The Dirtiest Dirty Word in Television

We at Hammervision have slogged through a lot of crap in the last week, actively watching the likes of Outlaw and $#*! My Dad Says, but if there's one word we never want to hear associated with another new TV show it's...ew...I almost can't even bring myself to type it...

Shh...Dr. Evil
..."procedural."
Of the bazillion new shows that premiered on TV, approximately 99.6% of them were of the legal/crime drama variety*, also known as the "procedural."  
And the kicker is, many of these shows (including Hawaii Five-0 and The Defenders) did very well in the ratings, which means that not only will these shows be continuing on in the hopes of becoming the next NCIS but also we can expect more and more and more procedurals to invade our TV sets in the spring and fall.
Now we at Hammervision have never been big fans of the procedural drama.  They're often repetitive and predictable.  There's no real through-line to keep the viewers coming back for more each week. We have trouble understanding why we need 17 different CSI shows and 42 different Laws & Orders at our disposal.  But these shows consistently do well in the ratings, kicking the butts of more ambitious serial dramas like Lost or the new Lone Star.  

We have some theories as to why this is.
1. I know the Nielsen people are not allowed to comment on whether or not they're Nielsen (it's like the CIA), but by my guesstimation nearly all Nielsen families just leave their TVs on CBS all day long, switching the channel only to watch Dancing With the Stars and Jay Leno.
2. People like to watch shows about other people doing their jobs, especially when said jobs involve blood and guts and shouting "Objection!" in a courtroom.  
3. These shows rarely get very bawdy or controversial and the bad guys usually end up where they belong -- in jail or the morgue.  
4. It's pretty mindless television.  You can watch these shows while knitting or doing your crossword puzzles and really not miss a beat.  
5. You don't have to catch every episode.  You're going to be lost if you miss an episode of The Event.  Watching serialized dramas does require a certain level of commitment.  
But!  We also have some solutions for getting you out of your procedural rut, America.
1. Turn off the television!  Instead of just sitting there watching David Caruso take off his shades once again, why not read a book.  Or exercise.  Or talk to your children.  
2. If you're just going to have the TV on in the background while you cook or clean or whatever, just turn the TV to another channel so that some other shows that people are actually getting invested in have a chance to survive.  Would it really kill you to have Raising Hope playing in the background instead of the second half of the NCIS power hour?
3. If you must watch TV, just try watching something with a little more substance and story.  The new Blue Bloods is actually a good gateway program for you.  It's a crime show, but(!) it's also a serial family drama.  Before you know it, you'll be jumping on the Breaking Bad bandwagon.
What are your thoughts on procedurals?  Are you pro or con?  If you're a loyal fan of one of the many legal/crime shows on TV, convince me why I should be watching.  What am I missing?
*Numbers may have been inflated for emphasis.

Filed under: News & Views, TV

Tags: CBS, Procedurals suck, TV

Leave a comment