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Three new dramas earn a tip of the hat
A nice change in new season: the arrival of several dramas that have real promise

 On 'Last Resort,' a sub crew is ordered to fire nuclear weapons. When the Captain (Andre Braugher, right) demands confirmation, only to be relieved of duty. Mayhem ensues.
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Date published: 10/1/2012

By Rob Hedelt

IT'S good news when there's a really interesting drama amidst the new fall television offerings.

To have three good ones kick off last week--CBS's "Vegas," ABC's "The Last Resort" and CBS's "Elementary"--was a welcome surprise.

They all have their own appeal, but "Elementary"--a modern-day envisioning of the Sherlock Holmes tale--will probably draw the most viewers because it's basically a procedural show.

It benefits from a team that includes a former addict, Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller), his assistant (Lucy Liu) and the police captain who believes in them (Aidan Quinn).

Toss in a crime each week and Holmes will do his thing, deducing things from a crime scene that mere mortals will have trouble spotting.

Miller is interesting as Holmes, making him a focused but constantly agitated soul, seemingly using the investigations as a tool to escape his inner demons.

One slight problem is that with his British accent and fast-paced dialogue, it's sometimes hard to understand what Miller is saying, especially if he's in a crowd.

Liu is her typically solid self, the straight woman, so to speak, to the inspired crime solver. She brings smarts, beauty and levity to a show that needs it.

And Quinn hits just the right mark as the captain who believes in Holmes but knows he can be a problem.

BETTING ON CONTRAST

Watching "Vegas," you know things are going to be OK from the moment Dennis Quaid comes riding across the Nevada landscape on his horse, rounding up his herd.

That they scatter at the sound of an approaching passenger plane sets up the series' conflict: ranchers who live near Vegas vs. the changing casino city.

The show is best when it's highlighting those conflicts, especially shifting from desert to burgeoning Vegas Strip. Ditto for the juxtaposition and friction between the newly drafted sheriff (Quaid) and the newly arrived organized crime casino chief (Michael Chiklis.)

It's almost a shame that it morphs eventually into a crime procedural show, with the fascinating contrast of the two worlds getting lost at times in the nuts and bolts of investigations.

In the pilot, Quaid is drafted to serve as sheriff and begins investigating the murder of a young casino worker.


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WHAT: "Elementary" WHEN: Thursdays, 10 p.m. WHERE: CBS

WHAT: "Vegas" WHEN: Tuesdays, 10 p.m. WHERE: CBS

WHAT: "Last Resort" WHEN: Thursdays, 8 p.m. WHERE: ABC