Dear Tumblr Sherlock fans*,
I think it’s time for an intervention.
It’s about your weird hate thing with Elementary. I’m getting a little – how should I put it? – a little bothered.
The thing is, I’m totally on board with complaining because it sounds really bad. A modern-day Sherlock Holmes? Oh, where have we heard that before, eyeroll.gif, etc., etc. And it’s set in America? COME ON, AMERICA, WE HAVE ONE OF THOSE. Stop stealing all the British things and pretending we thought of it first. I didn’t even retweet and then make fun of Steven Moffat’s sarcastic tweets about it, because it’s just better to let him think he’s the first person who ever thought of something even though there are literally dozens of versions of Sherlock Holmes, quite a few of which are modern-day.
Then it was announced Watson would be female. Considering the frequency with which gender-bending and race-bending gifsets show up on my tumblr dash, I thought this decision would be a hit. It’s Lucy Liu! Being a badass! More television representation for women and non-white characters! These are not bad things! We might actually be able to have discussions about intersectionality and difference!
But then the misgivings showed up. It seems as if the only reason the creators are making Watson a woman is so they can act on 100+ years of Holmes/Watson sexual tension without the sticky homosexuality issues. I am not down with that. I am down with sticky homosexuality issues. Also, the character of Watson, once a seasoned war veteran and doctor, is now neither a veteran nor legally able to practice medicine. I am also not down with that. I am so not down with that I kind of want to throw my gigantic All the Sherlock Holmes Stories Ever book at someone and that thing is really heavy. Dr. Watson is a competent medical person . . . except when she’s a woman. Well that’s nice then isn’t it.
So when the first look came out, I was prepared to be unimpressed.
But I wasn’t entirely unimpressed– actually, it looks like it could be fun, despite Joan Watson being, of course, “emotional.” But Watson IS emotional, and not even just compared to Sherlock, so I’m willing to overlook that. On the plus side, Lucy Liu is Lucy Liu, and Jonny Lee Miller does a pretty good job of going “it’s blah blah blah because of blah and blah you dumbface” without making himself too vulnerable to comparison with Benedict Cumberbatch. On the not plus side is basically everything else.
What I’m really completely VERY unimpressed by are the mass down-voting and negative comments from people who are fans of BBC Sherlock and, apparently, ONLY BBC Sherlock.
There are a lot of reasons this show is probably going to be terrible. Things that don’t belong on that list:
1. Sherlock not being played by Benedict Cumberbatch
2. Watson being a woman
3. Watson being Asian
Benedict Cumberbatch is a great Sherlock Holmes, but he is about the 3876th person to play him. He doesn’t hold a patent on the role. Watson as a woman is far from the most “different” modification in a Sherlock adaptation. One time, Watson was a robot.
BBC Sherlock tumblr fans, you’re making people who had no interest in Elementary decide to spite-watch the show, and let’s be real: it’s probably going to be pretty bad. Stop. Just let it die on its own.
PS– You too, Moffat. You don’t have any room to talk.
*- I’m classifying this as a tumblr phenomenon for the reason that there are plenty of sane BBC Sherlock fans, but tumblr is where we everybody goes to shake, cry, and organize fandom protests.