Premiered September 27 at 10pm
Benedict Cumberbatch, star of the BBC hit “Sherlock,” noted that over seventy actors have portrayed Sherlock Holmes. That figure is probably close to correct, which means that Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective has appeared many, many times before on screen. That doesn’t suggest that the latest iteration will be especially creative or unique, but, fortunately, that’s not the case. CBS, king of procedurals, has found itself a procedural concept that’s been proven effective with a lead character who’s extremely compelling and capable of carrying a show with his quirky demeanor. Like many Sherlocks before him, Jonny Lee Miller’s Holmes is antisocial, efficient rather than polite, and extraordinarily intelligent in the manner that he perceives intricacies most would miss. Miller hasn’t had much luck with regular TV gigs in the United States, aside from a season-long villainous part on “Dexter,” and this should change that. It also permits him to use his native British accent, which adds to his eccentricity. Lucy Liu makes for a good companion, just energetic enough – and appropriately frustrated – to keep up with her charge. Aidan Quinn as a friendly cop is great casting too. The relationship between Holmes and Watson is sure to develop as time goes on, but for now, they have a perfect banter that helps them both to infuriate each other and to solve cases. When it comes to modern-day adaptations of Sherlock Holmes in New York City, I don’t think that CBS could have done any better – this is solid, entertaining television with terrific characters.
How will it work a series? Just like every other show on CBS, there will be a murder each episode that Holmes will come to dissect and reveal to be something completely other than the police thought, with Watson doing public relations and keeping him in line. Seems like an effective formula to me!
How long will it last? CBS is a network that demands big numbers for all of its shows, but this show got off to a great start in a major time slot that formerly housed “CSI” and “The Mentalist” – Thursdays at 10pm. It’s a very logical concept and a highly worthwhile endeavor for CBS, and I think this could be one of the first renewals of the season.
Pilot grade: B+