Wednesday, September 19, 2012

So It Begins...

It is alarmingly easy to upset nerds. We don’t mean knock over their carton of chocolate milk or burden them with a wedgie. You have to hit them where it hurt: their geeky loves. Every time The Doctor wields a gun, Michael Bay tries to make the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles aliens or Greedo shoots Han, nerds race to their place of comfort—the Internet—to rant, revile, and accomplish nothing.
Now it is time for us to do the same.
When CBS announced it was making a pilot of “Elementary”, Sherlockians flipped out. Suppose we need to clarify. “Sherlock”-ians flipped out. From the ones we’ve encountered, the Doyle aficionados are always happy to see a new incarnation of their beloved Victorian detective. Fanboys and Fangirls of BBC’s “Sherlock” had a different emotion.

In 2010, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss created a new series for the BBC placing Sherlock Holmes in modern day London starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the “highly functioning sociopath” and Martin Freeman as the Afghanistan war veteran Dr. Watson. After two seasons and six 90-minute episodes, the series has become not only a wonderful adaptation of the classic stories but easily one of the best TV shows on the air.
The story goes that CBS wanted to adapt “Sherlock” for modern audiences…despite the show already being a huge hit for PBS (by their ratings standards.) Moffat and Gatiss said no. CBS read the Wikipedia article on public domain and realized they could make their own Sherlock Holmes story set in modern day without the BBC. They called it “Elementary” because…ugh.
Casting made the story even stranger. The former consult of Scotland Yard shall be played by Johnny Lee Miller, an actor respected from the underrated ABC series “Eli Stone”. He’s also known for the Danny Boyle directed theatre adaptation of Frankenstein where he and the co-actor switched roles every night of Dr. Frankenstein and The Monster. Who is his co-actor, you may ask, you questioning blog reader? Benedict Bloody Cumberbatch.
So that was odd.
Then this case became even more curious when they cast Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson. Yes, Lucy Liu of the “Charlie’s Angels” movies, “Kill Bill” and the female gender.

Angry nerds crossed their fingers this will be like “Wonder Woman” last year where it would be a highly talked about pilot but never be greenlit to series. Nope. CBS loved what they saw and gave it a full season order, advertising it as one of their highly anticipated new series. In a year of rather dismal network outings, “Elementary” is one of the ones that TV critics have been having the most hope for.
We remain stubbornly unimpressed. (Did you not catch the tone of the previous paragraphs? It was subtle.) To vent therapeutically, Austin Lugar and Leigh Montano will review episodes of “Elementary” every week. We have titled the blog “Elementary Schooled” because we are ready to rip apart the episode on a weekly basis, but since we both understand dramatic irony we are also fully expected to be pleasantly surprised so we’ll be the ones being “schooled.” We have our doubts.
Also to show our adoration of the deerstalker-wearing sleuth, we shall also review a classic story of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle every Tuesday staring chronologically with A Study in Scarlet.
Join us as we use our skills of deduction to investigate the earliest days of Sherlock Holmes and the newest incarnation that places him in New York City!  Play along by posting your thoughts in the comment sections!

Austin Lugar has co-edited 3.5 mystery reference books including “Organizing Crime”, “Organizing Crime Classics” and “Mystery Muses”, which featured two essays about Arthur Conan Doyle. Lugar once was a speaker at a holiday party for The Baker Street Irregulars where his speckled band joke totally killed. His favorite incarnation of Sherlock Holmes is Basil of Baker Street from “The Great Mouse Detective.

Leigh Montano is currently working on her Master’s in Media Studies with hopes of one day boring students about how wonderfully evil television is. She has presented at PCA/ACA’s national conference on the sexualization of Sherlock Holmes in modern media as an attempt to stay relevant with a presentation entitled “From Bromance to Romance: the Sexualization of Sherlock Holmes”. She plans on thrilling more audiences with upwards of eleven people on the women of the Holmes canon and their roles at next year’s conference. She also believes that Benedict Cumberbatch is the most perfect Holmes and not just because he’s easy to look at.

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