There was once a time when I, along with a lot of other people, would have been excited for the release of a new Sherlock episode. That is no longer the case. Although it has had its problems and inconsistencies from the very beginning, the charm and wit that was the trademark of the first two seasons carried the story through most of the times. Sherlock certainly doesn't have the charm it had on the first two seasons anymore. And that's a sentiment that can be found being expressed almost everywhere on the internet these days. What's more, I can almost see the weariness in the face of the cast. Or maybe it's just me and that's just the aging of the cast. What went wrong? Where has all the charm and wit that was the trademark of this series gone?
For what it's worth, I think the series started going downhill when they started making it more emotional. Now it's a regular soap opera which is far from the spirit of the original stories. In an attempt to introduce drama and humanize the characters, they've unintentionally made them all formulaic and weary. That's how the law of unintended consequences goes though. After the hype that was the return of Sherlock in Season 3, there was no way they could have retained the spirit of the former seasons. That would have meant going against the mob's expectations and that takes enormous restraint and conviction. The return of Sherlock could have been handled in a lot of ways, but the way in which it was executed was telling of its demise now. An episode of a quasi-story stringed together with the important event of his return and its effect on the characters. Somewhere along the line, the format of a case per episode and the progression of the characters was replaced with drama every episode with a few cases thrown in.
I've had this long standing complaint that if you want to tell a story, you should shut up about your politics and agendas and just tell your story. With the amount of pressure being pushed on a writer to be supportive of this ideology or that ideology these days, one can understand the hoops they have to jump through to satisfy these people. After all, it certainly doesn't harm to satisfy them and add them to their base of fans, right? What the writers seem not to understand is that doing so, more often than not, alienates the core audience from the work because most of the audience never identify with the agenda pushing people anyway. They just want the story. Sherlock hasn't been an exception to this. It started with their self-indulgent pandering of the Season 3, continued in the ideology pandering "The abominable bride" and just might culminate as a soap opera on Season 4. For Sherlock to become interesting again, it has to go back to its roots of being a detective show. It has had its drama for the worse and any more is certainly not going to help it.