Thursday, September 27, 2012

Elementary (Pilot)

"Pilot" (101)
Air date: Sept 27, 2012

Former doctor Joan Watson takes an assignment as sober companion to Sherlock Holmes and finds herself dragged into a murder investigation. 

It's day one for Joan Watson, a paid sober companion, hired by a wealthy Brit to keep an eye on his son Sherlock Holmes, now in New York City after a major drug incident lands him in rehab. Watson, on her way to retrieve Sherlock from the hospital, receives a call that he's broken himself out just hours before his release. 

Watson finds Holmes already reestablished in one of his father's properties, a residence he can keep residing in so long as he stays sober and goes along with his father's orders to keep Watson around. Holmes has determined that he doesn't need traditional counseling, just to stay busy so he takes back up his London business of consult for the police. And as it is the job of a "valet" (Holmes choice for how to explain Watson's presence) is required to accompany him to work, she is forced to go with him to the scene of an apparent kidnapping, which Holmes discovers was actually a murder. 

Over the course of the investigation Holmes pulls several feats of astute observation which not surprisingly lead to the killer. It's Sherlock Holmes, of course they would find the killer. Although it's actually Watson who finds the final clue, owing to the fact that Holmes was in jail for the night after crashing Watson's car. 

There are several details to this modern version of Holmes and Watson that might make it feel like a copy of the now two seasons old BBC Sherlock -- the two living together, Holmes use of his smart phone for looking up various bits of information, the "Good" upper level cop that admires Holmes and asks for his help versus the "Bad" lower level cop that begrudgingly allows Holmes to do his thing, the Asperger's type social issues. But this is no carbon copy. Miller's Holmes lacks the egotistical nature of his parallel. He shows distaste for being right when they find the body, not delight at the puzzle they are facing. He concocts a plausible story for why he thinks Watson stopped practicing medicine knowing that it was bunk but wanting to spare her feelings. He is more willingly to admit when he has screwed up with a witness when called on it (well eventually). He's tattooed and scruffy, not all cheekbones and upturned collars. Even Watson is different. She's quicker to try her hand at some observation herself, getting a nod from Sherlock in the process. And she's much quicker to call him on his bull, especially on his talk about sex and his fears of trying to connect to people. These little bits make this a much different take on the story that is neither better or worse than the BBCs. Well aside from the fact that we don't have to wait as much as a year between very short seasons. That is a very nerve wracking fact of life when it comes to British TV. 

This is standard police fare typical of CBS and these cases could be on any of their cop shows. Much of Holmes quirks and behavior would be labeled as typical of anyone with an extremely high IQ (Genius and 'madness' coming hand in hand and all that). And in truth they could have gone with a made up 'inspired by Sherlock Holmes' genius with a drug issue and an ex doc without actually using Holmes and Watson literally and it really wouldn't make a huge difference. Because what will set this show apart from just another cop show is the relationships. Particularly that between Holmes and Watson. Of course they will become partners of one degree or another and eventually friends. These are facts of the story that aren't likely to be violated. But the destination isn't really important. It's the journey. And this one seems like it will be a very enjoyable one to go on. 

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Featured Music
Optimist by Zoe Keating
Legions (Aftermath) by Zoe Keating
Young Blood by The Naked and the Famous
We Insist by Zoe Keating
Watching the Detectives by Elvis Costello

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