10:28 a.m. - May 21, 2007
Not that it wasn’t derailing anyway, but last weeks Law & Order : Special Victims Unit went right off of the tracks, plowing into houses, cars, passerby and finally stopping in a lake.
In the old days of television, they kept successful shows around forever. Leave It To Beaver was on so long Beaver was actually starting to LIKE girls at the end, and had a deeper voice than Wally. Gunsmoke lasted longer than the Wild West epoch, it seemed, and My Three Sons really went bad when the triplets had kids of their own. (Actually, when Steve Douglas got married, it should have ended. I mean, the show was about a Dad raising three sons on his own…not…not….ah, why get all bothered about that.)
But recently, shows have ended before they got really old and stale. You could still make French toast out of them.
However, SVU, along with most of the other franchises of Law & Order needs to be put out of its misery now.
For the past few seasons, we’ve marveled on how many times people have been shot on the steps of the courthouse, how many times Unstabler went over the line and should have been fired, how many times Olivia TOOK IT PERSONALLY. And yet they barely have anything for Munch and Fin to do, and they rewarded Warner by putting her on the credits and then shrinking her role (or so it seems).
Liz and I watched the latest episode on Saturday night (having TiVoed it on Tuesday) and wow, what a total clusterflop it was.
The plot zigged and zagged like a drunken skier on a slalom course. First it went this way, then that way, and when the trial happened way too early you knew something was up.
And something was indeed up. It became almost totally unbelievable. (Almost?)
Whatever happened to the SVU team catching pervs and putting them behind bars? Whatever happened to cops just doing their job (with the occasional wisecrack) and not getting so personally invested in the case that they have ulcers about it?
I watched these shows because I cared about the police work. I really didn’t care about the personal lives of the cops, because that was secondary to the work on the case.
Maybe we’ve watched these shows way too much. They never seem to have an original story idea and rip everything from the headlines. It’s now a game where you read some crime story and then you wonder WHEN the episode will air, and which version of the show will air it.
Not every episode is going to be top notch, for sure, and some shows do tend to run aground after a while (Numb3rs for one has gotten blah to me) but for years these series have been one of the paragons of good television.
And now, Jack on the Mothership gets indignant at the drop of a hat, and SVU is almost so far away from its original premise that you need an APB to find it.
So, yes, I’m venting and moaning about it but I still watch it. It’s sad to say, but these shows are still some of the best shows on television, warts and all, and much better than SOME franchises that seemed to have ripped off several elements of L & O.
Not saying what those franchises are, but:
I am convinced if David Caruso didn’t have his sunglasses to put on at the right moment, no one would know if he was still alive.