Crime dramas have been popular for ages. There's just something about people being butchered, raped, beaten, and dead that keeps TV audiences, including me, begging for more.
NYPD Blue, Homicide: Life on the Streets, Diagnosis Murder, and the Profiler are all classic crime dramas. Within the past decade, two dramas have taken center stage and practically monopolize prime time TV--those dramas being CSI and Law and Order. The original series are good; they both feature cops with baggage cleaning house by solving crimes and arresting the bad guys.
As if two, over the top crime dramas weren't enough; each network (CBS/NBC) decided to create multiple spinoffs for each show. CSI took on CSI: Miami and CSI: New York and Law and Order came out with Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and Law and Order: Criminal Intent.
Great. Thanks for adding more crime, blood, rape, and death to my nighttime TV selection. I can watch the news for more realistic crimes, but it's entertainment and I have to admit I'm a fan. I don't watch these shows weekly as there's always a good 14-hour Labor Day marathon of SVU on USA and Spike shows CSI reruns on a nightly basis.
What I don't understand is the show NCIS. The only thing Mark Harmon has going for him is his HOT wife, Angie Harmon, who ironically was on Law and Order.
Crime drama fans didn't really need yet another crime show along the lines of Law and Order or CSI, what with the 6 different shows combined, but yet, here we are with NCIS: LA.
Now, I've never watched NCIS, and I can't honestly say that I ever will, mainly because Mark Harmon's haircut bothers me SOOOOOOOOO much I can't stand to look at him...what grown man has a bowlcut? Well, the producers of NCIS decided to hop on the spinoff bandwagon and are now featuring a new show this fall. Wait for it...NCIS: Los Angeles.
I've often wondered why such shows are so popular and I have figured it's not necessarily the story line, although the story lines are pretty good.
Then I think, well, maybe it's the locations of these shows, New York, LA, Las Vegas that make the shows interesting but then I remember these places are overused in both TV and film, so that can't be it.
If it's not the storyline, or the location, it must be something else. It's the characters and the actors they choose to portray. The characters are pretty typical in crime dramas, but all of these elements create a fantastic TV show, one worthy of multiple spinoffs.
1. Must have token black guy. Can be normal black guy, or a washed out rapper. Enter Ice-T (SVU) and LL COOL J (NCIS:LA).
2. Must have older, distinguished, and often bearded wise white guy. Enter William Petersen (CSI), Jerry Orbach (L&O), and David Caruso(CSI: Miami).
3. Must have token HOT chick. Without the hot chicks, the show is damn near pointless. Enter Mariska Hargitay (SVU) , Emily Proctor (CSI: Miami), and Stephanie March (SVU).
4. Must have a hotheaded and slightly odd detective. A detective who lives for his job, and is known for busting balls. Enter Christopher Meloni (SVU), Vincent D'Onofrio (L&O: CI) and David Caruso (CSI: Miami)...again.
5. Must have nerdy, yet weirdly attractive, science/lab/doctor guy. Enter B.D. Wong (SVU), Eric Szmanda (CSI), Brian Dietzen (NCIS).
6. Must have token cute/mysterious/the kind of guy you'd take home to your mother detective. Enter Chris O'Donnell (NCIS: LA), George Eads (CSI), and Adam Rodriguez (CSI: Miami).
If every crime drama on TV follows these simple casting rules, they will take over the networks and primetime TV will definitely be Spinoff City, even more so than it already is.