This is a brilliant re-imagination of the classic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle classic, A Study in Scarlet. Sherlock Holmes, portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, is manic, egotistical, brilliant, and loves texting for some reason.
There are many different reasons why this re-imagination works well. For one thing, the acting is really good. Although, just like Matt Smith, I have trouble believing that young actors can adequately portray monster characters like the Doctor and Sherlock Holmes, Cumberbatch has no trouble.
We basically follow Watson around, who’s an Army doctor just back from Afghanistan dealing with some psychological issues and PTSD. That’s at least what his therapist believes, however Watson proves her wrong as he sheds this cane midway through and stops the tremor in his right hand.
The way that texting and SMS are integrated into this episode works really well. Naturally, I found that the show dumbed down the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle mystery, because as soon as Holmes asked the question, I knew the answer: cabbies. The bigger mystery isn’t that we implicitly trust cabbies, but how exactly the cabbie managed to make people take poison and kill themselves. That’s the real mystery, something that Holmes finds so tantalizing that he leads himself into a trap. Watson has to save Holmes from himself, which is what Watson would usually does.
Since this is a miniseries, Stephen Moffat had to get Moriarty involved immediately. He says that he’s Holmes’ arch-enemy, his nemesis. Watson meets him, or thinks he does. I’m surprised that we saw Holmes’ brother Mycroft, which was a nice surprise at the end of the show. We haven’t yet seen Moriarty, but we’ve felt his presence. Also, the fact remains that Holmes has a borderline personality, that is addicted to certain things, like not getting bored. It is also implied that Holmes enjoys some drugs. The original Holmes smoked opium from time to time.
I caught one issue with some dialog. At one point, Sherlock Holmes tells Watson that the game is on. I think it would have been more proper to say that the game is afoot. It’s a minor issue. All in all, this was a great show and I can’t wait to watch the two other serials.