I’ll say it right off the bat. I love this show so far. Haters gonna hate, but… we’ll get to that later. Elementary is Sherlock Holmes with around five different twists on the premise. It’s in New York City (not London). It’s modern (not set in the 1800’s). Watson is a woman (more on that controversy later). Holmes has just checked out of rehab (which as far as I can tell he never did in the original, other adaptions are in the air).
As is true with all shows I am usually much more invested in the relationships than I am in the episodic plot. This show delivers both. The cases they’ve had so far are interesting and there are lots of different relationships to become invested in. It’s smart (as Holmes always is) and it’s a different dynamic from other Sherlock adaptions I’ve seen.
The relationship between Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Liu) is fantastic. At this point in the show they are not friends which is fine with me, I can very clearly see that this relationship will evolve and change as the show goes on. That Watson is a woman brings up the question of a romantic relationship, but I don’t think they’re going to go there.
Speaking of going there, if I needed another reason to support this show I got it in the astounding amount of non-support it’s gotten from fandom. For shame! I’ve heard two main arguments here, and I’ll be addressing them both. One is the potential similarities with the BBC’s Sherlock and the other is straight up objection to a female Watson.
I can see similarities to Sherlock being a logical objection. It is based on the same original story and both are modernized. I can understand hesitation. I cannot understand, however, still thinking this after having seen Elementary. They are completely different shows on so many levels.
Sherlock is fantastic, but it’s also a little distant from American viewers. There is a whole audience that Sherlock will never reach no matter how fantastic it is. Elementary will reach that audience. And if it encourages them to look into Sherlock as well, all the better.
The second objection that I’ve seen passed around fandom is that Watson is a woman. This infuriates me on multiple different levels. We will gender-bend anything and everything and still be hanging on for more, but the minute they do the gender-bending for us we can’t handle it? What is this madness?
Besides that, these same people who are leading the backlash against a female Watson are the same girls and women who want strong female characters. You can’t have it both ways hun. Who says Watson can’t be a smart, kick-ass side kick and also be a woman?
Elementary has been doing very well ratings-wise and I will most definitely be keeping up with it this season. The biggest disappointment in this show: Fandom’s haters.