Another Great Year for Asian-American Women on TV

Lucy Liu and Jadyn Wong return as heroines on screen

The past few years saw a dramatic turning point for Asian stars as they land bigger roles and get a better representation on television. Last year was particularly great for actresses of Asian descent portraying strong inspiring roles that break away from stereotypes.

But this year and the next are also seeing major screen time for Asian stars especially Asian-American Lucy Liu and Asian-Canadian Jadyn Wong, who are returning to primetime television for their respective roles in Sherlock Holmes adaptation Elementary and action drama series Scorpion.

Liu plays Dr. Joan Watson, the world-famous fictional detective’s assistant reimagined as a woman, and Canadian actress Jadyn Wong plays Happy Quinn of Team Scorpion, whose mission is to neutralize complex, high-tech threats around the globe.

In both shows, the two stars not only demonstrate how female wit, grace, and courage put women at par with men when it comes to dealing with danger, they also show that Asian stars can perfectly fit complex roles that they do not often portray on screen.

A female take on a world-famous sidekick

Elementary, which is now on its fifth season, shifts the world of Baker Street from Victorian England to modern-day Manhattan. The show has also turned Dr. Watson into a female character that stands as Sherlock Holmes’ peer, not his assistant.

While a female Dr. Watson seems to open the possibility of romance, Liu’s character is anything but a potential love interest. Instead, she proves that her intellect, along with her temperament, is a first-class match to Holmes‘ deductive prowess—capable of solving crimes just as skillfully as when she was performing surgery. On top of these, she shows that a tough female can also be stylish.

In the past four seasons, Dr. Joan Watson has helped Holmes solve one crime after another. The fifth season, which premiered last October, began with Watson helping Holmes untangle dangerous twists surrounding a deadly explosion.

While there can be no doubt that the duo will solve any crime thrown their way, how they put their wits to work is a must-watch in the episodes to come.

Through the best and worst of times

Jadyn Wong once said that working with a male-dominated cast was like bathing in testosterone. That’s how it went when her character Happy Quinn used to be the sole female member of Team Scorpion.

Still, Happy ‘ability to think fast has made her a welcome member of the lineup. In the episode “Little Boy Lost,” she thwarts a murder plot thanks to her quick wits at solving dangerous puzzles.

Work at Team Scorpion may already be a handful for Happy, but even her personal life has tough battles to throw her way. In the episode “Fractured,” Happy gets into a romantic affair with Toby Curtis (Eddie Kaye Thomas), who happens to be one of her best friends. Though the relationship starts out rough, Curtis ends up wanting to marry her. Unfortunately, he gets abducted before giving his proposal.

Scorpion’s on-going season reveals not only Happy’s secret past but also a new chapter in her life: motherhood. Will she find balance between her newfound family life and the dangers she faces with Team Scorpion?

With Lucy Liu and Jadyn Wong making waves with their tough and complex roles, it seems that Asian stars on television are at an all-time high.

Elementary airs every Wednesday at 9:55PM; and Scorpion airs every Tuesday at 9:00PMfirst and exclusive on RTL CBS Entertainment.

SCORPION premieres September 23

SCORPION premieres September 23 (Tuesdays, 9:00 pm).
Airs express within 24 hours of U.S. broadcast.
Inspired by a true story, SCORPION is an exhilarating adrenaline rush that follows an eccentric genius and his network of nerdy prodigies. They operate as a think tank formed by Homeland Security solving the most dire and mind-boggling national threats.
This high-octane drama is about Walter O’Brien (Elyes Gabel) and his team of brilliant misfits who comprise the last line of defense against complex, high-tech threats of the modern age. British actor Elyes Gabel most recently played the Dothraki warrior Rakharo on the television series “Game of Thrones.” He previously starred on the BBC series “Casualty.” His additional television credits include “The Borgias,” “Dead Set,” “Waterloo Road,” “Identity” and “Psychoville.”
Paige Dineen (Katharine McPhee), who has a young, gifted son, translates the world that confounds this socially awkward group that’s only comfortable with each other’s humor and quirks. After competing in “American Idol” in 2006, McPhee has had a stellar career co-starring in the feature “The House Bunny,” guest starring in “Ugly Betty,” “CSI: NY” and “Community,” and starring as the lead in “Smash.”
As Homeland Security’s new think tank, O’Brien’s “Scorpion” team includes Toby Curtis (Eddie Kaye Thomas), an expert behaviorist who can read anyone; Happy Quinn (Jadyn Wong), a mechanical prodigy; and Sylvester Dodd (Ari Stidham), a statistics guru.
Thomas is best known for his starring role in the “American Pie” franchise. He voices the character of Barry on the adult animated sitcom “American Dad!” He guest starred in “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The X-Files” and “Law & Order.” He appeared in the “Harold & Kumar” film series.
Pooling their extensive technological knowledge to solve mind-boggling predicaments amazes federal agent Cabe Gallo (Robert Patrick), who shares a harrowing history with O’Brien. Patrick starred in the television series “The X-Files,” “True Blood” and “The Unit” and in the
miniseries “Elvis.” He guest starred in “The Sopranos,” “Lost,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “NCIS,” “Psych,” “Community” and “Burn Notice.”
At last, these nerdy masterminds have found the perfect job: a place where they can apply their exceptional brainpower to solve the nation’s crises, while also helping each other learn how
to fit in.
Justin Lin (“The Fast and the Furious”) directs the pilot episode. Nick Santora, Emmy Award winner Nicholas Wootton, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Heather Kadin, Walter O’Brien, Scooter Braun and Justin Lin are the executive producers.
RTL CBS Entertainment HD offers other shows such as THE MILLERS,THE X FACTOR UK ELEMENTARY, and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST available on SKYcable channels 53 (SD) and 196 (HD), on Destiny channel 53, Cablelink channel 224, and other provincial operators nationwide. Like on Facebook (RTLCBSEntertainment) and follow on Twitter (@RTLCBSEntertain).
About RTL CBS Entertainment HD
Launched in Asia in 2013, RTL CBS Entertainment HD is the first channel of RTL CBS Asia Entertainment Network, the joint venture formed by world leading content producers, RTL Group and CBS Studios International. A general entertainment channel, it offers a balanced mix of reality, drama, comedy and daily programs and features exclusive first run content aired soon after the initial US broadcast including series Under The Dome, Elementary, Beauty and the Beast, Star-Crossed and The Millers talent competitions America’s Got Talent; and daily shows Entertainment Tonight and Late Show with David Letterman.
About RTL CBS Asia Entertainment Network
RTL CBS Asia Entertainment Network is a venture formed in August 2013 bringing together two of the world’s largest content producers: RTL Group, the leading European entertainment network, and CBS Studios International, the leading supplier of programming to the international market place. Its two new channels, RTL CBS Entertainment HD and RTL CBS Extreme HD, will be distributed in more than 20 Asian markets.