Elementary Renewed Cancelled

Elementary on the Bubble: Keep or Cut?

By mid-May, the broadcast networks must make some tough calls as to which series will return for the 2017-18 TV season, and which… won’t.

As that deadline draws near, TVLine is singling out a few “bubble” shows and sizing up their prospects — based in large part on creative strides (and stumbles) and future potential, but also with a requisite nod to cold, hard numbers.

Next up is CBS’ long-running take on the Sherlock Holmes canon.

THE SHOW | CBS’ Elementary (Sundays at 10/9c)

THE CASE FOR KEEPING | For those who prefer procedural dramas, Elementary is still a solidly crafted investigative hour featuring understated, thoughtful performances from leads Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu. It’s unsurprising, then, that the series shines most when highlighting the bond between Sherlock and Watson, whose platonic dynamic is a refreshing change of pace from TV’s many “will they or won’t they?” duos. Nelsan Ellis’ criminal-turned-wannabe sleuth Shinwell Johnson has been a welcome addition this season, bringing edge, intrigue and a new perspective to Sherlock and Watson’s world. He’s the kind of new blood the show needs if it wants to avoid getting stale and continue solving crimes for another year.

THE CASE FOR CUTTING | There’s no denying that five seasons in, Elementary has lost the novelty factor of its buzzy premise — Watson is a woman! — and has settled into a familiar case-of-the-week pattern. With no heavily serialized storylines, frequently revisited mythology or consistent romances, a certain level of excitement and the need to tune in every week are missing. Some of the most interesting and more personal plot points — Joan’s half-sister, Papa Holmes and Moriarty’s organization — are only occasionally touched upon, despite having a wealth of story potential. (Yes, that is probably partially due to logistic/scheduling problems that are out of the producers’ control — come back to us, Natalie Dormer! — but it still hurts.)

Then there are the ho-hum numbers: Season-to-date, Elementary is averaging 5.1 million viewers and a 0.7 demo rating‚ down just a tick from last year’s Sunday run (of eight episodes) — which, all things considered, isn’t that tragic, given the umpteen times football bumps it into the wee hours of the night. That said, among CBS shows, it is currently only topping low-buzz midseason drama Ransom in the key ratings demo — which starts making it look like chum come renewal time.

Vote below, and then state your own case for keeping or cutting Elementary.

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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158 Comments
  1. Padraig Tipton says:

    It’s my favorite TV series right now. The mysteries are complex and the show makes you pay attention…it’s not something you can half-watch. I need at least two more years!

    • Tv viewer says:

      I like it because it’s intelligent and touching,charming and engaging, brillant and funny. Like these incarnations of Holmes and Watson themselves.

      Sure, the novelty is gone but the show has always been more than that and it is the best modern day version of Sherlock Holmes I’ve seen.

  2. mikeam1978 says:

    I hope they keep it. The show has always been good but this current season has been it’s best since season two. And I find the lack of serialization refreshing. I’m much more into case-of-the-week type stuff than a single storyline stretched over 22 episodes, which more often than not ends up suffering from filler and a feeling of “just get on with it already.”

  3. Katherine215 says:

    I really enjoy this show and would love for it to continue. That said, it’s had a good run and I wouldn’t be surprised if they do cancel it. If it manages to stick around, I’d like to see a little more serialization next season, as I think that’s missing aside from the Shinwell arc.

  4. Davin Peterson says:

    I thinks CBS made a big mistake moving the show to Sunday night’s. In the fall, during the football season, the show was frequently delayed on the east coast due to the football game running late. As a result, many people were upset and ratings dropped. Also, it was pre-empted several times in Jan & Feb due to awards shows and the Superbowl.

    CBS has cancelled shows in their 5th season before, so I would not be surprised if CBS cancels the show.

    • KLS says:

      Elementary moved to Sundays@10 in March 2016. It was only pre-empted or pushed back due to late ending football games for the 2017 season. The Superbowl was on FOX this year, so that had no affect. Elementary’s ratings were weak in it’s old slot, Th@10, that’s why it was moved to Sundays, to be burned off. It should have been cancelled after season 4, but it got a huge syndcation deal which extended it’s life for season 5.

    • Heda O'Brien says:

      I agree- Sunday nights kills shows because of football cutting into the time slot- This adds to lower ratings- which do not truly reflect the viewers taste. This show is smart, intelligent- does not depend on special effects , car chases- gratuitous violence- a refreshing change

    • You are correct. Being moved to Sun nights is the kiss of death. Love this show.

  5. BadPenny says:

    I think the show can go another year, but it definitely needs a little better writing. It needs a new hook. As you say, female Watson has run its course, as has drugs, moriarty, etc. It needs something new to make it a little more distinctive at this point.
    .
    I do not really see anything else being put on Sunday nights by CBS that can fill the slot any better. So unless it is a cost issue – filming in NYC, actors’ salaries, etc – every Sunday night program is going to deal with sports delays, etc.

  6. GraceM says:

    I tried watching it but always had a hard time understaning Jonny Lee Miller with his natural British accent. Never had a problem with his American accent on Eli Stone.

    • Lynn says:

      I tend to turn on the subtitles for this show as well as some others. Definitely helps.

    • nuschler12 says:

      I also use closed captioning for this and ALL British shows. The writing is VERY good…and Jonny Lee Miller’s little asides are great. Things I missed without CC.
      Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s “Sherlock) have starred together and compete for the Olivier Award in the UK each year.
      I just watched the four part miniseries of “Emma” and Jonny played the male lead George Knightley. You can’t take your eyes off him even when he is in the background. He is also in other ITV, BBC shows such as Inspector Morse etc.

      The great thing with actors from the UK is that they ALL began and continue in Shakespearean plays. Delightfully wonderful, quick witted, and their facial and body expressions are outstanding–need to be seen in those stage plays!

      Jonny is superb and I would miss him terribly. Lucy Liu? How does she have so many outfits? Where’s her five walk-in closets. She never even wears the same winter coats each episode while Sherlock is content with a navy pea coat or green army jacket!

      For anyone who has never watched Elementary, just watch the two minute Youtube video of the pilot. Wow! As Jonny says to an astonished Joan Watson “Spot on!”

  7. Betty says:

    It is funny, intelligent, and always interesting. It seems when I find a show that makes me think, it gets replaced by a reality show or something that is silly and mindless entertaient

  8. Ryan says:

    Keep it, but they need to be careful with their season long-arcs. I’m not a fan of the story line involving the new character…especially compared to season 4’s John Noble.

  9. Katrinka says:

    I love Elementary. It’s an intelligent & different take on the typical police procedural. It’s witty, clever (the writers often live Tweet with fun facts) & one of the few shows I devote 100% of my attention to while it’s airing.

  10. Lynn says:

    Love this show! Intelligent & funny!

  11. bostongreekgirl (@BostonGreekgirl) says:

    KEEP KEEP KEEP!

  12. Steven Barnes says:

    I do agree it’s lost some of it’s appeal. The main leads dynamic hasn’t changed much. the stories are still alright, but if it goes to a season 6 there needs to be a story arc worth watching. Sherlock, his father and the assassination attempt arc was a relief from just the “mystery of the week” format. It’s a procedural so it would be nice if the NYPD characters actually investigated as opposed to setting things up for Sherlock et al.

  13. Jason says:

    I always hate this discussion because the only reason I would say to cut a show is if it was legitimately terrible, which Elementary certainly isn’t. It waxes and wanes in my esteem but it’s never less than enjoyable. Like any long running show, it finds itself in the occasional rut, but that never the grounds for immediate dismissal. Whether I watch a show or not, (in this case I do) I feel that any creative endeavor deserves to end on it’s own terms. So, if they decide call it quits, I hope they give Elementary atleast the same benefit of a shortened wrap up season, as they did The Mentalist and Person of Interest. And as far as poor ratings go, I refuse to base my judgement on that. Numbers are the bane of a tv fans existence and I’ll never give the executives in ivory towers my blessing to execute a show based on such cold calculations.

  14. Amanda says:

    I would like them to keep it and have a final season where they could bring back Moriarty, Morland, Mycroft, and many of the other Sherlock characters and wrap up the stories. That said if it is cancelled I will miss it but with so much on TV now I’ll be ok losing it. I’ve loved every version of Sherlock and liked how this one was more drawn out and did the case of the week storylines, as the more serialized version is the BBC/PBS “Sherlock”.

  15. canadian ninja says:

    I realize the ratings aren’t good enough but I still think this is the best procedural on network tv, with the best character dynamics and yes please bring me another Moriarty episode (or six).

  16. Emma says:

    My favorite show, I will watch it right away. Even when I am not home I will find a tv on Sunday night for watching.

  17. Sharon Cooke says:

    Johnny Lee Miller? Always watchable!

  18. Ram510 says:

    NO! Cancel

  19. Marc says:

    Whatever CBS puts on Sunday nights at 10 will pull numbers like this. During much of football season, live viewers will only find it if they watch the rest of the Sunday night lineup live, while it is a mess to record for DVRers. The show is still good. Let it run until the actors’ initial contracts run out, probably after season 6 or 7, after which it will be too expensive to continue.

  20. jericho says:

    The show was great in its first 2 years, but even with its second wind this season it needs to be let go. Give it the same CBS treatment that PoI got. Give it a 10-13 episode final season to wrap stuff up and be done with it.

  21. Stephanie G. says:

    Keep it but put it on a different night so late NFL games on CBS don’t screw up my DVR. Seriously CBS schedulers, you KNOW the 3:30 CST games will go until AT LEAST 7 CST so maybe don’t shove 4 hours of programming after it. Elementary has taken a hit from being in a bad time slot. It’s a good show and it deserves better!

  22. Louise says:

    I would really like to stay but I don’t think it will make it. Besides I think Jonny wants to go back to Europe.

  23. Julie Pounders says:

    Keep but with new showrunner and writers and romance between the two leads.

  24. Andrea says:

    Keep. I enjoy it.

  25. Karen MT says:

    I have 8 (possible) episodes on my DVR, and more that I’m missing due to football delays. I’m not sure I really want to go back to watch them. Sure, the show was interesting in the beginning, but it became fairly rote the past year or so, and it can’t really keep my interest when my DVR is full with other shows I’m behind on.

  26. Sharon says:

    This was originally a must watch for me, but lost it’s way somehow. I watch it occasionally, but don’t DVR it or try to catch up on it.

  27. Elizabeth says:

    Why must the good shows come to an end?😭 First Psych and now possibly Elementary.

  28. Temperance says:

    Love both of the leads, but I never warmed to this show at all. I’d like to see them get different gigs.

  29. Mike Jerema says:

    Love the show. Shinwell not so much. Possibly a crossover show with Cardinal cast. Sherlock could go to Algonquin Lake and help out with a murder there with a New York City connection. In the middle of winter. Or there could be an episode where they go to China (Beijing) and help solve a mystery surrounding a murdered family member of Joan’s.

    • The Shinwell subplot is tedious. Nelson Ellis has gone from treasured supporting character (True Blood) to the Debbie Downer role he plays on Elementary. Aiden Quinn is an outstanding actor, but is wasted on the show. I only watch because I like Jonny Lee Miller’s portrayal. The writing is randomly good or bad, depending on the week, which is a sign that the show runner is either incompetent or not in control of the show.

  30. Lady Saluzzo says:

    I really look forward Elementary every week. Mostly because I enjoy Miller and Liu’s performances so much. And I agree that Nelsan Ellis’s Shinwell has been a really enjoyable addition this season.

  31. Imzadi says:

    I like having the case of the week; due to its Sunday night timeslot, it is often preempted for award shows etc. or runs late due to football, so, if there is a gap between episodes, no real harm done.

  32. Lisa Echerd says:

    Move it to another night. CBS only needs two programs following 60 Minutes on Sunday night because for half the season, everything is delayed. Add a long running storyline. Drop Shinwell. Bring back the half sister. If the actress isn’t available, recast – I can’t even remember the one they had. Give Sherlock OR Joan, but not both, another love interest. Add a Marcus backstory to an episode or two.

  33. MattH. says:

    I think it has been seriously underrated for years, and it deserves another season. There has been no decrease in quality storytelling: the mysteries are as complex as ever, and the stars are still engaging and have great chemistry.

    I’ll bet you if you put it on after NCIS, it’d be pulling the same numbers that BULL is pulling. The time slot is the main reason for the show’s paltry numbers.

  34. I’ve loved this show since day one. I think it’s as good today as it was in the beginning. They’ve managed to add and remove characters at a perfect pace and with a thoughtful mind.

  35. Billy Bob Johnson says:

    Definite KEEPer. Just move it out of the Sunday 10:00 PM Death Slot. How about Tuesday at 10:00? You can move NCIS: New Orleans to Sunday at 10:00.

  36. McSatan says:

    While I will admit that I’m watching out of habit now more than anything else, it is a quality show, the leads are great and supporting cast are great (I really like Detective Bell) and it doesn’t seem very expensive to produce compared to other shows. I like to see it return but if it gets cancelled I will be happy that we got 5 seasons.

  37. mike says:

    Moriarty was a completely let down/boor. was over way to quick. Natalie of course is awesome and I get the scheduling stuff, but still. They had a hook…and the let it get away. I like the show but I probably wouldn’t miss it if it was gone

  38. Mgo Azul says:

    Are you nuts???!!! CBS this is the best show on television and the #1 main reason ” why” people even watch network TV ..It is well written, well acted, great stories….A definite keep !???

  39. Mgo Azul says:

    Are you nuts CBS????!!! This is the best show on Network TV with great acting, sophisticated plots , and so enjoyable to watch as it is both intellectual and entertaining with more than a bit of humor thrown in at times for good measure! Definitely KEEP! Great show!

  40. georgee says:

    I sure hope if CBS pulls the pin on this good show, they give fans a shortened season and a good ending, like they did with the Mentalist and Person of Interest. We lost another good show in 2016, Castle and that network ABC only gave the fans a 30 second ending after 8 seasons, telling the millions of fans too bad get over. I feel CBS is smarter than that.

  41. Emma Esme says:

    I love this show and would devastated to see it go. Until just now I had no idea it was even on the cutting board!! I agree with everything in your case to keep it, I think Jonny and Lucy work beautifully together on screen and I ADORE that this is NOT a show about whether or not they will get together. I also really enjoyed the addition of Nelsen this season and I was hoping they would continue his story line when he was introduced.
    As far as your cut reasons, perhaps it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but the case-of-the-week is what keeps me watching. I really love the writing in this show and each episode is something new and fresh to me. Hubs and I really enjoyed that the last episode was about gamers. Haha. I have experienced shows where I start to lose interest, this is NOT one of them! Though, I could never lose interest in Jonny’s portrayal of Sherlock, I love it!
    I don’t miss having the previous major story lines, I feel like the touching on them that we do get, is a nod to the fact that the writers have not forgotten. To me, each new season has it’s one major over arching story line. This season it’s about Shinwell for me.
    In my book, this show strays away from the stereotypical makings of television, the consistent romances and overarching main bad guys and to me, that’s what makes it wonderful!

  42. lrdslvrhnd says:

    I actually appreciate the lack of “mythology” and serialized storylines. Not every show needs a deeper mystery that they’re working on every week which gets miraculously solved in the last 10 minutes of the season finale. Just look at Castle and the hot mess that LokSat turned into.

  43. Elaine says:

    One of my favourite TV shows, I hope it is continued

  44. Polarbear says:

    Out of all the shows I watch, Elementary is my favourite. There is such a beauty to Millers and Lius performance that it makes it an utter pleasure to watch.

  45. Malcolm Balshaw says:

    As a brit that watches it each week I would love the to be renewed. Of all the shows that I watch it is far and away my favourite. It’s much better than Sherlock on the BBC which in the last 2 series has been dire.

    It’s never really had a bad season which is more than I can say for a lot of shows.

    • Mike Jerema says:

      As a Canuck,I find this version of Sherlock more realistic and captivating for the North American audience. In the first season I had a bit of a hard time wrapping my head around the premise of the show but after three episodes I became a fan. It suffers only because it is much more intellectual than the average show that Americans are use to watching during prime time. Elementary does well in syndication and it would be in CBS ‘s best interests to keep the show another 2 or 3 years if for solely that purpose alone. The original Stars Trek series only lasted a couple of seasons yet it has spawned a 50 year legacy of syndication, spinoffs, conventions, double digit major motion pictures and merchandising as well as probably the largest world wide fan base of any TV show in the history of television

  46. Mateen says:

    Weather you like or not is the most realistic Sherlock possible. They show that Sherlock is intelligent but the most important thing about what he does is perspective.As we see that Watson becomes an individual investigater who works as good as Sherlock himself in his absence and we see that for solving some cases Sherlock doesnt sleep for days.I hate *Sherlock* series /BBC/ coz there you see that Sherlock predicts all things from a bloody week before!

  47. Nida Stutzke says:

    I am a big fan from the Netherlands! I loooooove Lucy, please keep the show!

  48. JWDB says:

    Keep, but only with a #NewShowrunner, #NewWriters. This majority white male staff, run by a white male and written for white males (eSports??? Really???) is in more than just a rut. #Elementary is in desperate need of new blood behind the scenes, who can write up to their actors’ emotional potentials, instead of twisting themselves into knots coming up with ridiculous Murder, She Wrote: Brownstone plots ad infinitum.

    Nothing ever happens on screen either. It’s the most static series on air — with people sitting at tables and talking to each other for long stretches. Key character scenes are missing, because they’ve got to cram literally 30 pages of exposition into a 42 minute show.

    As you note, interesting characters are introduced and never seen again. Add to that, no consistent antagonists and zero personal growth for the main characters, and it’s a wonder to me why CBS hasn’t addressed these really serious creative issues since they first cropped up way back in Season 2. Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller deserve so much better than this.

  49. Mare says:

    Please keep it!

  50. Kathy Cramer says:

    Much more Aiden Quinn, get rid of the girlfriend. Can’t stand Lucy Liu. Never have understood consultants interrogating suspects, just giving police the information is all they should do. Love Captain Gregson, not in it enough like he was at first.

    • nuschler12 says:

      What “girlfriend?” Joan Watson? Dr. Watson is Sherlock Holmes partner. (“Elementary my dear Watson!)
      You don’t understand the use of consultants? Aiden Quinn as Tommy Gregson was the consultant for Scotland Yard which is where he met Sherlock and invited him to NYC. And he “isn’t in it as much” as he is a full time Broadway stage actor.

      The writing is brilliant, actors are great. Plot lines off beat and superb.

      It’s really too bad you don’t like it as it is one of the best shows on TV right now. Sure beats the “new” Hawai’i 5-0…guess because that is my home and they make us look like idiots!