Thursday, May 17, 2012

Why I Want to Give Elementary a Chance

Yesterday CBS released the first footage of its new Sherlock Holmes adaptation, Elementary. If you haven't seen it yet, here you go:

A lot of the discussion around this has revolved around people either saying that there's no reason for this to exist because BBC's Sherlock already exists, or saying that they'll refuse to watch it on principle because of their loyalty to Sherlock. And really, everyone should do what makes them happy, but . . . I don't get it. "This sounds a lot like this other thing I like, so I don't watch it. Wouldn't want to encourage people to make things I'd like!" is not a coherent position to me. It's not like someone's asking you to pick one. You can watch both! I've seen people outright stating that their loyalty to Sherlock (aside: It's a TV show! It wants your eyeballs! It doesn't care about your loyalty!) means that they hope Elementary fails. What would that achieve, exactly? If Elementary failed, the takeaway would be "Guess audiences don't want that show" and maybe "Audiences don't want mysteries/British detectives/whatever." It would not be . . . well, I don't even know what the goal is here! What do you want CBS to say if you achieve your boycott, "Let's just acknowledge that the BBC is better and give up"? I love mystery shows, so I am in favor of mystery shows succeeding so that we get more mystery shows! It's as simple as that.

All this outrage would make more sense if Sherlock were the first Holmes adaptation ever, but it really really isn't. (It's not even my favorite adaptation, when it comes down to it.) And the complaints that Sherlock is pure and good while Elementary is just trying to make money are nonsensical - all TV shows exist to make money. Holmes purists, of course, shouldn't like any update. So that brings us to the possibility that Elementary is getting so much hate so early because Watson will be a woman. But frankly? I'm thrilled about that. It's not like there are no bromances on TV. More awesome roles for women! More women of color! More potential for interracial romance! (Note: If you're whining that a potential Sherlock/Joan romance is just so uncanonical but your Tumblr is full of Sherlock/John gifs . . . really? Saying any Holmes/Watson romance is uncanonical is a perfectly reasonable position. But Sherlock/John is not canonical.) Sarah Rees Brennan explains a lot of my reasons for being excited about a female Watson here.

And really, I don't know if I will like Elementary. Maybe it will be awful. But I'm not willing to count it out because it's similar to something else I like, because that makes no sense. (Possibly more than one something: Parts of CBS's official description sounded an awful lot like Castle.) So for now, I will be hopeful. Lucy Liu is awesome! Jonny Lee Miller is hot, and keeping his accent! I am in favor of attractive people in awesome coats being angsty while solving mysteries! So you've got me for now, Elementary. Now please be good.

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