Don your deerstalkers, Sherlock is back in action — and, based off of this full-length Sherlock Christmas special trailer, the show is going old school. Set in the 19th century, the new trailer is dripping with gothic cool. Sherlock is working a case full of murder and secret societies that may very well connect to his own personal past. This is the most the BBC has revealed about the special so far — but, with the release of this trailer, the plot of the Victorian Sherlock story is finally starting to come into focus.
Fans with sharper eyes than mine may be able to identify the story from Sherlock canon, but here is what the trailer reveals for sure: Sherlock was supposed to be protecting someone, and when he fails, a case becomes a "war." As for the other players in this one-off trip back in time, John is deeply curious about Sherlock's origins, even asking Sherlock, "What made you this way?" Of course, Sherlock doesn't have a straight answer for John because no matter what time period he is in, Sherlock is infuriatingly private.
Honestly, this whole 19th century Sherlock thing may end up working too well — after watching Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman run around smoggy London streets in period clothes in the trailer, you may never want to return to modern day London. The spooky, intense nature of the trailer is like catnip for Sherlock fans of every stripe. Steven Moffat may have outdone himself this time. I mean just look at how gorgeous and historically on point everything is:
If you don't want to go to there immediately, you are not as susceptible to the charms of 19th century Cumberbatch as I am.
While Cumberbatch is definitely playing a more reserved, classical Sherlock here, the special isn't completely throwing out the Sherlock playbook. There are clearly still going to be winks to the audience and nods to the original flavor Sherlock that fans have become accustomed of seeing. The case itself is serious business, but as long as Sherlock is still complaining about wearing a deerstalker, then you know Moffat is keeping the show's usual mix of humor and drama in balance.
Now that the shape of the special can be seen, it's time to start asking important questions. This case seems deeply embedded in the tropes of 19th century storytelling. There is what appears to be a castle on the moors, some sort of secret organization, and an overall sense of macabre-fueled unease. Did Moffat decide to do a period episode to tell this particular story or did he design the story because he wanted to do a period episode? Either way, this is the best Christmas present I will be receiving this year.
The BBC has not yet released a premiere date for the special, but if the Christmas rumors prove to be true, British and American fans can likely expect to see the Sherlock special by the end of the year.
Image: BBC One; BBC One/YouTube