In January 2012, the second season of Sherlock - the BBC's highly-lauded modern re-imagining of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories - came to a dramatic close with "The Reichenbach Fall." The wait for season 3 was prolonged by the commitment of Sherlock's leads, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, to major projects like Star Trek Into Darkness and Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy, but this year they cleared a space in their schedules to shoot three more 90-minute episodes and soon fans will learn just how exactly Sherlock survived his fall.
Given how large a following the series has and the anticipation that's been built up throughout the two-year hiatus, not to mention Freeman and Cumberbatch's continued rise to stardom during those two years, the BBC probably doesn't need to work very hard to convince audiences to tune in when Sherlock returns. So far, the approach to promotion has apparently been 'less is more,' as we've seen about thirty seconds of footage from the third season and not much else.
This is good in many ways, because it means that much of what is to come this season remains shrouded in mystery. The episode titles have been revealed, as have casting announcements such as Amanda Abbington as Mary Morstan and Lars Mikkelsen's new antagonist, Charles Augustus Magnussen. Everything beyond that has mostly been left up to speculation, and this new promotional image for Sherlock's third season manages to tease the eventual reunion without giving anything away.
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This isn't the first time that Sherlock has been seen observing John in the aftermath of his faked death. At the end of season 2, Sherlock watched Jon from afar. And, earlier this year, a short teaser trailer for the season 3 showed the detective entering a restaurant and preparing to reveal himself to his best friend, though in that instance John was sporting the traditional Watson mustache that is sadly missing from this image. The mustache probably won't survive beyond the first episode of this season, it seems, so enjoy it while it lasts.
Clips from Sherlock's third season were also included in a promotional trailer for the BBC's 2013 drama series, but as the year begins to draw to a close, the broadcaster is still dragging its heels when it comes to the announcement of a UK air date. The show's co-creator, Mark Gatiss, has expressed frustration at being constantly asked by fans when the series would return in the UK and recently took to Twitter to say that he honestly had no idea, so it seems likely that the scheduling has not yet been worked out.
Sherlockology also responded to queries about the third season's UK premiere, explaining that it's standard practice for BBC schedules to only become fixed two or three weeks before broadcast, and also adding that post-production will be ongoing through November. Since the season premiere will air on January 19th, 2014 on PBS and the BBC has first broadcast rights, our best guess is that the episodes will be shown on BBC One either in December or early January.
If you can't wait to see more of Cumberbatch and Freeman's on-screen chemistry, why not check out the latest trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, in which they have a friendly chat inside the Lonely Mountain. It's just like 221b Baker Street, except with more dragons and piles of gold.
Sherlock returns to PBS on January 19th, 2014.
Source: BBC One