'Sherlock' will air its third season this January in the US

'Sherlock' stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
'Sherlock' stars Benedict Cumberbatch.

Two years (sometimes more) is the amount of time that most fans expect to wait between installments in a popular movie franchise – unless we’re talking about one of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth trilogies – but that same waiting period can seem like an eternity for a TV show audience. As such, members of the Sherlock fanbase has been struggling to keep it together over the two years since the final episode in season 2, “The Reichenbach Fall,” ended on a cliffhanger note (though, not quite literally) that has left viewers desperate and yearning for answers ever since.

Fear not, though, for U.S. Sherlock fans now have a set date for when they can get their next fix. We’ve been hearing for some time now that season 3 would begin showing on PBS in early 2014 (after it airs in the UK), but now we have official confirmation and a formal date to go along with it.

Here are the air dates for each installment of Sherlock season 3 on PBS, in addition to the cast and creator lineup (as summraized in the official press release):

MASTERPIECE “Sherlock, Season 3” — Sundays, January 19-February 2, 2014, 10:00 p.m. ET — Benedict Cumberbatch (The Fifth Estate, Star Trek Into Darkness) and Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, The Office UK) return as Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson in three new 90-minute episodes — “The Empty Hearse” (January 19), “The Sign of Three” (January 26) and “His Last Vow” (February 2) — of the contemporary reinvention of the Arthur Conan Doyle classic, written and created by Steven Moffat (Dr. Who) and Mark Gatiss (Game of Thrones). The Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated “Sherlock” has been a television sensation since the first season aired in 2010.

Sherlock season 3 will get started by finally revealing just how, exactly, Sherlock did manage to survive his roof plunge in season 2, shortly after his (former) arch-nemesis Moriarty called it quits on their deadly game of wits (permanently, it would seem). Thereafter, the eponymous high-functioning investigator/sociopath will face a number of new challenges and opponents, including a new daring fiend to battle – and by that, we mean Charles Augustus Magnussen (Lars Mikkelsen), not Watson’s potential new wife (Amanda Abbington, who is Martin Freeman’s real-life partner).

As for when Sherlock season 3 premieres in the UK, the show’s co-creator Mark Gatiss (who also plays Mycroft, Sherlock’s older and more responsible brother on the series) recently took to Twitter, in order to say the following:

You may have noticed there's a US airdate for #Sherlock but we DO NOT have one yet for the UK. I don't know how much plainer I can be.

Regardless, there’s little to no question that Sherlock season 3 will be shown to UK audiences before we here in the U.S. get to have a proper look, so there ought to be an update coming on the situation – from mini-series’ co-creator Steven Moffat, Gatiss and/or the BBC – at some point in the near future.

Until then, you may continue to pass the time by pondering the many perplexing questions about the Sherlock-verse that remain to be answered this next season – like, what on Earth would prompt Watson to grow that mustache, rather than finding some more sensible way to express his grief over Sherlock’s (apparent) demise.

Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.

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