An open letter to the makers of CBS’s Elementary

CBS is currently preparing a modern retelling of the Sherlock Holmes stories set in New York, something that has people concerned, especially in light of the excellent BBC series (which you really ought to be watching). Lyndsay Faye writes to CBS, begging them above all else to get the character of Watson right.

I’m not arguing that we’re purists, because we aren’t in general, but we have trepidations because frankly Watson is the heart and soul of the matter — strip him of everything he stands for, and what’s left of him? You’re not giving us a Sherlock Holmes who’s a dense, plodding Puritan who slowly solves crime by textual procedure, presumably. So, CBS, what are you doing with the most important character from the books?

One makes the assumption that the bond between Sherlock and Joan will begin feisty and steadily grow, which sounds like a fantastic X‑Files remake, and I’m glad you’re making it. Truly. And our gross irascibility (for which I am personally sorry) might be erased by our spellbound awe at the sheer purity of beauty that Elementary offers as a series, such that we come to you upon our knees, begging to wash your feet with our hair. That might happen, CBS.


But don’t hand us a plate consisting of daikon, ox knuckle, and peanut butter and brightly tell us it’s potato salad, CBS. Because we may not be purists, but no one on earth loves their chosen dish better. Fair warning.

You can watch a preview of Elementary here. Truthfully, it doesn’t look awful, but it’s really hard to compete with the BBC series. I just rewatched part of the first episode yesterday, and the first twenty minutes or so are about as enjoyable as TV gets… and the rest of the episode (and series) isn’t bad, either.

Read more about Elementary and Lyndsay Faye.
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