It's a big start to the new year for the BBC. "Sherlock" is back with an all new special, and later this weekend "Downton Abbey" begins its final season run in America. First, a review of "Sherlock."
Sherlock: The Abominable Bride
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, and Mark Gatiss
Synopsis: It's been over a year since the last season of "Sherlock," one that left with a big cliff hanger. We still aren't to a new season yet, but to appease fans, the creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat have delivered a special meant to help fill the void. In "The Abominable Bride" the action goes back to the 1800s, where the novels were originally set, and takes off on a case. We get the same actors as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, but a different setting and a different take. But that's not really all that's happening, which I won't spoil here. When we last saw Sherlock, his nemesis had reappeared. This film attempts to bridge the gap to a new season where, seemingly, that will be the focus. And it does so in a clever sort of way. It's fun to see Cumberbatch and Freeman playing these roles as period appropriate, but still maintaining the dialogue, delivery, and performance that have made them fan favorites. This series originally debuted around the same time Guy Ritchie was making big screen Sherlock Holmes films with Robert Downey, Jr. The show was better then, and with this film they prove they could be better at a period-specific take on the mercurial hero, too. But as a piece of the series, this special feels a bit dry. It's too heavy on gimmicks and doesn't really service the fans in terms of driving the big narrative forward. I still love the cast, and any time spent in the world is fun, but as a stand alone movie, or as a bridge to season four, this leaves a bit to be desired narratively.
Verdict: Two stars out of four.