CBS To Race-Swap Sherlock Holmes’ Famous Partner For New ‘Watson’ Television Series
In kicking off the New Year with a dip into Hollywood’s favorite and creatively bankrupt storytelling trope, CBS has given the green-light to Watson, a soon-to-be television medical drama set focusing on the adventures of a race-swapped version of Sherlock Holmes’ iconic ally.
Created by Craig Sweeny, the executive producer of the network’s previous Sherlock Holmes adaptation Elementary ,and set to star Amazon’s Goliath actor Morris Chestnut as the series’ eponymous protagonist, this upcoming reimagining of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic character, per an official series logline provided to Variety, will see the titular hero “resume his medical career as the head of a clinic dedicated to treating rare disorders.”
“Watson’s old life isn’t done with him, though,” it then teases of the series’ driving conflict. “Moriarty and Watson are set to write their own chapter of a story that has fascinated audiences for more than a century.”
Alongside his role as the series’ creator, Sweeny will also serve as Watson‘s showrunner and executive producer, with Chestnut joining him in the latter capacity.
Further, Marvel’s Runaways director Larry Teng is set to helm and produce Watson‘s first episode
Speaking to the Variety in promotion of the series’ upcoming production, president of CBS Entertainment Amy Reisenbach beamed, “We are thrilled to feature such a beloved character from the world of Sherlock Holmes at the center of this series and have it brought to life by Morris Chestnut in a fresh and unexpected take on the immortal doctor. Craig Sweeny’s bold new vision for the complex Dr. Watson deftly interweaves rich character storytelling with edge-of-your-seat medical mysteries.”
As noted above, with its green-lighting, Watson will exist as the second adaptation of Doyle’s seminal work produced by CBS within the last decade.
In 2012, the network premiered the aforementioned Elementary, a procedural drama which took the 19th century mystery-solving duo’s adventures and transposed them upon a modern-day, New York City setting.
To this end, it is also of interest to note that, like Watson after it, Elementary also made a significant physical changes to its physical depiction of the good doctor.
Specifically, thanks to the network’s casting of Shazam! and the Fury of the Gods actress Lucy Liu in the role, Watson was portrayed throughout the series as an Asian woman rather than a white man.
Interestingly, Doyle’s original works refrain from directly identifying Watson’s race or even skin color, with many references to the character’s appearance instead focusing on his more physical attributes, such as his “square jaw, thick neck, [and] moustache”, as detailed in The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton.
However, in the Holmes adventure A Study In Scarlet, upon reuniting with his companion, the detective makes note that Watson’s skin has significantly darkened during his time serving in the Second Anglo-Afghan War – a response unlikely to be raised towards anyone whose skin was already original darker:
“Whatever have you been doing with yourself, Watson?” he asked in undisguised wonder, as we rattled through the crowded London streets. “You are as thin as a lath and as brown as a nut.”– Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study In Scarlet (1887)
As of writing, Watson has yet to receive an official release date.