After three years of waiting for Sherlock season 4, Chinese fans of the show were in a fervor on last Monday morning after they saw the first episode premiere on the BBC`s official website.
Other fans who wanted to wait for a subtitled version caught the show later that day on Youku, a Chinese streaming site.
According to the BBC`s official website, the titles of the three episodes in season 4 are "The Six Thatchers," "The Lying Detective" and "The Final Problem."
After the debut of "The Six Thatchers," disappointing voices emerged on Chinese review platforms such as Douban. The episodes score on Douban slid to 8.7 from a 9.3 on last Monday, and to 8.5 by last Tuesday.
Disappointment mainly stemmed from the lack of an appearance from the series` big villain Moriarty, whose death was brought into question after the end of season 3, and the death of a major character.
After Dr Watson`s wife Mary dies after taking a bullet for Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch), Chinese netizens took to social media to express their disappointment: "Sure enough, there is no place for an actress in this UK TV series."
Although most Sherlock fans in China love the relationship between Sherlock and Watson and joked that the character of Mary was an "interloper" at first, they later found themselves falling for her smart and humorous personality. In the eyes of many Chinese fans, the character`s abrupt death was assurance that the UK TV series "really hates heterosexuality."
The Sherlock series has long had a large fan base in China. When David Cameron visited China in late 2013, some netizens left comments on his Weibo account asking him to urge the BBC to produce more episodes of Sherlock.
"I know that Benedict is hugely important in China. He`s a big star. Sorry I can`t tell them what to do. It`s an independent company," the then UK Prime Minister replied.
Chinese President Xi Jinping listed Sherlock as an example of an outstanding British production along with the Harry Potter series and TV drama Downton Abbey during his visit to London in 2015.