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"It was a most melancholy vigil" [HOUN]

Our long international nightmare is over.

Fans of the BBC / PBS Masterpiece Sherlock will be glad to know that the official air date of the US program has been announced. First broken by Entertainment Weekly and then later confirmed on the PBS website in a press release, Series 3 of Sherlock will make its US debut on Sunday, January 19 at 10:00 pm ET. Anglophiles everywhere should rejoice, as the 9:00 pm lead-in show is none other than Season 4 of Downton Abbey.

The delay in production - due in large part to the very busy schedules of Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch (who've been in The Hobbit films and Star Trek, The Fifth Estate and 12 Years a Slave, respectively) - has been exhausting to fans, who've been pondering the impossible and improbable regarding how Sherlock was able to survive the plunge off of the roof of St. Bartholomew's.

Putting the fans first

The question that remains at present is: when will the series get its debut in the UK? Clearly, Masterpiece Mystery executive producer Rebecca Eaton had the respective networks schedules and fans' sensibilities in mind in her remarks to EW:
Obviously we don’t yet know the BBC date. But given that the U.S. fans had to wait three months after the 2010 BBC premiere to see the first season of Sherlock, then had to wait four months for the 2012 second season after its UK debut, no matter when the BBC schedules its season three premiere, the gap is going to be less than before since Jan. 19 is less than three months from now."
The lineup is short but straightforward: "The Empty Hearse" airs first, followed by "The Sign of Three" on January 26, and then the series concludes with "His Last Vow" on February 2. Based on the casting and the names of the episodes, we would imagine that Mary Morstan commands Watson's attention in the second episode and that Charles Augustus Magnussen is our antagonist in the final episode.

As Downton and Sherlock wrap for the season, Mr. Selfridge will pick up. You may recall that episode 7 of Season 1 included a surprise visit to the department store by none other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - another nice Anglophile / Sherlockian tie-in for those keeping track.

We commend PBS's Masterpiece Mystery and the tireless leadership of Rebecca Eaton, who has been the executive producer of the show for a generation. She clearly understands the audience, even with its changing demographics, and gives them exactly what they're looking for with respect to great programming.

We're looking forward to our continued support of the programs and of public television in general.

And if you haven't already done so, we'd highly recommend pre-ordering Sherlock Series 3 for your collection.