Monday, May 7, 2007

Crime Shows

    The current crime shows (CSI, Criminal Minds, etc.) are about the only thing on TV worth watching. And even those aren't interesting enough to stay up for so I record them on my MythTV box and watch them on the weekend when there's even less on.
    Real crime shows are Kojak, Columbo, Hawaii Five-0, and even the court room dramas like Matlock. In fact, using Matlock as an example, I can say that the current shows follow the same format. But, they lack something: the crime. There's no story - no reason for the crime - no people involved - no mystery. They just jump right in to the body part. Sometimes they even have to throw in two bodies.
    They do follow the Matlock formula in this way: Matlock always solved the crime, but on the stand the assumed guilty witness always had that alibi. So, Ben would move on to his next guilty person and would usually be thwarted by another alibi. Then, the revelation and he would nail the guilty party - show over with maybe fifteen seconds thrown in for a hot dog.
    The current shows pretty follow the same story line, substituting DNA or "the fiber". The problem is that when you cut out the mystery, you can't spend an hour spinning a story (or two). Of course, they don't have to because there's almost twenty minutes of commercials.
    If you cut out the office love story or other non-crime drama the actual content is closer to twenty minutes.
    Twenty minutes of story in an hour slot. Why would they do that?
    Here's my theory. A lot of the 60's, 70's and 80's shows are being broadcast today. But there's a problem - they have to be trimmed for additional commercial time and it's easy to see where they are re-cut. Unfortunately, they are getting to the point that story lines are compromised.
    How about this. The current producers know that for re-run and syndication their stories will be cut, so they produce for the future. You can easily cut ten minutes of non-crime action out of any episode without cutting into the story.


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