Dear CBS,

I wasn’t going to watch your new series, Elementary, about Sherlock Holmes in New York. After all, there’s already a Sherlock Holmes series on the BBC. And two big-budget Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr. which are also enjoyable. But three Sherlock Holmes adaptations? That’s just bonkers.

But now I’ve heard you’ve cast Lucy Liu as John Watson, and I’m especially not going to watch it. I see what you’re doing. You’re going to turn them into a pair of attractive people working together, having sexual tension but never acting on it because they’re emotionally constipated, driving fangirls wild with longing looks and half-stated feelings, maybe kissing during sweeps week when they think they’re both going to die but then denying it ever happened, or sleeping together during the season finale but Sherlock gets kidnapped before they can talk about their feelings and Watson thinks he’s run out on her so she takes that hospital job in Seattle, or they get together but then break up and Sherlock drives his car into his ex-girlfriend’s house (sorry, I was being ridiculous, I know a Sherlock Holmes adaptation would never go there).

I don’t need to actually watch the show or hear that this is your intent to know that; I can see the future.

Sorry about not stopping 9/11.

Don’t you know that Sherlock Holmes is asexual? Possibly? And that he and Watson are just good friends? Their partnership is platonic, that’s what makes it great. I hate it when shows imply that Holmes and Watson are romantically involved, thus totally altering their relationship! Well, unless they’re both men. That’s different. Because I find it hot.

Yes, the real issue here is heterosexism. Since you’re going to turn Holmes and Watson into lovers, of course you would make one of them a woman rather than present them as gay men. Why can’t you be more tolerant, like Sherlock BBC and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows—by showing them to be canonically straight but making gay jokes about them?

This is exactly how gay people want to be represented. As people who aren't 'gay'-gay, but just, you know... *wink*.

Now, this isn’t about race. I’ve got no problem with Idris Elba being cast as a white man in Thor, or Samuel L. Jackson as a white man in The Avengers, or Katee Sackhoff playing a white man in Battlestar Galactica–no, NO, this is different, damnit! It’s just that we already have so many TV shows with Asian-American women as the protagonist. You know, like–ummm… errr… hmm… Tila Tequila: A Shot At Love!

What, this isn't enough representation for you, Asian-American community?

Look, the point is, John Watson was a man in Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories. Why can’t your show about Sherlock Holmes in modern times living in New York be faithful to the original stories? That’s what I loved about the Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Downey Jr. versions: their fidelity to the source material.

Just as intended by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

  • SO I guess you don’t like the complaining by Sherlock fans huh? xD

    Personally I LOVE Lucy Liu but I guess I am just a bit worried since it is well known that CBS approched the BBC to remake Sherlock and got turned down and then they started making this show.

    I don’t think anyone is saying it couldn’t be good but I guess they are a bit protective of their new favorite show. (Full discloure I have only watched one episode of sherlock)

    I can think of one (and sadly it is only one) show with an Asian American lead though, Nikita. It’s good.

    • Each writer at FemPop is different. Kickpuncher is a big Sherlock fan. I am not and bathe in their tears. :D

      I mentioned it on our Tumblr but I am approaching this all pretty cautiously. A lot can change between casting and broadcast. That is if the show even GETS on television. Wonder Woman made a huge publicity stink last year and is now a footnote on her Wikipedia page.

  • mimimur

    I know that you were probably being sarcastic, but after watching two episodes of Sherlock, I have to say that Elementary might just be less heterosexist. If a character looks like a spouse, walks like a spouse and every single interaction with the character is identical to the interaction with a spouse, then make them a m*f* spouse. As is now, the whole bromance thing does nothing but hammer in the idea that a romantic relationship between Holmes and Watson is absurd because you know, “two regular guys can’t do that!” Making Watson a woman might be whitewashing, but at least it’s not outright mocking the idea of same sex love.

    • MPD

      Making Watson a woman is not whitewashing, considering that Watson is usually a man. And given that it’s an Asian Woman in this case, it’s even less whitewashing than it would normally. I’m no sure how you can “whitewash” a white character, but maybe my fandom dictionary needs updating.

      The whole idea of a bromance is a joke not because characters “can’t be gay”, but because two specific characters are not gay, but they act in a way that resembles such. It’s not necessarily some general statement on sexuality, any more than cat macros are general statements about people who like cheeseburgers. It’s just plain irony.
      Heck, even Sherlock repeatedly pointed out that it’s a perfectly reasonable mistake for someone to think John and Sherlock are involved with each other, even when they make jokes about it. In fact, the jokes are often exactly how its pointed out. I’m writing a book series where two close male friends have a bromance. Thing is, one is actively bisexual. The other one is straight. They are both entirely aware of how it looks and frequently joke about it. I’m either going to piss off fangirls or make them implode with squee, and either way, I make money.