The Best New Drama on TV: Elementary

by Ronald A. Rowe November 15th, 2012 | Drama, TV Reviews
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In 2004, TV viewers were introduced to a new spin on the 117-year-old Sherlock Holmes legend. House, M.D. hit the airwaves, transforming Holmes from an prim Victorian era detective into a scruffy 21st-century diagnostic doctor. The series was a critical and ratings success that ran for eight seasons. The end of House’s run in spring 2012 left a hole in the TV landscape.

Nature abhors a vacuum, and apparently the same can be said about the network TV schedule. The lack of a modern spin on Sherlock Holmes was immediately filled in by CBS’s Elementary. Elementary is a more traditional take on Holmes, in the sense that he is an actual detective rather than a medical diagnostician. But make no mistake, Elementary is thoroughly modernized.

3 Reasons Why Elementary is the Best New Drama on TV:

Lucy Liu We just love Lucy Liu and casting her as Dr. Jane Watson was a brilliant move. She brings instant credibility to Elementary. So much of the pre-premier buzz was about casting a woman as Watson that we began to worry if the show would have any merits of its own. But those fears have been allayed and Liu’s Watson is a strong and smart counterpoint to Johnny Lee Miller’s Holmes.

It Keeps You Guessing – Elementary has already shown a willingness, eagerness even, to break the mold. When Holmes recklessly rammed Watson’s car into a suspect’s vehicle in the pilot episode I was absolutely certain it was part of some cleverly concocted plan to prove the bad guy’s guilt. Instead, it turned out to be just a temper tantrum from the spoiled recovering addict. The Child Predator episode shocked our socks off. (If you haven’t seen it yet, go get it on iTunes). Holmes’ past is shrouded in mystery and his future is an unwritten book.

It Doesn’t Insult the Audience – Holmes explains his deductions – somewhat reluctantly at times – at a frenetic pace. Blink and you could miss a significant plot point. Holmes’  famous observational skills are presented in the sweet spot between extraordinary and unbelievable. He is incredible without being unrealistic.

Elementary airs at 10:00 PM Thursdays on CBS.

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