The Marvelous New World of Holmes and Watson

I’ve read some of the original Sherlock Holmes written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Decades ago, I watched Basil Rathbone as Sherlock on one of the early black and white TVs long before color; in recent years I walked to the local theater to see the films starring Robert Downey Jr.—movies easily forgotten a few hours later but enjoyed for the cheap thrills—and a few months ago I watched the new BBC TV series of Sherlock staring Benedict Cumberbatch and enjoyed that.

But now Elementary with Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu has spoiled all of the other versions for me, because they pale in comparison to this duo. This Holmes and Watson are more complex, more compelling and more delicious. I am now addicted to them as if they were cocaine, chocolate, tobacco, caffeine and even sugar all rolled into one.

And this compulsion has nothing to do with the fact that my wife and I are both fans of Lucy Liu.  It has to do with the development of the complex plots, the characters and the platonic relationship that develops between this new Holmes and Watson.

I also can’t recall having ever seen Lucy Liu cast outside the Asian femme-fatale stereotype before, but now I have seen her talent as an actor as I have never seen it before. She takes the dullness out of Watson; lights a flame under him and propels him into orbit.

This Watson is more complex and much more interesting. Whoever thought of the idea of Dr. Watson as a woman—a Chinese-American woman at that—was a pure genius. And we can’t blame Arthur Conan Doyle because in those days women were the property of men equal to a stove or a couch. Even pigs and cows were probably considered more valuable than women during that era.

In addition, the new Holmes is better than the original. This Holmes is so extreme and out-of- this-world that he jumps off the screen and into your imagination like crazy glue and sticks.

The only thing I regret is that I have to wait for maybe a year or more before I can buy and watch the DVDs for the second season, because I don’t watch TV with commercials—I fall asleep.

Like an addict, I will be desperate for my next fix of this magical reincarnation.  And it is “Elementary” that I may watch the first season again and then maybe again … while I’m waiting.

I itch to say more about this TV series but know that if I do, I may give away too many delightful surprises and spoil the experience for others.

I think Elementary is the Rembrandt [Lucy Liu] and Picasso [Jonny Lee Miller] of the Sherlock Holmes world. My only worry is that the writers of this show will not be able to live up to the first season.


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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13 responses to “The Marvelous New World of Holmes and Watson”

  1. I love this series. Have you been watchign season 2?

    1. No, I’m waiting for it to come out on DVD first. My schedule doesn’t allow me much time to set down and watch through streaming (which isn’t always smooth) or the scheduled shows. DVDs work best for me. About a month before the 2nd season DVD is released, I’ll watch season one again to get read. The only films I’ve wanted to watch more than once is the Lord of the Rings and Avatar. I’ve seen the Lord of the Rings three timed and Avatar twice and lately I’ve been tempted to watch Avatar a 3rd time.

  2. […] The Marvelous New World of Holmes and Watson ( […]

  3. I love Sherlock Holmes books, I watch the BBC Sherlock series and now I am super curious with this “Elementary”! 😀

    1. Entertainment of any kind is subjective to the tastes of the individual. Hope you enjoy Elementary as much as I did. Lucy Lui has already won a number of awards playing Dr. Watson.

      1. Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Actress: Action (I’m scratching my head on this one. How did she get a teen choice award at age 44?)
      2. Seoul International Drama Award for Best Actress
      3. New York Women in Film and Televisions Muse Award – Best Actress
      4. Prism Award -Female Performance in a Drama Series Multi-Episode

      I looked over her career in TV as an actor and she was nominated for a few awards but only won TWO—one each for two different series. And with this role she gets four—-so far!!!!!

      1. Now I’m even more curious about the Elementary! 😀
        Lucy Liu must have done really good job!

      2. I think Lucy Liu did an incredible job—a role that shatters stereotypes for women and Asian-Americans. There were a few scenes where she actually is better than Sherlock and surprises him. I don’t recall the traditional Watson ever beating Sherlock at his own game.

      3. You are right.
        The one played by Martin Freeman was pretty traditional too, even thought it is set in these present modern days.
        The BBC series was not aired in Indonesia. I had to get the DVDs. I hope the second season will be made into DVD soon! 😀

      4. How about streaming from the Internet? Is this a possibility in your area?

        Here’s the CBS Website for Elementary and I see that they do have a free CBS app for watching full episodes on-line. But of course, if it works, you will have to put up with the commercials. If it works and its free let me know.

  4. We like it too … and unlike most shows, it seems to be getting better with each episode. And it’s one of the few shows on which I can’t predict with 100% accuracy who done it. There’s a British version — actually the original — of it you can pick up on Amazon Prime if you have a Roku or a subscription on your computer. It’s good … in some ways better … but I have so much difficulty understanding them through the accents that I gave up trying.

    1. One of the many reasons I like it so much is because most of the time I also couldn’t predict who done it. In most mysteries I read or watch, I usually figure out who done it without a challenge because the clues are so obvious. But in this show, there are twists on twists on twists with a blizzard of surprises. And of course, there is the new twist on Watson who becomes Holmes apprentice and rivals him a few times in solving one of their challenges earning his respect.

  5. Behind the Story Avatar
    Behind the Story

    I agree. I like Elementary. My sister watched it once and decided it was not traditional enough for her.

    1. I thought there would be traditionalists who wouldn’t want the original touched. Maybe your sister could think of it as Sherlock Holmes in an alternative universe.

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