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Old February 29 2012, 04:49 PM   #76
Greg Cox
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

Captaindemotion wrote: View Post
This show may not turn out well, you may be right. But deviating from how past versions have depicted the legend doesn't automatically mean bad.
Exactly. It's not like there can only be one true, definitive, "canonical" version of any classic character or story. And you're not doing Holmes or Watson any favors by treating them as a sacred cows.

Granted, the new Sherlock is a tough act to follow, but there may be room for yet another revisionist take on Holmes.

Let a thousand flowers bloom.
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Old February 29 2012, 05:02 PM   #77
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

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So as with every other objection you've raised, you're dead wrong and far too narrow-minded in your assumptions. There are plenty of ways for men and women to relate to each other besides the romantic or sexual, and luckily there are plenty of television creators who understand that far better than you do.
You do realize this is American network television we're talking about here? If theres a lazy way to tell a story, you can bet they'll jump on it.
You do realize that every one of the counterexamples I cited is an American show, and that they're all either broadcast-network or basic-cable shows? And, indeed, that they include shows actually on CBS? Look at the flagship CSI for a very relevant example. Gil Grissom was a very Holmesian character, an emotionally detached, Aspergerish intellectual, and he never got romantically involved with Catherine Willows (although he did eventually marry supporting character Sarah Sidle).

Yes, TV lead characters are expected to have romances, but why assume the only possible combination is Holmes and Watson? It's not like Lucy Liu is going to be the only female character on the show, not in this day and age, and not on a network whose audience is about half female (or at least was as of 2008). Maybe they'll have a Mrs. Hudson character as Holmes's NY landlady, a widower or divorcee, and they'll ship her with Holmes. Or maybe, like many series leads, he'll be kept unattached to develop romantic relationships with recurring guests from time to time. As for Watson, they could have her enter into a relationship with, say, a guy named Mark Morstan (a counterpart to Watson's wife Mary in the canon) and end up getting engaged and married to him. There are plenty of ways to get these characters involved in romances without having it be with each other.

As it is, I find the entire premise to be bandwagon jumping of the worst kind.
Ohh, there are far, far worse bandwagons to jump onto than adapting a popular fictional concept. It's only TV, after all. Nobody's actually harmed or threatened or deprived of rights as a result of it. So it's gross hyperbole to say it's "of the worst kind."

And like I said, I'm surprised it took so long for someone to have the idea of updating Holmes as a modern character. I mean, it's not like every Batman adaptation is set in 1939 or every Spider-Man adaptation in 1962. TV adaptations of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon have generally made them contemporary characters rather than period characters (though Filmation's animated Flash Gordon TV movie made in 1979 and aired in 1982 was a period piece). Some adaptations of Tarzan have been modern, though others have been period pieces. Great characters are timeless. And the idea of exploring Holmes and Watson in a different era and culture is certainly worth experimenting with. So I don't really mind if it's done twice in quick succession, because I just see that as making up for lost time.

Although of course Holmes has been modernized at least once before Moffat came along; most of the Rathbone/Bruce films were set in the then-present day, and some even involved Holmes fighting Nazis. But that's been the exception to the rule until now.
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Old February 29 2012, 06:10 PM   #78
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

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I really don't get the controversy.
It's because it's done by a bunch of greedy American tv executives hoping to cash in on the popularity of Sherlock. We'd have less problems if it was done by the BBC.

Guess homosexual undertones between two males leads is too much for the brain donors running CBS.
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Old February 29 2012, 06:16 PM   #79
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

Christopher wrote: View Post
And like I said, I'm surprised it took so long for someone to have the idea of updating Holmes as a modern character.
A minor correction, Christopher. The Arthur Wontner films and the later Basil Rathbone films were set in the then-present day. We think of them now as period pieces now because it's no longer the 1930s and 1940s, but at the time those films portrayed Holmes and Watson as contemporary, not Victorian, characters, and the audiences of the time would have seen them as modern portrayals.
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Old February 29 2012, 06:23 PM   #80
Greg Cox
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

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Christopher wrote: View Post
And like I said, I'm surprised it took so long for someone to have the idea of updating Holmes as a modern character.
A minor correction, Christopher. The Arthur Wontner films and the later Basil Rathbone films were set in the then-present day. We think of them now as period pieces now because it's no longer the 1930s and 1940s, but at the time those films portrayed Holmes and Watson as contemporary, not Victorian, characters, and the audiences of the time would have seen them as modern portrayals.
Christopher actually mentioned the Rathbone films near the end of his post. And indeed, all but the first two Rathbone films were "modern-day" updates set in the 1940s, although this is more obvious in some of the films than others. A murder at a remote English estate tends to look and feel the same regardless of what era it's set in . . . .
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Old February 29 2012, 06:33 PM   #81
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

The BBC has informed CBS that they could sue if there are too many similarities between their respective modern day takes on Sherlock Holmes, so there's a legal and financial impetus for CBS to make their modern take on Holmes as different from the BBC take as possible.
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Old February 29 2012, 06:46 PM   #82
Greg Cox
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

Anyone else remember An East Wind Coming by Arthur Byron Cover, in which Holmes is an ageless super-being hunting Jack the Ripper through a decadent far-future society?

This sounds positively conservative by comparison!
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Old February 29 2012, 06:53 PM   #83
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

Hound of UIster wrote: View Post
It's because it's done by a bunch of greedy American tv executives hoping to cash in on the popularity of Sherlock. We'd have less problems if it was done by the BBC.
That's really not a good reason.
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Old February 29 2012, 06:54 PM   #84
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Christopher actually mentioned the Rathbone films near the end of his post. And indeed, all but the first two Rathbone films were "modern-day" updates set in the 1940s, although this is more obvious in some of the films than others. A murder at a remote English estate tends to look and feel the same regardless of what era it's set in . . . .
My bad. I saw that he said that Holmes had never been updated as a modern character and my brain stopped at that point, because it wasn't true, since it had been done in the 1930s and 1940s. No offense to Christopher meant.
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Old February 29 2012, 07:17 PM   #85
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

Dream wrote: View Post
This new Watson from this show will have absolutely NOTHING to do with the one from the books. She isn't an army doctor, isn't male, isn't even British (my biggest complaint). They've changed the character too much. Why call her Watson if her character is completely different from the books?
For someone so fiercely defending the purity of the Holmes canon, your understanding of it is incredibly superficial. The essence of Dr. Watson isn't "white male British army veteran." Those are just surface trappings. The essence of Dr. Watson is Holmes's best and only friend, the only person who can get through Holmes's shell and the only one willing to put up with him, a brave and stalwart ally who has his back no matter what, a person intelligent enough to have Holmes's respect yet still a pupil with much to learn from the master, and a writer who chronicles Holmes's adventures and serves as the audience surrogate. There's absolutely nothing in that requiring the character to be a certain race, nationality, or sex, not in the modern era, anyway.


Out Of My Vulcan Mind wrote: View Post
The BBC has informed CBS that they could sue if there are too many similarities between their respective modern day takes on Sherlock Holmes, so there's a legal and financial impetus for CBS to make their modern take on Holmes as different from the BBC take as possible.
It already sounds pretty different, what with the New York setting, Holmes being in rehab, and Watson being his sobriety coach. And of course it's a good thing to make it distinctive.


Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Anyone else remember An East Wind Coming by Arthur Byron Cover, in which Holmes is an ageless super-being hunting Jack the Ripper through a decadent far-future society?

This sounds positively conservative by comparison!
Sure, and as cited already, Holmes has often been sent into the future by cryogenics or time travel or immortality or whatever, but he's usually still a Victorian man by origin. So having him be of contemporary origin is still fairly unusual.

Although there have been a number of SF stories putting incarnations or pastiches of Holmes into futuristic settings, enough for at least one anthology's worth; I know Asimov wrote at least one of them.
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Old February 29 2012, 07:34 PM   #86
Greg Cox
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Christopher actually mentioned the Rathbone films near the end of his post. And indeed, all but the first two Rathbone films were "modern-day" updates set in the 1940s, although this is more obvious in some of the films than others. A murder at a remote English estate tends to look and feel the same regardless of what era it's set in . . . .
My bad. I saw that he said that Holmes had never been updated as a modern character and my brain stopped at that point, because it wasn't true, since it had been done in the 1930s and 1940s. No offense to Christopher meant.
To be honest, I started to tap out a response to that line as well, then read the final paragraph again . . . .
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Old February 29 2012, 07:49 PM   #87
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

Well, in fact I did initially forget about the Rathbone films, and I thought about rephrasing that earlier paragraph, but I figured it still works, because I didn't say "It never happened before," I just said "I'm surprised it took so long." If the Rathbone films were the last time Holmes has been portrayed as a modern-day character before Moffat did it, that's a gap of 63 years, just over half the lifespan of Holmes as a character. Which is a pretty long time to go by without anyone trying it.
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Old February 29 2012, 08:11 PM   #88
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

Dream wrote: View Post
It is so OBVIOUS that after turning Watson female, the writers will eventually have her have a romantic relationship with Holmes in a later season. That pretty much happens with nearly all cop shows with male and female leads. Makes me puke just thinking about it.

Holmes and Watson is also the biggest bromance in history. If they going to turn Watson into some asian woman, they might as well give the show a different name.
If this show were on the CW, the two leads could be male, and there could be plenty of slashy subtext, it fact it would be mandatory. But the leads would also be 30 year old actors who look 20 and would look like Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder.

Every channel has its own audience and things it must do to please that audience. I suspect the overlap between CBS viewers and TrekBBS habitues is close to zero. So the fact that people are bitching about it, is really missing the point. They aren't making this show for us.

And the name is the same idea as nuBSG - just slap a well-known brand on your show so that the bean-counters will be mollified and the show will be greenlit. Then do whatever the frak you want with it (within the constraints of what is possible on the channel the show is on - in CBS' case, those constraints are stricter than most.)

I guess that's why the complaints seem so familiar. The GINO crowd was pretty pisssed at RDM once upon a time, too. But in their case, they had some reason for their ire. There can only be one BSG show on at any given time, because somebody owns the copyright and has to approve it.

But Sherlock Holmes has long since passed into the public domain, so CBS's version doesn't prevent any other version that might appear. Nothing is being lost, except for a CBS timeslot, and we all know they're not going to do anything interesting with their timeslots anyway.
They changed Starbuck into a female, but her character still resembles the one from the original series somewhat.
You should go talk with the GINO crowd so you can see yourself in a mirror. They insisted that Starbuck MUST be male the same way you're insisting that Watson MUST be British. There's no artistic validity to an attitude like that.

However, Christopher is being extremely naive in assuming that CBS is making these changes in the interest of creating something with artistic validity. If HBO were doing it, yeah, sure. But I'd bet serious money that CBS changed Watson's gender exactly for the reasons Dream suspects.

And they changed his/her nationality, not to mention moved the action to New York, because do you really think CBS is going to go film a show in London? Hello, BUDGET! Plus their audience would prefer to watch a show with mainly American characters, since that is what they are used to.

CBS knows its business. These changes are in the interests of commerce, not art, and have bupkis to do with any of us or what we want.
You do realize this is American network television we're talking about here? If theres a lazy way to tell a story, you can bet they'll jump on it.
It's not lazy at all. It's disciplined and precise, in the same way that McDonald's insistence on total standardization in the food they produce is disciplined and precise, allowing for no variation that might confuse or upset their clientele.

Whether or not you like eating at McDonald's comes down to individual tastes. But you don't become a successful business like McDonald's or CBS by being "lazy." CBS is making Watson female for the same reason as McDonald's isn't going to be making a tofu burger anytime soon. Anyone who wants a male Watson and/or a tofu burger has other options that they are free to pursue.

Out Of My Vulcan Mind wrote: View Post
The BBC has informed CBS that they could sue if there are too many similarities between their respective modern day takes on Sherlock Holmes, so there's a legal and financial impetus for CBS to make their modern take on Holmes as different from the BBC take as possible.
Good point. That alone could justify changing Watson's race and gender (if commercial considerations weren't also impelling that choice.) Ditto for moving the action to New York.

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I really don't get the controversy.
It's because it's done by a bunch of greedy American tv executives hoping to cash in on the popularity of Sherlock. We'd have less problems if it was done by the BBC.

Guess homosexual undertones between two males leads is too much for the brain donors running CBS.
You wouldn't have a problem, but you're not a CBS viewer. CBS is assiduously working to give their audience what they want. You can criticize the CBS viewer for being too "stupid" to like what you like, but I'm sure they'd feel the same way about you. I think people are stupid for eating at McDonald's, which serves nasty crap that destroys your health, but I know exactly how much that would count with anyone who likes their Big Mac for lunch every day with a double order of fries.

And if the CBS honchos are stupid, I would love to be that "stupid." They are the most successful broadcast network, in an industry that is going through dire times, which they've achieved by being relentlessly self-disciplined and keeping their eye on the ball. They are laughing all the way to the bank.

Last edited by Temis the Vorta; February 29 2012 at 08:35 PM. Reason: this is fun!!!
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Old February 29 2012, 09:08 PM   #89
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Every channel has its own audience and things it must do to please that audience. I suspect the overlap between CBS viewers and TrekBBS habitues is close to zero. So the fact that people are bitching about it, is really missing the point. They aren't making this show for us.
Not quite zero. I watch a number of shows on CBS.


However, Christopher is being extremely naive in assuming that CBS is making these changes in the interest of creating something with artistic validity.
I have never claimed to make any such assumption about this specific project. I'm just saying it's narrow-minded and ignorant of the creative process to claim as an absolute rule that it's somehow wrong to change a story when you adapt it. I freely admit that CBS's pilot might be creatively bankrupt and mercenary and awful -- lots of pilots are -- but if that's the case, it won't be a failure simply because Watson has breasts and epicanthic folds.

And even if the creative decisions behind a show are made for reasons of mercenary calculation and demographic pandering, that doesn't preclude the possibility that the network could hire writing staffers who are genuinely talented and care about the material. It doesn't guarantee they will, but we don't know they won't. After all, every show's commissioning has some level of that kind of calculation behind it, but the people doing that calculation are generally not the ones actually writing and producing the show. I'm sure that the WB executives who decided to buy Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a series were thinking of the sex appeal and the high school melodrama and the action and all that superficial stuff that went into a lot of the shows they bought, but that didn't preclude Whedon from being a creative genius.

Now, I don't look at the name "Robert J. Doherty" and expect genius, but maybe he's improved considerably since Voyager. He did some good work on Tru Calling, certainly. So I'm willing to give him a chance. I'm not going to assume his work will stink before I've seen what he actually does. Because I always keep in mind Sherlock Holmes's own words:

"It is a capital mistake to theorise in advance of the facts."
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Old February 29 2012, 09:23 PM   #90
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Re: Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

Lest we forget, Arthur Conan Doyle married Watson off, then moved him back into 221B Baker Street and conveniently failed to mention the Mrs again. Then he killed off Holmes and brought him back with a dodgy explanation that William Shatner wouldn't have dared put into The Return. Deviating from the canon didn't begin with Lucy Liu!
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