Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Penny Thoughts ‘14—Elementary, season 2 (2013-2014) ****

TV-14, 24, 43-min. episodes
Creator: Rob Doherty

Directors: John Polson, Jerry Levine, Michael Pressman, Andrew Bernstein, Sanaa Hamri, Christine Moore, Guy Ferland, Aaron Lipstadt, Larry Teng, Helen Shaver, Jean de Segonzac, Seith Mann, Michael Slovis, Lucy Liu,

Writers: Robert Doherty, Craig Sweeny, Jeffery Paul King, Liz Friedman, Jason Tracey, Cathryn Humphris, Christopher Hollier, Bob Goodman, Lauren Mackenzie, Andrew Gettens, Steve Gottfried, Robert Hewitt Wolfe,

Starring: Johnny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu, Jon Michael Hill, Aidan Quinn

Guest starring: Rhys Ifans, Sean Pertwee, Lynn Collins, Jeremy Jordan, Christian Campbell, Ronald Guttman, Laura Benanti, Samuel H. Levine, Noelle Beck, Mia Barron, Danielle Nicolet, Mike Starr, Jordan Gelber, Talia Balsam, Sarah Wynter, Ted King, Olivia d’Abo, Phyllys Somerville, William Sadler, Margaret Colin, Casey Biggs, Troy Garity, Chris Bauer, Eric Sheffer Stevens, Dillan Arrick, Elizabeth Marvel, Frankie Faison, Danny Mastrogiorgio, Jordan Lage, Zachary Booth, Brian Reddy, Heather Burns, Ato Essandoh, Richard Masur, Peter Gerety, Natalie Dormer, Faran Tahir, Andrew Howard, Vincent Curatola, Tim Guinee, Paul Sorvino, Ashlie Atkinson, Stephen Tyrone Williams, James Martinez, Jonno Roberts, Jane Alexander, Aleska Palladino, Scott Cohen, Bill Sage, Bill Irwin, Jeremy Davidson, Cara Buono, Sean Nelson, Ron Canada, Shiri Appleby, Gretchen Egolf, Bruce Altman, Robert Stanton, Judith Ivey, Garret Dillahunt, Roger Rees, Ron Raines, Michael Medeiros, Jeremy Shamos, Henri Lubatti, Michael Gaston, Vincent Amato, Ralph Brown, Emily Bergl, Jim Norton, Nasser Faris

In its second season, CBS’s Sherlock Holmes series “Elementary” has solved any of the minor problems it held in the first season. The shows biggest weakness in its freshman year was the lack of development of the Joan Watson character. In season two, Joan comes into her own. She becomes somewhat of an equal to Holmes and, even more importantly, her own person rather than just the super detective’s foil. She is no longer a sober companion or a trainee, but a sleuth in her own right. She takes on cases that Sherlock is not working and she adds important insight into the ones he does oversee.

Holmes is still a jerk with serious social insufficiencies, but he feels more balanced this season without ever losing that sense of the social disorder that allows him his superior observational skills. He still struggles with his addictions and Johnny Lee Miller is rather brilliant at keeping his drug dependencies bubbling just below the surface of his drive.

Perhaps the most significant development of the second season is the introduction of Holmes’ brother Mycroft, who is something quite different than he has been in other incarnations of the Sherlock Holmes mythology. Played by Rhys Ifans, Mycroft seems softer than other versions. He still plays at deception with Sherlock, but he makes for an opportune love interest for Watson. The showrunners find a good way to work in a connection with MI6 and Mycroft that doesn’t betray this softer version of the man.

This season did take Holmes away from his place as a consultant for the NYPD to a certain degree, which means less of Jon Michael Hill and Aidan Quinn, but it was a smart move that allowed the showrunners to work in more of the traditional Holmes characters such as Mycroft and Holmes’ former police connection at Scotland Yard, Inspector Lestrade, who is also taken in a very different direction than we’ve seen from him before.

At the end of the season we see Holmes’ weakest point in terms of facing his addiction since the show began. The prospect of him going to work for MI6 could also create some interesting developments. The show is still inferior to the BBC’s “Sherlock”, but it may be the best U.S. police procedural out there right now.

No comments: