'Sherlock' Season 3 U.K. Premiere Draws Social Media Buzz

Sherlock Lives Hearse - H 2013

Sherlock Lives Hearse - H 2013

The BBC show, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, returned to record ratings as fans discussed how Sherlock Holmes may have survived a fall at the end of season two.

BBC hit show Sherlock made its U.K. return Wednesday to overnight ratings that set a U.K. record for the drama, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.
Research firm SecondSync said Thursday that viewers sent more than 300,000 tweets during the opening episode of season three, The Independent reported.

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The third season will air on PBS in the U.S. starting on Jan. 19.

Many tweets during the show's BBC return focused on how famous detective Sherlock Holmes may have survived the drop from a roof that seemed to have killed him at the end of season two.

Some viewers lamented a lack of satisfying explanations offered by the new episode. "Bit of a cop out that they didn't even explain how Sherlock survived," tweeted one viewer.

Added another: "Honestly, I feel like 'The Empty Hearse' didn't truly explain why ?#Sherlock? didn't let John [Watson] of all people in on the secret."

Some fans said they weren't sure if a couple of possible explanations mentioned by Cumberbatch's Holmes may explain his survival: "Sorry guys I'm confused about Sherlock. DID they explain how he did it or DIDN'T they?" one viewer tweeted.

Yet another person wrote: "The supersleuth revealed, there were 13 possible ways in which he could have faked his own death — he only explained two of them."

Others made light of that sort of social media commentary. One person using the Twitter handle @JamieDMJ said: "I can't believe so many people are complaining about not learning how Sherlock survived the fall. Wasn't it obvious?" He included two drawings and a picture. The first drawing showed Holmes falling from the roof. The second showed a drawing with the line: "I drive by on a motor bike and save Sherlock."

The third showed a picture from the show with the picture of a man's head in the spot were Freeman's head should be. It included the line: "We become bees friends and detective partners. Yay!"

Many fans simply expressed delight that Holmes was alive and the show back on the air, though. "And I don't care what anyone says. I really enjoyed Sherlock," posted one.

Said another: "I don't think some people understand it. I genuinely have this really odd adrenaline because of Sherlock. It's adventure. It's exciting."

Some social media users highlighted that the first episode of the new season addressed fan theories and chatter before the new-season launch. "Sherlock was 80% fanservice, 20% proper episode," said one, but added: "Assumed detailed recollection of last episode. Not all of us are obsessed, and it's excluding/confusing."

Mark Gatiss, who wrote the episode, on Thursday thanked fans for tuning in again and commenting on social media. "Delighted our loyal audience tuned in on an appropriately bleak and stormy New Year's night!" Radio Times quoted Gatiss as saying. "After two years it's fantastic to have this response to Sherlock, John and all the team being back on TV."

Showrunner Steven Moffat thanked original Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle. "Thrilling news on overnight ratings for Sherlock," he said. "A tribute to the team who work so hard, and with such pride, on the show, and of course to the genius of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It's proof that audiences will show up if you give them what they want -- though we can't throw Benedict off a roof every week."

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai