Ah, the new season arrives.
For some, it might mean less-traveled roads to navigate or a brilliant array of colors splashed across the landscape via treetops and crunching leaves. For others, the time after Labor Day might mean the urgent smack of shoulder pads on a football field or jaw-dropping sunsets as the dipping sun takes on a new face with a slightly-changed atmosphere as its backdrop. And, for a few unfortunate souls, it could mean the dawning of a new day with the premier of an all-new fall line-up on television.
Pity these souls.
For is there a less-imaginative and more formula-reliant medium in all the world? Look, I watch television. I’m a big fan of the original programming on HBO and F/X, as well as somewhat addicted to documentaries on subjects ranging from terrorist networks to the evolution of Tibetan monks. Oh, and ESPN. I don’t care if they’re airing baseball highlights or hermaphrodite dwarf tossing, I’m usually tuned in to what they have to offer.
But this network thing is a bit ridiculous, isn’t it?
If it’s not reality programming sucking out our collective IQs like an ex-wife vampiring her way through your very ...
But I digress.
It’s bleak, folks. The days of talking horses, gorgeous genies in bottles and brave men wandering the Ponderosa have been replaced by boring never-been comedians and their friends discussing their boring should-have-never-been lives, seemingly unemployed nimrods in form-fitting lycra devouring nutria carcasses for the chance to win $10 and ... well, whatever you want to call that stuff FOX puts on the air every night.
And, let’s face it, even a person of my borderline skills and mummified personality could write some of these new police shows.
Seriously, let’s take a stab at it. Indulge me, if you will.
For starters, the show apparently must take place in an urban environment. Though police work just as hard in rural settings, and take their jobs equally as seriously as the big city cops, the solving of the latest cow tipping incident in Idaho probably won’t grab our viewers as quickly as the gruesome slaying of a warm-hearted hooker in Times Square will.
Hence, New York City will serve as our backdrop.
Next, every good police show needs that lieutenant or captain who is just as quick with a butt-kicking of his or her detectives as he or she is with a Yoda-like pearl of wisdom to the same disgruntled detective later in the show. The actor who plays this role will forever be typecasted, and apparently will never find another piece of significant work.
We’ll find someone through central booking for that one. They’re a dime a dozen.
Moving on, it’s time to grab those two lead detectives to solve crimes and capture our viewers’ imaginations. We’re going to follow the standard formula of male and female leads here, and take the standard template a bit further with who we get to play the roles.
The male detective must have appeared somewhere else before this show, be it a bit role in a popular movie or as a side character in another show. If he becomes too popular, we’ll never be able to keep him for more than one season, and it will take us a while to bounce back while his career implodes ignominously in his new endeavors. If he’s not popular enough, we’re left with a big nothing. Also, and this is extremely important, he can’t be too good looking or the focus of the show will automatically steer to a relationship between him and the female lead.
If we’ve learned anything from Sam finally getting with Diane on Cheers, and Luke marrying Laura on General Hospital, it’s that we become very limited in story lines when they inevitably get together.
As leading man, we welcome one of the “other” cops from The Shield. It doesn’t matter which one.
The female role is complicated. It is one that requires the perfect image, one that’s strong and independent, while maintaining feminine qualities that endear. Well, when all else fails, we grab one who’s good looking and historically well-endowed.
I’ll, um, handle the casting duties for that role personally.
As for story lines ... ah, this is the easy part. We’ll just comb through newspapers and find interesting stories of the day (no matter where they took place in reality), butcher the facts and run with it.
It’s fun. And it’s just about guaranteed to get the minimum ratings the networks require for their shows and stay on the air long enough to make more money in syndication. It’s safe, boring and just what America tolerates anymore.
Excuse me, I have some casting decisions to make.