Monday, April 16, 2012

Does TV, and CBS in particular, have too many crime dramas? Continue reading on Does TV, and CBS in particular, have too many crime dramas?

Cop shows. Crime dramas. Police procedurals. All of these are terms for a very familiar television trope. Many, many shows on the air feature a bunch of people in law enforcement investigating crimes, which are usually solved by the end of the hour. The people may vary, and different camera techniques and varying levels of humor may be used, but the simple fact remains that busting perps is a very common television series topic.

Most networks, especially the broadcast ones, available without a cable subscription, have their own version of this. FOX has "Bones." ABC has "Castle." NBC has "Grimm." But perhaps CBS is most guilty, filling the air waves with "CSI" and its spin-offs, as well as "Blue Bloods," "Hawaii Five-0," "Person of Interest," and now, as of last night, "NYC 22." The number of these programs beg the question: are there no original ideas left?

Television is often used as escapism. Some viewers, tired after a long day at work, wish for a form of mindless entertainment, where the good always triumphs over bad, and most issues are relatively black and white. But with so many options to fulfill this need, why do networks keep churning out program after program, adding more crime dramas to the schedule every year? Enough is enough. This quota has been met. Stop robbing the airwaves of fresh ideas.

Now, that is not an argument against getting rid of all crime shows. "The Killing" is a unique take, spending more than a season solving just one crime. Why not try more experiments like this? This is the polar episode of new series "NYC 22," which has nothing in the first episode that hasn't been done a hundred other times, and is the perfect example of why this needs to stop.

But that's not what the people want. It's the same reason the airwaves are flooded with mindless "reality" shows and singing competitions. Which makes people who care about quality weep, watching great, interesting, original series after great, interesting, original series bite the dust, while yet another one of these same-as-the-last cop shows gets renewed or ordered all of the time. Is this fair? Is this right? No, but that's not the way life is.

So what can be done? Well, stop watching the pulp, and start looking for shows that deserve your attention. Encourage your friends to do the same. Many people want to watch what others are watching so they can keep up with the conversation. Change starts somewhere. Let it be on your television screen.

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