…Okay so the Elementary preview was pretty charming. I will give you that. JLM is really fantastic, and the script is dumb but kind of watchable. I think they have an okay amount of chemistry, not particularly striking, but.
BUT WHY DID THEY HAVE TO COMPLETELY RUIN WATSON’S CHARACTER. No, I’m not talking about her being a woman, I think that and Lucy Liu doing that could have had a LOT of potential. I just don’t understand why she had to stop being a crackshot injured army doctor.
I’m seriously astonished that Tumblr hasn’t leapt all over that yet. Like, guys. Sherlock is pretty much exactly the same (except he’s closer to the drug use and more sexual/aromantic than romantic/asexual). Why did they have to strip out every defining element of Watson’s character? Why wasn’t she in the army? She’s not even a doctor anymore because of her own incompetence, how is that a good thing? Was it not believable to have her be all those things and a woman?
It seems like it’s all just an effort to squash Joan into the role of Sherlock’s babysitter, someone who is paid to be at his side, someone he doesn’t even want there. Why couldn’t they, like in the stories, like in Sherlock, have found something in each other that clicks, that makes them want to live together right away, that makes them get each other on some deeper level?
The wasted potential of this show is heartbreaking. I would have loved a badass veteran doctor Joan. We know Lucy Liu can be a total BAMF (see: Kill Bill). Why is she relegated to the role of, essentially, a nag, taken aback by the (extremely lame) talent of Sherlock to memorize dialogue?
Ugh. She better get to shoot a gun.
Sorry, nope. This preview only makes me more excited, more enthusiastic, and more willing to trust the showrunners, because this is a Watson that I am actually interested in.
The Watson from the stories bores me. The Watson that Jude Law plays bores me. The Watson from the Grenada series bores me. The Watson that Martin Freeman plays bores the fuck out of me – a womanizing, disapproving, prudish twerp who never empathizes with anyone for one minute of his life. I’m tired of Watsons whose main characteristics are things that I can’t empathize with – either wartime trauma or slavering hero-worship or disdainful dismissal of women as anything other than WAGs. I admire Holmes; I tolerate Watson. Having good aim and a woobie backstory doesn’t make him valuable to me.
As for “she better get to shoot a gun” – I don’t even know where to start. Suffice it to say that I’ve shot a gun, and I’m not a badass. Maybe there’s a certain number of times you have to do it before you get the badassery license?
But Joan Watson is incredibly interesting – and yes, it’s because she’s a woman. She’s a woman who pulls in harness with one of the greatest minds in the world, and she’s not an idealized counterpart like Irene or a punchline like Molly from Sherlock. Moreover, she’s a woman dealing with heartache – not the heartache of foiled romance, but the heartache of a lost career, of a haunting mistake, of a life that’s gone wrong. I want Joan to grab at Sherlock as a lifeboat the same way that all Watsons grab onto their Holmses, and I don’t need an army background or an obsession with guns to get it. (Fun fact: before the Sherlock TV show, I had no idea Watson was in the military. It’s mentioned exactly once in the recent film adaptation and hardly ever in either the books or the Grenada adaptation. I’ve checked.) And that’s exactly what I saw in the preview – a dawning glee, a relish that’s just starting to unfold. The first episode we get and Joan already smiles when Sherlock does something amazing.
Speaking of which: Joan Watson makes Sherlock Holmes a pleasure to experience. For the first time since I picked up these stories when I was nine years old, I have an in; I get to watch Sherlock Holmes work without the knowledge that his character and narrator – and author – would’ve dismissed me because of my sex, would have ignored me and made sweeping generalizations about me based solely on the fact that I wasn’t a man. Because in every single permutation of Sherlock Holmes, except this one, Sherlock Holmes is portrayed as a sexist; moreover that is perceived as perfectly fine, funny even.
But now for the first time, Sherlock Holmes is actually updated – he’s someone whose eccentricities aren’t a short hop away from sociopathy, someone who can be kind, someone who can respect a woman and treat her as an equal. Joan makes Watson interesting – and she makes Sherlock fascinating.
In short: I’ll be over here, rooting for seven seasons and a movie.
ETA: you know I’m srs bzns when I use “moreover” twice in one rant.
“I’m tired of Watsons whose main characteristics are things that I can’t empathize with…”
Not taking a side either way yet, but I’m not sure how a surgeon who lost a patient on the table due to her own mistakes would engender any more empathy.
EXCEPT. Dana Delaney’s character in Body of Proof whose original premise was “a brilliant surgeon who loses a patient on the due to her own mistakes” has been quite fleshed out, in how she’s come to realize that her earlier job distanced her from her patients and generally all people as individuals.