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I like gender- and race-bending in casting, for any number of reasons. I like it less when it's used to reinforce sexist or racist cliches. I'd be more unreservedly happy about casting Lucy Liu as Watson if I thought it has more to do with "lets do something new and interesting with Watson" than with "lets make Baker St. less subtextful."

A black Xena would've been interesting. A male Xena (aside from the acting, which could've been worse, equal, or better than Lawless') would've been less interesting a priori. Now, a male Gabrielle would've been something to explore (as much as Xena and Gabrielle's dynamic are one of my favorite fictional relationships ever), precisely because we don't have many adventurer-sidekick pairings within those gender parameters. Not "wrong" or "right", just "seldom done before."

We have pretty much one trillion TV shows with smart male detectives and female support/sidekicks. Some good, some bad. I'm not wedded to the Holmes/Watson dynamic (although I do find it fascinating and one of the best displays of that particular sort of relationship, whether or not you see it as sexual), but making Watson female is putting the whole thing closer to the space of things already done a lot (and sometimes presented as the only way to do things), which seems like a rather boring direction to go. Casting Lucy Liu as *Holmes* would've been much more interesting. Not necessarily better or worse as a casting choice, but prima facie a more interesting one.

Possibly at best half-valid parallel: Steph showed beyond any doubt that a woman can be a kick-ass fantastic Robin. But having a young Bruce Wayne adopt as a ward a 16 year-old Rachel Grayson so a few years later they can be a Batman and Robin team with equally complex but somewhat more heteronormative issues would be less interesting from a "let's try new stuff" point of view than making Jane Wayne adopt a young Dick Grayson, and go through the relevant age-and-stuff issues, *while* convincing the not-always-bright Gotham City and its underworld (which is most of the city on a good day) that they should fear Batwoman (we know they should, because we've seen K, but that comes later). This doesn't mean I wouldn't give a bit of a limb to read Te write either story, which could be awesome --- gender doesn't determine interestingness --- but there's gender-bending that goes to new places, and there's gender-bending that retreats to old places. You can have good and bad stories in both places, but the place itself can be interesting some times, or at least more or less well-trodden.

Ultimately, the show might end up being good or bad, and this won't be decided by the gender and race of the actors chosen. We could end up seeing a fantastic Jane H. Watson, or even with a show that's only very loosely inspired by the Holmes canon, but nonetheless good on its own terms. Going "by the book" in terms of who gets to amaze whom with their brains, and who gets to live with whom and gladly receive wounds for whose expressions of concern, doesn't foretell bad writing, bad acting, or anything bad at all. But regardless of the quality of the show, some TV producer somewhere saw Sherlock and said "let's make this, but more 'normal'" and whether or not 'going normal' means more women, more men, more sex, less sex, or mutant turtles (why not a TMNT show about guys who live in the sewer who just think they are giant turtles, but fight crime anyway, and a social worked nicknamed Splinter who agonizes about getting them medical help because they are helping everybody else in the area?), I don't like 'normal' as a reason to do anything.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 29th, 2012 07:47 am (UTC)
Now I want to watch your version of TMNT.
Damn you, Mars!

But yeah, the complaints (the non troll-ones) arose, I believe, because it plays to placate audiences from the US, by not facing them with how in love (and thus GAYGAYGAY) John and Sherlock are.

Fandom as a whole was sceptic on the US take of the book because, from what I understood they wouldn't really be basing the show on it? But mostly just using the names and such? though I have no "confirmed source" for this statements, but anyways, where was I?
What I find disappointing, is that I love Lucy Liu, and having an asian-american FEMALE character as a main character on any show is awesome.
Even when it conflicts with canon, I think "Go boldly! for fandom will follow".

...And then they pick her to play sidekick to a white dude.

Best case scenario? it ends up another lame procedural-whatever-drama. Cliched, overused, ugh.
Worst case scenario? They use our favorite characters in another ridiculous, non-challenging procedural-whatever-drama, dumbing the female character down and overusing her as a "damsel in distress" so the rakish/charming/totally-normal-except-Very-Smart-in-a-not-challenging-way white dude can save the day.

I'd rather be spared.
Feb. 29th, 2012 01:04 pm (UTC)
What I find disappointing, is that I love Lucy Liu, and having an asian-american FEMALE character as a main character on any show is awesome.
Even when it conflicts with canon, I think "Go boldly! for fandom will follow".

...And then they pick her to play sidekick to a white dude.

Yes, this.
Feb. 29th, 2012 10:05 am (UTC)
My immediate thought when I first heard the rumours they were going to cast a woman in the role was that I would love a female Watson... provided she was paired with a female Holmes. Now that would be interesting and different.
Feb. 29th, 2012 01:45 pm (UTC)
Lucy Liu as Holmes would be AWESOME.

I commented else-LJ that I really hope that the show itself doesn't suck, as Prime Suspect and Coupling did in their American versions. (Heck, Cosby's version of One Foot in the Grave was pretty awful, but that may simply be that by that time I'd lost my interest in sitcoms.)

I would, personally, love a platonic partnership like Myka and Pete in Warehouse 13, provided that Mary Morstan comes along like Helena G. Wells and sweeps Watson off her feet. :)

Edited at 2012-02-29 01:45 pm (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


cass, can you not

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