Holmes spun together from those three traits. And of course, there are other aspects to him, like you pointed out: whereas Benedict!Sherlock stalks around in a highly posh-and-dramatic fashion with coattails awhirl, Jonny!Sherlock bobs around. Like a puppy.

endodo: Good observation, there. A lot of the Sherlock fandom online has been quick to point fingers at Elementary for being too similar to Sherlock BBC but you already brought up a few differences in character portrayal.

Shadowfax: <mock outrage> Hey, America should totally be allowed to copy all of Britain’s TV shows and make millions of dollars off of them.

endodo: LOL I think that’s what’s pissing people off — it seems as if CBS is copying BBC. But let’s not go there. While I had my initial misgivings, I think CBS is reinventing Sherlock and bringing another refreshing take on the beloved classic detective story. There’s always the possibility that it may be no different from the currently airing crime procedural shows, but I’m hopeful that Elementary will hold its own. I couldn’t be happier if the show’s tone follows that of the extended trailer.

Shadowfax: And my life would be complete if the Sherlock-Joan relationship continues to follow along the lines of that mirror scene. Beautiful. Beautiful and brilliant and I need more of that in my life.

endodo: Oh yes, I’m glad you brought up the mirror scene. I think there’s probably a scene missing in between, but would you care to elaborate more on why you loved that part so much? I thought it was really interesting that she brought up mirrors in the first place. I mean, for example, they’re supposed to reflect one’s image and are meant to reveal everything about an individual (physically, of course). However, in this case, I’d say that Joan’s referring to something else entirely when she mentions that Jonny!Sherlock has no mirrors in his apartment. Is it because he’s not yet ready to face himself and is haunted by the mistakes he’s committed in the past (which is why he had to move from London to NYC)? Maybe. That whole scene just piqued my interest ten-fold.

Shadowfax: Same! I was already interested in the way that JLM moves as Sherlock [strangely flamboyant little gestures/poses], but then CBS hits us with this scene and suddenly I wanted to see “Elementary” like, yesterday. From what it seems like, Sherlock has just finished a rather insensitive deduction on Joan’s past medical career [then perhaps a missing scene] and then Joan deduces him back, just as accurately and brutally. [The look on JLM’s face as she stalks off is worth a prize of some sort. Something gold and shiny.] Isn’t this the classic Holmes-Watson relationship? Tell me this isn’t–Watson knowing Holmes best out of anyone else?

endodo: It is. While I still don’t like Joan and am keeping my expectations low for this show, I think Elementary holds a lot of promise. I’m definitely much more open to it now than I was 24 hours ago. Now fall can’t come soon enough! Here’s to hoping that CBS doesn’t screw up a good thing by throwing Sherlock and Joan into a romantic relationship. If they do, all hell will break loose…

Shadowfax: We will bring the rain. And by that, we mean the next nuclear holocaust of rage. And then stop watching. But first the rain. [And maybe some mourning.]

endodo: Let’s just hope we won’t have to go there. <crosses fingers>

Gif credits: whycantiholdallthesefeels, -andrews, suki-t

5 thoughts on “Thoughts on CBS’s upcoming new TV show Elementary, Part II

  1. Be realistic. This is an American show. Of course it’s going to have a Watson/ Sherlock romance even if they don’t consummate it.
    My feeling is just that they are being homophobic about the two guys living together. Is it more likely that a guy and a girl will live together chastely?

    • Eh. Why think of it that way? Simply because two men live together doesn’t make the living situation homoerotic–on this point, you can hardly accuse the show of homophobia just because they cast a woman as Watson. Ironically, your last comment resonates with the same heteronormative tendencies which you criticize CBS, so perhaps instead of condemning them for the casting, I suggest that we should applaud them all the more if they manage to work a classic Holmes-Watson relationship [rife with undertones but ultimately platonic] despite societal norms.

      It isn’t as though America is incapable of portraying platonic, male-female relationships on television [though granted, you have a point–the “hero-always-gets-the-girl” trope is a little tiresome]. Law and Order: SVU and NCIS [just to name two popular crime thrillers] both deal with the theme of friendship as transcendent over that of romantic attachment. Of course there are Looks that can swing in either direction of the platonic-romantic spectrum depending on your interpretation, but that’s to be expected. [Benedict!Sherlock and Martin!John certainly had their share.] There will always be looks.

      Ehh, just had to toss in my two cents. I’ve been hearing this sort of complaint against Elementary for a while and just wanted to share my two cents in the hope that you don’t write off the show because of perceived homophobia. Thanks for weighing in! 🙂

      • It is homophobic IMHO but it’s no different to any other USA TV show.

        It’s very common for America to take British TV shows / characters, port them over and delete gay characters / adult themes in their entirety. Skins USA is probably the most obvious example but Sherlock is a perfect one too.

        If you want to watch Sherlock done properly, find the most recent BBC version with Benedict Cumberbatch. Very modern, nicely filmed and the “gayness” of Sherlock is fully intact.

        In a country where you can create something amazing like The Wire or Breaking Bad, I’ve no idea why this kind of bullshit TV sanitation still takes place.

  2. This is my new addiction! I’m not hoping for a romance between Watson & Sherlock, but I’m hoping that once Joan gets romance in her life, Sherlock will be nasty about it.

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