The Game Is On: Why 'Sherlock' is the Best Bit of TV You Should Be Watching

For Sherlock fans across the country, January 19 is basically a national holiday. Yes, it’s the day we’ve all been waiting for – the premiere of the highly anticipated third season of this beloved mystery series with The Empty Hearse.

So whether you’re a hardcore fan who’s already mainlined the Series 3 episodes through a proxy server sixteen times, a newcomer who stumbled onto a random episode on Netflix, or someone who just has a friend that won’t shut up about that Benedict Cumberbatch guy, Sherlock is what you should be doing on Sunday night.

But why? Sunday nights are already slam packed with great television options – trust me, I know, my DVR exists in a permanent state of tears about this situation – so why should you devote any of your precious viewing time to this random British show starring that guy with the crazy sounding name that takes multi-year hiatuses and emotionally destroys your life?

It’s difficult to attempt to distill my love for this show down in to bite size chunks that don’t make me sound crazy, but, let’s give it a whirl.

No Official Renewal Yet, But ‘Sherlock’ Creators Have Plotted Out Series 4 and 5

Though the BBC Press Office has yet to officially confirm a fourth season of mega-hit mystery series Sherlock despite the fact that Series 3 officially has officially wrapped in the UK, this hasn’t stopped the show’s creators from talking about it as though things are a done deal.

Which, I think we’re all probably fine with, given the circumstances.

And, if you need to feel even more reassurance: co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have confirmed that they’ve already plotted out not just what will happen in Series 4, but Series 5 as well!

The Holmes Effect: Sherlock is Apparently A Baby Name People Are Doing Now

The global success of the BBC’s Sherlock, combined with Robert Downey Jr.’s blockbuster movie franchise and Jonny Lee Miller’s American adaptation Elementary have done more than make Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s great detective popular again among both literary geeks and British television enthusiasts.

Sherlock Holmes is apparently way cool amongst the British parental set now, too.

LOOK: Photos from ‘Sherlock’ Series 3’s ‘The Sign of Three’

Fans are waiting with rising levels of anxiety/excitement/mania/joy for popular mystery series Sherlock’s return with premiere episode The Empty Hearse – whether it’s because they want to know the details surrounding how the great detective faked his death, are curious whether John will react to the news of his best friend’s not being quite so dead after all by punching him in the face, or just want to see television’s greatest bromance reunited, we all just want to get to January 19 (and avoid getting spoiled by our friends in the UK who have already seen this awesomeness).

Subsequently, sometimes it’s hard to remember that there are actually two more episodes to come in Series 3, because we’re all so fixed on Hearse and the fact that it’s been two years since we’ve gotten any new Sherlock at all. But, there’s more to come – and now we finally have some details and a look at life after Sherlock’s return.

Series 3’s second episode is titled The Sign of Three, and is ostensibly in some way based on original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story The Sign of Four, the tale in which we meet Mary Morstan, the woman who would later become Mrs. John Watson. Since we already know that Freeman’s real-life partner Amanda Abbington is playing Morstan, the events of described in this episode and shown in some of the photos probably shouldn’t surprise you, but they do contain a vague spoiler if you’re being super cautious. Take a look for yourself below.

WATCH: The ‘Sherlock’ Cast and Crew Dish What’s Ahead in Series 3

As you may have heard, new behind-the-scenes documentary Unlocking Sherlock is streaming online in full prior to its on-air debut January 12, and it takes a look at how popular mystery series Sherlock came to be. This is, of course, all completely well and good and fascinating – the film is a totally worthwhile way to spend an hour or so of your time.

However, if you’re a Sherlock fan, what you probably really want to know about after a two-year hiatus is as much scoop as humanly possible on the new episodes, and what Series 3 will look like. Luckily, you can have the best of both worlds.

‘Unlocking Sherlock’ to Air in January, Streaming Online Early as a Holiday Treat for Fans

Leading up to the long-awaited third season of super-popular mystery series Sherlock on January 19, PBS has announced that a new behind-the-scenes special, titled Unlocking Sherlock, will premiere the week before the great detective’s return on January 12. This one-hour special explores how co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss created the hit television sensation and updated the classic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories and characters for the modern age.

“As excitement builds for the new season of Sherlock on Masterpiece, we invite viewers to join us as we delve into the writers’ inspiration for the modern-day Sherlock Holmes that has captivated fans nationwide,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming for PBS. “This special highlights the transformation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most-portrayed character into a cultural phenomenon.”

Read on for more details, including a special early online streaming date.

'Sherlock' Mini Episode 'Many Happy Returns' Sets the Stage for Series 3

The BBC has released an absolutely amazing seven minute mini-episode prequel clip for Sherlock Series 3 that’s basically better than anything you’re going to get from Santa this year. No kidding.

No, seriously. Admittedly, some of us (cough yours truly cough) may have not have expected much from this particular prequel clip, given Steven Moffat’s track record with enjoyable-but-not-quite-vital similar clips for Doctor Who.

However, yours truly is quite happy to be wrong in this particular instance, because Many Happy Returns is fantastic. Featuring appearances from a huge chunk of the major cast, including Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and Rupert Graves, as well as a surprising emotional punch, it’s well worth a chunk of your morning to watch.

So, stop whatever you’re doing and check out the full clip below.

‘Sherlock’ Plus ‘Downton Abbey’ Equals the Best Sunday Nights Ever in 2014

Basically, we’re all counting down to the New Year not because we want to celebrate turning over a new calendar page or anything, but because crossing into 2014 means that two of the most (if not absolute most) highly anticipated pieces of British television will be just days away from airing. Megahits Downton Abbey and Sherlock are both set to return to US television screens this January, airing back-to-back on Sunday nights, and fans everywhere are basically beside themselves with excitement.

PBS has put together a special promo touting the fact that Sunday nights in January are about to become a Very Big Deal with the back-to-back airings of two of the networks biggest hits to date. The new spot features snippets from both shows – sadly, predominantly from earlier seasons – along a similar theme that looks to the future.

Watch the new double-feature promo for yourselves below – and start getting excited for Sunday nights!

Sherlock Meets the Doctor in This Amazing Fan-Made Mash-Up Video You’ll Wish Was Real

Surprisingly, there tends to be quite a bit of overlap between the sorts of fans who are die-hard supporters of iconic sci-fi series Doctor Who and those who are equally obsessed with crime drama Sherlock. Or maybe it’s not really that surprising, considering that both shows currently involve Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss behind the scenes, boast many extremely talented and popular British actors on their payrolls, and frequently feature twisty plots or brutal cliffhangers.

This phenomenon has spawned a whole fannish subculture, called “Wholock” which imagines what would happen in the worlds of these two shows managed to have some kind of crossover, even if it were only of the wink-wink-nudge-nudge in-joke variety. Which would then undoubtedly cause the entire internet to break down under the weight of so much geek joy. We all know it’s unlikely, but it’s nice to dream, right?

Prepare Your Emotions: A Full 'Sherlock' Series 3 Trailer is Here

So, remember what I was saying earlier about a positive avalanche of new Sherlock material emerging over the past couple of weeks, by way of apology for making us all wait two years for Series 3? Well, the most awesome bit of all may have arrived at last. (And it’s so awesome, I’m breaking my own personal rule about posting on the blog twice in a row about the same subject. I expect you’ll all forgive me.)

Yes, an actual full minute long trailer for Series 3 premiere The Empty Hearse is here, and it’s amazing. There’s actual dialogue, and footage, and a fairly big emotional punch in the gut at the same time.