This is a fascinating one, because I can say that I have not seen the Sherlock Holmes property being used like this before. The premise of the show is fascinating, and I am yet to get a sense of whether the villain set up here will be the main antagonist through to the end, or if it will have an arc-like structure where there is a new main villain per arc. Regardless, the type of Sherlock they set up, the world that these characters inhabit, and the characters themselves are all quirky and interesting to watch.
This first episode does the obligatory meeting of Watson, as we have seen in multiple iterations of the story prior. Whether it be BBC's Sherlock, or even Elementary, the start of the recent versions of the story has been with the meeting of the two. However, this time around, it is not by chance, it is as a result of Watson actively seeking him out in order to hire him for a case. The only reason why they end up together is because Watson is determined to have Sherlock take the case. By the end of this episode you still do not know what this case is, and so you are left with a curiosity as to what it might be for Watson to go as far as he does during this night.
The setup for the show is intriguing; there are a set of detectives that operate individually without any cooperation that all take a case simultaneously. The first to solve the case would get the prize money that is arranged by the client. This creates a dynamic between the detectives involved that seems cordial on the surface, only for it to actually be cutthroat beneath the surface, with some sabotaging others' property, while others cover up evidence so that they would have an edge over the others. All in the name of getting the prize at the end of it all.
What makes this competition all the more interesting is that each of the detectives are very different from each other. One is a disarming older man, one is more of the self-confident and educated type that has trouble when it comes to dealing with women, and finally there's the disheveled loner that is Sherlock, who has a propensity to act out the resolution of the crime through a rakugo session. A session even his colleagues admit is not all that good.
The opening episode of this show actually reminds me of the first episode of The Mentalist, where there is a more notorious killer at large, and the culprit here being one that is a copycat that is trying to hide an accidental murder. The only thing where the show deviates from The Mentalist is that in that show, all the players were introduced in the first act and we have the chance to figure out who did it as we see the clues get revealed as the episode goes on. This Sherlock show has the same flaw I find in most Sherlock Holmes stories; it is that the viewer likes to participate in the detective work, and rarely, if ever, does a Sherlock Holmes story actually introduce the characters, and possible suspects, at the start, which makes the totally left field reveal of a character that we have not even heard of, or seen prior to the conclusion, a hollow satisfaction. This is an issue I have with the original Sherlock Holmes stories as well, and so this is not an isolated issue.
What I really enjoyed about this episode is the distinct visual flare that is present in this show. Production I.G. really flexes their creative muscles as they make some fantastic sequences through the show. The standout moment being the moment when Sherlock is performing his rakugo. The city and the nightlife is beautiful to look at, and the characters has an expressiveness to their movements that counteract what should be stiff character models. In addition, the soundtrack is pleasing to listen to in its own right, and the humor in the show seems to be spot on as the final moments had me laughing so hard, I was having trouble getting a proper breath in me.
The fact that Jack the Ripper is looking like the main villain of the show and the various points that I have listed above make me really excited to see the next episode.