Friday, January 24, 2014

Character Face-Off: Lucy Liu's Watson vs. Martin Freeman's Watson

By Hayley Igarashi on January 23, 2014

Let's take a break from our busy lives to focus on a matter of some importance: the curious incident of two modern-day Watsons sharing primetime space on our televisions. In another world, one without bias or fandoms at the ready, we could let these two Watsons coexist peacefully — as equals, even.

But this is our world. We don't let two characters share a name without picking a favorite — no, a champion — to crush the less-worthy upstart in a showdown of our own imagination.

So sorry, Elementary's Lucy Liu and Sherlock's Martin Freeman. You both seem nice, but we can't like you equally. Only one of you can be the fairest Watson in TV land. As our favorite consulting detective would say, the game is afoot!

Round 1: The Name
In one corner, we've got Freeman's Dr. John Watson — in the other, Liu's Dr. Joan Watson. Now yes, the nifty gender swap sort of necessitated a name swap, but we're not sure if we're feeling the moniker change. Sometimes classic is just better. (Try Shirley Holmes and Irwin Adler. See? Also not as fun.)

Winner: Martin Freeman's Watson

Round 2: The Backstory
MF Watson's backstory matches up with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's description, that of a recently returned army man battling his own demons from his tour in Afghanistan, but LL's gets a little tweaking. In Elementary, she's a surgeon-turned-sober companion, a former career woman who gave up on the medical profession after making a mistake that cost her patient his life. As a sober companion, she's assigned to Sherlock, who's just been released from rehab.  What that gives us is a complex and dependent relationship that seems more realistic than Doyle's version — at least when transplanted to the 21st century.

Winner: Lucy Liu's Watson

Round 3: The Sidekick (jk)
Jonny Lee Miller's Sherlock is certainly endearing and compelling, but it's hard to hold your own against the juggernaut of haughty superiority and prickly charisma that is Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock. Elementary fans are quick to point out Miller's commitment to the role, but Cumberbatch doesn't even need that. Notice how no one feels the need to defend Cumberbatch's performance. You know why? Because he's the king of Baker Street on either side of the pond.

Winner: Martin Freeman's Watson


No comments: