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  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 27, 2012
  • Season #: 1 , 2
Elementary Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics What's this?

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 230 Ratings

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  • Summary: After a stint in rehab, Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) resumes work, this time consulting with the NYPD. His father, however, has appointed him a sober companion in the form of Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu).
  • Genre(s): Drama, Action & Adventure, Suspense
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Oct 4, 2012
    [A] highly satisfying update. [8 Oct 2012, p.57]
  2. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Sep 14, 2012
    Elementary exhibits enough stylish wit in its mood and look to quickly distinguish itself from the latest British "Sherlock" series.
  3. Reviewed by: David Hiltbrand
    Sep 27, 2012
    Stylishly directed, Elementary is one loaded show, including its wonderful, well-matched leads.
  4. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Sep 25, 2012
    Elementary will probably infuriate Sherlock Holmes purists, but other viewers are likely to find it gripping and well cast.
  5. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Sep 26, 2012
    Miller is infinitely watchable as the twitchy detective, and I'm sure Liu will bring more to Watson if she's given the chance.
  6. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Sep 27, 2012
    Miller's approach may be different from Benedict Cumberbatch's in "Sherlock," but he's as riveting a screen presence. Even if you don't care about the weekly whodunit--and mostly, I don't--Elementary" could be fun.
  7. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Sep 25, 2012
    The two leads lack any kind of chemistry, platonic or otherwise, and the storytelling lacks the smarts and insight of one of TV's best Sherlockian creations, "House."

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 50
  2. Negative: 11 out of 50
  1. Jan 29, 2013
    I watched the BBC's Sherlock before watching this. Sherlock is boring, but this is exciting. Jonny Miller's acting is fantastic, Lucy Lui not that much. There were a few boring episodes, but overall the best new series Expand
  2. Jan 24, 2014
    Jonny Lee Miller's rendition of Sherlock Holmes is simply the best portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in modern media yet. That, combined with the interesting dynamics between Watson and Holmes, the witty writing and interesting cases, make this one a winner. Expand
  3. Oct 21, 2012
    If you expect something like BBC's "Sherlock" you'll probably won't like it. In my opinion Jonny Lee Miller can't keep up with the Sherlock that Benedict Cumberbatch delivered.
    But still this show is different and has a fresh new approach to Sherlock Holmes. I find it to be entertaining, the acting is alright and the stories have been fun too (four episodes so far).
  4. Sep 13, 2013
    I was a little worried when I first started watching because it is based off Sherlock Holmes and I didn't want to sit through a show that simply revisits the cases from the books. That being said, I love it. Miller is fantastic as Holmes and Liu is a wonderful lead actress who compliments the Holmes character well as Watson. The stories are enjoyable but a little bit predictable but still entertaining to watch.

    I'd recommend it, It's a pretty good show and I don't see how people can hate it let alone give it a negative review.
  5. Oct 9, 2012
    This it is solely based on the pilot episode.

    As someone who has watched Sherlock, I can't help but compare the two shows. But I'm going to
    do my best to keep an open mind and remember that Elementary and Sherlock are completely separate entities. So, unlike just about every other review of this show, I'm going to avoid the topic of BBC's Sherlock.

    The show begins with Sherlock Holmes' first day out of rehab. His new sober companion, Joan Watson meets him at his house to help him make the transition back to the real world as smooth and natural as possible. She is supposed to be staying with him for six weeks, but since a show that only spans six weeks (besides 24) would either be a failure or a mini-series, Watson will clearly stay for longer. She will, no doubt, fall in love with Sherlock's way of thinking and puzzle-solving and stay on as his sidekick for a long time. I say "fall in love with his way of thinking," because the creators promised that there will be no chance of the two of them getting together romantically.

    We don't learn too much about Joan Watson in the pilot. We know that she was a surgeon who left her job to become a drug sitter, which is quite unusual for someone who has never had issues with drugs. She is easily intrigued (she quickly caught interest in Sherlock's way of thinking and the case he was investigating) and fairly quick to anger. Hopefully her personality will expand soon, because right now, she is neither interesting nor relatable.

    On the flip side of the coin, we learn quite a bit about Sherlock. He used to be a consultant for Scotland Yard, which gave him the freedom to work as he saw fit and he didn't have to answer to anyone, which would clearly be a major difficulty for him. As Arthur Conan Doyle intended, Sherlock is hyper observant, he can determine an occupation from the calluses on one's hands and will notice if the tiniest detail doesn't add up. But he isn't afraid to fact check, Google is his friend. He can keep a ridiculous assortment of facts in his head, he's writing an entire book without writing anything down! Manipulating people comes easily to him, and he doesn't hesitate to do so in any situation.

    One thing about Sherlock's brilliance that really irked me was that so much of what he deciphers would be impossible, even for a savant to do. He figures out the exact outcome of a baseball game, down to the plays. He would have to know every single statistic about every player on the field and be lucky for that to happen. But sometimes it's the little things that drive me the most crazy.

    Since this is a police (more or less) show on CBS, you should definitely expect a standard procedural with some elements of Doyle's work. If you are a big fan of either procedurals or Sherlock Holmes (or both!), you should definitely tune in. If you tend to only follow serialized shows, this is not going to be your new favorite show. I have very little doubt that Elementary will become a hit, seeing as crime procedurals are what CBS does best. And if Watson becomes a genuine, lovable character and the writers manage to keep the cases interesting, I think that Elementary has a real shot at being a fun, captivating show.
  6. Sep 27, 2012
    A fairly generic procedural crime drama that uses Holmes and Watson in name only. Other than the names these characters are indistinguishable from the myriad of similar characters on similar shows. Just another case of the week show, only this one uses a big license to get people to pay attention. Without the name I don't think anyone would care at all, and even with the name I certainly do not. If you love procedurals then I am sure this will bring enjoyment, but if you are in it for Sherlock Holmes then you will be sadly disappointed as he is not here. Watch (or rewatch) the superior BBC show Sherlock. Expand
  7. Feb 3, 2013
    I was bored watching the first episode of this show...when they introduced "Watson" as a woman, I just rolled my eyes. This is just another lame, crime-drama that borrows from other shows and uses the names from Sherlock Holmes stories to gain viewers. Expand

See all 50 User Reviews

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