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Old September 30 2012, 04:24 AM   #271
Greg Cox
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

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Although it's perhaps worth remembering that the Holmes stories weren't period pieces when they were originally written, and that, of course, Basil Rathbone was doing Holmes in the present-day as far back as the forties . . . .
Go back a decade before Rathbone, and Arthur Wontner's Holmes films were set contemporaneously in the 1930s as well.

I confess I've never seen any of those . . . although I have visited Gillette Castle , which was built by the first actor who made a name for himself playing Holmes: William Gillette.

(A very cool place, btw.)
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Old September 30 2012, 06:02 AM   #272
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

Just finishing watching. Maybe if this was the only modern day Holmes it might be more interesting to me. But... It's like driving a Honda after driving a BMW. It's a bland show. It will run forever.
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Old September 30 2012, 06:10 AM   #273
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

By now I can't imagine what kind of experience a Holmes adaptation must be for someone who hasn't read the stories. But for me, since the narrative voice is Watson, the key to Sherlock Holmes is not the various eccentricities of the Holmes character, but Watson's character. This is especially true since Holmes' deductive tricks are performed off-stage so to speak, all the better to surprise us. OUr bridge to him is Watson, via Watson's friendship.

The Jude Law/Robert Downey Jr. version worked for me (despite the rather tiresome action sequences) because it revived an aspect of Watson (and Watson's friendship) that had been buried beneath memories of Nigel Bruce's semi-senile duffer. I can't stand that interpretation of Watson any more. I can't stand the new BBC series because I can't suspend disbelief in the absurdity of those particular two men (as written) being friends.

The Jonny Lee Miller Holmes was written in the pilot as a flawed person, not a Magnificent Bastard. I suppose it loses points for cool right there. But the interesting thing so far is the way that the pilot focused on showing that Watson had something to offer to Holmes, a basis for friendship. But one thing not yet obvious is why we should think Watson is an admirable man (and by extension Holmes, who is validated by Watson.) But the CBS series is at least off to a promising start, instead of being dead wrong from the beginning.
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Old September 30 2012, 06:21 AM   #274
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

Well, that turned out as expected...it's the typical CBS crime drama which means I'll watch it every week.
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Old September 30 2012, 07:13 AM   #275
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

Hmm, I feel about it what some people feel about 'Sherlock': it's entertaining, but it's not Sherlock Holmes.

That said, Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu were quite good at what they did.
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Old September 30 2012, 03:08 PM   #276
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

Australis wrote: View Post
Hmm, I feel about it what some people feel about 'Sherlock': it's entertaining, but it's not Sherlock Holmes.
Well, Kevin Sorbo's Hercules wasn't really Hercules either. The goal of adaptation is to create something new that builds on the essence of the original, and some adaptations are greater departures than others. What matters, ultimately, is whether they're worthwhile stories in themselves. And that's the part I'm not sold on yet. I found the pilot fairly bland.
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Old September 30 2012, 03:34 PM   #277
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
Go back a decade before Rathbone, and Arthur Wontner's Holmes films were set contemporaneously in the 1930s as well.
I confess I've never seen any of those . . . although I have visited Gillette Castle , which was built by the first actor who made a name for himself playing Holmes: William Gillette.

(A very cool place, btw.)
Oh, cool.

Speaking of Gillette, he was the model for the American Sherlock Holmes artist, Frederic Dorr Steele. Everyone remembers the Sidney Paget illustrations in the Strand, but it was Steele's work that accompanied the stories in Collier's. Steele's work isn't reprinted in illustrated editions of the Canon any more, but I actually like his work better than Paget's, even though Paget's is the better known.

Three of the five Wontner films are widely available on DVD. The most recent release is the one from Mill Creek in a knock-off Downey package, along with some of the public domain Rathbones and the Ronald Howard television series. You can probably still find this at Target for five dollars.


Christopher wrote: View Post
Well, Kevin Sorbo's Hercules wasn't really Hercules either. The goal of adaptation is to create something new that builds on the essence of the original, and some adaptations are greater departures than others. What matters, ultimately, is whether they're worthwhile stories in themselves. And that's the part I'm not sold on yet. I found the pilot fairly bland.
That's the tricky thing with pilots. They have to do a lot -- introduce the setting, the characters, their relationships, and what their roles are -- that the story gets shoved into the background. Pilots usually aren't good and interesting in and of themselves.

There are two things I hope Elementary remembers about Sherlock Holmes. As a consulting detective, Holmes didn't always work with the police. More often than not, cases showed up at his door on their own. And, not all of Holmes' investigations involved murder. Some involved mistaken identities, purloined papers, and general weirdness. Elementary doesn't need to show us dead bodies every week, and it doesn't need to show us Gregson and the NYPD every week.
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Old September 30 2012, 03:55 PM   #278
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

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That's the tricky thing with pilots. They have to do a lot -- introduce the setting, the characters, their relationships, and what their roles are -- that the story gets shoved into the background. Pilots usually aren't good and interesting in and of themselves.
But it wasn't just the story I found bland, it was the performances. Still, it's true that a pilot doesn't always tell you much about a show. As I think I remarked a few months back in this thread, last year Grimm had a mediocre pilot but became a much better show, while Awake had a brilliant pilot but was much more unfocused and weak afterward.


There are two things I hope Elementary remembers about Sherlock Holmes. As a consulting detective, Holmes didn't always work with the police. More often than not, cases showed up at his door on their own. And, not all of Holmes' investigations involved murder. Some involved mistaken identities, purloined papers, and general weirdness. Elementary doesn't need to show us dead bodies every week, and it doesn't need to show us Gregson and the NYPD every week.
But as a CBS procedural, it most likely will. I recall there used to be CSI episodes that weren't about homicides, but those don't seem to happen anymore.
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Old September 30 2012, 04:59 PM   #279
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

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Hmm, I feel about it what some people feel about 'Sherlock': it's entertaining, but it's not Sherlock Holmes.
Well, Kevin Sorbo's Hercules wasn't really Hercules either. The goal of adaptation is to create something new that builds on the essence of the original, and some adaptations are greater departures than others. What matters, ultimately, is whether they're worthwhile stories in themselves. And that's the part I'm not sold on yet. I found the pilot fairly bland.
Yep, bland, as you said.
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Old September 30 2012, 06:54 PM   #280
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

Christopher wrote: View Post
Australis wrote: View Post
Hmm, I feel about it what some people feel about 'Sherlock': it's entertaining, but it's not Sherlock Holmes.
Well, Kevin Sorbo's Hercules wasn't really Hercules either. The goal of adaptation is to create something new that builds on the essence of the original, and some adaptations are greater departures than others. What matters, ultimately, is whether they're worthwhile stories in themselves. And that's the part I'm not sold on yet. I found the pilot fairly bland.
It was always obvious what it was going to be - a CBS crime show for CBS viewers. That's what CBS does. Whether Sherlock fans like it is beside the point. The ratings success proves that CBS's approach is the right one for making money, which is the point of everything they do.

Networks make shows for their viewers. Broadcast, basic cable, premium cable, it's all the same. The only difference is who the viewers are and what they want. Once you understand that, this game becomes highly predictable.

There are two things I hope Elementary remembers about Sherlock Holmes. As a consulting detective, Holmes didn't always work with the police. More often than not, cases showed up at his door on their own. And, not all of Holmes' investigations involved murder. Some involved mistaken identities, purloined papers, and general weirdness. Elementary doesn't need to show us dead bodies every week, and it doesn't need to show us Gregson and the NYPD every week.
This is a perfect example of what I mean. The CBS crime show fan does not know or care about any of that. Therefore, neither does CBS.
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Old September 30 2012, 08:06 PM   #281
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

The tensions between Miller's Holmes and Liu's Watson gave a slightly sour taste to the pilot. Unless "bland" more or less means that the Miller Holmes wasn't entertainingly kick-ass (too flawed in ordinary human ways, as opposed to the ludicrous BBC version,) the pilot wasn't bland. Or does "bland" mean lacking in scenes were the Hero delivers a devastating one-liner while the punching bags obligingly remain mute? Or worse, is the "bland" the same kind of difference as between a Honda and a BMW, which is to say, snob value?

To turn to another topic, it is highly unlikely there is any such thing as a "CBS crime show fan." The chances that anyone is so undiscriminating as to watch both NCIS shows, both CSI shows, Hawaii Five-O, Blue Bloods, Criminal Minds, The Mentalist, Person of Interest and Elementary is extremely low. In fact, there are considerable differences between all these shows which far outweigh any (probably imaginary) commonalties derived from being broadcast by the same network. Most likely, the supposed "CBS crime show fan" is a fan of two or three series, indifferent or even hostile to the others. Therefore, it is entirely probable that there are many viewers who will indeed know quite a lot about Sherlock Holmes.

CBS shows tend to be better written with higher production values, possibly less sensationalist (as being "bad writing",) possibly a little better at race, possibly a little worse on gay issues. The better writing and better production values appear to come mostly from being able to afford it, so I'm not sure too much credit should be given for it. I'm also not sure anyone watches enough primetime network TV to be able to issue very many reliable generalizations on a whole network. The real issue in anti-CBS rants seems to be a deranged hate/fear of supposed old people.
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Old September 30 2012, 08:20 PM   #282
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

It was very bland, very generic, very safe. Very CBS.
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Old September 30 2012, 08:40 PM   #283
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

^^^Generic? Generic means no-name, just the general product. Sherlock Holmes is pretty much the name in mysteries. Also an Asian female Watson isn't a safe approach. What you're saying makes no sense. Either you are wrong or you are using buzzwords instead of saying what you really mean.

Incidentally, if this approach has a predecessor it would be the movie The Zero Effect, which was a daring but satisfying revisionist take on Holmes.
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Old September 30 2012, 08:43 PM   #284
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

stj wrote: View Post
^^^Generic? Generic means no-name, just the general product. Sherlock Holmes is pretty much the name in mysteries. Also an Asian female Watson isn't a safe approach. What you're saying makes no sense. Either you are wrong or you are using buzzwords instead of saying what you really mean.
It makes a lot of sense. If you took away the name Holmes and Watson, this show would be a lot like a lot of other shows... the consulting detective (Castle, The Mentalist, The Show With The Guy From Will And Grace.)

It was a bland, safe hour of TV.

And personally, I thought there was zero chemistry between the two leads. How much chemistry can there be between a Brit and a piece of wood?
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Old September 30 2012, 08:54 PM   #285
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

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How much chemistry can there be between a Brit and a piece of wood?
Plenty, if it's in the shape of a box, is painted blue, and has a flashing light on top...
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