John Watson (Martin Freeman) and Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) in BBC's 'Sherlock.'

‘Sherlock’ Could Still Return for Season 5—or a Movie

After four seasons (and a special episode) of deduction and sleuthing, Sherlockians and Holmesians are questioning if another season of BBC’s Sherlock is coming down the pike. The television series debuted on the BBC and PBS in the summer of 2010 to wide acclaim among both critics and fans of the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories it adapts. The show’s 90-minute episodes (just three per season) qualified it for the TV movie category during awards season, and it collected various BAFTAs and Emmys across several categories. While Sherlock enjoyed immense popularity throughout the previous decade, its last season suffered noticeable losses in viewership and more mixed critical ratings than any season previous. Still, the gaping maw of fandom never fully closes, and though the last episode aired over six years ago, hopes are still high for a return to 221B Baker Street.

Recommended Videos

Co-created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, Sherlock is a modernized adaptation of Doyle’s classic crime-solving short stories of the late 19th century. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as the title character Sherlock Holmes who, along with Martin Freeman’s Dr. John Watson, solves crimes using incredible powers of logic and deduction. The feature-length episodes largely echo the source material, with contemporary upgrades like cell phone texts and nicotine patches. With over 50 Sherlock stories in the original canon, there’s ample room for more small-screen reimaginings.

Will Sherlock return for another season?

Well, no one’s opposed to it. The showrunners have each voiced enthusiasm for new Sherlock episodes; earlier this year, Moffat told BBC’s Today that he’s champing at the bit to “start writing Sherlock tomorrow” as long as his two lead actors are up for returning for another season, while acknowledging that the pair are “on to bigger and better things” these days. Both actors swelled in popularity through Sherlock, and their busy schedules have been a production-delaying factor in seasons past. Lately, Freeman has been knee-deep in Marvel waters with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on the big screen and Secret Invasion on the small screen, while Cumberbatch has been working on an upcoming Wes Anderson joint

Freeman is fine with leaving the series untouched, but could be lured back to Baker Street with the right story. Speaking on The Jonathan Ross Show, the Ghost Stories star explained, “Personally, I’m a fan of things being finite. I like things ending. I think it’s natural for things to end. But I’m also a sucker for a good idea and a good script. If something comes up that persuades us all—it would have to be us all—then my door would always be open.”

“The Final Problem” capped the fourth season with one last confrontation between Sherlock and nemesis Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott), and that was back in 2017—that’s three Prime Ministers ago. 2021 marked the death of actress Una Stubbs, who played Holmes’ warm and wonderful landlady Mrs. Hudson. Her absence would be noticeable, as she was what Moffat once called, “The loveliest light on Baker Street.” As much enthusiasm as there is for a fifth season, Sherlock has to overcome overlapping work schedules and devastating loss to get the game afoot again.

While that door isn’t yet closed, a window may be open for more from the Sherlock creatives. In a summer 2023 interview with The Guardian, Mark Gatiss stressed the difficulty in getting a film funded and made, citing Edgar Wright’s shelved Ant-Man project that never came to fruition after eight years of work. But, he tells the Guardian, they “would love to make a Sherlock movie. It’s the natural thing to do.” So while the chances of a TV revival are slim, the powers-that-be are open to a one-off feature with Holmes and Watson—provided all parties are available and willing.

(featured image: BBC One / PBS)


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
related content
Read Article ‘Doctor Who’ Introduced The Final Big Bad of the Season
the doctor shaking susan's hand with mel on doctor who
the doctor shaking susan's hand with mel on doctor who
the doctor shaking susan's hand with mel on doctor who
Read Article Expect More of That Good Ol’ Fashioned Targaryen Incest in ‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2
Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen, played by Emma D'Arcy and Matt Smith respectively, learn that King Viserys I died in the finale of the first season of House of the Dragon.
Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen, played by Emma D'Arcy and Matt Smith respectively, learn that King Viserys I died in the finale of the first season of House of the Dragon.
Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen, played by Emma D'Arcy and Matt Smith respectively, learn that King Viserys I died in the finale of the first season of House of the Dragon.
Read Article Will We See Maeve Again on ‘The Boys’?
Dominique McElligott as Queen Maeve in 'The Boys'
Dominique McElligott as Queen Maeve in 'The Boys'
Dominique McElligott as Queen Maeve in 'The Boys'
Read Article What’s Going On With That Unexpected Return in ‘The Boys’ Season 4?
Antony Starr as Homelander in a season 4 promo for 'The Boys'
Antony Starr as Homelander in a season 4 promo for 'The Boys'
Antony Starr as Homelander in a season 4 promo for 'The Boys'
Read Article ‘Adventure Time’ Is Returning With Several Spinoffs and a Movie!
Jake and Finn from Adventure Time 'Together Again' Episode
Jake and Finn from Adventure Time 'Together Again' Episode
Jake and Finn from Adventure Time 'Together Again' Episode
Related Content
Read Article ‘Doctor Who’ Introduced The Final Big Bad of the Season
the doctor shaking susan's hand with mel on doctor who
Read Article Expect More of That Good Ol’ Fashioned Targaryen Incest in ‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2
Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen, played by Emma D'Arcy and Matt Smith respectively, learn that King Viserys I died in the finale of the first season of House of the Dragon.
Read Article Will We See Maeve Again on ‘The Boys’?
Dominique McElligott as Queen Maeve in 'The Boys'
Read Article What’s Going On With That Unexpected Return in ‘The Boys’ Season 4?
Antony Starr as Homelander in a season 4 promo for 'The Boys'
Read Article ‘Adventure Time’ Is Returning With Several Spinoffs and a Movie!
Jake and Finn from Adventure Time 'Together Again' Episode
Author
Anya Novak
Anya Stanley (she/her) is a writer for The Mary Sue, most frequently covering the horror genre across mediums. Among her six+ years of working in the digital media and entertainment industry, Anya’s past works can also be found at The AV Club, Fangoria Magazine, and Crooked Marquee. See her smug face on Shudder's docuseries Behind the Monsters. When she’s not consuming every scary movie she can find, she is trying to add to the word count of her non-fiction book in progress (her second author credit following her chapter in Scared Sacred: Idolatry, Religion and Worship in the Horror Film, by House of Leaves Publishing). You can find more of her ravings on X (formerly Twitter) @BookishPlinko.