I’m only twenty minutes into S4E1 of Elementary and I’m already loving it way more than any recent Sherlock.
I know that’s heresy round these here parts and I’ll now get run out of town by Cumberbatch fans but eh.
Jonny Lee Miller brings a depth of pain to Holmes that’s missing from what Cumberbatch is allowed to portray. Note that I’m not saying that Cumberbatch is incapable of equalling Miller, I’m saying he’s not allowed to. The whole tone of the BBC foray is basically Who with naughty bits, it’s all YA to me. There is acceptable peril, acceptable character development, acceptable consequences. Acceptable, nothing too deep, nothing that’ll truly disturb.
There is never darkness like Miller’s Holmes kicking the shit out of a pusher and then stealing his stash. Darkness that makes you question the whole character and if they’re the hero at all.
And then we have Lucy Liu as Watson. An actress who could make a character’s night’s sleep riveting. She is the perfect Watson. She is insightful, resourceful, methodical, detailed. Yes, she is not the equal of Holmes in raw detection but she knows this and is fine with it because she’s still a damn fine detective. There’s no bumbling, save-me-sides comedy because, really, why would Holmes, the greatest detective mind in the world, hang round with a buffoon? No, Liu’s Watson is a sidekick associate detectives would fight over.
And I love that’s there’s a deep, loving friendship between them but zero sexual tension. It would have been so easy to heteronormalise the whole thing into some interminably drawn out OOH, WILL THEY? WON’T THEY? bullshit.
I want more TV which shows the tremendous redemptive power of intense platonic friendship. Every time a show degenerates into the asinine doggerel that is most TV romance, a little part of me whimpers and dies. And every time we have something like Elementary, where women and men work together as equals, I cheer.
Now, I’m going back to the show… mmm…