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Elementary (TV Series) Review | by Craig Easom

Updated on September 9, 2014

US drama- Elementary

     Elementary (TV series)  'Its elementary dear Watson'
Elementary (TV series) 'Its elementary dear Watson' | Source

Review- Elementary

Before reading- This article contains spoilers for the series. Keep this in mind before reading further.

Elementary is a US adaptation of the much loved Sherlock Holmes book. The twists are clear with a few changes which include a different gender for Watson who is female rather than the male character shown in the Sherlock book. As well as the setting which is in New York (USA) rather than London (UK) which is set in the current day and age (21st Century) which works astoundingly well, they have an American actor playing Sherlock. In saying this I must confess that the English actor (Jonny Lee Miller), was well suited to the role with his profoundly confident appearance with his features as well as his stature. He looks as you might expect Sherlock to look, with a thin body, smartly dressed clothing, short beard, and is eccentric which comes across naturally for Jonny (actor 'Sherlock').

Before watching the first episode of the first series of Elementary I was optimistic, with high expectations for the show since I am a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes and love American shows. After watching the first episode I was pleased to see that they had made it their own with an original approach to Sherlock. The creators of Elementary clearly has a vision which came across clearly with this unexpected recovering drug addict, being thrown onto the screen with a unique set of qualities which certainly shone through with Jonny's performance as Sherlock Holmes. As well as Sherlock there is Dr Watson who happens to no longer be a Doctor so we learn to know her as Joan Watson since she left the profession. Joan is an important cog in the wheel for the Elementary series to work as she works well with Sherlock. Joan is Sherlock sober companion which means that she must live with Sherlock, spending her every waking hours with him making sure that he by no means resorts to taking drugs. Joan not only keeps Sherlock sober but she also keeps him on track with his detective consulting work which he does with the NYPD. This all works, making for an endless set of opportunities as well as possibilities for the show to take place in the future for the show.

As the first series progresses, Joan begins to play a bigger role in the consulting work which Sherlock does with NYPD, eventually becoming a consultant herself with the NYPD. In solving cases, Sherlock and Joan with their teamwork manage to crack cases which the NYPD could have never done by themselves. It is not only the ability to solve cases for the NYPD which make them successful but the speed in which they do so which clearly cannot be ignored. The cases become more interesting, seemingly growing in their complexity yet more than easy enough for the viewer to understand what is happening. The great thing about Elementary is its ability to show the ins and outs of a crime scene in an entertaining fashion, involving the viewers in what is happening without any confusion making it greater enjoyment for viewers. The problem for me with a lot of TV dramas based around forensics is their complete lack of direction in making the show entertaining without confusing the viewers as this for me leaves me baffled, confused, and ready to switch to a different channel. With Elementary this is not an issue, making it a top US drama in my opinion for entertainment in the evening.

With an ever more developing story which always grabs the attention of the viewer, there is no telling what we can expect next. During the first series of Elementary we see Sherlock's arch nemesis Moriarty who is soon introduced with the impression that it is a man, but in fact turns out be a woman. She is a strong rivalry for Sherlock who seems to fall short during his investigations for her whereabouts which always seems an impossible task for Sherlock to figure out as she is possibly the only person in the world who can stay of Sherlock's radar. With her presence being overpowering at times, one can only imagine the episodes which come into play as she becomes a prominent character in this enthralling TV drama. Although Moriarty is not in all of the episodes, as she appears to have disappeared at times, she always finds her way back into Sherlock's life. The tension between the two characters, Sherlock and Moriarty I always find interesting as the two seem to have so many things alike yet so many indifferences. It is utterly amazing to watch on screen with the two characters playing a cat and mouse game with one another, with Moriarty the cat and Sherlock the mouse.

In the second Elementary series I was intrigued by the arrival of Sherlock's brother Mycroft Holmes who seems to if anything irritate Sherlock. The only thing the two brothers seem to have in common is their despise of their father who both seem to find difficult mentioning his name. Mycroft is an interesting character with a similar layer of intelligence to his brother Sherlock except Mycroft is more into food with a successful chain of restaurants in England, whereas Sherlock is more into solving criminal cases. Although the two brothers seem to dislike one another for whatever reasons, they are always fascinating to see in the same room even when they lack in conversation with one another. It is a real treat when Mycroft is back on scene mixed with Sherlock as they always seem to find a way of putting a smile on my face as their shenanigans never cease to amaze.

If you love a series of inviting cases riddled with mystery, criminal intent, at times, a criminal mastermind, and a lot of strangely fascinating crime scenes then this is US drama you cannot afford to miss. I was amazed by its ability to only fascinate me with intriguing characters which never stop amazing me, but also its ability to bring in some of the best crime scenes which I have ever seen on a TV drama before. Sherlock Holmes is almost never stunted even when detectives, the forensics team, and police officers are as he solves cases like no one else with at times some unorthodox techniques but they always get results. When detective Bell was shot, taking a bullet for Sherlock this one a sad moment in the series as Sherlock was effected more than he let on. Detective Bell survived the shooting but it did prevent his ability to hold a firearm which meant he could not work out in the field but in time he soon found his way working back on cases with Sherlock and Watson, so there is a happy ending to that story.

The characters as introduced, always seem to have a lasting effect in the show with some fascinating people, which includes the obvious, Sherlock, Watson, Moriarty, and Mycroft just to name a few. To find out more of the amazing characters which play major roles in the TV drama you will have to watch the show but it is not to disappoint with an unbelievably entertaining series of cases for Sherlock and Watson to figure out.

A MUST WATCH- FOR THE MYSTERY, CRIME, AND DRAMA LOVERS.

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Sherlock Holmes- with a twist

Elementary is Sherlock Holmes with a slight twist. Before Elementary, I used to think of Sherlock Holmes as a Victorian man who wore a top hat, solving crimes with his trusted male companion, Dr Watson who added his help in knowledge to the solving of crimes. Now of course after watching Elementary and completely falling in love with the show, I think of Sherlock Holmes slightly differently. Not to say I do not like the Sherlock Holmes book any more because I do, but TV wise I am thinking about the story in a new light.

Elementary shows Sherlock as an eccentric individual, who is a recovering drug addict who befriends his sober companion Dr Watson who later becomes his partner in solving crimes for the NYPD. Dr Watson of course, no longer being a male character but rather a female character which I was a little set back by but I didn't mind at all. If anything this factor made me like the show even more, as a twist on an old story, is always a brilliant idea.

The biggest twist on the old Sherlock Holmes story, is clearly the setting which is no longer in the Victorian days back in olden day London (England) but rather the contemporary New York (USA) which I liked from the offset, watching the TV show. I live in England which I love dearly but I have always loved America, in particular New York. So for me I found the idea of having the Englishman, Sherlock Holmes solving crime in the big city (New York) quite intriguing.

I was pleased to see Mycroft in the series as this was not apparent from the beginning but soon happened so what was pleasing for me. I was especially pleased to see that they had cast one of my favourite British actors of all time, Rhys Ifans as the sophisticated, intelligent, and well mannered individual, Mycroft Holmes. Mycroft soon proves to be crafty in his ways as the second series progresses with some new developments which never quite explained a lot leaving some unanswered questions for the third series.

I must explain that I am only currently watching the third series of Elementary so do forgive me as I cannot go into much more detail on the main characters. What I can say however is that Mycroft seems to have some seriously interesting questions to answer to Sherlock and Watson which I must say, is making me quite apprehensive about the future for the TV drama.

Mystery and Crime Drama

This is one TV show you do not want to miss, whether you are into mystery or dramas or even both as Elementary has something to offer for everyone. Usually a TV drama will have its goods episodes, then it will have its bad episodes however Elementary has its good episodes, then it will have it even better episodes. There is no such thing as a bad episode when it comes to Elementary (TV series) which sounds impossible but for anyone who has seen the show, they would probably agree with that comment.

I personally now make it a priority to put time aside in the evening staying up slightly later on a Tuesday to watch Elementary when it is on because of the entertainment which it provides. Not a lot of TV dramas produced in the US or the UK seem to be unique in my opinion as they all seem to border one another in their design. Whereas Elementary sets itself apart from the other TV dramas with a different approach to handling cases, fixating on Sherlock and Watson rather than on a forensics team or detectives to solve cases. This has to be its key to success because very rarely do you see a crime based TV drama which isn't focusing on a police department, forensics team or other government organisation like the FBI or CIA.

It is focused largely around the crime cases which the NYPD or struggling with so they turn to Sherlock's brilliant mind, to tackle the case solving it in record time. Although Watson does play a key role in the solving of the cases as she has experience in medicine, understanding certain things which Sherlock does not which at times turns out to be the solving element for the case. It is clear that Sherlock and Watson make a great team as consultants for the NYPD, helping to make their jobs a lot easier.

Sherlock and Watson occasionally take private cases for people as this pays more than the NYPD which at times can be a blessing for the pair as when money issues arise, Sherlock prefers not to ask his father for money. The private cases tend to be slightly different for them, at times more dangerous but solving the cases for Sherlock and Watson is its own reward making the risks all worth while, taking more dangerous criminals off the streets, and in prison where they belong.

Overall it is a great TV drama which mixes the element of a crime drama with the elements of a mystery in a way that works tremendously well with excitement throughout. The cliff hangers will both astound, and bring anticipation for the next episode is bound to bring some brilliant cases to light. Anyone with an interest for TV mystery's or TV crime dramas will certainly want to watch Elementary as I believe you may have found your new favourite TV show.

Elementary (USA) or Sherlock (UK)

I won't go into too much detail about the two shows and their differences with one another as I am conducting a review for Elementary. However there is been an argument between die hard fans for the two shows, with a line struck between those who love Elementary, and then those who love Sherlock (UK show).

The twist is similar with Sherlock (UK show), as it is set in modern day England (London) rather than in Elementary which is set in modern day America (New York). The only differences is the fact that in Elementary, Sherlock works with a female companion (Watson) whereas in Sherlock, the character Sherlock works with a male companion (Watson) as well as of course the setting.

Other characters are also portrayed slightly differently as in Elementary, Mycroft is a restaurant entrepreneur, Sherlock does not have a butler, and Moriarty is a woman who was a former lover of Sherlock's as well as his arch nemesis.

Whereas in Sherlock, Mycroft is a politician, Sherlock has a butler, and Moriarty is presumably a man who of course, is his arch nemesis. Which proves to be slightly different to one another as the two shows portray the same man (Sherlock), with a similar personality, level of intelligence, and the will to solve crimes with their trusty partners in crime solving, Watson.

Myself personally, I like both of the shows because I like the modern twist which Elementary brought to the old story of Sherlock Holmes and his trusty partner, the lovely Watson. But I also like Sherlock (UK show) because it has stayed more true to the Sherlock Holmes story, still solving crimes in England (London) with Sherlock and his trusted partner in solving crime, Watson.

Elementary and Sherlock

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Crime Solving Duo

Elementary- showing the two main characters, Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson.
Elementary- showing the two main characters, Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson. | Source

TV crime dramas needs a crime solving duo!

The duo of crime solving masterminds, mainly due the brilliant mind of Sherlock Holmes allows for a strangely fascinating TV show to come to life. A lot of the time the show is focusing on the two characters, Sherlock and Watson who despite certain disagreements, seem to become closer with one another. It is almost as though the two were made for one another yet seem to detach any kind of feels which they both may have for one another in order for them to remain completely professional, focused only on the cases which lay in front of them.

Whenever Joan Watson comes into any amount of danger, Sherlock is hot on his feet, making sure that the danger is subsided even if this means bringing all of the danger upon himself. He realises the need which he has to have someone as brilliant as he is aside him, to keep him focused as he was once a drug addict, feeling as though he might fall at any time into old habits. Joan Watson proves herself to be a worthy partner in solving crime alongside Sherlock as at times it is through her help which solely solves the case which Sherlock realises as well as appreciates.

Sherlock is always practising self defence as he ultimately aware of the dangers which lay ahead as he is moving gun hoe into criminal cases which are overwhelmingly dangerous. At times Sherlock makes attempts to get Watson to practice self defence but she is not as self conscious when it comes to the art of defending ones self from an oncoming attack. This would have proved useful at times as Watson finds herself in some awkward situations which could prove fatal but luckily for her she has Sherlock to save the day.


Joan Watson proves to be quite the catch for the Holmes family as she is recruited by Sherlock's father to become Sherlock's sober companion. Through her time spent with Sherlock she begins to grow on Sherlock who begins to gather feelings for Watson which he himself seems either not to realise or does not want to realise those feelings. Then to top it off, as Mycroft sets on the scene, he begins to develop feelings for Watson which proves that she seems to have certainly left an impression on the Holmes family.

Elementary Awards

2012
2013
2014
New York Women in Film and Television Muse Award- WON
ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards- WON
GLAAD Media Awards- WON
Peoples Choice Awards- NOMINATED
PRISM Awards- WON
N/A
Satellite Awards- NOMINATED
Teen Choice Awards- WON
N/A
Just a few of the awards which Elementary (TV series) has been nominated for and won, over the three years which it has currently been running.
Elementary- Sherlock and Watson Poster.
Elementary- Sherlock and Watson Poster. | Source

Its 'Elementary', my dear Watson!

Elementary has gained a huge momentum over the past couple of years in which the TV series has been running with a twist on the Sherlock Holmes story which clearly works as proved by the newly found fan base which the show has found.

It has a unique outlook on the Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson characters, which proves throughout the series to be a combination which works on so many levels. The relationship which is had between Sherlock and Watson is professional, yet has a zest to become somewhat more than is currently being let on by the two characters. It is hard to say yet what is in stall for the two intriguing characters but one thing is for sure, there are going to be more cases in wait for the two which are only going to get better.

Indulging into the life of Sherlock Holmes has always proven interesting on the screen without certain adaptations of the character shown in different time frames and settings, with the hit movies, Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: a game of shadows. Sherlock's character played by Robert Downy junior based on the Sherlock Holmes book entirely which I think everyone who was or is a fan of the Sherlock Holmes book would have appreciated. Then there is Sherlock (UK drama series), which has Sherlock's character played by Benedict Cumberbatch who clearly suited the role, came with a fresh, modern approach with the series. Finally there is Elementary (USA drama series), which has Sherlock's character played by Jonny Lee Miller, who again suits the character which is another series which has proved successful. I think it is mightily clear that Sherlock has been brought to the TV screens in many ways, which have always proven successful in their attempts to bring the brilliant mind of Sherlock Holmes Holmes to life.

All that is left to say now, is watch Elementary for it is one hell of a TV drama which will take all that you know about the Sherlock Holmes story, make you forget all that you knew about it as a whole. Now making you love it in an all new way that you thought you could never love it before.

My verdict for Elementary (TV series)- POSITIVELY MARVELLOUS. ONE TO WATCH FOR ALL OF THE FAMILY.


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Elementary (TV Series)- Rating

5 stars for Elementary (TV Series)

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