Lucy Liu cast as Watson in CBS' Sherlock Holmes show

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Dream, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. Angel4576

    Angel4576 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't know that they'll be following the canon that closely. Most likely they'll take the two lead characters and then drop them into the standard CBS-drama template.

    Granted this is more from expectation rather than observation, however I think it's fairly clear that the vast majority of the show's focus is going to be on Holmes and Watson. There will be screentime for the other characters obviously, but I doubt that they'll receive anywhere near as much screentime as JLM or LL.


    Racism or classism? Why are we limited to that? Surely there's more to ethnicity than skin colour and social divides.

    Cultural idiosyncrasies - a black Holmes would defacto have the same cultural background and values as a white Holmes?

    They should get those opportunities. Of course they should. Personally though, it thoroughly fails to impress me when such changes are made for change's sake. Have the writers made this change to benefit the series and the stories that they'll be able to tell? Or is it a cheap grab for a certain audience that they know they'll be able to lock in? Hopefully it's the former, but it wouldn't surprise me if it's the latter. Guess we'll find out.

    Perhaps it's just the shows that I watch, but it seems more common than uncommon that shows with a couple of leads generally tend to eventually flirt with shippers if not going down that route completely. I'm bored with that. At least try and be different if you're going down that route. Sherlock obviously has the running gag about Holmes and Watson as a couple - play is straight (pardon the pun), be different. I'd rather they did that than go down the route that many shows have been before. Again though, never going to happen as it would alienate a certain element of the audience. CBS is the most-watched network and it's not hard to see why - their vanilla product rarely ventures past what it perceives to be safe.

    I think it's fair to say that the archetypal interpretation of the story is going to lead to the expectation that Holmes and Watson are male. I doubt that many heard the news that there was going to be a new Sherlock Holmes series and instantly concluded that this would probably feature a male Holmes and female Watson. Why would they?

    Besides The Return of Sherlock Holmes, there was also the later movie Sherlock Holmes Returns, with Debrah Farentino. Although she wasn't playing Watson, or a variant of Watson, it did represent another example of them trying to work a male/female dynamic with the story.

    Both of the examples above changed the fundamental dynamic of Holmes/Watson, both transplanted the action to America, and both moved the story into the modern era. Neither story met with much success.

    I see that Moffet's already raised a similar concern regarding Elementary;

    Perhaps CBS should have gone down the route of having Holmes be blind, and Watson could have been his guide dog. Sounds emminently more interesting than what they look like they're going to be serving up here.
     
  2. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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  3. JRS

    JRS Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I wonder if this will do better than the re-make of the also British Prime Suspect, that CBS tried not so long ago..and was cancelled after only few episodes.
    The promo of the Elementary looks good enough,
    though I do not see much new there to the Cop-show genre, besides the accent that is.
    Though, that is not necessarily a bad thing.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    And as I've already said, your assumption that "the standard CBS-drama template" equals "romance between the two leads" does not match up with reality.


    Obviously. You're so mired in your expectations that you've already made up your mind regardless of the evidence. As Holmes himself said, "It is a capital mistake to theorise in advance of the facts."


    But would American viewers understand how the Afro-British cultural background differs from the white British cultural background, or from the African-American background? Heck, it'll be an accomplishment if the writers even portray his Britishness authentically.


    It must just be the shows you watch, because I've seen a number of shows where that's simply not the case. You're making far too many assumptions beyond the evidence.



    So what the hell is wrong with challenging assumptions? Make up your mind! Moments ago you were criticizing CBS for being too formulaic and safe, and now you're saying they're wrong to defy expectations!


    The ultimate in spurious objections, and a gross abuse of statistics. This is the same BS you hear when a movie with a female action lead does badly. They never admit it's just because it wasn't a good movie; they insist on blaming it on the sex of the lead character, even though they never do that in the many, many cases where a movie with a male lead fails. Okay, sure, there have been two movies where Holmes was given a female partner and they flopped. But how many Holmes adaptations with a male Watson have also flopped? Quite a few, I'm sure. (Does anyone even remember the Matt Frewer Holmes movies?) It's no surprise that two given Holmes movies in the past have failed, because the majority of movies are failures, period. Statistically, the fact that both movies with female partners for Holmes happened to fail does not prove any kind of causation, because the probability that any two given movies with a random trait in common would both fail is high to begin with. It would take a far larger statistical sample to demonstrate any meaningful correlation, and even then, correlation is not proof of causation.

    If you're going to defend your view of Sherlock Holmes, you should at least try to employ his methods in formulating your arguments.
     
  5. Out Of My Vulcan Mind

    Out Of My Vulcan Mind Vice Admiral Admiral

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    NBC made Prime Suspect, not CBS.
     
  6. nvek86

    nvek86 Commander Red Shirt

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    I found the promo to be ok. It didn't get me especially excited for the series, but neither did it turn me away. I'll watch the first few episodes to see how it turns out.
     
  7. Angel4576

    Angel4576 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    No, the CBS-drama template is that of bland vanilla, appealing to the widest possible audience by playing things safe.

    Not at all. I'll employ my usual approach towards the show. I don't have the time to watch everything that I ordinarily would do, so I'll leave this one on the backburner until the first season has aired. By that point we'll know well enough whether it meets or exceeds my current expectations. If it meets them then I probably won't bother proceeding any farther. If it exceeds them then I will. Theorizing and speculating ultimately makes very little difference to whether or not I eventually end up watching a show.

    Should that prevent them from trying? How will people ever learn without someone trying to explain cultural differences? Whilst entertainment is an important, and primary function of television, particularly prime time, it shouldn't be the sole function.

    Well as I've already stated, it could be me, and if it is, then it is. I do however, call it as I see it.

    You're comparing apples to oranges. There are certain assumptions and expectations around the Holmes 'world'. The gripe that I look like I'm going to have with the show is the number of changes that are being made to squeeze it into CBS's bland format rather than to necessarily benefit the narrative.

    I think you've totally missed the point, as that's not what I said at all. The concern is that they've made too many changes, to too many fundamental aspects of the Holmes 'world'. The point that I raised, cited three major changes within the movie that you pointed out, and a subsequent movie which made exactly the same changes. Both failed. Were they bad movies? Possibly. Are we totally excluding the possibility that making all of these changes contributed towards the movies not being very good? I don't recall at any point suggesting that both movies failed simply because they had a female lead.

    I think it's fair to say that Moffet has a pretty good understanding of what constitutes good 'Holmes'. and the potential pitfalls that new adaptations should be wary of, having to navigate them themselves when they came up with Sherlock. He's raised exactly the same concern that I have. I don't think he's being unreasonable in his concern. Why don't you tweet him and tell him that he's wrong......
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2012
  8. Kosh Naranek

    Kosh Naranek Captain Captain

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    But Downton Abbey comes on PBS with some little show called Sherlock.

    I like AQ, LL and JLM as actors. So the show does have that going for it, but it looks sort of bland and paint by the numbers.

    Sherlock had two things going for it in my book - 1. Benedict Cumberbatch and 2. I watch PBS on Sunday nights almost religiously.

    Seriously though they need to stop putting stuff on Sunday night - Masterpiece Classic, Masterpiece Mystery, Once Upon a Time, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. Plus Revenge is moving to Sunday nights next year.
     
  9. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Wow, that was incredibly uninspired. I figured they would at least try to make it a LITTLE cool and edgy like Sherlock, but instead they turned it into just another tired, run of the mill CBS procedural, with another slightly wacky detective who's got some issues. Yawn.

    Yeah, I think that pretty much sums it up. Maybe if we hadn't already seen Hugh Laurie do the same exact act for 8 years (with the same exact facial hair and haggard appearance), this might seem fresh and original. But as is, it just feels like a generic knockoff.

    I do appreciate that they're actually letting a guy use his British accent for once though.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I think it's important to keep in mind that trailers and promos aren't necessarily accurate representations of the actual works. The people who create them specifically tailor them to appeal to a particular target audience. It stands to reason that CBS's promotional department would want to make a new show look like the same kind of show that the CBS audience likes to see, and thus would play up its similarities to other CBS procedurals. So just because the trailer doesn't significantly distinguish itself from the pack, that doesn't necessarily mean the show won't.

    Granted, it's certainly possible that the show will be just as familiar and formulaic as the promo suggests. But it is always a good idea, in any context, to remember that advertisers are not in the business of presenting accurate and unfiltered data.
     
  11. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe, but we still saw enough to get a good idea of the dialogue, character interactions, and visual style. And none of them struck me as being remotely bold or original in any way.

    Hell, even Miller pointing out clues was kinda dull. You'd think they could at least make THAT part kind of exciting.

    And I wasn't even against the idea of an American remake either. I love seeing new interpretations of things. Unfortunately I just don't see anything new here at all.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    No, we saw enough to get an idea of the particular dialogue and interactions that the creators of the promo selected based on the particular impression they wanted to convey. We can't assume it's a representative sample of the whole, because that is not how advertising works.

    Not to mention that a pilot episode isn't necessarily representative of the series that follows. Just this past year on one network, NBC, I've seen one show where the pilot was dull and uninspired but the subsequent series was much fresher and smarter (Grimm) and one show where the pilot was brilliant and innovative but the subsequent show got dumbed down by the network to a more conventional procedural (Awake).

    So I'm going to follow Holmes's dictum: "It is a capital mistake to theorise in advance of the facts." I'll wait to see the actual show before I decide.
     
  13. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That would be astonishing to see in any CBS series. They don't do "bold" and "original."

    Vegas
    is the one that struck me as more of a departure than I would have expected from CBS, for the historical time period alone, and also the serialized format (which seems to be demanded by the premise). Terrible name, tho. Wasn't there already a show or three by that name?

    Anyway, Awake is back to being interesting and not dragged down by its procedural element.

    But that's NBC - shows on that network tend to be much more volatile in their development because NBC can't figure out a formula that will work for them. CBS has long since figured it out, and has no motive to rock the boat.

    And that's why I rarely bother with CBS shows at all, but will give an NBC show a long leash - sometimes, like with Grimm and Awake, it pays off (well for now since Awake is toast.) And sometimes it goes in the opposite direction - eg, Smash. But at least with NBC, there's hope.
     
  14. Borgminister

    Borgminister Admiral Moderator

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    I found Awake to be fascinating in concept and uneven in execution.

    Grimm is a yawner.
     
  15. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'm still not sure what I think of it. I think it's a little too much like Sherlock in playing up Holmes's social cluelessness and manic eccentricity.
     
  17. Borgminister

    Borgminister Admiral Moderator

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    Oddly enough, Perception looks more Holmsian than Elementary judging by the previews...
     
  18. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's funny how I see the addiction angle as more "House" than Sherlock even though "House" was inspired by "Sherlock Holmes"

    The beginning of the trailer they use that shaky font thing does remind me of "Sherlock"

    The sniffing of the shirt and mannerisms made me think Jonny could be a 12 Doctor.


    BBC Sherlock would delight in finding that dead body

    BBC Sherlock- I love it when I'm right.
     
  19. Sheep

    Sheep Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Looks like Jonny Lee Miller's character is the love child of Laurie's House and Cumberbatch's Holmes--he's channeling both of them in large, fairly equal quantities in the new trailer.

    And strangely, I find myself okay with that. I guess it's better than ripping of the BBC's Sherlock wholesale like we were all worried about. *shrug*
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^I'd say he's channeling House, Sherlock, and the Tenth and/or Eleventh Doctor.