I’ve written previously about CBS’ upcoming contemporary “Sherlock Holmes“ update “Elementary”, chiefly in reference to Steven Moffat‘s misgivings about it.
By all accounts, approaches were made to Moffat and the team making the BBC update about working on a similar project with American backing. That iteration never happened for one reason or another and as soon as the Moffat update was a great success, remarkably CBS suddenly find a contemporized take on Holmes down the back of their sofa and it’s accordingly on the 2012/13 TV schedule. The plot? Thickening quite nicely.
All purely coincidental of course – great minds thinking alike.
And, snark aside, Holmes is a character ripe for reinvention, as the successful Robert Downey Jnr./Jude Law/Guy Ritchie version has proven to be a success running in parallel to the Moffat/Mark Gatiss take – multiple takes on the same source material need not be a terrible thing.
Make up your own mind with this preview of the new “Elementary”, with Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes and Lucy Liu as Joan Watson. It looks perfectly fine, to be honest. Lacking perhaps something of the cold intelligence and perversity of the British version, but then it would do, wouldn’t it? CBS are not known for being the most cutting-edge TV network and this updated police procedural with name recognition and familiar stories is going to be totally in their comfort zone.
It looks pretty much as you might have expected it to – which is not a bad thing, just an indication that the makers of this show are working to an established formula, which with the amount of money which tends to ride on a show like this is probably to be expected.
If the audience don’t expect you to reinvent the wheel, why should you try?
“Elementary”, the mildly controversial and debate-starting American take on Sherlock Holmes already has Jonny Lee Miller lined up to play the titular hero and now has a Watson, too.
The highlight of McG’s otherwise patience-testing “Charlie’s Angels” films, Lucy Liu has signed on in the role of lapsed surgeon Joan Watson (she’s got demons, you know), who will be Holmes’ live-in sobriety buddy after his rehab stay.
Holmes in rehab? Sobriety buddy? You can smell the touchy-feely earnestness from here, can’t you?
If you find yourself wondering whether this means that this version of Holmes and Watson are going to have to battle diabolical criminal masterminds and outrageously latent sexual tension, you’re not alone – my dear Mrs Rolling Eyeballs raised an eyebrow at Miss Liu’s casting on that basis and she’s rarely wrong about these things.
If the pilot for this show revealed that, actually, it’s trying to be a “Castle” rip-off rather than a too-soon, late-to-the-party modern “Sherlock” tale, I think that I’d lose some of the reservations that I have about it.
Remember that American version of “Sherlock” that CBS announced the other week? The one which seemed wholly unnecessary and a blatant attempt to piggy-back on the success of the TV incarnation with Benedict Cumberbatch and the film iteration with Robert Downey Jnr? Well, it’s found a leading man.
Good old Sickboy.
Jonny Lee Miller will play Holmes in this modern-day, New York-set telling of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic detective and his casting allays my fears about this US version being a total wash.
In one of those weird, interesting casting quirks which happens from time to time, Miller recently worked with Cumberbatch in Danny Boyle’s British theatre production of “Frankenstein” in 2011 – small world, eh?
It’s due to air this autumn in the US and might yet fill the gap for a snarky British actor playing a hopelessly smart guy soon to be created by “House” finishing it’s long run.