New trailer for BBC’s Sherlock special shows Holmes and Watson in the Victorian era

It’s the same beloved crime-solving duo, though in a different era, in a new trailer for the upcoming Sherlock special. Released Wednesday by the BBC, the preview shows Sherlock Holmes (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) and Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman) going about their usual unusual business in Victorian England rather than their (recently) typical modern-day setting.

Although the BBC previously released a preview of the special, the trailer gives a more comprehensive look at the special episode, which is expected to air around Christmas. Compared to the sneak peek, the preview is darker, both tonally and visually. Although there are a couple of lighthearted moments, humor is heavily outweighed by suspense and tension.

Throughout the trailer, Holmes delivers one heavy quote after another. “We all have a past, Watson — ghosts,” he says. “They’re the shadows that define our every sunny day.” Later, he states, “Every great cause has martyrs. Every war has suicide missions, and make no mistake, this is war.” In between, there are numerous shots of people running, guns being cocked, and horse-drawn carriages on the move.

It’s still unclear just what mystery Holmes and Watson are aiming to solve, and more to the point, just why they end up in the original era of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved super-sleuth. When pressed in a recent interview with EW, showrunner Steven Moffat had this to say on the subject: “We never bothered explaining what they were doing in modern London, so why bother explaining what they’re doing in Victorian London, when that’s where they’re supposed to be?”

Victorian or otherwise, it’s worth noting that, although Holmes seems to be a bit more of a gentleman in the stuffier setting of foggy old London, he’s still up to his usual narcissistic ways. At one point, Watson asks, “What made you like this?” as the music builds to a crescendo. Holmes’ response is ominously, “Oh, Watson. Nothing made me. I made me.”

The special, which is co-written by Sherlock creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, is not part of the upcoming fourth season of the series. An air date for the Sherlock special has yet to be released by BBC and PBS, but the preview assures us that the episode is “coming soon.”

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