The Story’s the Thing: Elementary
I’ve recently begun watching the TV show Elementary because I’m feeling deprived from the Sherlock hiatus. I’m about 6 or 7 episodes in, and have to say that I am very impressed with their take on this classic story, especially when we already have other current adaptations.
In this version, Sherlock Holmes has just gotten out of rehab in New York, and Joan Watson has been hired by his father to be Sherlock’s sober companion while he transitions back into a “normal” life. Joan Watson, the first female Watson in an adaptation that I’m aware of, is an ex-surgeon who was put on suspension after a patient died on her operating table. Instead of going back to her old profession, she chose to become a companion to recovering drug addicts.
Watson: I notice you don’t have any mirrors around here.
Holmes: What is that supposed to mean?
Watson: That you know a lost cause when you see one
I find Joan Watson’s character (played by Lucy Liu) fascinating, because she has all of the core characteristics of John Watson, but also refuses to let Sherlock walk all over her. They have an interesting relationship, because she holds a position of power over Sherlock that does not exist in other adaptations. If he were to go back to using, she could have him sent back to rehab, or inform his father and he would be kicked out of the brownstone his father is allowing him to live in.
This gives more balance to their respective positions, and an important one, because without Joan’s job as Sherlock’s sober companion, why would she stay with him? Even in the latest episode I watched, she tells him that by refusing to open up to her, he is forcing them to remain strangers. If he weren’t her client, I feel that she would simply leave, even with the fascinating murder cases he draws her into solving.
Overall, I definitely think that Elementary is worth a watch, because it gives a refreshing, modern twist to a beloved classic that is so different from Sherlock to continue to be engaging. I believe they’re nearing the end of their first season now, and I’m excited to continue watching!
What is your favorite adaptation of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes?