I don’t know how many of you have seen the BBC’s version of “Sherlock Holmes,” which also airs on PBS in the United States. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as John Watson. I don’t say this lightly, but honestly, it’s the most gripping, complex, and amazing series on television. There have been two seasons (only one of which has aired in the US, so far, but it’s not too hard to find the second season stateside), and each season is three episodes long, an hour and a half apiece (so, basically, 3 movies). They are stunningly well done, contemporary updates of the classic Arthur Conan Doyle character that are infinitely more faithful to the spirit of Conan Doyle than Guy Ritchie’s films. In fact, Guy Ritichie’s films — with 10 times the budget — pale by comparison. This series will absolutely blow you away.
So, of course, CBS has decided to make its own contemporary version, which is to say: They’ve decided to rip off the BBC and lay the Sherlock Holmes brand over their crappy, generic procedural formula as cat nip for its target audience: Old people. “Elementary” will probably be “The Mentalist” with a different character. (The BBC is already considering litigation, should the CBS borrow elements from their series.)
The CBS version has also hired its lead. Jonny Lee Miller, best known from his role in Hackers and as the first husband of Angelina Jolie, will take on the role. No disrespect to Miller’s iconic (ahem) role in “Eli Stone,” but this man is no Sherlock. He’s a poor excuse, and this whole idea smacks of the sort of desperate move that a last-place network like NBC would engage in, not and not the powerhouse of formulaic blandness that is CBS.