ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Allyn Gibson, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    Sojourner
    And yet, here you are posting paragraph after paragraph arguing against what was merely a simple suggestion of an alternative use for the heroin. We have no evidence either way on what he will do with it. My comment was one possibility that for some reason you seem to be pedantically arguing against.

    Why didn't you just say, "we have no evidence for that, but it is possible" and leave it at that? Instead, you attacked the theory immediately with "She didn't see him take the heroin". Which implied that taking the heroin was the start and end of it, which is blatantly silly. Why have the scene in the first place if it won't be followed up on?

    You do know how conjecture works?
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Yes, it's a conjecture, but frankly I think it's a conjecture grounded in a fundamental misunderstanding of how addiction works. Addiction is not an act or a pretense. You're dwelling on the Watson question and totally ignoring the far more crucial reason why I think it's a bad conjecture. The Watson thing is a sidebar. Heck, the main reason Holmes wants Watson to stay is because he's afraid he can't resist his addiction without her. So of course it's more about his addiction than it is about Watson. That's the point I'm really trying to make here: that trying to explain his display of addictive behavior as "really" being about something else -- anything else -- is unrealistic, because the very nature of addiction is that it overrides other considerations.
     
  3. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    Sojourner
    In real life it may be how an addiction works, but the writers on the show have also shown a penchant for misleading us with the real intention of a scene. So, no. I don't have a "fundamental misunderstanding of addiction". I'm just factoring in how the writers like to twist expectations.
     
  4. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    Of course in a show that's dedicated to advertising a sobriety program whose effectiveness is mysterious and controversial, I wouldn't put it past the writers if they get things wrong. The idea that it might be a ploy seems silly to me, but it is not mutually exclusive with Holmes being on the verge of relapse. The heroin might be a "ploy" to get Watson's attention without pretending in the least. Or he might intend to ritually destroy it in front of her and make a speech how he will work to make their collaboration work even with her moving out.

    The scene was unambiguous though, I think it's pretty clear what the heroin there was intended to stand for, so far nothing suggests it is anything else, and anything (with the possible exception of him throwing it out) is a bit far-fetched. It is strange though, the transition to him going to MI6 was a bit abrupt. It seems to be what you people suggest – he clearly believes that he needs MI6 to not relapse, but still, the connection between the scenes leaves something open to the imagination.

    Since this heroin arc is the first (?) time the show has shown Sherlock admitting to himself and the audience that openly he is close to relapse, for a second there I thought this might be about a case. But that's ridiculous, especially for a season cliffhanger, and especially with the suggestions earlier in the season. Still, that doesn't mean we can't debate it as a possibility! (Especially if it involves aliens. Then we definitely should.)
     
  5. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2000
    Location:
    South Pennsyltucky
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    ^Thanks for the plug!
     
  7. Snaploud

    Snaploud Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2001
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Thanks for the link. Good job with that article, Christopher. I agree completely. :techman:
     
  8. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 20, 2001
    Location:
    West Haven, UT, USA
    Great article, Christopher. 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.
     
  9. cardinal biggles

    cardinal biggles Happy Little Tree Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2001
    Location:
    Here, There & Everywhere
    Excellent article, Christopher. It sums up a lot of my thoughts about both series, and particularly how Elementary has surpassed Sherlock in terms of my personal enjoyment. The third season of Sherlock was especially irritating, whereas Elementary grew and matured. I'll continue to watch Sherlock, but I would also tune in for a 90-minute Masterpiece special "Benedict Cumberbatch Reads the Lower Manhattan Phone Book". :p
     
  10. Teelie

    Teelie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 1, 1999
    I also noticed some of the comments in the article defending Sherlock were frequently of the nature of Sherlock itself. Many of them seemed to be the more immature and brashly excitable kinds. I didn't read too many and almost none I did see were defending Elementary which leads me to believe there's a lot of Sherlock fans making the rounds to tear down Elementary for daring to be better in the eyes of some.

    That said, I do like both shows equally, but because they are both so different in their tones and interpetations that comparing them shouldn't be necessary.
     
  11. Australis

    Australis Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    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.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    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.
     
  13. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 20, 2001
    Location:
    West Haven, UT, USA
    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.
     
  14. Dennis

    Dennis The Wind Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2013
    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 was entirely reasonable for BBC to look askance at what CBS did.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    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.



    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.
     
  16. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2000
    Location:
    South Pennsyltucky
    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.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    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.



    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.


    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.
     
  18. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 20, 2001
    Location:
    West Haven, UT, USA
    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.
     
  19. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2000
    Location:
    South Pennsyltucky
    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.)
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    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.