A new season of Sherlock is undoubtedly an exciting occasion - given that in the six years that Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have been playing the eponymous detective and his sidekick, Doctor Watson, only three season have been made and, at three episodes each, they're amazing TV, but brutally short, and always leave us wanting more.
Season 4 of Sherlock is right around the corner, though, set to air in the U.K. on BBC 1 and in the U.S. on PBS at the very beginning of 2017. Previously-released photos and teaser reveal a new addition to the detecting clan in season 4, as well as a rather eerie villain set to make Moriarty look like a pussycat. Given the show's continued popularity - and following on from the theatrical release of last year's Sherlock special, "The Abominable Bride" - the BBC have once again announced that Sherlock will air in select movie theaters, across the U.S. and U.K.
This time, the final episode in season 4, titled "Sherlock: The Final Problem", will be shown on big screens on Sunday, January 15 in the U.K., and on Monday the 16th and Wednesday the 18th of January in the U.S. at select theaters (around 350 total). As well as watching the episode, fans attending the screenings will also be able to watch 15 minutes of bonus content.
Described by the BBC as having "laughter, tears, shocks and surprises," the Sherlock season finale has a somewhat intriguing title, which fans of Arthur Conan Doyle's original works will be familiar with. "The Final Problem" is the title of Doyle's short story in which Sherlock meets his end... kind of. In fact, in the story, Sherlock seemingly plunges to his death from Reichenbach Falls, with Moriarty. However, we also know that Sherlock does survive the fall, both in literature and on screen, when showrunners Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat used that scene as influence for Sherlock's now infamous staged fall at the end of season 2. So it's unlikely we will get a recreation of that short story exactly, but the title and the story combined bring about an air of finality - especially since in Doyle's "Final Problem", Sherlock also solves Moriarty's last puzzle.
In the BBC's Sherlock, Moriarty is dead...it seems... and the synopsis for season four, episode one, reiterates that Moriarty is no longer alive. However, it is strongly suspected that Andrew Scott will be reprising his role once more, so could he be making flashback appearances as part of Sherlock's mind palace? If Sherlock must solve his riddles once more, coupled with the deadly appearance of Toby Jones as Culverton Smith, is this going to be the final farewell for Sherlock Holmes?
Recent comments by Cumberbatch were hastily clarified after he said filming "The Final Problem" felt like the end of an era. The actor quickly added that it didn't mean the show was coming to a permanent end, but he did say that the events of the season 4 finale would make it difficult for Sherlock and John to return anytime soon. Meanwhile, Moffat told AP that "You’ll have to see the fourth season to realize why, for now, [new series are] not going to happen again at the same regularity that it has been happening." So, not the end, but a long pause, it seems. Why? Speculation starts here!
Sherlock returns to BBC 1 in the U.K., and PBS in the U.S., with "The Six Thatchers" on January 1st, 2017. The season 4 finale, "The Final Problem", will air in select U.S. theaters on January 16 & 18, 2017, and selected U.K. theaters on January 15, 2017.