Fashionable Paley Fall Previews

Lucy Liu (as Watson) and Jonny Lee Miller (Holmes)

Sept. 6: CBS Premieres – Elementary and Vegas

Auditorium nicely filled at start time, and as usual, started on time. A great touch with these preview nights is the refreshments, usually salsa, chips or sometimes cheese and crackers with soft drinks and water. Tonight was different; we got goodie bags, just like at Fashion Week! We were fashionable at the Paley Center! Nibbles such as Kit Kat bar (my fave), M&Ms mini, Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies, a stick of string cheese, two sizes of pretzels and a neat 8 oz bottle of water. I missed the chips and dips where attendees sought of mingled as they gently jostled for eats. But I can work with the Goody Bag.

ELEMENTARY – A much publicized entry featuring a favorite actress, Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller, a personable actor I don’t know well. At first glance this Sherlock Holmes did a creditable ‘Monk’ refit, with quirky movements and disjointed remarks that no one could fathom. Thankfully that impression faded, as he has no phobias to work around, lest that be fear of failure. Holmes is full of himself as Watson later tells him. Miller is a good fit for a genius just returning from his unintelligent binge with substance abuse.

Lucy Liu is the Watson to this Holmes, brought in by Holmes’ father to oversee the son’s new freedom from drug rehab. Actually he escaped on the day he was to be released, jump starting Watson’s role as his post-rehab caretaker/keeper (or as Holmes put it, his addict-sitter). She seems vulnerable to Holmes’ overbearing know-it-allness at first but she comes across as observant and capable.  It turns out Watson is a doctor, a former surgeon with a sad past, all of which comes to light under one of  Holmes’ casual, brutal observations.

I quickly liked this duo. The dialogue was sharp and uncluttered although it took a moment to absorb Holmes’ distinct British accent in the midst of the Yanks. The two actors have a visible chemistry, and their first meeting was a great example of their coming misunderstandings and revelations. First up: Watson is not a pushover, and Holmes learns it fast. Yet there is a quick bond loosely formed in this pilot; whether it’s mutual respect for the other’s intelligence or a grudging admission that they can help or need each other will show itself in time.

I felt the genesis of his consulting status was a bit thin: his NYC detective  friend of a decade ago worked with Holmes in London and now  he calls upon his just former drug addicted friend for help?  Hmm. Still, the story captures the magic of Holmes’ wit and exceptional skills of deduction well enough in the pilot. I love the supporting cast of detectives. Holmes’ people skills on the other hand, will definitely be fine-tuned by a no-nonsense former surgeon with a brilliant eye for detail as well.

The first episode successfully snagged my attention for more of this show. There were some very funny moments throughout (the theater scene was a hoot), peppered with bloody bodies and plot thickenings and twists. The sets are scrumptious, making nice use of the brownstone’s classic lines to underscore this Sherlock update.  This ep was just a bit foreseeable, but I can tell there are some surprises in store. With Holmes and Watson, that’s elementary (I hope).

VEGAS review to follow – MM

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