CBS’s plans to take Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stodgy old Sherlock Holmes and at last air some of the British out of him with Elementary—creating a freer, New York-based version of the famed detective who may have the answer to every mystery, but who won’t have an accent that makes him sound all posh and snobby about it—could well have been compromised with today’s announcement that English actor Jonny Lee Miller has been chosen for the lead. Although Miller has played American many times before, his hiring suggests that CBS’ modernized take on the character might also be British, and that the show may have had a different source of inspiration than our nations’ long-simmering transatlantic cultural war.
After all, Miller recently starred in Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein in London's West End, where he shared the stage with one Benedict Cumberbatch who, in addition to being a shy hedgehog who stumbled into a grand adventure outside his garden one day, also stars in the BBC’s Sherlock. Thus, Miller’s hiring suggests that CBS—which was stymied in its attempts to adapt the BBC show to the network, so it just, you know, dreamed up its own—is openly baiting the BBC into going ahead with its threatened lawsuit by just picking Cumberbatch’s alternate and further daring direct comparison.
Indeed, it’s a potentially nasty, contentious business, but fortunately we can escape the way we always do when Jonny Lee Miller is in the news—by enjoying a clip from Hackers. Man, check out that PCI bus! RISC architecture and so forth! Hopefully this show will be equally contemporary and cutting-edge.