The good news is that it isn't really just a rip-off of the Benedict Cumberbatch show. Because instead of taking classic Arthur Conan Doyle stories and adapting them to the modern day by replacing pocket watches with mobile phones, Elementary is just a regular crime-of-the-week show with a main character who happens to be named "Sherlock Holmes."
Mr. Holmes had some sort of problem in London that led to him being sent to rehab in New York. But now he's out and his vague, off-screen father is putting him up in a brownstone with a minder named Joan Watson. And he keeps himself occupied by predicting the future and investigating crimes.
In tonight's exciting episode, a woman has been murdered! The deal is that her husband wanted her dead, so he used his position as a therapist to trick another guy into doing it. The key clue was the rice!
Hello! We've got ourselves a Sherlock Holmes show here. Some people find this a little suspicious, since there's already a modern-day Sherlock Holmes show on the BBC, and it's really, really good. It's made "Benedict Cumberbatch" a household name! But it's not like Mr. Cumberbatch was the first Sherlock ever. Sherlock Holmes has been done in a million different versions, and it's usually pretty successful. Have you ever seen The Great Mouse Detective? My point is that if Sherlock Holmes can be an animated mouse and still work, then there's room for Jonny Lee Miller.
And if this show turns out to be terrible, we can pretend it's just a sequel to Trainspotting. Or Hackers! Okay, now I'm excited. Let's go!
It starts with a slow-motion glass hitting the floor and breaking and a woman being choked by a blurry figure. As she hits the floor, her arm gets cut against all that broken glass. Then she's running up a staircase being pursued. She screams and cries. This is going to be one of the less cerebral adaptations of Sherlock Holmes.
An alarm clock goes off at 7:00. Lucy Liu jogs though New York. She's actually going a little faster than jogging, I guess. Maybe "trotting"? This is probably not the spot to get bogged down. She answers her phone to find that someone's escaped from a place. In the course of the discussion, we learn that she's "Joan Watson" and then she arrives at "his house" where some lady is putting on clothes and leaving. I personally am not outraged at the idea of a female Watson, by the way. There used to be a theory among Sherlock fans that the canonical Watson was a woman, although that was eventually ignored when fanfic writers discovered that characters don't have to be different sexes in order to have sex.
Watson enters the brownstone and calls out, "Hello?" There's a shirtless, tattooed, muscular weirdo standing and watching several televisions at once. He pauses them. She introduces herself as having been hired by his father as his sober companion. He asks if she believes in love at first sight, and goes on to claim that he's never loved anyone as he does her, in this moment. Then he unpauses one of the televisions and shows it has a character saying that same line. He introduces himself as Sherlock Holmes and says they won't be here long. That's the spirit!
The deal is that she's his "addict sitter" and if he uses or refuses her help, he's out on the street, because his father is putting him up in the brownstone. And he introduces the traditional obnoxious Sherlocking by telling her he knows she hasn't had trouble with drugs. She asks why he escaped from rehab the same day he was meant to be released? His answer: "Bored." I'm a little distracted by the bookcases behind Watson, which are full of criminology books. I have friends whose libraries look exactly like this.