If you're a Sherlock Holmes fan living in the USA, you're pretty spoiled. In the last three years, you've had 72 episodes of your favourite detective's shenanigans. If you live in the UK and you consider Sherlock superior to Elementary (and most in the UK do), you've been treated to a mere 9 episodes in the past 5 years, or to put it another way, 1.8 episodes per year compared to 24. The maths is elementary, my dear.
Anyway, this is not a comparison piece or a "my show is better than yours" article, and the good (ish) news is that three more episodes of Sherlock are coming to your TV screens toward the latter end of 2016 - once we've got the Christmas special out of the way. Oh, how lucky we are! So whether you're biding your time by watching season 4 of Elementary or you're going the purist route and waiting on Sherlock proper, here's a round-up of spoilers and rumours giving us a few hints for what the special and season 4 might have in store.
Expect fan service
The special, which airs on Christmas Day in the UK, is based on Conan Doyle's short story The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle and, in the true spirit of Christmas, Moffat seems to be in the mood for indulging in fan service. Even more than usual, that is. In the scene teased above there are meta references galore to Dr. Watson's stories, including the most iconic of all - "the dog one".
The same dog can be glimpsed in the stained glass of the door in the BBC's much darker teaser trailer. "You're Sherlock Holmes, put on the damn hat!," Watson barks at Holmes as they set off on their adventure. As we've learned many a time from Doctor Who, Steven Moffat is well ingrained in fan culture and goes out of his way to drop in little easter eggs just for the fun of it. Also glimpsed are cloaked men in hats who seem to resemble the KKK, which could suggest that elements of the Conan Doyle short story The Five Orange Pips might have been merged with the Blue Carbuncle, but we'll just have to see how that pans out.
More Irene Adler?
Another classic Moffat-ism? Bringing fan favourites back again, and again - see River Song in Doctor Who, for instance, and more recently Missy. Which begs the eternal question: will Irene Adler (the seductive Lara Pulver) return? Or, perhaps more to the point: would it really be a good thing? Sure, she's a fan favourite. But hasn't her story played out? Is it a good idea to mess too much with the source material, considering she's only in one of Conan Doyle's stories?
On the flipside, Sherlock has a very male-leaning cast and if that can be balanced out in a way that does justice to the story, it might prove too much for Moffat to resist.
The House of Silk
So far, Sherlock has stayed entirely within the canon of Arthur Conan Doyle's stories - so Sherlock Holmes novels written by other writers are off-limits. But some, like Anthony Horowitz's The House of Silk, have the potential to be incorporated into the show in a way that doesn't ruin the mythos.
In The House of Silk, Watson recounts a case that was "too shocking to be revealed... until now". The tale sees an art dealer named Edmund Carstairs turn to Holmes to uncover the truth about the murder of one of his clients. The story crams in everything from false imprisonment to a scheming master-criminal - you can probably guess which one. There's a mysterious private members' club, an ingenious escape and an epic double-cross. It has every element of a classic Conan Doyle mystery - only it wasn't written by him. Of course, there are enough of Doyle's own short stories not to have to plunder from other authors - at least whilst we only get three episodes every two years - but it might not be the worst idea.
Moriarty back in Elementary?
Over the pond, Elementary exec producer used New York Comic-Con to tease a potential return for the gender-flipped Moriarty (Natalie Dormer) - with the caveat that "[Dormer] has proven to be as elusive as Moriarty", or in other words can't find time between The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones. But with Mockingjay Part 2 done and dusted, chances are Dormer will have time to cameo in at least one episode of season 4, with Doherty claiming to have something in the pipeline.
It almost seems a given that our Moriarty will pop up in Sherlock season 4, even if fans are slightly divided on whether or not he should dominate Holmes' narrative. Filming begins in April 2016 for the fourth season proper.
How do you feel about Sherlock traveling back to Victorian England for a one-off adventure? Should Irene Adler appear in season 4, and should Moffat stick strictly to stories written by Conan Doyle? Share your thoughts in the comments!