DEBORAH CROMBIE: Few will deny that the new BBC production of SHERLOCK, written by Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss, and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Holmes and Watson in a contemporary London, is terrific. The acting is superb, the plots labyrinthine, the dialogue sparkling and razor sharp. I'm a huge fan of the series, as I am of creators Gatiss and Moffat (Moffat also helms the current version of BBC's DOCTOR WHO.)
But now we upstart Americans have thrown another Sherlock Holmes into the mix. When CBS announced plans to produce ELEMENTARY, a weekly series which not only moves Holmes to contemporary New York, but portrays Watson as a woman, there were cries of outrage from die-hard Holmes fans (and whispers of potential lawsuits from the producers of SHERLOCK.) But Conan Doyle's Holmes stories are in the public domain, and Holmes and Watson have been portrayed in many different incarnations over the years, both on film and in books. (Laurie R. King, after all, had the temerity to marry Holmes to her wonderful Mary Russell.)
English actor Jonny Lee Miller plays Holmes as a recovering drug addict, sent to New York for his rehabilitation, and Lucy Liu is Joan Watson, the former surgeon hired by Holmes's father to be his "sober companion."
My verdict, four episodes into the season? It works, and it's huge fun. The plots are not Moffat's and Gatiss's dizzying puzzles, but they are more than clever enough for the hour format. Miller gives us his own version of Holmes's obsessive/compulsive brilliance, and he brings an unexpected vulnerability to the character. Miller, a fine actor, lost the role of James Bond to Daniel Craig, and that of Rick Grimes in THE WALKING DEAD to Andrew Lincoln. I think in ELEMENTARY, he got the plum.
Lucy Liu's Watson, serious and profoundly lonely, brings her own strengths to the partnership. And I think it will be the development of the friendship (NOT romance!) and respect between the partners that will keep this series top notch.
So, REDS and readers? Have you watched? Is it thumbs up or thumbs down for another Holmes?
(And the winner of Michelle Gagnon's DON'T TURN AROUND is Gayle! Gayle, you can email me at deb at deborahcrombie dot com and give me your mailing address. I'll pass it along to Michelle.)