If you’re a fan of good British TV, you may want to keep your Sunday nights clear come this January. We’re already anticipating the fourth season of Downton Abbey, which is set to premiere after the new year, and today comes word that PBS Masterpiece is also going to be airing the third season of Sherlock in January, pairing the mystery-thriller with the period drama for what is sure to be hours of must-watch television for those looking for a bit of culture and mystery in their TV viewing.
EW announced the news today, stating that Sherlock Season 3 will debut on PBS Masterpiece on Sunday, January 19 at 10:00 p.m., airing immediately after fellow British import Downton Abbey, which is set to return for its fourth season on January 5. As EW notes, news of Sherlock’s return-date comes in ahead of BBC’s announcement for the crime-thriller/mystery drama’s return across the pond, which will no doubt happen at some point before it airs in the U.S. It’s just a matter of when. As the site points out, BBC has the “first window” rights to the series, which was created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat. So it seems unlikely that BBC would pass on the chance to let Brits see it ahead of the U.S.
Sherlock puts a modern twist on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved detective stories, centering on Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his trusted partner Doctor John Watson (Martin Freeman) as they solve crimes in a modern-day British setting. The first two seasons have consisted of three 90-minute episodes a piece. Season 3 will also consist of three episodes, titled ”The Empty Hearse”, ”The Sign of Three”, ”His Last Vow”.
If there’s a mild downside to PBS Masterpiece airing Downton and Sherlock back to back, it’s that — for fans of both series — it pretty much monopolizes Sunday nights, which can be a bit cluttered as it is, between Fox’s animation domination block (The Simpsons, Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers, etc.), ABC’s drama line-up (currently Once Upon a Time, Revenge, Betrayal), CBS’ dramas and reality shows (including The Good Wife) and NBC’s upcoming new dramas (Believe, Crisis). Not to mention premium cable shows like Shameless, Girls, True Detective, House of Lies, Episodes, all of which are slated for Sunday night January premieres.
Of course, by pairing Downton Abbey with Sherlock, PBS Masterpiece becomes a force to be reckoned with, with two increasingly appreciated TV series joining forces to rival some of the other networks. The third season finale of Downton Abbey drew in over 8 million viewers for PBS Masterpiece. While the Season 2 premiere of Sherlock brought in 3.2 million viewers. And that was back in May of 2012. It’s very possible that the series’ audience has grown some since then, as Netflix has both seasons available streaming. The Downton Abbey lead-in can really only help the show.
Kelly joined CinemaBlend as a freelance TV news writer in 2006 and went on to serve as the site’s TV Editor before moving over to other roles on the site. At present, she’s an Assistant Managing Editor who spends much of her time brainstorming and editing feature content on the site.
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