Saturday, August 25, 2012

most shocking hour on tv

dear television executives, producers, and screenwriters,

sometimes i watch dramas. sometimes i watch procedurals.

many of these shows involve the solving of crimes.

but here's the thing: what i like about the show is the interaction of the characters, the application of ideas and thinking skills to the presented problems, and dialogue that isn't cheesy.

i do not require for the bad guys to become more and more evil, the conspiracies to become larger and larger, or the corruption of the system to become more and more pervasive.

i certainly do not need the acts of violence to become more cruel and more graphic.

here is a secret about me and many other viewers: i do not need my television viewing to become progressively more shocking in order to retain my interest. i liked it just fine when interesting characters had interesting thoughts about situations and problems and in fact i am less likely to continue watching when you decide that what i want is for mind-blowing never-before thought-of shocking depravity and or amazingness.

see, the interestingness of a story does not rely so much on the shockingness of the acts depicted in it, but the quality of the telling.

when you take a perfectly good show and feel a need to make it "the most shocking hour on TV!" so i "won't believe what happens next!", what happens next is that i stop watching your show and go watch a documentary about how shoelaces are made.

so the next time you're in a meeting and you're asking the junior staff to punch it up a little and come up with something really fresh, how about taking a normal situation for this set of characters and following a reasonable story arc for them, but taking care to tell the story well?

because the next time i tune in to see a serial killer arranging for rival gangs of child pornographers to fill explosive schoolbusses filled with desperately sick children and make them travel the country killing convenience store clerks on their way to fighting each other in ritual death combat for underground pay-per-view that's hidden from detection because a secret cabal of law enforcement agents is working under the authority of a shady government anti-terrorist plot and everybody is about to get off on a technicality but then all the witnesses suddenly die in an arson fire, my patience will be sorely tested.

so just don't do it, ok?

love, flask.

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