CBS recently announced that they will be airing the one hour drama Elementary starting in the fall and have released a preview of the show.
And while Elementary is described as a “modern take” on the enduring legend of Sherlock Holmes, the changes CBS have made ruin everything that’s awesome about the pipe-smoking consulting detective.
Here are 4 reasons Elementary is a blasephemous take on Sherlock Holmes:
1. THEY TURNED WATSON INTO A HOT ASIAN CHICK
John Watson is a former military doctor. He’s seen front-line combat, has had trouble readjusting to post-war life and unlike Sherlock Holmes, is a truly chivalrous SOB who has an eye for the ladies.
In Elementary, the character of Dr. Watson has been adapted into “Joan Watson” (Lucy Liu), a M.D. who becomes Sherlock’s sober coach after he comes to New York to enter a rehab facility for an addiction.
The premise of the show is that after Holmes is released from treatment he decides to stick around NYC with the female Watson and help the NYPD solve cases.
I’m sure the network executives over at CBS think they’re hip, progressive and clever by switching up Watson’s race and gender and calling her “Joan” instead of “John.” But if it ain’t broke, you don’t fix it.
The bond between a male Sherlock Holmes and male Dr. Watson is one of the most legendary literary bromances of all time and has endured for over a century for a reason. You don’t just chuck that out the window and wedge in some exotic hottie with hooters after 125 years.
Look, I’m not saying CBS shouldn’t be free to play with the Holmes / Watson dynamic — Lord knows the Fox show House just ended a successful 8 year run and their main character was essentially Sherlock Holmes with a stethoscope whose trusted friend and confidant was a doctor named “Wilson.”
But there’s a difference between creating a show that’s inspired by classic literature and doing an official adaptation of a revered piece of source material.
Hell, procedural-happy CBS could still slot this thing between their CSIs and NCIS’s, keep its title as Elementary and use the same damn premise — but there’s no need for them to commit sacrilege by calling their drastically altered versions of the famous duo Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
5 bucks says the show’s theme song will by The Who.
2. THE SHOW IS SET IN NEW YORK CITY
You don’t take away Superman’s cape. You don’t move Batman out of Gotham City.
You don’t send Huck Finn on a raft down the Singapore River and you sure as shit don’t relocate Sherlock f**king Holmes from London to New York.
Certain fictional characters exist in cities that are absolutely intrinsic to their identities, and when you screw with that, you lose a huge chunk of what makes them special.
3. IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO TOP BBC’S SHERLOCK
This point makes CBS’s upcoming show seem like an even dumber idea, as it’s literally impossible for Elementary to top the BBC’s critically acclaimed ongoing series Sherlock.
The British adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work is a truly remarkable feat.
From having Sherlock use tech skills to outwit and embarrass Scotland Yard detectives, to John Watson returning from the post 9/11 war in Afghanistan (Watson was originally a vet of the Anglo-Afghan war) and chronicle Holmes’ mysteries via a blog rather than journal, to updating romantic interest Irene Adler from “well-known adventuress” to an upscale dominatrix who services high end clientele — it’s ingenius.
The BBC production has struck a delicate balance between the past and present and managed to modernize the legendary detective in a way that both honours the original work and reinvigorates a centuries-old hero.
4. CBS CAN’T GET SHERLOCK HOLMES RIGHT
You might be surprised to learn that this isn’t the first time CBS has tried to adapt Sherlock Holmes for the small screen. They’ve done it twice before, and both times it was an absolute disaster.
Amazingly, the previous attempts to bring the consulting detective to TV had even worse premises than Elementary as they both featured a cryogenically-frozen Sherlock Holmes awakening in a modern US city and teaming up with a female Watson character.
The morons at CBS are so utterly convinced that a Sherlock Holmes show with a female sidekick is a recipe for success that Elementary will be their third desperate attempt in 25 years to try and establish a formula that clearly doesn’t work.