At 221b Con, I was on a panel to discuss Elementary, and a few things came out of that discussion that tie into my original post on the topic. So, consider this an addendum.
- The show is very much based in New York. Rather than being a general analog of London, the show veers into being explicitly a show that is part of the culture of New York. Again, I think this ties into the heart of the original Canon: Holmes was originally a creature of London, and now he is a creature of New York. Being originally British, this allows other characters (such as Gregson) to act as “native guide,” but New York is very much a character in this show.
- It was pointed out that CBS has a long history of these kinds of character-driven shows masquerading as procedurals. I was completely unaware: the only remotely similar show I followed was Castle, and I got bored with it after a season and a half, and that’s on ABC anyhow. But it does explain why the character dynamics are interesting, even if the actual mysteries are a little soggy.
- A number of fans of Elementary said similar things: Sherlock is an amazing show, but Elementary is something different. And time and again, they mentioned that Elementary felt “real.” Sherlock is, to quote one attendee, “a boy’s adventure,” whereas Elementary feels like it’s about real people. I feel that’s slight hyperbole, but the core point stands: Sherlock is about the adventure, whereas Elementary is about the relationships. A lot of this, I feel, stems from the respective formats: deep characterization is hard in three 90-minute episodes, and the movie-length format does play well to broader, more epic tales. A 24-episode formula structure, however, means that the only thing tying the episodes together are the characters, so the focus on them is natural and positive.
- I won’t give any spoilers, but I am very interested to see where they go with Miss Hudson. (Edit: Spoilers will appear in the comments below, though!)