Over the past couple weeks, I’ve become rather obsessed with CBS’s retelling of Sherlock Holmes. Elementary is set in modern day New York City, where Sherlock is a recovering drug addict and Joan Watson starts living with him as a sober companion.
I’ve only managed to watch seasons one and two right now but so far, I really adore the show. It’s not perfect but this show is one of the few ones that I’ve let my guard down (as far as anticipating racism, misogyny, heterosexism, etc) to enjoy. Two of the main characters are people of color (Joan Watson and Marcus Bell), there’s a trans woman playing a trans woman, and many of the characters seem like actual fully formed people rather than just stock characters.
Lady Saika over at Lady Geek Girl and Friends wrote a list of 5 reasons as to why Elementary is the greatest and I fully agree with her list. Her review of season two is also spot on – I’m glad I’m not the only one that is a little uncomfortable with Mycroft and how Moriarty’s redemption arc involves her being a mother. But overall, this show has proven to be one of the few that isn’t completely bombarded with unchecked problematic behavior, of which I’m particularly thankful for!
Another reason why I love Elementary (in addition to the diversity of the cast, Ms. Hudson, etc) is Joan Watson and her relationship with Sherlock. (But more importantly, Joan herself.) When the series first started, there was some outrage over the famous Dr. Watson being a woman and Lucy Liu’s casting. There is a little good news though: the creator of the show defended the decision to have Watson be a woman. Lucy Liu had a great response to the backlash, saying in an interview:
Everyone seems really excited about it, I think. It is shocking — not for me because I like things to be turned on their head — but for some people, it’s sort of like making 007 a woman, you know what I mean? They’re like, “Wait a minute … this is what it’s supposed to be. Ham and cheese is ham and cheese — you don’t suddenly make it gruyere.” Then they taste it and they like it. Brie, swiss, cheddar … people hate change, but suddenly it’ll become normal.
But there’s still more about Joan to love. She initially starts out the series as a fully human character and as the series progresses, we learn more about her and there’s more depth added each episode. Estelle Tang wrote about how rare it is to find well rounded Asian-American characters like Joan and why that matters so much. Plus, the lack of romantic chemistry between Sherlock and Joan is truly wonderful and a big reason as to why I love the show so far.But ultimately, it’s refreshing and unbelievably amazing to have such a well rounded character that doesn’t really fit the mold of many leading characters. Joan defies stereotypes and really comes into her own throughout the show and for that, I know I’m one of many that is particularly grateful.
I’ve only begun to touch upon some of the reason I love Elementary but for now, I’ll leave it at that.