Question of the Week: April 16th, 2013

Asexuals have a reputation for loving Sherlock and Doctor Who. What are some of your favorite TV shows?

About Aydan

Aydan is an aromantic asexual biology grad student in the US. She blogs at Confessions of an Ist about asexuality, Christianity, environmentalism, and feminism.
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9 Responses to Question of the Week: April 16th, 2013

  1. Aydan says:

    At the moment, I’m really enjoying Elementary. I love the interaction between Joan and Sherlock. And for a popular TV show, it’s remarkably thoughtful in its treatment of gender and gender identity. I don’t know that I’d say it addresses race, but two of the most prominent characters are PoC.

    As far as things that aren’t running now, I really liked Avatar: the Last Airbender, too. It was a lot of fun.

  2. Ember Nickel says:

    The Cubs broadcasts, and Revolution. Previously, Numb3rs. I don’t watch much TV beyond that.

  3. queenieofaces says:

    Seconding Elementary (Aydan, you may be the reason I finally started watching that show). Also, I really like Avatar: The Last Airbender as well! Otherwise…umm, I like Sherlock, even if sometimes I get really angry at it and have rant sessions with my roommate. I like Community (but I’m not watching the newest season). I don’t watch a whole lot of TV, so a lot of the shows I have liked are no longer on the air…

  4. fluffy says:

    Spliced!, Adventure Time, Cheers, Community, The Office, Avatar: The Last Airbender… um, lots of other stuff too.

  5. Jillian says:

    My favorite show of all time is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. My favorites currently on TV are Grey’s Anatomy and Elementary. I do like Sherlock (though Elementary has surged ahead for me… who knew?) and I have seen a few seasons of Doctor Who, but I think the stereotypical excitement of the asexual community about these shows has actually made me less interested in them.

  6. Eponine says:

    No one mentioned The Big Bang Theory yet? I don’t like the later seasons as much as the earlier ones, but I’m still following it loyally.

  7. Vivi says:

    Elementary – the main relationship is strictly platonic/non-romantic and it’s good enough on a number of general intersectional feminist issues that I can even forgive that bit of ace-baiting in the first episode and that they turned Sherlock heterosexual and made Irene Adler his fridged love interest.

    Warehouse 13 – it’s fluffy and fun most of the time, and unlike it’s sister-show Eureka actually has some awareness of feminist issues, as well as no habit of dumbing its female characters down to let the male characters shine. There are no asexual characters, but a couple of openly gay/bi ones in the later seasons, and there is no “will they won’t they” between any of the major characters. The show occasionally features temporary love interest for its characters, but the non-romantic relationships within the team and familial relationships to recurring characters are consistently depicted as more important.

    Sancturary – it’s kind of like Torchwood, just with less swearing and with no-one of the team shagging each other. In fact, they act like an extended adopted family. Plus, the two main characters have a relationship that is basically a genderswapped version of the Doctor and his Companion. (Actually, most of their gender roles are reversed, and at least in the first couple of seasons, the women are the main action heroes, with the male characters filling the tech support, ‘mother hen’, and ’empathetic audience insert’ roles.) And their version of Sherlock Holmes actually does work as an asexual, biromantic man (or an aromantic who would want to have a zucchini-type relationship with both his female and male best friends, if his culture and the circumstances would allow for that sort of thing). It’s quite subtle though, more a matter of fridge logic and not outright stated. (His comparatively reserved body language could be interpreted as just a result of his Victorian gentlemanly upbringing, but he also apparently exchanged his ability to have sex for artificially life-extending measures to stay with his immortal friend/partner, and long before old age would have forced him to do so.) It also gets a bit muddled because the story of their relationship with each other is told in non-linear flashbacks. This brings it in somewhat chronological order:

    Read or Die – The OVA/movie was about the destructive side of romantic love and how deeply attached friendships are perhaps healthier in the long run. The sequel TV series is about a group of not related women who live together like sisters to raise a quasi-adopted, disturbed little girl. There is lesbian subtext between several characters, but it’s so vague that you can ignore it if you want. The text works just as well as queerplatonic attachment. The main plot of the show is about the characters being super-powered agents on a mission to save the world from supervillains and a sinister government agency, though, it’s not just a relationship drama. Also, the female to male ratio among the major characters is like 3:1, and I don’t remember a single romance storyline in the TV series – it’s all about chosen families and friendships.

    Fullmetal Alchemist – I’ve only seen the first TV series and the movie, not the remake, but I don’t remember much in terms of romance storylines in that show. Considering that it centers on two brothers who are a) barely into puberty, b) severely disabled, and c) child soldiers, with much more important things on their minds than girls, that is probably not so unusual. Still, I was a bit surprised that, in a show primarily aimed at a teenage male audience, the older of the two protagonists (who is about 13-15 and still has functioning genitals and hormonal glands) was never really shown to have much interest in girls (or boys), aside from vague feelings for the childhood friend who built his prostheses. He is just *very* focused on helping his brother and his whole military mission.

    Murdoch Mysteries – it’s basically CSI in Victorian era Canada, usually with a notable left-wing twist to its morals and storylines. Extremely prolonged “will they won’t they” between the main character and a female coroner is the main plot arc, but given the time period and the fact that the main character is very Catholic, very gentlemanly, and therefore stubbornly celibate before marriage, it’s mostly refreshingly non-sexual. I mean, this is a guy who brings dominos when planning to spend the night with his love at a hotel, in order to give her husband sufficient reason to divorce.

    Stargate SG1 (season 1-8) and Stargate Atlantis (season 1-4,5) – for teamy adventures and friendships with little to no romance or UST to muddle things up. McKay even worked pretty well as a closeted asexual character, at least if you ignore most of the last season when the writers started superimposing their own fantasies about Jewel Staite on the character. (Before that, he liked to point out his interest in women when talking to his male friends, but his actual interaction with women ranged from obliviousness to awkward self-sabotaging. He proposed to his girlfriend at a point when they still interacted like awkward 15-year-olds who hadn’t got to second base. And his main social relationships were platonic bromances with other men, to the point where he remembered his best friend last when he was losing his mind – not his sister or the woman he supposedly loved. So it all looked very “methinks he doth protest too much” in my eyes.)

    I actually don’t like the current version of Doctor Who much (because… Moffat), and I have a less than great opinion of the Tenth Doctor as a character, but I loved the first season of the revived show back in 2005. When we were still free to interpret the Doctor as demi or romantic asexual, Jack wanted nothing more than a poly relationship with both the Doctor and Rose whether that involved sex or not, and all the kisses were sweet and chaste and heartfelt. (Instead of, say, involving a lot of tongue forced on a character without asking for consent, or one of the people involved being possessed by someone else at the time, or other rape metaphors played for laughs or as ‘romantic’.)

    And lastly, I’ve really come to love Spartacus. I’m not repelled by sex, as long as it involves other people, so I don’t mind the high softcore porn factor of that show. I’m just really fascinated by the subversiveness of the writing, the handling of consent, rape and other feminist issues, and the way the show treated its various gay characters. All in a show that at first glance looks like a tailor made testosterone-trip for a hetero male audience. The fact that the good guys and bad guys almost all come in romantically attached pairs somehow doesn’t bug me here, because friendship and friends-with-benefits is also displayed as important and healing, and the romantic relationships somehow seem more deeply attached and supportive than usual on TV. I don’t ‘ship’ these characters in the sense of fetishising the romance of their relationships, but I’m still really glad they have each other in this brutal world, if that makes any sense.

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