Man, instead of spending the weekend studying the 12 chapters of my Marketing textbook, I finished the entire first season of Elementary, and gosh was it worth it. I’ve been prodded multiple times by people (you know who you are) to watch BBC Sherlock, and I definitely would soon because I know for a fact that it is brilliant, even if it might be problematic. Also, cinematography.
And when I started on Elementary (I start shows based on my gut, really), I was afraid of getting into this whole comparison between the two shows, and Watson is a girl ahhh girl cooties and is this abandoning homoerotic subtext and what a ripoff americuh, etc. etc. But, really, as soon as I started the show I know it was to be treated as something separate and independently brilliant, and just a different thing from BBC Sherlock altogether because the chosen focus of the two series are very different. (Oops, haven’t actually watched BBC Sherlock so I am not an authority on this, so lemme continue talking about Elementary!)
But gosh I am so endeared by Elementary because it treats the relationships and characters on the show so well, and it never shies away from emotion. I mean this in that when I went into the show, I expected Sherlock to be brilliant of course, but because of his brilliance, to be generally unimpressed by other people’s merits and careless about how he treats others because he can get away with it (read: House and other portrayals of emotionally complex geniuses.)
Imagine my pleasant surprise when Sherlock is so open right from the beginning about how humanistic he is – admiring the integrity of Captain Gregson, developing a steady respect for Detective Bell, and consistently showing how Joan makes him better and pushing her gently to realise how great a detective she can be instead of coming in and saving the day as most male consulting detectives do on shows. I kind of expected to go through a journey of unraveling and ‘peeling of layers’ of the Sherlock onion and discover how he has a capacity for sympathy and compassion and respect, but there was no unraveling; he was just presented as such from the beginning!!! And I love it.
We also didn’t have to go through 19 episodes before we finally see a rare moment of vulnerability where the audience can go oh poor broken man let me love you and make you better. There is so much frank and upfront vulnerability about this version of Sherlock and it is so refreshing. (It does help that JLM has such a generously expressive face.)
How much I love Joan Watson warrants another post altogether, but I just wanna say here that Watson and Sherlock have always been on equal footing from the beginning and that is simply wonderful. Nobody has to earn respect from anybody, and nobody has to prove anything to anyone. Everyone just starts out liking everyone so much, and that is simply endearing.
So, watch Elementary!!!!!!