Sunday, 11 March 2012

My 'Elementary' Rant

I'm just going to have a bit of a rant about something, just to get it off my chest. Anyone who knows me reasonably well will know that I am a massive fan of BBC's Sherlock. In fact I'm borderline obsessed with it! It's an incredibly clever and well-written show and it features brilliant acting from Martin Freeman and, of course, the excellent Benedict Cumberbatch! I actually remember being really annoyed when it was first announced that the BBC were doing to do a modern-day updating of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. I hated the idea of Sherlock Holmes using emails and mobile phones... but they completely proved me wrong! Although they did update the stories and characters to a contemporary setting they kept all the essential details the same and direct quotes from the books are often used from time to time. The BBC's Sherlock is awesome. So you can imagine my anger and confusion when it was announced that the American channel CBS were doing their own modern day adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, which would be called Elementary and would be set in New York...

Oh wow! What an original idea! I mean it's not like any one has ever thought about doing that before and done it perfectly have they?! *note the heavy sarcasm!* Now I'm not saying that I'm completely against British shows being re-made for American audiences - and I'm not saying that the BBC's Sherlock is the be-all-and-end-all of Sherlock Holmes adaptations and that no-one should ever be able to adapt Doyle's stories again. I'm not saying that at all. But how can CBS make their own Sherlock Holmes show without it coming across as a gigantic rip-off of the BBC show? Or even the Robert Downey Jr films? They also have to make it stand out from the Sherlock Holmes-inspired shows The Mentalist and House. They're going to have their work cut out for them! For example: they can't have text messages appearing on the screen, they can't have Mycroft working for the Secret Service, they can't have Watson blogging, they can't have Holmes wearing nicotine patches... if they do then the BBC could have grounds to sue them.

So far CBS have cast Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes. Miller is actually a really great actor but I really can't see him doing as good a job at playing Holmes as Benedict Cumberbatch. CBS have also cast Lucy Liu (yes, a woman!) to play Watson. This is another thing that makes me angry. CBS have probably just cast a woman to play Watson because they're trying to get people to think that their show isn't just a complete rip-off of the BBC's show but I just have this horrible, horrible feeling that they're going to put in some romantic and sexual tension between Holmes and Watson. Of course in real life it's perfectly possible for a man and a woman to have a close and completely platonic friendship but it never seems to happen in fiction for some reason. What if they turn Holmes and Watson's relationship into a Mulder and Scully-esque romance?! That would be so wrong! In the Arthur Conan Doyle stories Holmes is asexual and he and Watson have a close, brotherly friendship (even if some fans reckon their friendship has homoerotic undertones and write slash fanfiction about them!) Having Watson as a woman is probably going to completely mess up the dynamic between the character and Holmes. Even the show's title is stupid! Who uses the word "elementary" these days?! No-one, that's who! The fact that CBS are blatantly trying to rip-off of the BBC's show makes me almost as angry as the news that Disney are going to do an American version of Miss Marple with Jennifer Garner. Yes, I am dead serious about that but I can't rant about that as well because I just don't have the energy!

The first series of the BBC show has actually gotten great critical reviews in America and has already picked up a passionate cult following out there. Also, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are both rising stars. Cumberbatch was in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse and is going to be the villain in Star Trek 2; both he and Freeman are going to be starring in The Hobbit together. Because of that I'm hoping that the Americans will see sense, will watch Sherlock instead and won't give Elementary the time of day. I'm hoping that Elementary doesn't even make it past the pilot!


buddy2blogger said...

Nice rant about the upcoming CBS show :)

I too like the BBC Sherlock for its great acting, music and clever scripts.


Indigo Montoya said...


Mizzie-Me said...

Oh, I just love a good, honest rant post! :D Have you watched this show? I did, just for the sake of experiment, and... well... I'll be blogging about it soonish, but let me just say for now that I find the BBC quote "Mrs Hudson's been attacked by an American, I'm restoring balance to the Universe" strangely appropriate for Elementary x)

Hannah said...

Hehehehe! I've seen most of Elementary S1 now and I'm working on a review myself. It will probably be a while before I finish it though. Anyway, I wasn't a fan. I had sooo many problems with it: e.g. boring storylines, Watson being calmer and more logical than Holmes, Sherlock having sex with prostitutes, Sherlock having sex with Moriarty... urgh!