tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (nice not being me)
[personal profile] tardis_stowaway
God damn it, I had a whole long post that LJ just ate.  >:(  Now I have to rewrite the whole thing.

So, I've been watching Elementary.  I wasn't wild about it at first (other than Lucy Liu, who is wonderful), and I fell behind for a while.  I've finally caught up, and I have to say that it has improved a LOT lately.  I'm really pleased to see it finally hit its stride.  It's great to get a regularly scheduled dose of onscreen Holmes and Watson.  In my opinion, Sherlock is still clearly the better made show as well as MUCH closer to my heart, but I am excited to live in a time that is so rich with diverse interesting Holmes adaptations. 

One of the chief reasons why I feel like the episodes from "M" onwards have been an improvement over the early season is that the stakes are higher.  In the early episodes, Joan and Sherlock were hardly ever in danger.  Many early episodes had no fighting or even running.  I don't usually watch police procedurals, so that may be a characteristic of Elementary's genre?  Certainly not every canon case involved haste and personal danger to Holmes and Watson.  However, I just find it more interesting when the characters I know and care about face some sort or risk and urgency.  Elementary has been much better about embracing the adventure aspect of the Sherlock Holmes stories lately.  Joan Watson (despite her sad lack of the usual Watsonian army background) even got to smash a killer over the head with Sherlock's phrenology bust.

Another one of Elementary's recent improvements has been the shift in the relationship between Sherlock and Joan to something based on more genuine friendship.  When Elementary initially had Sherlock and Joan brought together by Holmes's father hiring Joan against Sherlock's will, it violated one of the core principles of the Holmes stories.  I would consider an adaptation with Holmes and Watson as obvious lovers to be far less of a departure from the spirit of canon than making them a professional and a grudging client instead of flatmates of choice who rapidly become friends.  Now that we've finally reached the point where Joan is no longer paid to be there and Sherlock admits that he wants her around, they are finally looking more like the latest variation on Holmes and Watson rather than just some American TV characters who had famous names slapped on in an effort for ratings. 

Some other things I've enjoyed about Elementary lately:

-Clyde the tortoise!  I hope he makes many more adorable appearances.  (I only wish he was named Gladstone.)

-Joan calling Sherlock on his bullshit when he made an offensive joke about her being on her period.  Well played, Joan.

-Joan getting to make lots of successful deductions, including both those based on her medical background (like realizing that the serial killer's sister was artificially inducing her kidney disease) and those based on pure observational skills and smarts (like realizing that her landlord was plotting to evict her based on a continuity error in the porn film the subletter filmed in her apartment)

-Joan's wardrobe

-Joan in general

-the appearance of Moran and references to Moriarty, giving us some sort of continuing mystery plot arc.

-Gregson punching Sherlock when he deserved it.  Somewhere in the parallel universe of BBC Sherlock, Lestrade feels a mysterious sense of satisfaction.

-canon references, like Sherlock mentioning a past case with a blue carbuncle, his catalog of tobacco ash, and the picture of Napoleon on his Moriarty wall.  (One canon reference that made me thoroughly UNHAPPY was the invocation of Irene Adler.  Gone is Doyle's woman who outwitted Sherlock and walked away.  Here, Irene Adler is nothing more than a past lover who was fridged to give Sherlock backstory for his slide into addiction and his grudge against M.  OCEANS OF NOPE.  But enough about that source of anti-squee.)

-references to other fandom-ish stuff, like the safe builders called Casterly Rock Security (almost certainly a Game of Thrones reference) or the guest character named Harold Dresden (possible Dresden Files reference, or maybe I'm just reaching)

-As a sort of combination of the previous two bullet points, in the latest episode multiple characters proclaimed "I believe in Sherlock Holmes."  The noise I made the first time this line was spoken was loud enough to terrify my cat.  Yeah, this is obvious pandering to the internet-based Sherlockian fandom, but sometimes I like being pandered to.

I believe in a big tent approach to Sherlock Holmes adaptations.  To me Elementary plays second fiddle to the BBC's version (and that's just when we're considering these two modernizations), but sometimes multiple fiddles in counterpoint can produce more interesting music than
even the most skilled fiddler alone.
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