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March 21, 2013 4:07 pm  #1

Cumberbatch vs Lee Miller? Please don't hit me...

I'm a pretty massive Cumberbatch fan, not just of his work in Sherlock but of him in general, and I had mentally dismissed Elementary before I had seen a single episode. Then I watched a few episodes...

I'm not really trying to argue for Elementary as a show, I enjoy it but it's basically a police procedural with some Holmsian elements, rather than actually feeling like a proper Sherlock Holmes adaptation or reimagining. The plots are pretty formulaic and it's enjoyable but not very... fun. But I really think Jonny Lee Miller is fantastic, regardless of the show as a whole. His interpretation of Holmes has really grown on me, it's got it's own quirks and tics, feel like it comes from a different 'place' than Cumberbatch, more anger and tension as he tries to control himself. 

There is a much longer peice comparing the two performances underneath, ad-free and non-commercial link by the way.

Just wanting to hear if I've gone mad from the lack of Sherlock Season 3 or does anyone else agree with Miller has created something on par with Cumberbatch here?

Last edited by KhalidKhan (March 21, 2013 4:28 pm)


March 22, 2013 7:55 pm  #2

Re: Cumberbatch vs Lee Miller? Please don't hit me...

Hey!   Noticed no one had replied to this yet...  (heh... perhaps because there's already a long-running comparison thread, perhaps they're like me and wasn't sure what else to add to the subject).

Honestly, I wasn't sure what to add either, but thought it was nice you were curiously pointing at the actors instead of the rehashed debate between shows, and starting up discussions here.  Welcome!   Ha, and considering where you're posting, it probably doesn't need to be said where many loyalties lie...        I will say, that foremost, I'm a BBC/Cumberbatch addict through and through.  I did start watching Elementary, despite many many wary misgivings, simply because of a 'why not' curiosity for something related to turn to during this horribly long wait, and very much wondering what they'd do with their interpretation.
And, well, I gotta say my opinion falls very similar to the one you expressed.  Definitely not horrible.... not as good as my 'favorite', either, often formulaic, kept watching it mostly out of wondering where the heck they were going to take the plot/characters, and simply to keep up with it, since the actors kinda grew on me, too.  If they hadn't had a very good pair in the leading roles, then, yeah... it might've been different.  But I've always like Liu, and I had no idea who Miller was, but I gotta say, I liked him.  Coming from a different place, as you said...  appreciated the tension...  appreciated how he played it, and trying to be a bit more 'human' (a bit like canon Holmes), and I think he's quite talented... but.....  eh... when it comes down to it gotta say hands down I'll always go with Cumberbatch's skill/portrayal...   

So, no......  you're only a little bit mad.   


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March 22, 2013 8:15 pm  #3

Re: Cumberbatch vs Lee Miller? Please don't hit me...

I've watched a few episodes and for me, Miller is not Holmes. In the first episode he sounded very fake and forced to me. Several episodes later, I got used to him, but to me it's really a modern crime show, not a Holmes adaptation. It only has superficial links to ACD's characters. It's not bad, but not something I would watch on purpose.


March 22, 2013 9:35 pm  #4

Re: Cumberbatch vs Lee Miller? Please don't hit me...

Being honest in my review and deliberately avoiding any comparisons with Sherlock or Benedict's work, because they are not the same creature and are categorically not in direct competition with each other (after all, they are not mutually exclusive) I, personally think that JLM is a wonderful actor. Whilst I can find  fault with the premise of Elementary I find JLM's portrayal to be finely tuned.

Don't make people into heroes John. Heroes don't exist and if they did I wouldn't be one of them.

March 23, 2013 7:11 am  #5

Re: Cumberbatch vs Lee Miller? Please don't hit me...

I actually didn't watch Sherlock until 2 months ago, and I started watched Elementary in the fall.

First of all, there is virtually NO "spirit of Sherlock" in Elementary.  JL Miller is a fine actor, but he does not seem like a 2013 version of Sherlock Holmes.  Holmes is supposed to be an icy cold, calculating super brain machine.  Miller brings a little too much warmth to it, even if it is a few degrees above freezing.  He also brings a little too much humanity to it, which would be great if it WEREN'T a Sherlock Holmes adaptation. 

JLM's version also doesn't seem like a borderline superhero in terms of brainpower.  It has been estimated that Sherlock Holmes' IQ likely would have been 180-190, or basically one of the smartest men ever recorded.  I don't get that with JLM, and that's probably more due to the writing than to the actor's portrayal.  I also don't see much of the obsessiveness of Sherlock Holmes in JLM.

If Elementary were produced in EXACTLY THE SAME fashion (but with changed names), and had zero connection to Sherlock Holmes, I don't think it would been picked up as a TV show.  Once you get past the suppposed Sherlock Holmes adaptation aspect of it, it's a very run-of-the-mill procedural without ANY 3-dimensional characters or anything special or interesting about the main protagonists.

Cumberbatch's portrayal seems like a very believable contemporary Sherlock Holmes.  He's not only a super brain, but he's coldly detached.  Not only that, but he's compulsively, obsessively dedicated to his work, so much that he breaks down without work.  He also shows stretches of virtually complete disgregard for human life -- i.e., compassion and empathy -- and this is fairly evident in the books.

Last edited by BlinkULDHC (March 23, 2013 7:18 am)


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March 23, 2013 2:17 pm  #6

Re: Cumberbatch vs Lee Miller? Please don't hit me...

I already have my difficulties with Sherlock, for me, Elementary does not count as a Sherlock Holmes adaptation.


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