With the fall season now in full swing, I've started to pick and choose how I want to spend my television-viewing time (to add a little fun to the mix, my DVR has been on the fritz, so I'm never even sure I'll get to watch the things I record). One new show that caught my eye is Elementary, starring Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes and Lucy Liu as Watson. It's supposed to be based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, but as with most television shows and movies, it takes a lot of artistic license, which was immediately clear by the fact that Watson is a woman.
Overall, I like Elementary. It's one of those mystery shows where the main character puts together a vast array of seemingly unrelated observations and tidbits to come up with a solution to the crime. This holds true to the original stories of Sherlock Holmes and really keeps my attention focused. I'm always amazed at how the writers for similar shows come up with these puzzles week after week and still manage to keep the shows feeling fresh.
I have two problems with Elementary so far. One is that Holmes is not a likable character. In the first ten minutes alone, he was so obnoxious that I considered changing the channel. The thing that kept me tuned in is that pilot episodes tend to be way over the top. Characters are exaggerated and behavior borders on the unrealistic. Castle is currently one of my favorite shows, but I almost didn't make it through the first episode. However, I knew that in subsequent weeks, the exaggerated bits would settle down and the show would find its rhythm. I hope that's the case with Elementary.
My other problem is that Elementary constantly reminds me of The Mentalist. Watson's job on the show is to keep Holmes in check, must like Lisbon has to babysit Patrick Jane much of the time. There's one scene in particular where Holmes badgers a woman to the point where she demands he leave and Watson has to stay behind to apologize to the woman. I found myself thinking, "That's exactly what Lisbon would do." While I love The Mentalist, I don't know if I want to watch a show that is so similar that I'm constantly making comparisons. I'd rather watch a different show.
But it's only the first week, and these issues are fairly minor. If the writers keep the cases and solutions strong and believable, I'll still tune in. I'm willing to give the show a few episodes before I decide if it gets a permanent place in my DVR schedule (provided my DVR is working, that is).