Lucy Liu as Watson – perfect or problematic? (Originally for CliqueClack TV)

Yesterday when the news hit that Lucy Liu had been cast in the new CBS Sherlock Holmes pilot, Elementary, I immediately turned into Tim Gunn. I crossed my arms, hummed into my fist, and thought “I’m concerned.”

Now, to be fair, I’ve been concerned about this show from its conception, mostly because the startling lack of originality pisses me off. It isn’t that we already are in the midst of both a movie and BBC adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s work, but because of my staunch belief that most crime dramas are, with varying levels of explicitness, spin-offs of Sherlock Holmes anyway, and I really am getting sick of it. Stop me if you’ve seen this show before: an eccentric puzzle-solving genius with no people skills forms a deep bond with their partner, a people-smart every(wo)man who translates how the world works for them outside of their intellectual bubble. There are vary levels of acknowledgement of sexual tension/mutual co-dependency. Together, they fight crime!

Yawn. Over it. And unless some new twist is brought to the table, I feel no need to watch, either. And let me be explicitly clear: making one of those versions of Holmes or Watson a woman? Does not count as original. Both Bones and Rizzoli & Isles already beat you to it. And, quite frankly, this gender-flipping of Watson? It made me concerned that this show would sail right past “boring” and into “potentially super-duper socially problematic” category.

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