Elementary; Better Than Sherlock


This will be a non-library related post, except in the fact that most librarians I know fall into the Sherlock fandom and those that do not have strong opinions anyway.

The back story: I didn’t get into Elementary (the CBS-set-in-New-York-modern-Sherlock-adaptation-cum-procedural) until it had just started its second season. I watched all of Sherlock right when it aired. I am a fan of the modern portrayal of Sherlock and John in the BBC version; I think that the two actors, especially in the first two episodes and season 2, really got a handle on who Sherlock and John really were in the Conan-Doyle world.

I am a big fan of Sherlock. But the thing is…Elementary is better. And I did not discover this until far too late. But Elementary, as a 22 episode procedural with side characters and running gags (I’m looking at you, Clyde), gives more weight to both the actions and reactions that make up most of what is fun about Sherlock and John. Elementary allows more exploration of the characters, it gives Watson (in this series, a woman) agency beyond being wowed by Sherlock’s mind, and it pulls together just the right amount from the cannon combined with great storytelling.

The first season’s arc is incredibly powerful with a wonderful reveal, the second season is a bit rocky but with some out-of-this-world episodes, especially concerning Moriarty. The show is now halfway through season three and is stronger than ever. Joan has her own story lines and agency beyond being Sherlock’s number one fan and Sherlock, in turn, relies on Joan more than Sherlock ever relied on John.

But you want to know what? Last night’s episode wrapped up what might be the best arc since the first. That’s right. I said it. This arc is almost as powerful as Joan and Sherlock’s partnership evolving. The characterization in this half-season set of episodes was beautiful (and naturally occurring), the emotional beats were strong, and it touched on issues that other shows struggle to deal with. More than anything, it made me want to watch more Elementary—and that is what good television is all about.

Don’t believe me? Willing to see spoilers? The AV Club’s Myles McNutt wrote a great review that touches on the points above.

Come back soon for a more library-related post, probably dealing with social media and accessibility with a healthy side dose of “How do I connect to students?”


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