'Sherlock' Finally Returning to Streaming, But Not on Netflix

Sherlock, the acclaimed BBC series that helped make Benedict Cumberbatch a household name, is finally returning to a U.S. streaming service, but not the one that introduced the show to a broad audience. Instead of Netflix, Sherlock will be joining the free streaming service Crackle, owned by Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment. The show features Cumberbatch as Detective Sherlock Holmes in modern-day London, alongside Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson.

Sherlock will be available on Crackle exclusively in the U.S. starting April 1, thanks to a licensing deal between BBC Studios and Chicken Soup for the Soul. The agreement runs three years, giving fans plenty of time to binge the show's 13 episodes multiple times. However, there will be commercials, as Crackle is a free, ad-supported platform.

"Our audiences have come to expect top-shelf original and exclusive programming from Crackle, which attracts new viewers while also keeping loyal fans entertained. Given Benedict Cumberbatch's ongoing success, the interest in Sherlock remains very high," Crackle Plus President Philippe Guelton said in a statement. "We are happy that our streaming services are the only destination for viewers to have access to such an in-demand series for years to come."

"Sherlock is a quintessential British story beloved by fans, so it's great news that Crackle Plus will be its new home in the U.S. BBC Studios is proud to have completed this deal so fans can relive the spellbinding adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson," Dina Vangelisti, EVP of Content Sales for BBC Studios, added.

Sherlock was created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, who transported Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Victorian-era detective to London in the 21st Century. The BBC produced the show with support from Boston's PBS station WGBH-TV, which aired Sherlock as part of the Masterpiece anthology series. There were only four seasons with three movie-length episodes each, plus a 2016 special that had Sherlock dream of solving a case in the Victorian era while under the influence of drugs. Although the show was set in the 2010s, most cases were inspired by original Conan Doyle stories.

The first three seasons earned critical acclaim, with Cumberbatch and Freeman winning Emmys in 2014. The episode "The Abominable Bride" also won the Emmy for Outstanding Television Movie in 2016. In 2011, the episode "A Study in Pink" received a Peabody Award. Sherlock also won the BAFTA award for Best Drama Series in 2011.

Although it has been five years since the last episode of Sherlock aired, Freeman told Collider they would still be interested in reuniting last year. "Yeah, I think it is possible. It might be more likely, yeah. I think we've all left it so that it's not a full stop; it's just a big ellipsis or a big pause," Freeman said. "Maybe it's because we don't want to say, 'Oh, it's a full stop.'"

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Freeman and Cumberbatch have been very busy with other projects, making it difficult to star in a new Sherlock episode. Freeman recently filmed Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and stars in the series The Responder. Cumberbatch, who is up for an Oscar for The Power of the Dog this weekend, will next be seen in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.