INTO THE NEXT STAGE: It’s ‘The Watson Show’! (Who Needs Sherlock?)

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AOKI-GUY-color1By GUY AOKI

The third-season premiere of CBS’ “Elementary” opened in a very interesting way: Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) seemed to be having a friendly lunch with a girlfriend in a fancy restaurant. But when Joan noted Elena March’s been the head of a drug cartel after the death of her husband six months ago, the mood suddenly changed. Then Watson lowered the boom, saying March was being arrested just as Captain Gregson (Aidan Quinn) and his team entered the restaurant and led her away.

Turns out for the past six months, Watson’s continued working as a consultant with the NYPD without her mentor Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller). At the end of last season, Watson wanted to move out of the apartment they’d shared to get some space, and Sherlock, feeling rejected, accepted a job with London’s MI6 agency.

Now, she’s even been running her own private eye business, seeming to easily solve crimes with sharpened powers of deduction. It wasn’t until 15 minutes into the show that we finally saw old Sherlock, back in their old apartment. The captain and Detective Bell (Jon Michael Hill) weren’t thrilled to see him, as Mr. Know-It-All didn’t bother saying goodbye when he left New York (he ended his partnership with Watson with a five-sentence letter, which she resented).

But two months after March’s arrest, neither Watson nor the police were able to solve the murder of the witness they needed to put away her former “lunch date.” Naturally, Holmes figured out some clues, told Watson, and she eventually put it all together and solved the mystery.

Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) on her own… for a while.

Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) on her own… for a while.

Having left MI6, Holmes wanted his old job back helping the police, but they wouldn’t allow it unless Watson give her blessing. Holmes has a new protégé named Kitty, who got into a fight with Watson when the latter realized she’d been following her. In the end, Watson decided to allow both to help the police, but she insisted she and Holmes work on separate cases and not go back to being partners.

It was nice seeing Watson independent and having developed her own skills as a detective, albeit honed by being Holmes’ partner for two years. I looked forward to seeing them acting more independent of each other for a while, as it’d make Watson stronger, not as subservient to Holmes. But by the very next episode, Watson already allowed him to work with her on a case, and Sherlock was back to asking more questions than her and taking charge of situations. Sigh. And it started off so well…

“Elementary” airs Thursday nights at 10 p.m./9 Central.

Nooooo! Department: As I feared in my last column, “Selfie” starring Karen Gillan and John Cho in a modern take of “My Fair Lady,” was pretty much cancelled by ABC following back-to-back election-night episodes that got a low 1.0 and .9 rating with the 18-49 age group. Already beaten by “NCIS” and “The Voice,” it’d been outrun by even the CW’s “The Flash.” What really put the nail in the coffin last week was when Fox replaced its anemically rated “Utopia” with “Master Chef Junior,” that reality cooking show featuring 8-to-13-year-olds, and it beat ABC’s sitcom too.

Although the network had solicited three additional scripts beyond its initial 13-episode order, they won’t be shooting beyond that, and ABC didn’t say how long they’d air new episodes in the Tuesday 8 p.m. slot beyond this week. By the time you read this, if ratings didn’t improve, the show could already have been yanked for good.

In the second of last week’s episodes, we were introduced to Julia (Allison Miller), a urologist, who, just like Henry (Cho) gets so caught up in work that she doesn’t allow romantic relationships to develop (we saw that Henry was clueless that a cashier —played by his real-life wife Kerri Higuchi — is interested in him and all he says is he doesn’t like the cookie she offered him).

This week, Julia and Henry are officially an item, much to the chagrin of Eliza (Gillan), who worries that Henry won’t spend as much time helping her become a less superficial person (and is she also jealous?). I’ve liked Miller in her previous series “Terra Nova” and “Go On” (in which she appeared with Cho), but unfortunately, here, she’s got a boy’s hairdo and speaks almost Elizabethan English — a bit too proper and without a sense of humor.

After Eliza writes nasty Yelp reviews of Julia and Henry realizes she was the culprit, he angrily ends their association. It was nice to see the star of a show do everything she can to get back into the good graces of an Asian American man. In the end, they’re back to their usual relationship. But how much more will we get to see of either?

The first four series to be cancelled in this still-new fall season are all comedies. Over the years, every network except CBS has had a difficult time launching new comedies. In fact, two years ago, then-Fox Chairman Kevin Reilly refused to schedule mid-season comedies because the fall ones weren’t doing well, so he burned them off during the summer. And some of them were good, too.

It didn’t help that “Selfie” had the burden of opening the night in the 8 o’clock hour without benefit of a more well-established series to warm it up. Many have said they hated the title (ABC seems to have a penchant for this. Other recent examples have all aired on their network, “Cougar Town” and “Trophy Wife”) and initially didn’t give it a chance but have grown to like it.

Nice to know the Entertainment Weekly critic who graded “Selfie’s” pilot a C wrote an article saying she checked in with it, loved it, even went back to watch the episodes she’d missed, only for ABC to cancel it the next day.

I appreciate the fact that a white woman started a change.org petition (https://www.change.org/p/abc-save-selfie-3#share) to save the show (within four days, it got more than 10,000 signatures) and another launched a #SaveSelfie @ABCNetwork hashtag movement. Other Asian male/white woman couples have taken selfies of themselves imitating the logo of Gillan in front with Cho in the background.

As I wrote to ABC President Paul Lee, funny and touching comedies are hard to find. They need to keep this show, give it a chance to develop, maybe with a new title, but certainly in a less competitive time slot. You can write him at [email protected] and call the ABC listener response line at (818) 460-7477 and punch 1, 2, 2, then 735 to leave a 30-second message.

Henry (John Cho) introduces Eliza (Karen Gillan) to his girlfriend Julia (Allison Miller) in an episode of “Selfie.”

Henry (John Cho) introduces Eliza (Karen Gillan) to his girlfriend Julia (Allison Miller) in an episode of “Selfie.”

Election Results/Duh Department: When Paul Tanaka, the undersheriff who was forced to resign amid allegations of corruption in the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, announced he was then running for sheriff, my first thought was, “Wow, I know this guy really wants to reform his image, but this is ridiculous! All it’s gonna do is make his opponent clobber him publicly.”

In a crowded field, he came in second. During primary night, he wouldn’t even allow reporters to enter his post-election reception. Then his campaign went dormant with little money to do much against his opponent, who then won by a whopping 49% (it should’ve been even higher). Tanaka’s supporters apparently didn’t bother having a reception for him because one reporter, seeking comment, had to track him down at his home (she was told he wasn’t there).

Some news outlets and/or supporters (cough! Horse! cough!) who tried to soft-pedal Tanaka’s reputation blamed it on coverage of The L.A. Times, ignoring the fact that they were quoting independent reports that said he acted like a mafioso in running the county jail. In any case, he was an embarrassment. Thanks for “shaming the family,” Paul.

(Haole) Reporter Bias Department: I’ve taken particular interest in the lava flow on the Big Island, which has been threatening the town of Pahoa for months. My mother’s family escaped the 1960 Kapoho eruption by moving their home there. And my mother ran the community library between 1968 and 1987. I have fond memories of my grandma’s house being the central location for my family, aunts, uncles, and cousins on Easter, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Eve and Day while growing up. Each year when I return to Hilo, I always make a pilgrimage to the town 30 minutes south of it.

It was telling to watch the ABC and CNN coverage where they only seemed to talk to white people for their perspective on what was happening. Contrast that with local ABC affiliate KITV. Even though the reporter was white, he talked to local Asian Pacific Islanders. Which illustrates why so many of Hawaii’s people hate tourists: They think they’re better than us. And that’s exactly what those ABC and CNN reporters were. Lousy tourists.

That attitude continues to be apparent in “Hawaii Five-O.” It was bad enough they added three non-API regulars to the show (though McGarrett’s love interest, played by Michelle Borth, mysteriously vanished this season), now in scenes with one of those additions — Chi McBride — Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park act as if he’s in charge. Sure, anyone but an Asian Pacific Islander.

’Til next time, keep your eyes and ears open.

Guy Aoki, co-founder of the Media Action Network for Asian Americans, writes from Glendale. He can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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