Hands down, the best new series on American TV this past season was Elementary. Indeed, it was so good, the Brits picked it up immediately. Johnnie Lee Miller has become an instant star, and Lucy Lieu and Aidan Quinn already ones. Now that the some 24 episode season has come to a dramatic end, and the DVD will be out in a month, it’s time to take stock of what just happened and what makes such a show work.
First of all, one of the things that makes this show work is that, unlike Sherlock the BBC show with Cumberbatch and Martin which is also excellent, this show involves all original stories and plot line, not rehashes or reboots of older Conan Doyle stories. The second thing that makes this series work is it’s consistently excellent story lines, and of course the quirkiness and deductive brilliance of Holmes. Having Watson be Holmes doctor friend cum sober companion, and having Watson be a woman can only be called a master stroke. We can debate whether the same is true when it comes to Morarity. Thirdly, setting the story in NYC works well since there is constantly crime to be investigated and human misbehavior on display. The setting contributes a great deal to the ethos and character of this story. The NY police are truthfully, frequently overwhelmed by the bad and bizarre sorts of wickedness that crops up regularly in their territory. A little help from consulting detectives like Holmes and Watson is needed.
Fifthly, Holmes and Watson as individuals and in their relationship are constantly evolving. These are not static characters nor do we have lame-brained villains incapable of logical thinking. It takes Sherlock at his deductive best to solve some of these mysteries.
Add to all this the humor, NY attitude, striking visuals, interesting music, especially at the close of episodes, and the ability to make the audience actually think and work through what is happening, and ladies and gentleman you have intelligent TV that is also entertaining not mind-numbing. I am happy to report that season two has been scheduled. Stay tuned.