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Old June 25 2014, 02:52 AM   #211
Australis
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

DigificWriter wrote: View Post
I have no desire to watch Sherlock, but fell in love with Elementary from the Pilot, primarily because of the performances of the actors and the show's take on the familiar characters created by Doyle.
Wow, really? I quite like Elementary but think Sherlock is the better show. The interaction between the two main characters in both is startlingly good, but the Elementary take is telling its own story and going its own way (which startede with Irene Adler and Moriarty). The two leads could have been called anything really. IMO.

If you don't want to watch Sherlock, the same writer/producer is currently running Dr Who, but also did Jekyll, which I highly recommend, as a sample of what is possible.
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Old June 25 2014, 03:52 AM   #212
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

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Wow, really? I quite like Elementary but think Sherlock is the better show. The interaction between the two main characters in both is startlingly good, but the Elementary take is telling its own story and going its own way (which startede with Irene Adler and Moriarty). The two leads could have been called anything really. IMO.
I don't agree. Sherlock's versions of Holmes and Watson are just as revisionist as Elementary's, merely in different ways. Sherlock's John Hamish Watson takes the military background and adventurous spirit of Doyle's Watson but pairs it with a thrillseeking, danger-addicted persona that makes him an enabler to Sherlock rather than a balance. While Elementary's Joan Watson has the stalwart, level-headed everyperson quality of Doyle's Watson paired with a new background as a civilian ex-surgeon and sober companion, and with a keener deductive eye that more often rivals that of Holmes. Each of them takes a different half of Doyle's character and adds different things to it.

And both Sherlocks are recognizable as Holmes -- although many TV detectives are inspired by Holmes, so in that sense there's an air of familiarity. But Sherlock's version exaggerates his erratic and antisocial side to a cartoony degree (just like pretty much everything Moffat does), while Elementary's version builds on his drug addiction while modernizing his attitudes (so that he can accept women as his equals in a way the original never could).

As I said in my article, I think a lot of the difference between the two Sherlocks comes down to the difference between their Watsons -- John Hamish being an enabler for Sherlock's worst qualities while Joan is a balance and gadfly who tempers his excesses. So they might have been much more similar before meeting their respective Watsons.
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Old June 25 2014, 03:52 AM   #213
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

My reasons for not having any interest in Sherlock are thus:
1) I'm not a big fan of the British approach to television in general, preferring the more spread-out pacing and structure of American television.

2) I have no desire to watch a series produced by somebody who was so insecure that he decided to act like he had some exclusive right to a property that doesn't even belong to him and throw a public hissy fit.
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Old July 7 2014, 03:14 AM   #214
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

Australis wrote: View Post
Wow, really? I quite like Elementary but think Sherlock is the better show. The interaction between the two main characters in both is startlingly good, but the Elementary take is telling its own story and going its own way (which startede with Irene Adler and Moriarty). The two leads could have been called anything really. IMO.
Exactly so. Elementary is just another American network police procedural using the familiar character names mainly for the visibility. It's pretty generic and nowhere nearly as good as Sherlock in any respect.

DigificWriter wrote: View Post
2) I have no desire to watch a series produced by somebody who was so insecure that he decided to act like he had some exclusive right to a property that doesn't even belong to him and throw a public hissy fit.
It was entirely reasonable for BBC to look askance at what CBS did.
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Old July 7 2014, 03:48 AM   #215
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

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Exactly so. Elementary is just another American network police procedural using the familiar character names mainly for the visibility. It's pretty generic and nowhere nearly as good as Sherlock in any respect.
It's a procedural, yes, but an excellent one with strong writing and a good cast. It's developed its characters, both core and supporting, a lot more subtly and richly than Sherlock has room for in its brief seasons. And Elementary is well ahead of many American procedurals, and a long way ahead of Sherlock, in its handling of diversity and gender.

And it's not generic, because it has lots of marvelous little Easter eggs, homages, quotes, and appropriations from the Holmes canon, handled in a subtler and less garishly fanboyish way than Sherlock's. And I've explained how both shows have the core of the Doyle characters intact while evolving them in different directions.

Not to mention that Elementary's innovative approach to Moriarty left Sherlock's obnoxious Jim Carrey-esque cartoon villain in the dust.



It was entirely reasonable for BBC to look askance at what CBS did.
Not really. As Allyn Gibson pointed out in the Sherlock thread the other day, CBS has been exploring Elementary as a possible series since 2001. Sherlock's success just convinced them it was worth going ahead with it. And it's not like the BBC has any ownership of the concept of Sherlock Holmes. It's public domain except for the six late stories still under the Doyle estate's copyright. And there's nothing unique about modernizing Holmes either; as I point out in my article, virtually every Holmes screen adaptation for the first half-century was set in the then-present day. So there's nothing to "look askance" about.
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Old July 7 2014, 04:23 AM   #216
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

Dennis wrote: View Post
DigificWriter wrote: View Post
2) I have no desire to watch a series produced by somebody who was so insecure that he decided to act like he had some exclusive right to a property that doesn't even belong to him and throw a public hissy fit.
It was entirely reasonable for BBC to look askance at what CBS did.
I agree with this, though I might rephrase that as "...Moffat and Hartswood Films to look askance..." because I've seen no evidence that the BBC, organizationally, cares. However, it's possible, even likely, that the BBC handled their concerns with CBS quietly and behind the scenes, unlike Moffat, who chose to air his grievances publicly and rally his fandom to his side as if the two series were locked into battle in Mortal Kombat.

Moffat's reaction when Elementary was announced and went into production wasn't unreasonable given the sequence of events -- CBS had been in touch with him about buying his show, he said no, CBS went ahead and made a similar show anyway. Accusing CBS publicly of outright theft was probably not the most professional move he could have made, but then Moffat isn't known for his professional reticence and it's unlikely he was ever planning on working in American television. Moffat may have been an unprofessional, loudmouth ass over Elementary, but he also had a right to be.

At the same time, I get where DigificWriter is coming from. If I were in Moffat's shoes, my reaction to Elementary would have been, "Damn, this new guy is out to steal my thunder, so I gotta up my game and I gotta show 'em how it's done." Only, Moffat's reaction instead was to whine at the refs... or, in this case, fandom and the media. He does come across as an insecure prima donna, and it's not pretty. People who can commission work from him will remember this. Showbiz has long memories.

At the beginning of the year, when asked, Cumberbatch said that Moffat has not seen Elementary. (Freeman also hasn't seen it, if I remember correctly.) Cumberbatch, however, does watch it; Jonny Lee Miller says that Cumberbatch will call or text him about the show and they'll discuss it. I think that's cool.
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Old July 7 2014, 04:49 AM   #217
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

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At the same time, I get where DigificWriter is coming from. If I were in Moffat's shoes, my reaction to Elementary would have been, "Damn, this new guy is out to steal my thunder, so I gotta up my game and I gotta show 'em how it's done."
The irony, of course, is that the two shows are so totally different in approach, style, and characterization that they aren't really competing at all. Particularly since Sherlock airs so intermittently that they're virtually never on at the same time anyway. If anything, they're complementary, each one filling niches the other doesn't.

Although, honestly, there were some things I wish Sherlock had learned from Elementary's example, like how to give the characters a bit more nuance and growth, instead of going out of their way to make Sherlock as extreme and transgressive a caricature as possible. But I'd also like Elementary to learn from Sherlock that not every case Holmes and Watson take on has to be a homicide.



At the beginning of the year, when asked, Cumberbatch said that Moffat has not seen Elementary.
On second thought, maybe that's for the best. It helps each version be its own distinct entity if they aren't in actual creative dialogue (or competition) with one another.


Cumberbatch, however, does watch it; Jonny Lee Miller says that Cumberbatch will call or text him about the show and they'll discuss it. I think that's cool.
Indeed. That's actually kind of nice.

I still think it would be awesome if Cumberbatch and Miller would switch roles for one episode of each -- just take over each other's version of the character for a week, be each other's understudies, without the other characters noting or commenting on the swap in any way, like the way they swapped Frankenstein and the Creature onstage. Of course, it'll never happen, but it'd be an intriguing experiment.
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Old July 7 2014, 05:34 AM   #218
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

In addition to the reasons I've cited previously, I'm drawn to Elementary because it very much reminds me of other shows I enjoy, such as Bones, Buffy, ANGEL, Sleepy Hollow, and Dollhouse, among other examples, but using and drawing on the characters and motifs of Sherlock Holmes, which I find interesting and neat.
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Old July 7 2014, 12:20 PM   #219
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

Christopher wrote: View Post
I still think it would be awesome if Cumberbatch and Miller would switch roles for one episode of each -- just take over each other's version of the character for a week, be each other's understudies, without the other characters noting or commenting on the swap in any way, like the way they swapped Frankenstein and the Creature onstage. Of course, it'll never happen, but it'd be an intriguing experiment.
Let me start off by saying that I agree with everything in that long response to me. However, I want to address this in particular.

My "Never Gonna Happen" dream is for Moffat and Rob Doherty to do a script swap -- Moffat gets an Elementary script and shoots it for Sherlock, and vice versa. This sort of thing happened with westerns in the 1960s. A script would be written, and it would be used on multiple series with the character names and locations updated to match the new series. I'd love to see Cumberbatch tackle some of Miller's material (especially some of the character material), and vice versa.

Admittedly, there aren't a lot of Sherlock scripts that would work relatively unchanged on Elementary. "The Blind Banker" and "His Last Vow" would probably make the easiest translation.

And, yes, I really want to see Elementary move away from the "murder of the week" format. I know it won't, because that's what the CBS procedural audience wants and expects, but Canon Holmes dealt with so much more than that -- purloined papers, missing persons, lost carbuncles, a madman who smashed busts of Napoleon. (Non-canonically, he was even hired to find Lord Peter Wimsey's lost kitten in a radio play written by Dorothy Sayers! Might not be Canon for Holmes, but it's certainly Canon for Peter Wimsey.)
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Old July 7 2014, 01:17 PM   #220
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

To ELEM's credit, it does sometimes have Holmes and Watson take on thefts, kidnappings, and the like, only to have those cases turn into homicides. So they're trying to balance Holmes's flexibility with the procedural formula's rigidity.
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Old July 7 2014, 06:08 PM   #221
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

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It's developed its characters, both core and supporting, a lot more subtly and richly than Sherlock has room for in its brief seasons.
Nope.

Doing it longer, or more repetitiously, doesn't equal doing it better.

And Elementary is well ahead of many American procedurals, and a long way ahead of Sherlock, in its handling of diversity and gender.
Nope. Gender-switching characters doesn't earn automatic points.

And it's not generic, because it has lots of marvelous little Easter eggs, homages, quotes, and appropriations from the Holmes canon...
In-jokes don't address the generic style, plotting and-by-the-numbers characters introduced to drive the stories, which is what matters. You could pitch this show with the same stories you'd take into any of the CSIs.
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Old July 8 2014, 03:39 AM   #222
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

Cumberbatch, however, does watch it; Jonny Lee Miller says that Cumberbatch will call or text him about the show and they'll discuss it. I think that's cool.
As do I.
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Old July 8 2014, 04:23 AM   #223
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

It would be interesting to get to listen in on one of those conversations. Do they just chat about the show? Do they discuss and critique their respective approaches to playing Holmes? Or do they talk more about the experience of working with their co-stars and creative teams?
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Old July 11 2014, 06:17 PM   #224
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

Some casting news on the third season -- Ophelia Lovibond has been cast in the recurring role of Kitty Winter, Holmes' new protege. From the article: "Kitty’s reasons for undertaking Holmes' partnership are nebulous, and her new arrangement with Sherlock will have ongoing repercussions for his relationship with Joan."
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Old July 11 2014, 07:17 PM   #225
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Ophelia Lovibond? Wow. Ian Fleming's ghost must be kicking himself for never thinking of that name.
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