'Sherlock: The Abominable Bride': What's different this time?

'Sherlock' stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. The new installment finds Sherlock and Watson living in the late nineteenth century rather than the normal modern setting of the show.

Robert Viglasky/Hartswood Films and BBC Wales for BBC One and MASTERPIECE
'Sherlock' stars Benedict Cumberbatch (r.) and Martin Freeman (l.).

Sherlock and his sidekick Watson return in the upcoming special “Sherlock: The Abominable Bride” – but they will look a bit different than viewers remember.

A new installment of the BBC show “Sherlock” arrives on Jan. 1 for US and British viewers. But unlike the rest of the episodes of the series, which center on a modern version of Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and John Watson (Martin Freeman), solving crimes, the new installment “Sherlock: The Abominable Bride” will be set in the Victorian era. 

The original “Sherlock” stories by Arthur Conan Doyle were set in what was then the author’s present day. Doyle began publishing his “Sherlock” stories in the late nineteenth century.

Fans are eagerly awaiting the installment of the critically acclaimed series, as the last season of “Sherlock” ended in the US in February 2014 and even earlier in England. And the BBC has been listening to American fans. 

The simultaneous US and British air date for the upcoming “Sherlock” special represents a capitulation to fans’ requests. In the past, hit British series like “Downton Abbey” and “Sherlock” aired in America some time after the original air date, and fans complained of having learned about plot developments early. 

“Bride” is the first time a “Sherlock” episode will air in both areas on the same day. 

“Sherlock” is also following in the steps of successful TV shows “Doctor Who” and “Game of Thrones” –  the episode “Bride” will come to movie theaters as well, with the episode debuting in select theaters on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6. 

The box office performances of installments of “Who” and “Thrones” have surprised industry watchers in the past, especially considering the episodes in question had already aired on TV. However, one of the episodes of “Thrones” that came to movie theaters was a battle-centric episode, so viewers may have been lured by the idea of seeing the sequences on the big screen.

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