A female lead, a backdrop of Tokyo and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic characters. Miss Sherlock has some hits and misses, but we're rooting for it.
I have a secret. After the happy hours have finished, the best cafes have shut off their lights and all the workout gear has gone to sleep at these independent fitness studios, I’m a complete TV addict. From documentaries to trashy shows like Married at First Sight Australia (know me before you judge me!), the screen has always been an engaging storytelling method for me. So when I got the opportunity to do a review of Miss Sherlock, I jumped at the chance.
Review of Miss Sherlock: Will this show have pulling power?
To say I was excited about this new collaboration between HBO Asia and Hulu Japan would be an understatement. I’m a murder mystery buff, and Conan Doyle’s prolific character has pulled me in many times before – yes to Jonny Lee Miller’s quirky portrayal in Elementary – plus Japan is my happy place, so seemingly this show couldn’t miss. Or could it?
While I don’t want to ruin anything, I’ll start with the good bits.
Review of Miss Sherlock: The good bits
- Strong female characters: In case you hadn’t worked it out, Sherlock is a woman in the Japanese version, and Yuko Takeuchi pulls off a quirky-bordering-on-slapstick adaptation of the role. Watson is also a woman (Shihori Kanjiya), and it will be interesting to see how these two characters develop together, considering Sherlock’s disregard for authority and Watson’s polite demeanour.
- Cinematography: With a backdrop of Tokyo, you are set for a visually appealing ride, and for this reason alone I will stick around for at least the next episode. From bustling streets to wonderfully curated suburban streets that embrace the beautiful simplicity that Japan is known for, I certainly hope that HBO Asia and Hulu Japan make the most of the setting in the rest of Miss Sherlock.
- Nods to the original: I do like the way that the production sticks to core elements from the book and gives them a quirky Japanese edge. Whether this is with characters, personality traits or minor details like addresses etc., it’s cool to see this very British story transplanted into a country that couldn’t be further removed.
Review of Miss Sherlock: The bad bits
- Lack of mystery: So it was only one episode, and I’m guessing this will change moving forward, but the first mystery was stupidly simple to solve. Clues were blatantly obvious to the point of comedic at some points, and while I know that this kind of style is often used in Japanese TV and movies, I have my fingers crossed that the writing gets stronger as the show continues.
- The soundtrack: To me this just felt clunky and was very noticeable. It sometimes felt like someone was playing along on organ, trying to evoke the element of surprise just after certain discoveries, and I wasn’t feeling it.
- The subtitles: It may have just been the preview version, but these were really difficult to read, so I hope that they are cleaned up before the real show goes to air
All in all, I’m interested to see where Miss Sherlock goes, but I wasn’t as addicted as I hoped I would be after the first episode. I’m hoping it develops into a must-watch series, as it totally has the capacity to do so.
Tune in to Miss Sherlock on HBO Go or HBO On Demand from 27 April.