There's been a fair amount of huffing and puffing, some deeply unpleasant , about CBS' Elementary, a knockoff of Sherlock (oops, not supposed to say that) that translates the action to New York. Jonny Lee Miller is Holmes, a newly-rehabilitated drug addict dependent on staying in rich daddy's good graces; Lucy Liu is Joan Watson, a disgraced ex-surgeon hired to make sure that Holmes stays off the drugs. There's no Mrs. Hudson, and although there's a Lestrade-equivalent in the form of Marcus Bell, Holmes' real contact at the force is the admiring Capt. Gregson (Aidan Quinn). In any event, the pilot sees Holmes and Watson first grudgingly and then admiringly begin working together on a homicide case featuring a manipulative psychoanalyst, his wealthy wife, and a mentally-ill man with a history of violently assaulting women.
Unlike Sherlock, Elementary did not inspire me to contemplate a life entirely devoid of television. But Elementary's primary method for dealing with the heavy burden of all the other Holmes adaptations is, in effect, to be as generic as possible: the CSI-type editing; the "odd couple" detective-sidekick duo; the personality clash over psychological wounds that somehow turns out OK in the end; the predictable fakeout conclusion (the viewer, after all, only needs to look at the clock to realize that the cops have it wrong); the summation scene in which the suspect somehow refrains from socking the detective. Aside from various instances of the Sherlock Scan, there's not much here to differentiate either the show or the characters from any other series with an offbeat detective. (In fact, Miller's rather hectic performance, nearly all in one emotional key, reminded me somehow of Jeffrey Donovan's David Creegan in the US version of Touching Evil.) There's a little play with the Holmes legend--Holmes, it turns out, has zero interest in opera, rumors to the contrary--but the original Holmes stories seem almost tangential to this pilot. Watson, at least, is intelligent enough to come up with the clue that breaks the case. Holmes, however, has been checked into House. For some reason, House has led adapters everywhere to write Holmes as an obnoxious boor, rather than a genteel eccentric. Apparently, any and all Holmeses need a dark and tortured past, preferrably one filled with deep emotional trauma; perhaps this one must also learn to fall in love (as his first encounter with Watson suggests).
In short: not offensive (as Dad the Emeritus Historian of Graeco-Roman Egypt pointed out, the plotting was intelligible, which is more that can be said for the last season of Sherlock), but also not much of a Sherlock Holmes adaptation per se. To be honest, I found it all pretty forgettable.
 See here for a rundown of some horrific responses to Lucy Liu's casting (racism, sexism...you name it, it's there).