Flip up your coat collars, Cumberbunnies and… Watseekers? The First Look trailer for Season 4 of Sherlock went live yesterday, as Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes) and Amanda Abbington (Mary Watson) joined executive producers Mark Gatiss (also Mycroft Holmes) and Steven Moffat on a panel at San Diego Comic-Con. Let’s watch.
So … what do we see?
Toby Jones as the villain!
Oooh, yes. Jones is my favorite kind of character actor: so distinctive, yet so able to melt into vastly different stories. To wit: he’s an alumnus of several Masterpiece favorites.
A Nerdist post on the casting suggested five possibilities, including the delectable names James Windibank, Baron Adelbert Gruner and Heinrich von Bork.
It’s dark. Really, really dark.
“It’s the darkest that Steven and Mark have written,” said Abbington, on the panel. “When we read [the scripts], we were kind of overwhelmed by them . . . If we can pull this off, then it’s amazing.”
In the most recent episodes, Mary forced her husband to admit that he is addicted to drama and danger. How will this realization play out — especially since his role in the action-packed First Look teaser reveals nearly nothing?
But it’ll still be funny!
“We never cut jokes,” said Moffat. “Both Mark and I are comedy writers at heart. If there isn’t a major plot development, if there isn’t a major moment of drama or a fright, well put some jokes in it.”
“I think it’s such a false distinction between comedy and drama,” added Gatiss. “As in life, your release from a terrible dramatic situation is often humor, and that’s the way it should be.”
What else can we look forward to?
- A dog! A rather ornery bloodhound — “a bit of slathering concrete,” as Cumberbatch describes — but a dog nonetheless.
- A baby! Mary is pregnant as the season opens. “The baby… features,” she says.
(“Do you want to know how little you’re learning about Series 4?” said Moffat. “We are actually talking about working with children and animals.”)
Given the 90-minute episodes — essentially, a film every week — “You’ve got to put the characters through an emotional wringer. You can’t just have the story of the week,” said Gatiss. “You can’t have John Watson being constantly astonished by Sherlock’s deductions, because he would have got used to them. As Doyle did, the Sherlock Holmes at the end of the stories is not the same man we met at the beginning. He has changed. Otherwise, it’s just not interesting.”
“If you’re going to do a show about a genius, you can’t do a show about a genius who doesn’t learn,” added Moffat. “That doesn’t make any sense.”
Sherlock returns on Masterpiece in 2017, and we know our patience will be rewarded. As Mycroft says in the teaser, “The roads we walk have demons beneath, and yours have been waiting for a very long time.”