Parents' Guide to

Elementary

By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Smart Sherlock drama is a great choice for mature teens.

TV CBS Drama 2012
Elementary Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 16+

Disappointing after Sherlock

I watched a few of this with my nearly 14 year old. I began to be bothered by the way that the female lead presents, as overly scantily and tightly clad, etc. I then became increasingly disappointed with references to and 'tasters' of, prostitution, the sex industry, bondage, threesomes, emotionless sexual connection and so on. I felt as the show developed that these became more extreme. I was glad that I took time to watch a few more on my own, and will definitely not be exposing my child to more of the series at this age.
age 13+

Surprisingly thoughtful take on the classic, but watch with your young teen!

This is a remarkably well-written and thoughtful take on the classic Sherlock story. I love that Watson is not only female and Asian, but also that she and Sherlock remain just friends, which is rare for male/female partnerships on TV. Despite Sherlock's peculiarities and rough edges, the characters really grow and change over time as a result of their friendship. You should watch with your younger teen because there is some brief violence and sometimes sexual references, as well as some pretty twisted crimes that may bear discussion after. The second season has some increased sexual references that seem unnecessary, but so far our mature 13 yr old has been ok with it. We always talk afterwards about the motivations of all the characters, good and bad choices, and the difficult choices that have to be made sometimes.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (16 ):

This cerebral mystery series puts a fresh spin on a well-worn tale without overstepping its license to rewrite the classic. One major difference is evident from the start, and while purists might not immediately love the gender (and ethnic) swap in Watson's character, Liu will win over skeptics with her thoughtful performance of a former doctor who's still licking her own wounds from the past while trying to help Holmes escape his inner demons. The two make a pair worthy of the classic characters they play, and the notable absence of sexual attraction or tension between them is a refreshing departure from many other primetime series.

Mystery buffs will revel in this new addition to the TV repertoire that relies on sharp writing and fascinating character development to appease the potential of its superb casting. Happily, because Elementary doesn't need to delve into sensational content like violence or sex to fill gaps in its fantastic stories, this is a great options for sturdy teens with an appetite for mystery.

TV Details

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