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Old 09-29-2012, 03:47 PM   #1
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Elementary

This is the official "a show not as good as Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch (whose name alone is awesome) but way better than the Robert Downey Jr films but is actually a lot better than people expected Sherlock Holmes adaptation" thread. Or Elementary for short.

True story, I looked up Sherlock Holmes on wikipedia to see how many adaptations there had been and it turns out there have been more actors playing the detective than have played The Doctor in DW. There are 9 TV adaptations alone!

Lets start with a trivia moment - both Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch (best name ever) worked together in a stage adaptation of Frankenstein and Captain Gregson in Elementary was in the 94 Frankenstein film adaptation. AFAIK Lucy Lui has never been in Frankenstein.



I could probably leave it there. But for those who havent watched and want an idea of if Sick Boy from Trainspotting and one of Charlie's Angels from Charlie's Angels work as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson set in New York is good - then it is. We are just one episode in, but so far it is shaping up to be the second best new show this year behind Last Resort.

Sherlock is funny, he is genius but it is played a tortured soul kinda genius vs the douchey "I am better than you and will tell you" version of Benedict "best name ever" Cumberbatch who I wont be able to avoid using as a comparison for obvious reasons, not least because Elementary started with CBS trying to get Gatiss and Moffat to adapt Sherlock to the New York setting (they refused). The transplant of the story to New York, losing Baker Street, isnt nearly as bad as I expected. Sherlock, like most adaptations is a huge druggy just like he should be, in this case we join him having just been released from rehab.

Doctor Joan Watson is the big change and I am really glad they changed the character so much because it would have been impossible to get along with the show if they went for a similar dynamic to Sherlock and they would have never pulled off a similar version to Freeman's in Sherlock, but instead they threw away the rules and went in a new direction. Watson is a former surgeon turned rehab buddy who quit or was fired from being a surgeon to become a glorified helper monkey (or valet) to rich drug addicts released from rehab to help their transition into normal life.

I wanted to hate Lucy Liu in this. She isnt my favourite actress, though I dont dislike her, but mostly its because Lucy Liu as Doctor Watson just sounds terrible on paper. But she completely pulled it off putting in a performance equal to Johnny Lee Miller.
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Old 09-29-2012, 03:51 PM   #2
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Re: Elementary

My thoughts just on the pilot:

To go back to Sherlock, cos its impossible not to, the CBS adaptation isnt as slick or stylish. I love the text messages flashing on screen, I love the darker tones and if there is no Moriarty and it seems Elementary just settles into something closer to Jonathon Creek than Sherlock. They also suffer from shorter episodes so there is less scope and frankly the answer to the pilot's case kinda sucked and could have been solved by pretty much any detective - Sherlock Holmes is meant to be the best who solves the hardest cases no one else can and so far this doesnt feel that way.

In fact the pilot was effectively solved by Watson who could have just checked the rice and found the phone in it without Sherlock's help - **** the more I think about it the more I realise how much that ending sucked.

I actually noticed the bag of rice the way they shot the scene in the perp's house. That was pretty bad, i never put two and two together, but it was just too on the nose the way they shot and edited that scene as it felt like they had giant arrows pointing to it at the time.

However saying all that I enjoyed the pilot, a few others who have mentioned it also have, definitely worth catching and I recommend going in with an open mind.
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Old 09-29-2012, 03:53 PM   #3
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Re: Elementary

an intentional walk with the bases empty up 1 in the ninth got me extremely rustled
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Old 09-29-2012, 03:58 PM   #4
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Re: Elementary

As a Brit I didnt get the specifics of the baseball stuff but I liked the scene and especially appreciated the Elvis Costello song they ended the episode on as the scene closed.
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Old 09-29-2012, 03:58 PM   #5
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Thumbs up Re: Elementary

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Originally Posted by dkgojackets View Post
an intentional walk with the bases empty up 1 in the ninth got me extremely rustled
A+
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Old 09-29-2012, 04:13 PM   #6
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Re: Elementary

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As a Brit I didnt get the specifics of the baseball stuff but I liked the scene and especially appreciated the Elvis Costello song they ended the episode on as the scene closed.
i liked the idea. hes right about baseball being mathematically solved, but of course its solved like blackjack in the sense that there are only right and wrong plays to maximize expectation, but its all fine for the point he was trying to get across. if he had just said something on a pitch like "its a 1-2 count and players hit .300 points worse on 1-2 compared to 2-1, hes going to ground out" and scene then perfect. instead he predicts a strategy that is laughably bad that not even a dusty baker type manager who does things the "traditional" way instead of statistically correct way would do.

i hate nitpicking dumb stuff like this and also hate making poker analogies but its the equivalent of him predicting a player would call a preflop raise with 8-4 and then win by flipping two pair.

whole thing just got my jimmies quite shaken up after an otherwise pretty enjoyable episode
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:15 PM   #7
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Re: Elementary

Just watched the pilot and i liked it. It can stay a motw for me (such as criminal minds), if it continues on like this i dont really mind.

It's dark, it's funny and it's fast paced, i liked everything about it eventhough this case wasnt a "only a genius can solve this" type of case. In fact, it's kinda better like this, as i think if they made it overly complicated on the first episode, a lot of people would not turn in the next week. Introduction to the characters was what was important in this episode, and they've done it very well with a simple but effective story.

Looking forward to this.
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:32 PM   #8
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Re: Elementary

Copying in my thoughts from the Fall New Show Review Thread that I posted last night.

"I watched it tonight and thought it was good, not great, but had a lot of potential. It was directed by the guy who did the Homeland Pilot, and I thought the directing wasn't really that great. It appeared he was going more for visual style than acting substance. It was more in the ballpark of the CBS style than Person of Interest's Pilot was, so it maybe only has about 20 percent more refining to do to get to the full CBS house style.

I think there's going to be a big change from the Pilot to episode 2, especially in the Holmes performance. He talks way too fast for American audiences, and they need to slow him down. Lucy Liu's always understated voice volume really hurt her performance in this episode, especially vs. Holmes' constantly exuberant performance, so I imagine there's going to be some work done there, as well. I'm really happy that Aidan Quinn is into this show, and that he's not at all phoning in his performance like he did on the NBC piece of s**t Prime Suspect, last season. He's doing solid work.

They nailed the cast for the show, so that's a huge positive. I found the dialog mix really distracting, and there was just way too much processing using the CEDAR DNS noise reduction technology. There were clearly some huge sound issues in the show, and I don't remember hearing any ADR. The mixer needed to add reverb to the voices to make the processing sound more natural. The backgrounds were also really low in the show. I don't want to think about the sound when I watch a show, so this one has a lot of work to do. I also thought the music was really weak.

My favorite scene was the opera scene, and I guffawed at the "personal valet" line. I was not expecting that. It was the second best drama Pilot I've seen so far this season, with Last Resort being first. I'll be checking out Vegas next."
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:41 PM   #9
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Re: Elementary

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Originally Posted by dkgojackets View Post
an intentional walk with the bases empty up 1 in the ninth got me extremely rustled
I specifically remember a runner on second base when he mentioned the intentional walk (which might have meant first base was open). So I went back and rewatched that scene and I'll give my nitreport that they butchered the scene from a baseball standpoint.

1. Scene opens with a Met hitting a solo HR making the score of the game CIN 3 NYM 2.
2. Lucy and JLM have a real-time conversation with no cutaway, no delay, that goes for about a minute with the baseball game announcers as background noise in a consistent stream since the HR.
2a. So, when they cut back to the game it should be the next batter up after the HR hitter, same score, nobody on base.
3. It's not though. Now there are runners on 1st and 2nd base. That's when JLM gives the popup, intentional walk, double play prediction.

So, there was an issue there. And, it's even dumber because you would never intentional walk in that spot. It actually bugged me more when he said 'popup to center' and the CF caught a deep fly ball that he jumped for at the fence. His line should have been, "fly ball to center".

And it's not like this would have been that hard. Find a Mets game where you like what happened. Have JLM do his deduction that matches what happened. It's almost like they had a JLM deduction in mind and tried to make a game fit what he said...(end nit)

I liked the premiere. Interesting dynamic between the two leads. JLM is interesting to watch. Good stuff all 'round.
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:14 PM   #10
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Re: Elementary

Do you feel like writing down his entire prediction? He spoke it really fast, and I didn't catch everything he said.

I would give the benefit of the doubt on the time passage, because they probably had to cut it down for run time, and those events could have actually happened in the original cut.

It's been a long time since I've watched or played baseball, but I don't remember an intentional walk without a base open ever being an optimal strategy. You have just as much of a chance of a double play with runners on first and second, as you do with the bases loaded. That seems like a pretty big error. It does seem to me that they pulled a real baseball game, so the stuff must have happened in context correctly.

My guess is that there was a double after the HR (not shown, possibly edited out), then the fly out, and then there was an intentional walk in the real game, which seems like proper strategy. Then the events happened as shown with the double play to end the game. I'll also give a pass on him calling a popup, as it was a prediction, not a certainty. I'm actually going to do a little research and see if I can find it.
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:28 PM   #11
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Re: Elementary

The only Mets/Reds 3-2 game in recent memory was May 3, 2010. It was decided in the bottom of the 11th inning by a HR. So, I'm not even sure what they used for the game, but it certainly couldn't have been one in context for the end of the game. Weird stuff.
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:42 PM   #12
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Re: Elementary

The actual prediction was 'popup to center, intentional walk, game-ending double play.'

The game footage was parsed together. It wasn't a real game-ending situation. The SNY banner they used to show it was the 9th inning of a 3-2 game was faked for their narrative. There's one shot of the TV, before the flyball to center, where you can make out the in-stadium scoreboard showing that it's actually the 6th inning of the game.

(which makes it all worse because they could have parsed together exactly what they needed to match JLM's prediction in a plausible way)
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Old 10-05-2012, 12:13 AM   #13
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Re: Elementary

Enjoyed the second ep, but damn if their cases dont need to get harder. This time they went for the Columbo approach where we know the killer and the detective knows the killer but he needs to prove it first. In this case coma woman was in a chemical coma and was being brought out to perform murders. To make millions. When she could have hired an expert for a hundred grand to do them all with no trace back to her.

The core of the case sucked, but everything around it was good. I also liked the ending where its pointed out the dark haired sister was gonna kill the blond sister to get the entire inheritance.
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Old 10-05-2012, 02:31 PM   #14
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Re: Elementary

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The core of the case sucked, but everything around it was good.
Exactly my thoughts. Of all the second episodes of new shows I've watched this week, this was probably the best of them. Will keep watching.
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Old 10-05-2012, 03:48 PM   #15
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Re: Elementary

Not only were the two Sherlocks in a stage adaptation of Frankenstein, they would alternate roles nightly.

I'm liking it better than I thought I would.
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Old 10-05-2012, 04:01 PM   #16
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Re: Elementary

I liked the second episode but would prefer Lucy to have a somewhat reduced part in her backstory/motivations but it could just be because we have learnt little in the past of Sherlock so far and far too much about Watson up to this point.
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Old 10-05-2012, 04:07 PM   #17
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Re: Elementary

Yeah, def shocked at how much I didn't hate this.
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:51 PM   #18
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Re: Elementary

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I liked the second episode but would prefer Lucy to have a somewhat reduced part in her backstory/motivations but it could just be because we have learnt little in the past of Sherlock so far and far too much about Watson up to this point.
This is the way it should be imo.

Sherlock is the ultimate detective and through him we should learn a lot about Watson, but at the same time Watson has shown a good capacity of detection coupled with Sherlock starting to trust her and so we are learning about Sherlock but at a slower rate.
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Old 10-06-2012, 02:11 AM   #19
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Re: Elementary

A lot of the criticism of the cases is kind of off base, because the U.S. audiences don't tend to like sophisticated police procedurals in any major way (this show could really start to explore that as the audience gets really comfortable with it, but that probably won't happen for at least 14 episodes). The ratings aren't great, for the show, but it's a slam dunk renewal around the numbers where it's at. It's doing a little better than Unforgettable did last season, on Tuesdays, but these are basically right around the lowest renewal ratings the show can have. I don't think the show is very expensive (NY location aside), so that helps it, as well.

Keep in mind, the most sophisticated popular police procedurals in the U.S. are/were Criminal Minds and Criminal Intent. The other most popular sophisticated police procedural was The Closer (the first real U.S. remake of the UK Prime Suspect), which never would have made it on network TV. I think everyone would agree that those procedurals, while sophisticated in the U.S., are not nearly as sophisticated as some of the foreign procedurals out there. Nearly every other sophisticated police procedural fails, because the audience likes to feel like they have a chance at solving the case.

I'm looking at this show completely different than the rest of you, where the cases don't actually matter at all (I typically like well done police procedurals, and it's clear the cases aren't meant to be a focus, because the police procedural doesn't really make a lot of sense, as Captains aren't that active, and there are always partners in homicide). I just like watching the relationships, and the nice change of pace of Watson being cast as a woman.

I wrote this last week, and it was exactly what happened.

Quote:
I think there's going to be a big change from the Pilot to episode 2, especially in the Holmes performance. He talks way too fast for American audiences, and they need to slow him down. Lucy Liu's always understated voice volume really hurt her performance in this episode, especially vs. Holmes' constantly exuberant performance, so I imagine there's going to be some work done there, as well.
This show is off to a flying start, and I think it's only going to get better. I'm looking forward to the continuing developing of it. My hunch is that this is probably going to end up being the best new show (or most watchable) of the big 4 network TV season.

I used to really hate the CBS drama style, but shows I'm solidly on board with are Criminal Minds, Person of Interest, and Elementary. I still have a few others I need to catch up on, but there is some hope that CBS can actually put pretty good TV on the air, for those of us that aren't into shows like NCIS and CSI.

I almost forgot that I really enjoyed the Rube Goldberg main title. That was nicely done.

Last edited by nunnehi; 10-06-2012 at 02:26 AM.
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:37 AM   #20
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Re: Elementary

This is definitely watchable. But considering this the "second best new show this year behind Last Resort" says more about this year in TV than the show, imo.
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:54 AM   #21
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Re: Elementary

Someone on another forum suggested the show could be way more awesome if you switched the roles; Lucy Liu as Sherlock and Miller as Watson. I think I agree.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:13 AM   #22
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Re: Elementary

This is just a standard crime procedural, no better than any other in the past 10 years. What makes these shows work is the characters and their interactions. So far Sherlock and Watson are okay but only okay and the police support characters are weak to unnoticable. If this show is to succeed its gonna have to make us like and care about the characters which I don't think it has done yet.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:26 AM   #23
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Re: Elementary

The inability of US audiences to embrace anything more complex than CSI Miami doesnt make criticising the quality of cases wrong - it just explains why they are pretty basic.

Fwiw Im convinced they stole this case from some other show, but I dont recall which. Maybe Monk, which fwiw seems to be the level of case difficulty they are going for. I loved Monk and in time I'll probably not care that the cases arent as good as shows like Sherlock and Jonathan Creek but it is a valid criticism of a Sherlock Holmes show.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:11 AM   #24
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Re: Elementary

Enjoyed it but cringed at the line:

"we found the girl from the sketch"
"you mean the sketch that neighbour we caught who saw the girl drew for us last night?"

thanks for the clarification..

edit: would also like them to introduce an overarching storyline but not sure if that's what they are going for or not
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:38 AM   #25
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Re: Elementary

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edit: would also like them to introduce an overarching storyline but not sure if that's what they are going for or not
That's always what i'm looking for in shows, and i'm waiting for this too. However it's only the 2nd epiosde, so i think they still have some margin to introduce a season storyline.

Liked the 2nd episode too, good stuff.
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