I wanted to like this a lot more than I actually did. In no small part that was due to Thaddea Graham’s (Letter for the King) solid performance and presence. She’s at the center of this dark reinterpretation of Holmes that is dominated by its younger cast. Jojo Macari (Cursed), McKell David (iBoy), and Darci Shaw (Judy) work well together and with Graham to form the famous street gang who know or can find anything in London. And Harrison Osterfield (Catch-22) adds an interesting spin to their collective.
But the adults don’t fare as well. One of the main detractions was the choice of Royce Pierreson (Line of Duty) as John Watson. Pierreson just never felt comfortable in the role, the choices, nor in control of the scenes. He was just too unlikeable and unbelievable, pulling me out of the story every time he spoke for 6 of the 8 episodes. (To be fair, I wasn’t particularly happy with aspects of his character’s journey as written either.) It’s as much the fault of the script as it is the directing, but it was an irritant in an otherwise entertaining collection of main characters. Henry Lloyd-Hughes’ (The Pale Horse) Sherlock and Eileen O’Higgins (Mary Queen of Scots) help, ultimately, balance out both Pierreson’s choices and the story’s.
Mind you, most of the adults have the same issue as Pierreson. For instance, the utterly vile Lestrade, played by Aidan McArdle, is pushed so far as to be questionable. Again, a story and directing choice, but it sets a consistent tone for the adults, none of whom seem trustworthy or pleasant, other than Clarke Peters (Harriet). But Peters is unique in the series.
In the end, this latest Holmes remake isn’t going to top the lists of those already out there…even the Guy Ritchie features are better rounded (if so not Holmes)…but it is a fun ride of a show with a lot of potential to come. This set-up season has a lot of promise and some solid new talent to help it grow. Give it some time and see if it doesn’t pull you in as well.