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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