Why I love Elementary and will continue to do so

Alright. I am supposed to be doing work at the moment, but I cannot contain myself. There are many reasons. Reasons that matter and reasons that don’t matter. But there’s one reason that rises above all.

Sherlock and Joan. Holmes and Watson.

Yes. Oh my god. Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller. The absolute best duo. SHERLOCK AND JOAN. MY DEAR, DEAR HOLMES AND WATSON.

I left the work to come on here and tell you all about why they matter. Why their dynamic matters; why their adorableness, why their relationship, why their partnership and why their friendship matters.

I left the work that is supposed to be due tomorrow, and if I don’t complete it, then well. Let’s just say that it will most certainly not be a good thing.

Alright back to the mission. Right.

Holmes and Watson in Elementary. Why they matter. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I ask that you put everything down right now, because this is much more important than all your petty duties. Yes, I know, I am being a hypocritical prick right now and my sincere apologies for that. But this is very, very important.

I’ve seen television shows. Numerous ones with detailed plots, interesting characters, very engrossing storyline. But nothing has appealed to me for more than a month or so. Until I saw Elementary. Before Elementary started, I liked Sherlock. I wasn’t an obsessed fan shipping Johnlock or fangirling about Benedict Cumberbatch.; nothing like that. I simply liked the TV show. I liked the dramatic storyline, the tension in the plots, the interaction between characters, and of course a great Moriarty. When I first heard about Elementary before its premiere in September 2012, I was right on the fence. I didn’t hate the idea neither did I unconditionally adore it. The only thing I preferred about it at that moment was a female Watson.

Yes. I’ve heard reactions from others. The reasons for my liking of a gender change for Watson, was the implication of a different dynamic for the two. Nothing romantic, of course. Something new, something different. People have dared to do things, and honestly there are two sides. Rise into the sky, or fall through the crevasse. I was hoping for the former, and it didn’t disappoint. Then the first season premiere arrived with all its glory on 27th September 2012. The pilot. Now, honestly, that was very, very surprising. Nothing I expected it to be. And really, it takes a lot to surprise me.

This was the very first time I’d seen Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu. It was different. I didn’t know these actors very well, but I knew the characters they were playing, very well. Being a massive fan and avid collector of the Sherlock Holmes books by the very Arthur Conan Doyle, I expected the same storyline at the very least. But no. Holmes was an addict, and Watson, his sober companion. It was different. It was refreshing. It was distinctive.

My reaction was summed up in a very illegible phrase or sentence, right after the pilot episode ended: OHMYGODJASDGHAOIDSUGHUIOERGHOAIDGBAUIDGAUISDHGAIUSDHGIOG.
I love Holmes. I love Watson. For god’s sake, I even love the Brownstone. Why you ask? What is in that TV show, which made a person like me jumping up and down in glee? Well, let me enlighten you.

 

This scene is downright gorgeous. And oh my god, you need to see this.

This scene is downright gorgeous. And oh my god, you need to see this.

 

 

  1. The characterisation

The thing that really makes me love this show is the characterisation. The characters are so in-depth and realistic and it works so very, very well. Sherlock might be a genius, perceptive and a highly intellectual being but he is realistic. He is not the same as Sherlock in Sherlock (though played excellently by Benedict Cumberbatch), whose flaws only consist of getting bored from time to time. The BBC Sherlock is the sun, and everyone revolves around it. He is perfect and a douchebag: he knows everything, he can know everything and he will know everything. Benedict’s Sherlock is someone who will never fall; someone whose will never be broken. Now, ladies and gentlemen, there’s nothing wrong with that sort of character. I am not saying the writers should change the character. No. But the thing about BBC Sherlock is that he is idealistic. No one can be that perfect. No one can be that much of an arsehole. No one can be in the limelight forever. No Sherlock (regardless of their characteristics) can always be that flawless. Or faultless.

And then comes into picture is Jonny Lee Miller’s Sherlock. He is awesome. He is realistic. He can go wrong once in a while. He is not the sun, but Joan and Sherlock are a binary star system. They revolve around each other. He can break down too. He is not perfect, and that is the thing which makes him so believable. Jonny plays the character so very well, and all the kudos goes to him. The New York Sherlock (ah, that rhymed) is someone who learns from their surrounding; someone who tries to change for his partner; someone who learns from their mistakes. This Sherlock is pragmatic; a character that can exist in real life. If you look closely at the characterisation in the books, Sherlock isn’t as much of a heartless creature as portrayed in the BBC version.

However, New York Sherlock is exactly the same in his manners: he is acerbic, he criticises others, argues with all his might, turns out a little obnoxious, shuts out people quite often, and wants things his own way. But at least, he changes a little as seasons progress. NEW YORK SHERLOCK GROWS IN CHARACTER. That’s the main point I am trying to get across. If you see the changes between Season 1 start and Season 1 end, you will see the immense growth of his character. It’s genuine. And it’s good.

And this Sherlock makes his Watson breakfast in the morning. Not out of order or force but by admiration and fondness. It’s an involuntary thing and it’s the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. (Oh god, did I just say that word?)

Onto the Watsons. I’ll start with the BBC Watson (John). Again said, Martin Freeman plays Watson to Benedict’s Sherlock beautifully. His exasperated reactions are great, and sometimes we do feel sympathetic towards him. But all John does is following Sherlock around, crime to crime, place to place. He never has any part in his investigations. You all remember the time when in the episode “The Great Game” (S1 finale), Sherlock asks to deduce information from a shoe. John does well, but then Sherlock purposely ridicules him through his observations. That doesn’t happen in Elementary. Elementary Watson (Joan) is not only a full-fledged character but a very strong one. She is empathetic, caring, and selfless. Joan is dedicated to helping others before helping herself, and she’s always willing to listen and willing to stay. She fights for the right, she has boundaries, and she sure as hell doesn’t tolerate one inch of Sherlock’s tantrums and codswallop. Like Sherlock, she does mistakes and sometimes she’s unsure of the circumstances around herself, but really that’s what a realistic character does. Overall, Joan Watson is one of my favourite characters on TV ever. She is very accomplished, very intelligent and very, very engaging character. This is what characters should be. Realistic rather than idealistic. Believable rather than imaginary. And Elementary is the best example of a true and engaging Holmes and Watson.

  1. Relationships

And then, as always, there is the incredible relationship of Sherlock and Joan. The best thing about it is that it’s never romantic. The ‘will-they-won’t-they’ topic never comes up, because this is Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson. When Elementary was first announced, people started freaking out thinking that Joan and Sherlock will have a romance, and it will be stupid to watch. And I am so, so glad they were proven wrong. Joan and Sherlock’s relationship is deep and complicated: they support each other, they advise each other, and of course they piss each other off dearly. He loves her, and she loves him. It’s equal. Joan finds mysteries and clues all by herself, and Sherlock does too (their solo cases are very interesting to watch), but we all know that they make each other better. They are partners.

On the other hand, the relationship between BBC Sherlock and John comes out as palpable as well but often it’s one sided. We always see that Sherlock gets more space, and he is superior one. It’s not equal. John constantly feels like a tag-along than an actual companion. It’s forced, in my less than humble opinion. Yes, we may get laughs from their banter every so often, but the growth of their relationship is minimal, dare I say even non-existent. Everything is about Sherlock, and how he feels, how he deals, and other poppycock about him. ACD Holmes stories weren’t that far-fetched. Elementary balances the relationships quite well considering a modern adaption, but BBC Sherlock seems forced.

To conclude, ladies and gentlemen, I am not comparing one show to another. Both Sherlock and Elementary have their own positives and negatives, and they are different. Sherlock is incredible in its own way. Elementary has its own exceptionality. This is a post about why I love Elementary, and what I believe it is capable of. All I want to say at this point is please, please , please don’t criticise a TV show when it hasn’t been aired. Elementary was heavily condemned even before its release in September 2012, and it was utterly ridiculous. No show can compete with each other, despite of its origins. Let me repeat it to you all clearly: no show can ever compete with each other because of its own individuality.

You have every right to choose your favourite, but you really don’t have a right to be ridiculously prejudicial about things that you don’t even watch, for god’s sake. Yes, I am talking to the Sherlock fandom. If you don’t watch it, don’t rant about it. If you do watch it and don’t like it, then stop watching.

No actors, directors, writers, and crew of a TV show want to hear their hard work being dismissed. No one deserves that, regardless of the success of the show.

So to finish this post off, I want to invite all of you who want to watch Elementary, to come and join the celebration of a beautiful creation. For those who like things more than just eloquently written episodes and amazing cinematography; for those want a deep insight into characters’ lives, beautiful and brilliant characterisation, detailed relationships, morally challenging cases, and exceptional acting, I wholeheartedly suggest you cancel all your plans for the weekend and start watching Elementary. Because it’s something more than a crime procedural; it’s something more than Holmes and Watson. And in this fast-paced and humdrum routine of life, we want something special on the corner of the earth to understand the humanity that is currently raging against each other. That, ladies and gentlemen, resides in Elementary.

Just look at Jonny and Lucy. See, their best friendship off-screen contributes a lot to their dynamic on-screen. They are like besties with a touch of cream.

Just look at Jonny and Lucy. See, their best friendship off-screen contributes a lot to their dynamic on-screen. They are like besties with a touch of cream.

Cheers!

P.S: Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu’s chemistry is beautiful. Their off-screen friendship explains it. But in my opinion, I have never seen a dynamic so outstanding as this! GO JONNY AND LUCY. GO SHERLOCK AND JOAN!!

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Why I love Elementary and will continue to do so

  1. First off, can I just say that the “I am supposed to be doing work at the moment, but I cannot contain myself” is the most relatable quote ever? People don’t blog because they like blogging; they blog because they’re passionate about stuff (that they’re not procrastinating on).

    This post is wonderful. You have such an adorable side to you, Soumya! (I SEE YOU AS A POTENTIAL TUMBLR ROOMATE. *extends hand* JOIN ME! PLEASE) But I agree wholeheartedly to this post: Joan/Sherlock’s relationship is the most wonderful thing ever.

    As for your supposed hypocrisy, I disagree; THIS IS INDEED VERY IMPORTANT. Sherlock/Joan have the most amazing relationship; I couldn’t have expressed it better myself. I, too, watched Sherlock without really connecting with the characters (and before I found Elementary), because of its fast-paced and intriguing plots.

    Something I really love about this post is how fair you are. You evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of both shows and then provide a personal opinion on which is better, but encourage people to watch Elementary without judgement. This, I think, is the most important thing ever; thank you for making this point. The amount of bad media for this wonderful show is ridiculous: just because another Sherlock adaption is initiated DOES NOT MEAN it will automatically be inferior.

    The characterisation… oh, where do I start? (Thankfully, your wonderful post covers everything I wanted to say, but better) Sherlock Holmes, in Elementary, is a broken person. He is not perfect. He is not the flawless sociopath that BBC’s Sherlock is (which is interesting to watch in its own way, but doesn’t depict strong characterisation), but he is human. Joan + Sherlock is the most perfect thing ever. Their relationship may be platonic or platonic, but it doesn’t change the fact they love each other so dearly. They never expressed in words, now that I’m thinking back, but they never had to: it’s always shown in the way they treat each other.

    Their cases together are the best. They better each other; they make each other better people. I completely forgot the instances where Sherlock makes breakfast for Joan; it was the sweetest thing ever, and he didn’t even need to be asked. One of the many ways their love is demonstrated. ❤
    Anyway, this is a brilliant post and I love your points. Elementary should have more viewers; it’s truly extraordinary. Thank you so much for writing this! 😀

  2. Hello! I just stumbled on your blog and had to make a quick note. (don’t want to get into any tiffs here) But I do want to stand up for BBC Sherlock a bit and say the characterization is hugely nuanced and tremendously developed. Sherlock is not faultless: he’s sometimes heartless (killing the cabbie, leaving John for two years without a word – an act he paid for all s3), faulty on interpreting human nature (Molly’s feelings for him). He’s a show-off, arrogant, vain, and most importantly, addicted to the macabre and death. And all of that is reflected as bad things through the viewer’s lens in John, who has his own faults in being attracted to that same danger. John and Sherlock’s worlds do revolve around one another, because John is making Sherlock more human, a monumental task considering Sherlock’s s1 self, and Sherlock humbled himself enough to plan wedding arrangements and go to jail for John’s happiness (s3). It’s true John doesn’t help out cases quite so obviously, but he does point out when Sherlock is acting out of line, and sometimes Sherlock even looks to him as a gauge on that point. And John asks questions, the right questions (compare with Molly, s3e1). Sherlock, in all his inhumanity and emotionlessnses has suddenly grown attached to John Watson, and John’s grown into an integral part of his identity and moral compass (“John Watson you keep me right”).
    So. I probably should have stopped reading but the John-Sherlock relationship is grown a lot, and I just wanted to be a voice in the air for that. Sherlock does have its faults (MOFFAT!, retcons), but relationship dynamics, growth, and characterization are not one of them, in my humble opinion.) I’ve not seen Elementary but I’m glad it’s not the love story we all were fearing! I’m so weary of American TV for being about *cough*sex*cough* all the time. Anyway, I should definitely check it out sometime!

    • G’day! Thank you for stopping by. It’s great to hear someone else’s opinion. I have to agree with you there. Sherlock does grow in Season 3 and we see this through his acts, and through John’s eyes. You are entirely correct is saying that. I was trying to portray the characterisation done in Elementary, in comparison to Sherlock. In my opinion, the growth of Sherlock’s and Joan’s character happens. In Sherlock, it’s only Sherlock’s. That too, a little late and in a very dramatic way. The point I am trying to make is that there is not a sense of equality in the BBC version, and that’s fine. Some people like it when there’s a main hero and his sidekick. You are also fully correct in saying that Sherlock’s and John’s world revolve around each other. Sherlock does realise that John is an important part in his life. Yes, I might’ve been a little ignorant up there. Thanks for pointing that out. I just wanted to say that in Elementary, Holmes and Watson are a team. In Sherlock, it’s often one-sided (with exceptions in Season 3).
      Also, Sherlock has only three episodes per season whilst Elementary has 24 episodes. The main difference is the familiarity with characters. You watch characters develop weekly in Elementary, and sympathise with all of the characters (major and minor) in odd situations. You just don’t have to wait 2 years for example. But the negative side of having 24 eps is FILLER EPISODES. They can bore you sometimes because you are like ‘um what’s going on here, what are trying to do?’ but Elementary definitely redeems itself.
      But the comical timing in Sherlock is great, and oh my god that cinematography is designed for an all-time movie blockbuster! But then if you only have to do three episodes per year; who wouldn’t have cinematography like that?Elementary isn’t perfect, and Sherlock is very close. And yes, MOFFAT. That word can itself define the faults in Sherlock.
      Do watch Elementary. It’s a great show and you’ll come to like it. Sherlock and Joan are an extraordinary team, and I love the idea of a female Watson. Yeah, I know what American TV can be like. You should see Australian TV here mate; it can be so ridiculous *cough* home and away *cough*.
      Thank you once again for stopping by, and leaving your thoughts! Sorry about that big reply. I am just very passionate about TV shows, and fictional characters. I hope you have a great day!
      Cheers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s