Sunday, November 11, 2012

Diva's 2012 New TV Series Recap Part 1 - "Revolution" and "Elementary"

This fall's TV season yielded a slew of new shows that were seemed to be mostly modernized reboots and weak, rather uncreative remakes.

Red Dot Diva was fortunate to be at SDCC Preview Night to catch early screenings of five new shows. They included CW's much-hyped "Arrow" based on the DC superhero Green Arrow, NBC's post-apocalyptic tale "Revolution" and ABC's supernatural drama "666 Park Avenue". And as reported earlier in a blog article, she was not impressed with all three of them.

During then and now, other TV new series have premiered - like "Elementary" - the very Americanized version of Sherlock Holmes, and a shiny reboot of the 1980's cult classic of the same name "Beauty and the Beast". There are more shows of course - "Vegas", "Last Resort", "Hunter", "Nashville" - just to name a few. But Red Dot Diva, with her busy schedule, was only able to carve out niches of time to catch some of them.

Here is her first review recap of the new 2012 Fall series -- four months later.

- Story-telling so un-electrifying

Oh, "Revolution". Red Dot Diva and her pals had high expectations for you ever since you were to be screened at Comic-Con. After all, you came from the geek-worthy stock of storytellers like Bad Robot/ JJ Abrams, Jon Favreau and Eric Kripke, the creator of hit series "Supernatural".

But you were bland on SDCC Preview Night; you are still bland now.

After four tedious episodes (of which Red Dot Diva admits fast forwarding on several sections), "Revolution" just seems like a long boring road trip to nowhere-in-particular. The characters are not engaging, especially whiny Charlie and the actress who plays her. (She basically just looks around bambi-eyed for 99% of the time.) And there were those pesky "Lost"-like flashbacks, which really, only works well with "Lost" and looked like a lame effort here.

The series' main flaw was that it looked and sounded unbelievable as a post-apocalyptic tale. Especially when you consider that there is no electricity at all. So how did those fantastically designed clothes (and wow! finely-threaded leather jackets) get made? Even after trekking on the road for days, the actors inevitably looked Kao Biore fresh all the time. So much so that Red Dot Diva has the urge to go baby-pinch their cheeks. Or did they have a fresh supply of cow's milk for their cleansing routine? There are no modern guns? But steam engines, yes??!

Sure, Red Dot Diva is more than able to suspend belief while watching a TV show. After all, she is a sci-fi nut. But she has to credit "Revolution" for taking that to a non-electrifyingly new level.

So, as a full-grown adult, she has decided to rebel against this preposterous "Revolution", even if NBC is showing its legendary good taste by ordering a full season.

- would be better if not Holmesian

Red Dot Diva tends to get jaded with the current fad of modernized Sherlock Holmes reboots. She will also not apologize for being the traditionalist when it comes to the eccentric fictional detective of 221B Baker Street.

Having grown up in a steady diet of Conan Arthur Doyle novels, literary Sherlock Holmes was someone whom she admired and could identify with as a fellow oddball. With that original Sherlock in her head, she finds it more difficult to accept the newer versions compared to people who have never read Conan Arthur Doyle before.

She found it hard to love the iPhone-toting Cucumber-patched 21st century Sherlock of the latest BBC version although the recognizable Holmesian traits are in that series. An old-fashioned kind of dignified intelligence seemed to be lost in all that fast-paced, digitally-projected deductions. Guess it is true that people have such short attention span these days. And Red Dot Diva is just this much old-er.

So when she heard that CBS is doing an Americanized version of an already super-powered BBC version of Sherlock called "Elementary", all she nearly wanted to do was curl up in a corner and wait for the next apocalypse.

For the simple reason being that Americanized version of anything British usually seems to be so much more dumbed-down. Syfy's "Being Human" was disappointing without the trademark British humour, and thank goodness, the TPTB's have not tried to do anything yet with "Misfits".

The first episode of Elementary" was nothing to shout about. A lot of set-up and many TV-watching folks crying foul about Lucy Liu playing a female Watson. Red Dot Diva has no major issues with the re-gendered character but having the two living together (as they did in the books too, before Watson got married) inevitably brings out sexual tension and the "did they or did they not" story line that might surface when the series decides to jump the shark.

What she did like (and have always liked) was Jonny Lee Miller. To listen to him use his native accent was refreshing and his off-kilter stuttering and rambling paired with those sad-puppy dog eyes, interspersed with bouts of sheer arrogance, was actually more charming and spot on than Cucumber-patch's. (*Red Dot Diva gamely ducks from rotten veggies thrown at her*)

From episode three onwards, Red Dot Diva noticed that the Miller-Liu chemistry has progressed to something quite enjoyable to watch despite the simpler investigative cases. And Lucy Liu has now levelled up her muted performance to a more feisty Joan Watson. In the episode aired recently ("Flight Risk"), character development actually overshadowed the case of the week - which was a nice surprise. And a little bone has been thrown to the fans - an Irene Adler may be introduced to them very soon.

It might have been better if "Elementary" was not pitched as another Sherlock remake but rather, as another procedural. However, Red Dot Diva supposes ABC already has a popular male-female "Silk Stalkings"-style pairing called "Castle". After its premiere, "Elementary" received generally favourable reviews and CBS has decided to put its faith in the series by picking it up for a full season.

Comparisons to the popular BBC series aside, Red Dot Diva thinks "Elementary" may actually end up being an addictive guilty pleasure.

And that's high praise from a fussy Sherlock traditionalist!

More of Diva's thoughts on new series like "Beauty and the Beast", "666 Park Avenue" and "Arrow" coming real soon!


  1. Always a pleasure to meet a Sherlockian!

    I too love Elementary mainly for Miller's superb portrayal of Holmes. He has the right mixture of assertiveness and humor, that is so similar to the Canonical Holmes.

    I too am not a fan of BBC Sherlock. I think that show is way too overrated and Cumberbatch's version is quite dissimilar to the Holmes of the Canon.


  2. introducing my self....

    hi... my name is fikri .... i am one of the sherlockian in indonesia.... live in palembang city.... benedict cumberbatch is one of my favorite actor tv series.....

    cheers bro