In praise of platonic TV friendships

Nicole+Beharie+AFI+FEST+2011+Presented+Audi+6bkch89jkXrxlucy-liu-herve-leger-07If there is one upshot about Autumn and the weather getting colder, it has to be the good TV shows starting up again. Two in particular have caught my eye: Elementarystarring Lucy Liu and Johnny Lee Miller, an update of Sherlock Holmes set in NYC, and Sleepy Hollow, a riff on the tale of the Headless Horseman starring Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison.

What they both have in common, beyond mystery-solving and occasional crime-fighting is that they are buddy movies between men and women, which is refreshing to see. I really enjoyed the first season of Elementary, holding my breath for the inevitable moment when there was a hint of romance between Millier and Liu – but it hasn’t materialised. Instead there’s friendship and mutual respect, which is refreshing. I’m only a few episodes into Sleepy Hollow but the vibe is similar.

Obviously, another thing they have in common, which is also exciting, is that they are both ethnic minority women headlining their own shows – roles that would usually have been given to white actresses, particularly as their race isn’t constantly referenced in their roles. Increasingly, television is smashing the boundaries in a way that’s still to be seen on the big screen. Scandal gets all the attention – and it’s fantastic (and intense and fanciful at times too, in a way that only a show written by Shonda Rhimes can be – I say this as a Grey’s Anatomy fan) – but these shows deserve a round of applause too. And on the topic of Scandal, here’s a great Buzzfeed post on Kerry Washington and Nicole Beharie’s characters subverting the stereotype of the Strong Black Woman.

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