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Category: Crime TV

Elementary: a conversation

Belinda Hamilton and Renee Thomas discuss the new TV series Elementary.


Bel: Channel Ten recently started showing a new program starring Lucy Liu and Johnny Lee Miller. Renee and I are going have a little chat about what we thought of the hit program Elementary.

Now you’re a bit of an old hat when it comes to Sherlock stuff, Renee?

Renee: I’m not actually! I read a few of the stories back in high school when studying crime fiction, and I enjoyed them, but I was certainly not an avid fan per say. And then when the Guy Ritchie films came out, I watched and enjoyed those, but it wasn’t really until the BBC’s modernisation that I really got into the fandom, properly.

Bel: I was a Sherlock virgin before this version. Hadn’t read any of the books nor watched movies or TV shows, so it was a bit of a shock to find out Sherlock was a bit of an oddball.

Renee: Well, yes – there have been so many different interpretations of his character over the years, but certainly many of the older film versions really perpetuated the image of this really classy, really aloof gentleman detective – which is partly in keeping with Conan Doyle and partly pure invention. But it became popular and stuck, which I suppose is both a good and bad thing, depending on whether you’re a purist or not!

Bel: So this most recent Sherlock is more abrupt and assertive than the other Sherlocks that came before him?

Renee: I would say so, yes. I mean, they certainly ‘roughed’ him up a little when Robert Downey Jr. played the part, but I think the recent TV adaptations have been highlighting some further character aspects that perhaps people are unaware, such as his addictions, his nocturnal habits, his extreme eccentricities etc.

Bel: It’s almost like he fits somewhere in the Autistic spectrum. Then I guess the real question is… is Miller’s Sherlock a likable character?

Renee: I would certainly say that Miller’s portrayal keeps the character likeable, at least to a certain extent, if not entirely sympathetic.
Because ultimately Sherlock isn’t necessary somebody that the audience is meant to fit alongside, emotionally. John Watson – or in this case, Joan – is really the audience onsider, and our window into the action etc. Sherlock is, in many respects, a character who remains at a distance. I am also a bit of a Jonny Lee Miller fan, though, so my response to his portrayal might be a tad biased, hehe!

Bel: So since I’d not known what to expect I was somewhat shocked, mainly by the rudeness. Digging very deeply into emotional wounds of Watson.

Renee: Yes, well this series has transported much of the original Watson’s war experiences and translated them into more intimate horrors from her career as a surgeon.

Bel: Then there is the whole thing of Watson being a… *gasp*… a woman.

Renee: Sigh! Yes, I can’t deny that a large part of me did – and still does, somewhat – have some misgivings about that decision. Regardless of whether or not you are a fan who thinks that there was something ‘more’ to the Holmes/Watson dynamic than just very close friendship and brotherly love, there has just come to be something…. sacred, I dare say… about this particular partnership being between two men. But there have equally been plenty of arguments in favour of “Joan Watson” and I suppose that so long as her function doesn’t change, then the gender of the character doesn’t matter (too much!)

Bel: Do you think they changed the sex of the character for this portrayal to add sexual tension, or do you think it was the creators’ avoiding the homosexual issues?

Renee: I sincerely hope it wasn’t the latter, and to be honest – if you’ve seen the Guy Ritchie films or the BBC adaptation, I think almost any viewer will tell you that sexual tension is still more than present between two male leads, hehe! Or at the very least there will always be plenty of chemistry, so long as it is cast correctly. No, I’ve seen quite a few articles and interviews in which the shows creators defend their decision to have a “Joan” by stating that it is still very much a ‘bromance’ but one of the bros just happens to be a woman. They also keep calling to question why any pairing of a man and a woman has to be seen as sexual/romantic, which I must admit is a very fair point to raise.

Bel: So as long as we don’t end up in a Bones/Castle situation where the 2 main leads end up in the sack, they can continue to be believed on that one.

Renee: Hehe,, yes! We’ll see!!

Bel: I feel like Lucy Liu is on the knife edge of being type cast. I don’t think I have seen too many movies/ TV shows she’s been in where she isn’t the moral, studious, token Asian lady.

Renee: I’ve not seen her in much, to be honest, aside from the old days when I used to watch the occasional Ally McBeal episode. I have to confess, I felt somewhat underwhelmed by her being cast in this role, but perhaps that was merely my initial pessimism talking!

Bel: Only time will tell.

So your overall thoughts of Elementary and a score out of 5?

Renee: Well, I am trying to remain optimistic and my admiration for Jonny still remains, and so I shall give it a solid 3.5 out of 5, I think. Despite my heart telling me it is somewhat redundant, it ultimately still promises to deliver some fine performances and some gripping mysteries, and really given the continuing popularity of Conan Doyle’s work, you can’t argue too heavily against more of what we love! And curiosity, I think, will always get the better of any Sherlock fan; we’ll tune in just to see what this adaptation will do!

Bel: I think the shocking bluntness of Miller’s portrayal of Sherlock mixed with the even-natured Liu’s Watson is a balance I haven’t seen on too many crime fighting shows.

Renee: It’s certainly a winning contrast And I hope you enjoy it – even enough for me to coax you into other viewings, hehe!

Bel: I give Elementary a 4 out of 5.

Check your local guides for more information.

Crime TV: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries

Crime TV: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

Review by: Kylie Fox

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries may be the new kid on the crime TV block but the lead character, The Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher, is hardly new to many of us.

The brain child of the most fabulous Kerry Greenwood, the Phryne Fisher mysteries have been in print since 1989 with nineteen titles in the series so far – and seemingly no end in sight to the heroines adventures.

Greenwood herself had plenty of creative control in bringing her books to the small screen – even having the final word on the actress to play Phryne. And boy does it pay off. Essie Davis is wonderful as the witty, strong and oh-so-stylish Miss Fisher.

The characters come to life on the screen, transporting us to 1920’s Melbourne in style. The atmosphere, the attitudes, the sets, and the fashions (what I wouldn’t give to raid that wardrobe department!) are done to perfection.

The first episode, premiered tonight (Friday Feb 24), Cocaine Blues, opened with a bang. Well, perhaps not a bang – but a poisoning! We are privy to a maid running away in some sort of “trouble” and the man of the house collapsing and dying on his bathroom floor.

In true Phryne style, the episode delivers us a multitude of possible culprits and even more possible motives. Phryne can’t help herself but get involved in not one, but two, crimes – possibly connected – and investigates them the only way she knows how. She launches head long into them but all without misplacing a hair on her head.

Naturally the case is solved by the conclusion of the episode but there are two further threads to tantalise us and ensure we tune in in subsequent weeks.

The first, this episode ends with Phryne declaring a toast to her new line of business, much to the chagrin of the local detective inspector. Lady Detective!

The second, is the mystery surrounding Phryne’s own sister – presumed murdered by a man imprisoned for other crimes. Will Phryne get the justice she needs?

If you missed this week’s episode, you missed a treat, but it is available on iView to catch up. But be sure to watch next week, 8:30pm Friday on ABC.

Crime TV: Ringer

Article by: Belinda Hamilton

Holy crap! Did any of you catch the new program, Ringer, on Channel Ten on Sunday night? (9:30 October 9th)

What a gripping hour it was. I could NOT believe my eyes and as for the twist in the storyline, I think it just broke the mould on how to write a psychological thriller.

K here’s the gist. Sarah Michelle Gellar plays identical twins Bridget and Siobhan (pronounced Shy-bon). Bridget is a recovering druggie and alcoholic, awaiting a court date where she’ll testify against a murderer who understandably doesn’t want to go to jail. Siobhan is the New York socialite complete with husband, penthouse apartment, and high-flying life.

Siobhan asks to reunite with the sister she didn’t want to know up until now. Bridget squirms her way out of her court appointment and they meet in the Hamptons. A day trip on a boat turns crazy nasty when Siobhan goes missing. Bridget assumes her sister’s identity to avoid having to give evidence and to keep her sister’s death a secret.

But seriously, that is just the tip of the iceberg. The storyline is so gnarled and twisted that missing an episode would mean nothing in future episodes would make sense.

Did Siobhan kill herself? Was she murdered?

This is such a far cry from Buffy that the only thing in common is the lead actress, the rest is flipped out crazy, but in the way we all like.

It’s like The Parent Trap meets Face Off.

Check your local guides for more information.

Crime TV: Charlie's Angels Reloaded

Charlie’s Angels Reloaded.

Overview by: Belinda Hamilton

With Drew Barrymore at the helm of this project, you would be mistaken for thinking this was all about the boobs and butt and less about the heart. Who can forget the lollypop wielding Cameron Diaz doing the bum dance in her undies and telling the delivery guy he can stick things in her slot. Mm There’s some quality script writing.

This is the reloaded; yes that’s the new buzzword “Reloaded”, version of the 1970’s TV show that shot Farrah Fawcett to hair style fame.

For anyone who hasn’t managed to see some of the reruns, the current series, or the movies of which there were two; the foundation storyline is about the rich Charlie Townsend (voiced this time around by Victor Garber) giving ex-cons a second chance to use their skills, previously used for personal gain and criminal activity, to fight crime and injustice in and around Miami Florida.

Abbey was a high society cat burglar, Kate was a good cop gone corrupt, Eve was an expert at boosting high end cars, and Gloria was a military girl gone bad. The girls are helped with technology by the computer hacker expert/ tax fraud king Bosley played by the smoulderingly hot Ramone Rodriguez.

Episode one, Angel with a Broken Wing, has the girls Abbey (Rachael Taylor) Kate (Annie Ilonzeh ) and Eve (Minka Kelly) trying to crack a child smuggling operation that just happens to have connections with the death of their fellow Angel, Gloria (Nadine Velazquez).

Between the explosions, the cat suits, the death defying climbing scenes, the grand entrances, and the hot cars, there’s a half decent storyline that was easy enough to follow. There wasn’t too much foretelling, though at times you were wondering why they were wipping out their Ipads (or whatever tablet product it was) and not just flipping the information up on a big screen tv. WiFi people.

If you’re looking for an entertaining show that won’t make your brain hurt and has more double sided celebrity tape than an Oscars red carpet, check it out. The premier timeslot was 7:30pm on Channel 9. Who knows what time it could be moved to depending on ratings. Check your local TV Guides for next week’s episode.

Did you watch it? What did you think?

Crime TV: Body of Proof

Body of Proof

Article by: Belinda Hamilton

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones. Oh, sorry, this one is in fact NOT Bones. It has so many things similar that you might be mistaken for the first 5 minutes of each program, but Body of Proof is mostly standalone. As my hubby says; ‘Same crap; different smell.’

IMDB’s synopsis of the first series, written by KGF Vissers reads… “Having lost her medical license in the aftermath of a family tragedy, Megan Hunt M.D. joined the medical examiners and proved herself a forensic genius. Yet even diplomatic police partner Pete Dunlop can’t prevent her arrogant attitude and total disregard for any authority or social norm to cause grave aggravation all around. Still, as long as the perpetrators suffer most, the bulldozer approach pays off on the balance.”

The program debuted on Aussie channel 7 on Monday the 8th of August 2011. I thought, ‘Hmm, here’s another corpse show. I wonder if it’ll be your standard issue, find the dead body, solve the case with screwed up forensics and autopsies that just ‘happen’ to find the cause of death. Every-Single- Episode.’ Guess what…? Uh huh, it is.

Let’s see, there’s an anti-social expert, a badge wielding handler, dead bodies, and a happy ending… well not for the bad guy, but you get the idea.

The differences; our anti-social expert is a medical examiner and knows little about anthropology, she works in a hospital and is on retainer with the regular police, not the Feds. She actually has done the family thing, but her ex-husband is a tosser and her kid is a brat. She USED to be a neurosurgeon but due to a couple of accidents, both on and off the operating table, she’s now dealing with the contents of stomachs and diaphragms of the deceased, rather than rooting around in living people’s skulls. This series is shot in and around Rhode Island, not Washington.

With all that being said, on the whole, I found the show to be enjoyably watchable. There were moments of humor and emotion. Onscreen chemistry should keep things interesting at least through the twelve episodes of season one. It is like the diet version of Bones, with less hard boiled forensics and the bodies, at least for the first two episodes were less decomposed looking.

An interesting fact is that Dana Delaney shares a similarity with her scalpel wielding character; being involved in a car accident and when she’s rubbing her hand on screen, it is usually because she is actually in pain. Not so nice for Dana and we wish her a full recovery, however it adds depth to the role.

Cast for the Pilot and episode one “Letting go”

Megan Hunt (Medical examiner / ex-neurologist) – Dana Delany

Peter Dunlop (badge wielding handler) – Nicholas Bishop

Bud Morris (Head detective with a chip on his shoulder) – John Carroll Lynch

Samantha Baker (Partner of the shoulder chipped detective) – Sonja Sohn

Kate Murphy (Hospital big wig) – Jeri Ryan

Curtis Brumfield (Head of the ward Megan works in) – Windell Middlebrooks

Todd Flemming (Butt hole ex-husband) – Jeffrey Nordling

Lacey Flemming (Brat daughter) – Mary Mouser

If you watched Body of Proof, what did you think?