Jeff Neumann/CBS Broadcasting
Season 2 of Elementary has come to a close and we're faced with several things all at once: Sherlock Holmes throwing his lot in in with MI6, Joan Watson moving out on her own and Mycroft Holmes vanishing in order to escape the potential wrath of the French terrorist group Le Mileu. It's going to be quite interesting to see how this all shakes out.
The first character whose future we must consider is Sherlock, specifically in regards to his decision to consult for British Intelligence. That plainly means that the esteemed detective will be setting up shop in London. What this means for Captain Thomas Gregson and detective Marcus Bell is anybody's guess. Apart from an arc that featured Bell getting shot due to something Sherlock did and Gregson trying to save his marriage at one point, the two were largely reduced to having Gregson yell at Sherlock for breaking protocol and Bell to sitting and scowling next to Sherlock during police interrogations. The writers really need to do something with those two, since Aidan Quinn and Jon Michael Hill are both too talented to just be bit players again during Season 3. A good solution would be for Holmes to realize that New York is too much in his blood and have him return there after an episode or two so they can re-integrate Gregson and Bell as Sherlock realizes his mistake.
What to do about Mycroft? Although Elementary isn't in any way strictly adherent to the canon of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's material, Rhys Ifans didn't feel like the right fit as Sherlock's brother, especially compared to the Mycroft of the BBC's Sherlock. This isn't a knock against Ifans' acting ability, but the show might want to make him undergo plastic surgery and have him coming back looking like an entirely different person. There just didn't seem to be any genuine chemistry between Ifans and Lucy Liu either — the Mycroft/Watson plot just seemed cobbled together to make Sherlock act like an even bigger ass than he normally does.
Speaking of Watson, she is a bigger issue. There still doesn't seem to be an avenue for Sherlock to have any romantic feelings for her, since he is still far too vested in his work, since that is probably one of the only things keeping him from slipping back into an abyss of drug use (though the audience is still going to be very interested to find what he did with that baggie of heroin that he stashed in his jacket pocket towards the end of Season 2. There were some who speculated that he might have intended to slip back into drug use to force Watson's hand into becoming his "sober companion," the pairing that made them fall into each other's orbits in the first place. That scenario was seemingly dashed when he decided to accept the MI6 offer, but that baggie will keep lurking like Chekhov's Gun during the summer hiatus, leaving us wondering what place it had. Will it force a reconciliation of sorts between the two or will it be forgotten?
The show is on a good path, and this upcoming season is going to be an important one in terms of it staying on stable footing. Jonny Lee Miller is a fantastic actor, and he's made Sherlock a must-watch character full of nuance beyond being an arrogant socially inept buffoon, but it's going to be up to the writers to make it must-watch TV. They have ths summer to really hammer that down or they will have even more time the following season to spend on the beach.
Laura Linney has signed on to play Sherlock Holmes' housekeeper in a new movie about the literary detective as an old man. Sir Ian McKellen will play the aged Holmes in director Bill Condon's A Slight Trick of the Mind, and now Linney has been cast as his doting caretaker, Mrs. Munro.
The Truman Show star is a lifelong fan of author Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, and admits she jumped at the chance to be part of the sleuth's world.
She tells EW.com, "I was obsessed with Sherlock Holmes as a young kid. You know how some people are into Dungeons & Dragons? I was into Sherlock Holmes. I loved the atmosphere of the stories. I loved the intrigue, his personality. Bill (Condon) had no idea (when he offered me the part)."
The film, which will begin shooting in London and Sussex, England, in July (14), reteams Condon and Linney, who worked together on acclaimed 2003 drama Kinsey and last year's (13) The Fifth Estate. It will also be a reunion for Condon and McKellen, who worked together on 1998's Gods & Monsters. The project will be Linney's first since she became a mother earlier this year (14).
A Slight Trick of the Mind will be based on Mitch Cullin's 2005 novel about Holmes' later years as the retired detective battles old age and dementia, while trying to figure out one unsolved case.
McKellen joins the ranks of the stars currently portraying Sherlock Holmes - Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch play modern versions of the sleuth on TV and Robert Downey, Jr. took on the character in two Guy Ritchie movies.
The Hobbit star Richard Armitage is close to signing on to tackle classic Arthur Miller play The Crucible on the London stage in his first major theatre role in 12 years. The British actor is poised to star opposite newcomer Samantha Colley in director Yael Farber's summer (14) production at The Old Vic, according to the Daily Mail. His last big theatre job was in a 2002 production of Annie Lee.
"Personally, I'd like as many children as I can pop out, I reckon. You come from a happy family; you want to create a happy family. And in the same breath, I'd like to be on stage at England's National Theatre, doing (Arthur) Miller and (Anton) Chekhov. Give me a Sam Mendes/Tennessee Williams combination - that would be glorious. And to be making some Oscar-worthy movies with (Martin) Scorsese. I'm always looking for the hard road. That way, you remain interested and interesting. Hopefully." Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke looks forward to what both her personal and professional future might hold.
Actor Kevin Spacey is heading back to the London stage to reprise a character he first portrayed over two decades ago in TV movie Darrow. The House of Cards star will play pioneering 19th century American lawyer Clarence Darrow in a one-man play at The Old Vic venue, marking his 10th anniversary as the theatre's artistic director.
Spacey also tackled the role of Darrow in a 2009 Old Vic revival of Inherit The Wind.
A statement issued by the actor reads: "I am thrilled to be returning to The Old Vic stage, for the first time performing in the round, such an exciting transformation of our Old Vic space for actors and audiences alike.
"As I celebrate ten years at the helm of this very special theatre it feels great to be returning to the character of Clarence Darrow, whom I played both onstage in Inherit the Wind and 22 years ago in the PBS film Darrow, directed by one of my House of Cards collaborators, John Coles."
Clarence Darrow, which will begin previews in late May (14), was announced as part of The Old Vic's summer/autumn (14) line-up, which also includes a production of Electra, based on the Greek tragedy by Sophocles and starring Kristin Scott Thomas, and a "visceral re-imagining" of Arthur Miller play The Crucible, directed by Yael Farber.
Spacey is set to step down as The Old Vic's artistic director next year (15).
British actress Emma Thompson wants to become the first woman to play Sherlock Holmes. The Love Actually star is a big fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional sleuth, and she is convinced the part could be played by a female.
She tells Britain's Daily Telegraph, "I have always been a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. I would love to play a character like that, but that's a problem if you're a female. I'm always likely to be overlooked for not being male."
Thompson is adamant she would make a good Holmes, and hopes more women will be seen in leading roles in the future, adding, "Is the heroic role unisex? Or does it mean there is an area of life which remains unexplored, which contains stories which remain untold? I suspect that's the case and it will be very interesting as this generation gets into its stride to see what those stories turn out to be."
Actors who have recently played the detective include Robert Downey, Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, and Jonny Lee Miller, who starred opposite Lucy Liu as a female Dr. Watson in U.S. TV series Elementary.
The New York Times reported that an American judge ruled that Sherlock Holmes, along with friends and foes John Watson, Mycroft Holmes, Moriarty, and more of Arthur Conan Doyle's characters, are now in the United States public domain. The judgement means that no copyright law applies to the use of story elements in any Holme adventures published before 1923. There were a few after that, so adaptors have to take care to not run up a bill with the author's estate by using any characters or plots introduced in those later works. But forget that advice, because we are all set with Sherlock reboots at the moment.
Unless you're as culturally clueless as the detective himself, you know that the character has had a massive renaissance these last few years. Robert Downey Jr. imbued Holmes with serious swagger in the Guy Ritchie-helmed 2009 film version. Between that movie and its sequel, Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat and writer Mark Gatiss launched a phenomenon to drive the internet to insane acts of meme-ing in 2010 with the slick BBC series. And CBS got into the game with its own modernized take Elementary, this time set in New York City and with a Joan, not a John. Even our collective obsession with forensic procedurals hinted at the successful resurgence of this character. There wouldn't be an NCIS without Sherlock Holmes.
And now he's free. And it's tempting. But between Jude Law and RDJ's chemistry; Benedict Cumberbatch's cheekbones; and Jonny Lee Miller's mania, there just isn't room out here for another version. At least not a good one. Any attempt to create a Holmes that doesn't directly copy any of these interpretations will just lead to a watered-down or barely recognizable imitation. And Sherlock deserves better than that.
At the end of the second episode of this season of Elementary, detective Sherlock Holmes was talking to his partner/trainee, Joan Watson, about the death of a former patient of hers. He then offered to accompany her to the grave site the next time she went. There was a pause as they both looked at each other and then she said she would like that. My immediate reaction was, "Oh, they are NOT going there already, are they?"
I know that every show thinks there has to be some sexual tension to grab viewers, but forcing that would make this one jump the shark way too quickly. We want to see the intellectual sides of the two characters, where they both learn from each other. Jonny Lee Miller plays Holmes as an aloof, detached sort, caring only about the problem in front of him. He came a bit out of his shell earlier in the episode, asking Watson if she was going to pursue a particular avenue involving loaning money to the son of her dead patient. He then advanced her more than she asked for, but seemed content to let her choose her own course of action despite expressing earlier reservations.
The other thing is (avoid this if you have not seen the first season) that Holmes should be very wary of love after finding that the woman that he had been grieving all those years had turned out to be his greatest adversary, Moriarty. Having him fall for Watson and vice versa would make no sense. Then again, I'm not a scriptwriter.
The last thing that we need is for the show to suddenly devolve to sudden sideways glances while the two are investigating something or having their hands suddenly touch when reaching for a particular clue. I know, there's always a subset of people who want to 'ship' two characters on a show. There's those who waited forever to see Rick Castle and Kate Beckett get together on Castle. The phenomenon first came into play on Supernatural when Sam Winchester told his brother Dean during an episode when the characters went out into the 'real world' that people on internet boards wanted to pair those two together. "But...but...we're brothers!" Dean spluttered. Sam's only answer was a shrug.
Elementary just seems to work better with its present equation and I think that even nudging it into 'shipping' territory would be a grievous mistake, The ghost of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is probably nodding his head at this. It's elementary, really.
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The BBC murder mystery Broadchurch just ended its run on BBC America, earning rave reviews for its depiction of the ripple effects of murder on a small town. It was a great show with some truly standout performances, especially from Doctor Who’s David Tennant as a tortured police detective and Olivia Colman as his competent and put-upon partner.
Now FOX is taking Broadchurch and bringing it to America, again, with a remake also starring David Tennant. And the burning question is: why?
Broadchurch was (and maybe still will be, since it was renewed for a second season in the UK) a great show. It took a hard look at the repercussions of a young boy’s murder on the small town in which he lived, spending time with his family as well as with the media, police, and handful of sketchy suspects.
What Broadchurch is not, however, is remarkably original. Looking at the above description of the show a host of other “murder in a small town” movies and TV shows come to mind. The weird Twin Peaks, for example. Or the moody but imperfect AMC drama The Killing.
What made Broadchurch work was the economy of the storytelling and the deeply felt performances by the main cast. Remade for American audiences and probably expanded to more than the original run’s eight episodes, I can’t imagine Broadchurch will seem like anything remarkable to those who aren’t familiar with the UK original.
“Oh, another season-long murder mystery in a small town? Great.” You can already hear audiences hitting the snooze button. What made Broadchurch a great show didn’t lie in its premise, but in its execution.
The American remakes of British originals that work, however, usually work because the American version can spin something new and interesting from a unique premise. Like a documentary about a paper company (The Office) or a vampire, ghost, and werewolf living together (Being Human).
The first season of Broadchurch was a perfectly paced, self-contained story with a far from unique premise. Replanting the story to America and giving it more episodes to fill isn’t likely to make the show any better. For every successful American remake, there are at least five British to American disasters. Let’s hope Broadchurch isn’t one of those disaster adaptations, but even if the FOX version turns out to be good, it certainly doesn’t feel like a remake that needed to happen.
What do you think? Are you excited about the American remake of Broadchurch or scratching your head about why FOX is remaking it at all? Share in the comments!
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A certain doctor will be popping up on American television sets in a familiar role. David Tennant, who played a tortured British detective in Broadchruch, will now play a tortured American detective in Fox's remake of the show. Because foreign accents are different and scary, Tennant will leave his British accent behind, and adopt an American one for the new series that hopes to premiere on Fox in the 2014-2015 television season.
The original Broadchurch follows the lives of Alec Hardy (Tennant) and Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman), two detectives investigating the death of a young boy in small town Britain. The first season of the ITV series just wrapped up its first season on BBC America.
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