Are Elementary's Holmes and Watson a Crime-Solving Dream Team?

ElementaryIs TV big enough for two Sherlocks? With the premiere of its new crime-solving drama, Elementary, on Thursday night, CBS certainly hopes so. But we want your thoughts about the Eye network’s modern take on the famous detective.

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First, a brief refresher: While Jonny Lee Miller’s sleuth may share a name with the literary icon played by Benedict Cumberbatch in PBS’ Sherlock, the similarities pretty much end there. This version of Holmes has relocated to New York City, where he works as a consultant to the local police (headed up by Aidan Quinn’s Captain Toby Gregson) after coming off a stint in rehab. To add to the edge quotient: He’s got tats and has kinky sex with a Girl With the Dragon Tattoo-esque woman.

To keep him on the straight and narrow, Sherlock’s father has hired a live-in sober companion by the name of Dr. Joan Watson (Southland‘s Lucy Liu), who accompanies him on his investigations. Yes, the latest twist on this classic story is that the beloved sidekick is now a female, which adds a whole new element to what was once a bromance. But despite the gender swap, there’s no hanky panky here. For one, Sherlock’s keen, blunt observations about Joan — she used to be a surgeon until she screwed up and lost a patient — push her away until she realizes the source of his secret pain (something happened with a woman back in London). Plus, she has to admit she kind of loves what her new charge does for a living; not to mention, she’s good at it, too.

RELATED | Elementary Exclusive: Craig Bierko, Third Watch Alum Molly Price Pique Sherlock’s Interest

What say you, TVLine nation? Grade Elementary in the poll below and then hit the comments to back up your choice!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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156 Comments
  1. I really enjoyed it. I expected to like JLM as Holmes, because he’s a very good actor, but I actually found Liu as Watson to be even more riveting. I also liked the sort of low key style of this. It didn’t have that “shiny” quality that so many American crime shows have. I like that this Watson is more than able to stand up to Holmes. I also like that this Holmes is a little less infallible/more vulnerable, which to be honest I find a bit more interesting than the BBC/Cumberbatch portrayal, although I like that version too.

  2. Morisot says:

    Like posters have said, it’s like House/Psych/Mentalist/Monk. On another board someone made an interesting suggestion: Liu should be playing the Holmes’ role! Capital idea I say!

  3. tvdiva says:

    I watched and I was underwhelmed. It did not give me the same rush as the BBC Sherlock, or Perception – which I think does a great job for a procedural.

  4. Dreamrose says:

    One concern I have is with Lucy Liu’s Watson – not so much Liu’s acting abilities, but the way she was written. I’ve suspended my knee-jerk annoyance with the casting of a female Watson in favor of a more profound concern: Watson’s reason for leaving the medical profession. In the original stories (as in “Sherlock”) Watson was an army doctor who was injured in a battle and invalided home as a result. He was a hero, and, as was pointed out in both the original stories (see “The Dying Detective”) and “Sherlock”, a brilliant physician. In “Elementary”, we meet Joan Watson, a disgraced ex-surgeon who somehow screwed up and let a man die on her operating table, and who is now miserably eking out an existence as a professional sober companion. The comparison between John Watson and Joan is not very complimentary towards Joan.

    Of all the reasons to meet and move in with Sherlock Holmes, they’ve chosen malpractice. I deeply hope that we learn more about Joan that ameliorates the less than pleasant background they’ve thrust on the character.

  5. Cyn Mackley says:

    I liked it very much. Not the way I geek out for BBC’s Sherlock, but it’s a different take. The actors were good, the mood spot on. He is gruff and unlikable like Dr. House, but Dr. House is another take on Sherlock. I’ve enjoyed seeing everyone from Basil Rathbone to Matt Frewer to Hugh Laurie take a stab at the material and as long as it’s well made, I think it stands up. The characters were much sharper than the deductions in the pilot, but it seems like a talented team and I’m looking forward to more.

  6. Frizzle says:

    I find it interesting that there are actual “fights” about this show in the comments section.
    Anyhow, I just watched the premiere and I thought it was fun to watch. I don’t need to break down my feeling that was it, end of story; it was a fun watch and the characters where a nice little shake up of the originals. Plus it was something a little lighter in feel to watch after I was done with the emotional Grey’s Anatomy, haha.

  7. Wow. Moff has sand in his muff. You don’t like it? Ok. Other people do. Also Ok. Perspective. With or without law degrees – it’s a good thing.

  8. Paloma says:

    The BBC’s Sherlock is SOOOO much better.

  9. Pam says:

    Could not get through the first 10 minutes, Erased from my DVR

  10. JJ Michaels says:

    Can we PLEASE get back to discussing quality reality TV shows? zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz That’s what I thought. It was not bad. The B rating is pretty accurate if you put Person Of Interest and Major Crimes as decent A listers, and Animal Practice as a perfect F, then it fits right in with what is mostly garbage on television. And I’m not some sort of BBC snob either. All TV is mostly blown chunks of regurgitation.

  11. lara says:

    I’ve been missing JLM since Eli Stone and his short stint on Dexter. I thought that maybe they tried too hard to make Sherlock eccentric and it didn’t seem natural, but for the most part, I loved it!

  12. charissa29 says:

    I like the show especially as I love both Lucy Liu and Johnny Lee Miller (Fabulous Lord Byron!) but since they have made Sherlock a sexual, emotional being instead of solely a creature of intellect and brilliance it will be hard not to put them together. Their chemistry is wonderful. The british version will be hard to better though.

  13. Just finished watching and really enjoyed the premiere. I’ll keep tuning in and can’t wait to see how the characters progress.

  14. Kathryn says:

    Even as a dedicated BBC Sherlock fan, I just couldn’t bring myself to hate this show. I watched the pilot, thinking that I was going to dislike it, and found myself looking forward to next weeks episode. I think Watson as a girl could be intriguing, and I really liked Johnny Lee Miller’s new take on the classic character.

  15. Teresa says:

    I’ve been a fan of Sherlock Holmes since I was 10. When the new movies came out, I was concerned they would mess it up like all the remakes seemed to do, but I loved the updates and love the films. I hadn’t heard of the BBC version before, but I am interested.

    This version… it could be enjoyable… I like the guy playing Sherlock Holmes. He does a good job for what it is, and he was entertaining. But what took away my enjoyment was MISS Watson.

    I don’t mind strong female roles for what they are, but I couldn’t care less about feminism or arguments on “equality” (and I am female). It angers me greatly that they would replace Watson with a girl, presumably to cater to… I don’t even know who. It is IMPOSSIBLE for a female to have the same kind of relationship with Holmes as the Holmes/Watson “bro” friendship. I don’t care how the feminists howl, not all things are equal. I’m glad to hear that they do not plan to ruin it with sickening hormonal tension (because we don’t have enough of THAT on TV), but I think with only the two of them, that will fail eventually.

    The show should be really, really good. But thanks to the token female (women ruin everything :P ), it’s not. I thought I finally had a show I would enjoy watching. Back to netflix.

    • Alan says:

      please search out the bbc version, it is by far and away the best acted and written mystery series out there and it really rewards multiple viewings, i actually watch each new episode twice on the day it airs and many times after because im always catching little nuances in the actors performances or a line of dialogue will make much more sense having seen whats coming up later

  16. Annie says:

    I really enjoyed this – even more than I expected to. Sick and tired of “Sherlock” fans whining that this is a copy, when it pretty clearly isn’t; they spring from the same source material and are set in the present day, but otherwise the two shows couldn’t be more different. Also, while “Sherlock” is a very good show, it’s NOT a perfect one – the plot twists that seem oh-so-clever on first viewing don’t hold up to five minutes’ consideration afterward. Finally, if there wasn’t room for more than one interpretation of the characters, guess what? “Sherlock” would never have existed because Basil Rathbone got there first!

    Enough about the OTHER show. I thought “Elementary” was exceptionally well characterized and acted. JLM’s Holmes was believably brilliant, caustic and yet fallible, while Liu’s Watson was a revelation – I didn’t know either she or Watson had it in them. The mystery was not quite up to the level of the acting, but it was better than the majority of procedural dramas (particularly “Bones,” a show I like, but one where the murderer is almost always the second person Bones and Booth talk to.) Very much liked that while Holmes was the one to solve the case, Watson was the one who figured out how they could prove it – the bridge between Holmes’ quicksilver mind and the blunter needs of the real world. There’s sexual tension – but frankly, it’s subtler than it is on “Sherlock”!

    In conclusion: Sign me up!

  17. Ella says:

    I actually thought it was fantastic.

  18. S says:

    The fact is that they wanted to remake the BBC version for the U.S. audience and they couldn’t, so this is what we get. It was widely reported so there shouldn’t be much arguement on that matter folks.
    It came off as House with Cuddy as Watson to me. Sure Holmes used drugs in the books. Sure he was never good with people and he looked more to Watson to interface with them…But this version already is making Watson more the babysitter than the partner. The person who said that JLM came off more annoying than smart also (at least for me) had it dead on. I don’t think people should compare it to the BBC version because it really is House. How do you get people to answer questions? You insult them until someone on your team yells at you for being rude and getting the person upset and they kick you out of the room…after all that the person (being completely horrified by your outrageous behavior and calmed by your team’s presence and ability to have kick their boss out of the room) tells them everything that they have been hiding about their life.
    House would need to get angry and destroy things…so too does this character and ends up in jail. Just like House.
    House liked prostitutes…just like this Sherlock. Drugs…yup.
    This was CBS saying ‘oh House is off the air and we are really good at CSI type stuff so let’s do a House style CSI”