I am a SHERLOCK fan. If you haven’t noticed then you are not very observant. And the fact that I have started my post with an insult is evidence that I have been watching way too much Sherlock Holmes this year.
Sherlock, if you don’t know, is a television show on BBC in the UK. It is written by two writers(Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat) of the show Doctor Who which I am also a fan of and it stars the actors Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch.
Sherlock has recently become insanely popular and there is a simple reason. It is popular because it is just that good. Although set in the modern day, it is very closely related to the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who was a genius and a crowd pleaser. Luckily, writing, cinematography, acting, and directing all conspired to make a great production and I adore this show.
Then I heard that Hollywood was making their own version of the Sherlock Holmes story in modern day called Elementary, I thought. COPYCAT! Does no one in Hollywood have even ONE original bone in their body that they have to copy every successful work from other countries and RUIN it?!!
And this is the heart of why I am angry. I like this story. I don’t want to see it ruined.
I loved La Femme Nikita, and Wings of Desire but their American remakes were…lame comes to mind…let’s just say that I liked them less. When Americans make remakes of foreign works, they always make the same mistakes: Too many explosions, the ubiquitous romance plot, the sentimental American ending, the dumbed down writing. Almost everytime that I brace myself to see such a remake, I end up wincing in pain usually before the first thirty minutes have ended.
So the mere existence of this TV show makes me angry. Incredibly angry. And the more good things that they throw in it, the more angry it makes me, because I know in my heart that they will ruin it.
Good Things about Elementary (and why they are bad):
Lucy Lui – I like her as an actress. I think that it is incredibly cool that She should finally get her own show. But my first thought is WHY IS SHE NOT THE STAR? Watson is Sherlock Holmes’ stupid side- kick. Here we have a new, cool, independent, Asian actress as co-star. How long before she gets degraded to a “Sou Desu” girl. Let’s guess shall we?
I bet the pilot will be pretty good, and I give the writers three good episodes of trying to explore her character before they forget all about her and remember that she is just Sherlock’s sidekick. If this show succeeds and goes on to a second season, then I predict that she will stick to the show as her big break for at least three seasons doing increasingly more and more inconsequental work until after the great consumation of their romance, she leaves ( or more likely gets killed) and her cousin Jaimy Watson takes her place.
Jonny Lee Miller – Although I have not seen him in anything but previews, he must be good to win the 2012 Olivier Award. An award that he won for acting in the National Theatre’s production of Frankenstein with Benedict Cumberbatch. A role where he and Cumberbatch switched every night between playing the doctor and the monster. Now why have the two actors switch roles? It must have been an impossible decision for the director to choose one of them because they were both so good at it. They must be balanced as actors, or they could not play off of each other so well. And since I know that Benedict Cumberbatch is a very good actor, I can deduce that Jonny Lee Miller must be one too.
But I can’t believe they would ever have thought of him for this role if Benedict Cumberbatch had not been such a hit in Sherlock. This is a direct reference to that show, and the fact that they take this fine actor and chain him to what I feel might become a sinking ship is just too sad for words.
House – Now here I will piss people off because they love this show, but I do not trust the writers for the TV show House. House (with Hugh Laurie) was definitely inspired by the Sherlock Holmes story. It has an obnoxious genius Doctor and his loyal friend. But the writers realized that people love him even though he acts like an asshole. I think that they began to believe that it is because he is an asshole that he is lovable, so they made his character do worse and worse things until we feel ashamed that we ever felt anything good about the character at all.
Personally I feel they ‘jumped the shark’ when he drove his car into his boss’ house. I stopped watching after that because I felt that he was simply evil, and I was mistaken for liking him. Did I blame the actor? No. It is the writers who are at fault, because they seem to feel that the best way to increase ratings is sensationalism and violence.
I don’t like to see a character that I care about, SHERLOCK HOLMES, dragged in the mud by bad plots and bad characterization. I don’t trust the Hollywood writing establishment to do anything subtle or clever over an extended period of time. I feel in my heart that this project is destined to fall into a bad, bad place.
But the major reason that I want to hate CBS’s Elementary is…
I love Sherlock Holmes. I like Lucy Lui. I want to see Jonny Lee Miller act. All of these things mean that I will watch the pilot, and I will begin this journey, this story, in hope. The most stunning disappointments happen when a person has hope that something beautiful will occur, but this hope is betrayed. (Example: Neon Genesis Evangelion) There is a hope that this production could be good. If I had no hope, I wouldn’t feel pain.
It’s not just Loyalty. I am not saying that SHERLOCK is the only show with the right to use these characters. I loved the movie SHERLOCK HOMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS. I thought it was excellent. I eagerly await the DVD release. I loved Little Hansel, Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr.
The actors were true to the characters, and although they stretched them in a very Hollywood direction with more explosions, romantic subplots, and a sentimental American ending, this was a new thing to do to Sherlock Holmes at the time, so seeing the Hollywood version felt new and exciting. This time.
Elementary feels old and unoriginal.
- Will it try to be like Sherlock only changing the main character from a virgin to someone who sleeps with prostitutes?
- Will it try to be like every other television detective story after the original Sherlock Holmes coined the private detective genre in the 1800s?
- Will it falter into the detective romance like Moonlighting where the major questions have to do with when and if they will have sex?
- Will they become a stable couple like in Heart to Heart blowing kisses at each other over corpses?
I look at the pilot and see that they have copied the Sherlock formula very closely. I point to the characters and say ” That’s Lestrade, that’s Anderson” and it makes me despair that anything original will come out of this. How long before they, like most versions of this story, overuse Moriarty? How long before they start making stupid deductions because they just can’t keep up with the cleverness of the original?
I would like it, if a year from now I am adding Elementary screenplays to my fan fiction section because I am so in love with the show that I come up with stories that I have to write down. On the other hand, my feeling is that if I ever write Elementary screenplays, they will be my attempt to show the way that they should have written it because they totally F***ed it up.
SO READ THIS ELEMENTARY WRITERS AND HEED MY WARNING.
1. Don’t go for the obvious.
2. Don’t take good actors and give them trash that doesn’t stretch them or challenge them.
3. Don’t copy because you are too lazy or because you are out of ideas.
And here I have to stop because I know that this is NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN. This show is doomed. DOOMED I SAY!
When they hand you a ticket to the Titanic and say that it is unsinkable because it is made of everything that works. Don’t believe them. Hand back the ticket and take another ship.