Yesterday there was a fake birth announcement for Rosamund Mary Watson in The Telegraph. A promo picture of John and Mary with the baby was also released. Expectedly, the fandom exploded. I, however, realised that I just DGAF anymore. My strong suspicion is that the baby (like every other character in the show) will just be a prop whose only function is to facilitate a twist in a plot that has been meandering off course for some time. The “I love you” trailer didn’t move the needle much for me either.
The truth is I fell out of love with Sherlock at the end of season 3 but couldn’t really admit it to myself. When that Moriarty animation turned up asking, “Did you miss me?” my answer was an emphatic no. Whenever a show doubles back to the vanquished supervillain to pique our interest, don’t we all know deep in our hearts that it’s over, that things aren’t really moving forward? I tried to keep my hopes up even after The Abominable Bride (which I would have enjoyed more had they just done the Victorian one-off). Explaining away huge chunks of a story that you spent millions of pounds producing with “It was all a dream!” is another huge red flag that the writers are running out of interesting ideas.
I got out of Lost early (season 3, I think) and ditched Heroes after the first episode of the second season because I could tell the series had been front-loaded, and there wasn’t a clear path to a satisfying resolution in either show. I’ve seen enough promising TV flounder to recognise the symptoms of a show that has fallen off and probably isn’t going to make its way back to its glory days:
ETA: The use of the dog in so many promos worries me too. Animals are an easy way to elicit humour and get cheap laughs. If they’re relying on “cutting to the dog”… This might go even more badly than I thought…
ETA (28/12/16): Steven Moffat saying that the finale of season 4 is the episode he's proudest of writing has me concerned that it might be a raspberry. It indicates that it is unlikely anyone reined him in, and he was allowed to revel in his bad habits and wander farther afield from his strengths. Him getting everything he wants is a bad sign. The trajectory of Sherlock has made it pretty clear that the show Moftiss has always wanted to produce is a well-budgeted actioner, and it is my deep fear that they have been allowed to. The constrictions of budget in the earlier seasons forced them to find more interesting ways to advance the plot. Now that they have the money for explosions and car chases and gun fights, that's what we're going to get. Ironically, everyone except the "casuals" has galactically misapprehended their intentions - an action/espionage plotline has always been the endgame, and they've obviously doubled down on the silly Mary Watson/AGRA storyline. There's room for them to write their way out of the nonsensical plot, but doing so would require them to recognise there's a problem, and there's nothing to indicate that they do.
I really, really hope I'm wrong about all this. I genuinely want season 4 to be as good as season 1, but as more promo material gets released, it's looking less and less likely...
ETA (30/12/16): Yeah... So Mark Gatiss has joined Steven Moffat in talking about how exceedingly clever Sherlock is and how this will be the cleverest season yet... Given the problems with S3 and the Christmas special, and everything indicating that they've gone all in on all that, the overweening confidence has me ready to take the brace position. I'm worried they're heading further into the weeds with the twists and tricks and may not have bothered to underpin them with a story that makes sense (and the Mary Watson/AGRA story does not make sense as they've presented it). All this time I've been thinking they might be heading for a giant iceberg, but everything in the promos has me seriously considering that the moment Mary Watson said "It's a skip code" was when they rammed the ship into it, and they have been taking on water ever since.
Again, REALLY hope I'm wrong, and nothing would make me happier than for them pull out a GOT-esque season 5 comeback.