Saturday, August 10, 2013

Loveable Freak Blathers On About Elementary One More Time Because Why Not?

  So, next month is when Elementary starts season 2. I figured maybe now I should look back on the show overall (now that I've cooled down a bit) and settle the big question: was/is the show any good?

  First of all, I feel the need to apologize about my rant about "Dormiarty". She really wasn't THAT terrible of a Moriarty, looking back. I think my harshness just stemmed from my general frustrations with the episode, tiredness from watching/reviewing it, and expecting a lot more. I guess if she comes back, things could be better. She was new, so she was a target. (And there's only so many ways to pick on Millerlock...) Just need to get it out there.

  That out of the way, I figure I should discuss the two elements. (I may end up comparing a lot, so...)


  This is sort of a big problem for me. The writing on this show is very... hit and miss. Sure characters may get good lines, but the stories can be rather lackluster, and often at times feel formulatic (especially early on). If you look back, VERY few episodes were fantastic this season for me. I think only 5 episodes out of the whole 24 episodes ever got me truly invested (though there were some honorable mentions...). Heck, the first episode was incredibly lackluster when compared to, say, the first episode of Sherlock or the first episode of Hannibal. And let's NOT discuss "Dirty Laundry", shall we? (that, "Bugs" from Supernatural, and "The Blind Banker" episode of Sherlock are my standards for bad TV writing...)

  I'm especially disappointed in how the "story arc" was handled. It was pretty much all but forgotten until late in the season. And it started off so well, but kinda lost steam. Compare Supernatural (a show with a similar "episodes a season" count). They always try and keep some semblance of the seasonal story arc going on, but still take the occasional "filler break". If Elementary wanted to be more episodic, fine! Just don't tease me and leave me hanging.

 Though, to be fair, I did hear they chose to start the "Moriarty" arc at episode twelve so, in case they WERE cancelled, they could end on a mystery. Then they got the extra episodes for the season picked up. Then two more added to that. So perhaps it was more of a timing thing, not having a whole hiatus to plot out everything for the season. Plus, more episodes meaning they needed more filler. If that's the case, then it's that sort of stuff that makes me ticked off at executive meddling. Hopefully, given that they've had all summer to work out what they want (and knowing that they're in a good place with the network), maybe season 2 will handle any and all story arcs better.


  Hoo boy, characters...

  You all know I love Joan Watson. She is definitely one of my favorite interpretations of Watson so far. (And to think I was worried). Heck, I'd almost prefer would prefer the show if it was just her character. Lucy Liu does well as her, and I almost wish she was in another adaption than this. I like that she's competent (almost to the point I wonder why she doesn't do more solo work (besides friendship)). And I like how her relationship with Sherlock has developed. And they kept it platonic, not even doing that much teasing at something more romantic (even though it'd be less "taboo")! I pray that the freaking execs and crew keep it that way. We need more platonic guy/girl relationships on TV! Not every duo has to hook up down the line! Pleeeeeeeeeeeease?
Plus, she's in my most-exploited gif! :D

  As for Millerlock... Oh boy... If Joan's one of my favorite Watsons, Millerlock's one of my least favorite Holmeses. Jonny Lee Miller, to be fair, does do well at certain things in this role, and plays his character as written fine. He has some good snarky lines, some refreshingly human moments, and does some impressive things. But in the beginning, the character seemed unsure what kind of Sherlock he would be. An anglamation of his current fellow Sherlocks? Something all-new, all-different? It was distracting. He eventually settled on "broken genius". Which, to be fair, was fine. But the big thing is, that while he could convince me he was Sherlock at some points, he would then do something that to me is very Un-Sherlockian. I'd be watching and the illusion would be broken by him having a prostitute over/discussing his... *ahem* exploits, or even just those emotional breakdown/comprises he was having with "Irene"/Moriarty. He's just... not THE Sherlock for me...

  Finally, the supporting characters... Sweet merciful Doyle, the supporting characters. They're either underdeveloped or hardly used. Seriously, how much can you say about Gregson or Bell? It's hard for me to feel much attachment to them when I'm given so little about them to get attached to. Heck, in "The Rat Race", after Sherlock and Gregson's conversation at the end, I was hoping for more development in their relationship, like him developing into a surrogate father to Sherlock "Daddy Issues" Holmes (a la how Bobby is to The Winchesters on Supernatural). But then "The Red Team" crushed that with his "mistrust". Which, even that was more of an informed trait that was barely ever mentioned again!

  There's kind of an opposite problem when it comes to the other supporting characters introduced later on: they're not used enough. Seriously, characters like Ms. Hudson or Alfredo, who have the potential to be interesting, get forgotten for episodes on end. Or, in the case of my beloved Sebastian Moran, get unceremoniously killed off in their second appearance... (SEBASTIAN! YOU MADE THIS FUN! NOW SOME OF THE FUN HAS DIED! And I was singing, "Bye bye, Mr. assassin guy....")
  ....Sorry about the big lipped alligator moment, there...

  I mean, take shows like Sherlock, Supernatural, or Hannibal. I'm far more invested in almost all the characters and care more about them. Their respective writers do good to ensure that. I care plenty about Sherlock's supporting cast. I've put effort into remembering the names of the forensics team on Hannibal. Even on Supernatural, where death doesn't necessarily mean "gone forever", I feel attachment to the characters and am sad when they suffer/die (except Bela Talbot. I did not like her. She was on there too long...). Here, I feel little attachments besides to Joan, the turtle (who even he doesn't appear much), and maybe Ms. Hudson (and her one appearance.); and unless they had much impact or are a regular, I don't remember many names...


  So, ranting and accentuating the negative aside, is Elementary very good?

  I say it's very middle of the road. It has potential, and sometimes it lives up to it. But for the most part, it can be very "eh". But, if it's getting people into other Sherlock Holmes-related things, who am I to fault it? I feel that if an adaptation can get someone into whatever the source material is, it's done something right. For example, you know that movie adaption of  Fantastic Four? The first one? A lot of people didn't like that one. But believe it or not, it's what helped get me into superheroes and comics. I can't fault it for that. (the second one can rot at the bottom of a Wal-Mart $5 movie bargain bin, though... and ironically, guess which one I own? *sigh*)

  So I guess what I'm saying is, it's fine, but very flawed (Elementary, I mean...).

  Now, the big thing: will I actually watch season 2, and will I review it like last season?

  First of all, yes, I think I will casually watch season 2. Some shows improve with time (heck, even "New Who" and the first season of Supernatural weren't that good in the beginning (forgive me, dearest Christopher Eccleston, I enjoyed your season in the end)...), but got better as time went on. I think maybe now that they have better footing, the show good be better.

  Second of all, no, I will not be reviewing the show episode-by-episode like last time. It was a little draining, and I felt they got a bit repetitive (there's only so many ways a girl can say "this was alright, but not awesome"...) I know a lot of people read them, and it was nice to have a post up on almost a weekly basis, but I can't put myself through that again. I may review/share my thoughts on the season as a whole later, possibly. 

  But I doubt they'll have much to pull me... What's that? They're adding Mycroft to the show next season, starting with episode one? And he'll be played by Rhys Ifans, the guy who played both The Lizard in The Amazing Spider-Man AND Luna Lovegood's dad in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?



  1. Great analysis!

    Enjoyed your comments on the performances of JLM, Lucy Liu and the supporting cast.

    I agree about the quality of writing too.