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Sherlock Holmes and CSI fans, don't miss these PBS specials

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Fans of Sherlock Holmes and forensic science can prepare the coming season of "Elementary," "CSI," "Bones" and the BBC "Sherlock" by reading and watching various related media.

If you are trying to interest a younger fan or have a younger fan already, you might try the IDW Publishing graphic novels "Curious Cases of Sherlock Holmes" ($19). These are no part of the official Conan Doyle canon but might satisfy one's what-if curiousity. Like what if Dr. Jekyll met Sherlock Holmes? The series has different writers and artists: Steven Philip Jones with art by Seppo Makinen for Jekyll and a Phantom of the Opera story and then writer Gary Reed and artist Michael Zigerlig for "Murder at Moulin Rouge." Reed also wrote "The Retired Detective" with art by Wayne Reid (Originally from "Sherlock Holmes Reader: Murder at Moulin Rouge" from Transfuzion Publishing 2010) as well as "The AMAZEing Mr. Holmes" (Originally from issue two of "The Sherlock Holmes Reader" by Tome Press in 1999). These are easier to read than the original Sherlock Holmes stories.

IDW Publishing also features the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories as graphic novels ($16.99-$39.99).

PBS has some video that you can view on-demand. Start with "How Sherlock Changed the World." This documentary includes clips from the BBC "Sherlock," but also includes the somewhat hokey re-enactments of both the original Sherlock Holmes stories and of men like Dr. Edmond Locard of the Police Department of Lyon. Inspired by the stories of Sherlock Holmes, he formed the first crime lab in 1910. Yes, the British and their Scotland Yard didn't jump on the Sherlock Holmes' crime scene investigation boat. Locard's exchange principle became a basic concept of forensic science: "Every contact leaves a trace." Arthur Conan Doyle's hero continues to inspire modern day forensic scientists. The documentary aired in December 2013 but is currently available VoD on the PBS website.

You can follow that with the PBS documentary on the first scientific crime lab in America in the "American Experience" presentation of "The Poisoner's Handbook." Charles Norris and his chief toxicologist Alexander Gettler had to battle against corruption, distrust of science in a pre-CSI world and the big business manufacturers who didn't test common household items. Norris and Gettler got together in 1918. Doyle's hero first appeared in 1887. Sherlock isn't mentioned in this program, but you'll understand his influence if you watch "How Sherlock Changed the World." This program includes re-enjoyable re-enactments that seamlessly transition from and to archival materials. Interviews with top forensics experts and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the book by the same name are also featured. After its initial broadcast on Tuesday, 7 January 2014 at 8/7 C (Check local listings), the program will be available VoD.

For fans of the BBC series, "Sherlock," you can prepare for the return of the series by re-watching the previous seasons on Netflix which has Series 1 and 2.

Then you can watch "Unlocking Sherlock" on the PBS website. Or you can wait until Sunday because PBS will air "Unlocking Sherlock" one week before the season premiere of Series 3 on Sunday, 12 January 2014. The one-hour special includes snippets of Series 3 and interviews with writers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss as well as stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. "Unlocking Sherlock" will be available VoD until 25 January 2014.

"Sherlock" Series 3 premieres 19 January, 2014 at 9:58 p.m. ET (Check local listings). Then you can answer the question: "How did Sherlock survive?" Hint: It has nothing to do with SHIELD.

Don't forget to watch "Many Happy Returns."

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