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The Sherlockology Review of 2016 * 31 December 2016

Yearly -review -header -2016

That felt like a dark year didn't it? You know what we're talking about. So we're not going to repeat it here.

Instead, it's our traditional look back at the year that was through the medium of BBC Sherlock. Which is actually far more comforting, or so we like to think.

2016 was actually a bit of a bonanza for Sherlock fans if we're honest, seeing as for the first time ever it both started and ended with brand new episodes of Sherlock. The Abominable Bride premiered on January 1 2016 on BBC One in the UK and PBS Masterpiece in the USA. Advance screenings hadn't been granted for this special episode, and an hour in the reasons became clear for that. The entire conceit of the Victorian set special as that it was actually a drug fuelled mental exercise taking place in Sherlock's head - a bout of Inception with extra Moriarty if you will - and there was little chance of this twist not being spoilt ahead of broadcast if others had seen it, seeing as it forms the entire basis of the plot. As well as its same day airing in the UK and USA, the episode was also released in cinemas around the world, earning a striking $38m - a figure that was well above the episode's production budget!

Tab -header

Immediately after that though, everything effectively went quiet in anticipation of filming on a full fourth series of three new episodes. That eventually kicked off in April, with the series again filming largely in episode order. Shooting began on April 6 and concluded on August 6, but in amongst that slightly extended period of time we celebrated our fifth birthday and saw Benedict Cumberbatch contribute to A Celebration of William Shakespeare at the RSC, as well as the BBC broadcast of his stunningly villainous turn as Richard III in the second series of The Hollow Crown, subtitled the War of the Roses. Andrew Scott also popped up briefly in that series as King Louie XI, his only other screen role released in 2016 aside from his turn in Swallows and Amazons.

Hollow -crown -web

In June, we attended the beginning of the press coverage for the new series, which was carried out in an extended and interesting form for the remaining six months of the year. Cast and crew were interviewed, and we briefly visited the set while filming was occurring. We'll have lots more detail on this after the fourth series has ended airing on television. San Diego Comic Con took place during the production of Series 4 as well, with production pausing to allow Steven Moffat, Sue Vertue, Mark Gatiss, Benedict Cumberbatch and Amanda Abbington to all attend a packed out panel in the famous Hall H during the weekend. The event saw the debut of the first dramatic trailer for the new series, revealing that the show was seemingly taking a strong turn into the dark.

2016-sdcc

September was arguably the single most packed month of the year. We saw the USA debut of Startup, a new series on Sony's online streaming platform Crackle that starred Martin Freeman in the role of a corrupt FBI agent with ties to the mob, who in turn becomes involved in a new technology company when the mob money is invested into it. The series later debuted on Amazon Prime in the UK, but sadly didn't pick up entirely favourable reviews.

2016-emmys

Far more positive though was the news on September 18 that The Abominable Bride took home the Emmy Award for Best TV Movie, with Steven, Sue and Amanda on hand with PBS' Rebecca Eaton to pick up the awards. The week after that saw the return of the official Sherlocked convention to the Excel centre in London, with cast and crew including Andrew Scott, Rupert Graves, Amanda Abbington, Louise Brealey and Una Stubbs all again putting on a series of highly entertaining panels for attendees to enjoy. Benedict arrived in suitably dramatic style by helicopter in a relatively late booking to the event, going on to give a brilliant penultimate panel for the weekend before Steven, Sue and Mark dropped a bombshell by revealing the first two episode titles for Series 4 on stage - The Six Thatchers and The Lying Detective.

2016-Sherlocked -montage

October led to our first play of the year, with Mark Gatiss and husband Ian Hallard headlining in a revival of The Boys in the Band, Mart Crowley's bitterly funny tale of gay life in the late 1960s. A limited run at the Park Theatre in London was followed by a short tour to Brighton, Manchester and Leeds, and 2017 will see the play open in the West End for a limited run. See it if you can. Late October also saw Benedict Cumberbatch join the Marvel Universe (he was bringing up the rear from Martin Freeman, who got there first in May in Captain America: Civil War) with his debut as the Sorceror Supreme, Doctor Stephen Strange. Going on to be the biggest single character debut in the MCU since the first Iron Man movie in 2008, Doctor Strange was a blockbuster entry point for the notion of magic in the franchise, with Benedict an able guide on a canvas of this scale.

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The year has of course ended with a bang. At a retrospective event at BAFTA in London on December 9 we finally learnt the title of the final episode of Sherlock Series 4 - The Final Problem. The first episode title in the life of the series not to be cleverly twisted from the source material, it was also revealed the episode will be shown in cinemas in the UK and USA in early January. Then ten days later, the promotional gloves were finally off as invited guests were treated to an exclusive reception and presentation of Sherlock S4E1 The Six Thatchers ahead of its debut on New Year's Day. And despite the promised darkness that lies at the core of this new episode of Sherlock, we hope it will lead into a better year for us all. What the future holds for Sherlock itself from then on may or may not be answered in a few weeks time at the close of the new series, but regardless, from all of us at Sherlockology - we wish you a happy and fulfilling new year.  

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