The marketing campaign for “Sherlock” season 4 over the holidays is an exhausting one. The producers and the stars of the show are in hundreds of publications, but an interesting trend can be seen through the process. Of these interviews, maybe about 5% of them concerns matters related to the story. Meanwhile, the other 95% are either about loose connections to personal lives, filming with dogs or babies, or of course rabid attempts to get someone to commit to a fifth season that may or may not happen.
It’s only fair to begin this by saying that it’s understandable for journalists to want that quote or to break something on that subject. When there are hundreds of publications out there, finding a way to stand out can be a challenge. Also, the show is beloved and this is an insatiable culture that turns commodities often into necessities. We don’t just want more “Sherlock” on the air, but we need more “Sherlock” on the air. It’s hard to necessarily imagine what life would be without it. Yet, we’ve certainly lived through it before, and someday the show is going to be over and we’ll live through it again. We’ve already lived through years of hiatuses; the knowledge has been there that the show will be coming back, but at times not for several years. Life will go on.
Within the next few days, the only bit of advice we can offer to both the media and viewers alike is to remember the future, but also enjoy the present. This about it this way: Somehow, The BBC and show creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat managed to keep Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch around for four seasons despite them being big movie stars, and given that these three episodes are all feature-length, you’re basically getting three “Sherlock” movies every two or three years. How lucky is this?
Also, The BBC and PBS in the States are choosing to air new programming on New Year’s Day, and spare many of us from the thought of having to spend the bulk of the holiday watching little other than repeats of old stuff or, in America, college football. It’s been extremely fortunate to be able to have these to look forward to.
Maybe a season 5 will happen, or maybe it won’t. Nobody knows right now, and it’s easy to believe that the cast and crew are telling the truth. Cumberbatch has at least two more Marvel movies beyond “Doctor Strange” that he is appearing in. Meanwhile, Freeman’s schedule is always complex, and Moffat wants to at some point create something not named “Sherlock” or “Doctor Who.” Let them fly, and then see if the land back here or not. All pressuring them will do is make them want to fly away further.
Here’s the funniest part of all of this: If and when a season 5 happens, more than likely a good half of the questions will be about season 6. Maybe if they announce that season 5 is the final season, maybe that number goes down to 25%.
For now, let’s just enjoy season 4 and see what the future holds when we get around to — well, the future.
Do you wish some of the discussion around season 4 was a little more story-focused, and a little less headline-obsessed? Share below, and be sure to head over here for a video that does revolved a little more around the narrative of this season. (Photo: BBC One.)