Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Why Law & Order wasn't any good.
I guess this is going to be yet another negative post but I don't think I have much of a choice here.
So why was this much revered show bad even though it went on for 20 years and even won Emmy awards? Well, that's because it had such an ass backwards premise, that is "let's convict the bad guys".
You might think that, "hey, wait a minute, that's a good premise". But it's not.
Notice that I'm not saying here that "let's _get_ the bad guys" is a bad concept itself. I'm just saying the "let's _convict_ the bad guys" is a bad concept.
The reason that I liked "let's get the bad guys" shows like 24, NYPD Blue, The Shield, Matlock and The Practice is that all of them (even The Shield) were about defending the weak and the innocent.
These shows would make you identify with the situations and the characters. Like in Matlock when a person was on trial for a murder that he or she didn't commit or when Vic Mackey showed sympathy for people in bad situations even though he didn't have to.
These shows had:
1) Interesting premises.
2) Stakes that were high.
3) You rooted for the characters.
Law & Order was a bad show for the same exact reasons :
1) It was way too much of a boring premise.
2) There was not much at stake.
3) It was impossible to root for our protagonists (prosecutors).
I mean, think about it. What is interesting about a show where you have the guilty party already locked up or about to get locked up, then you have the evidence that he's guilty and all you have to do is to survive through the defense attorney, the "bad guy"?
There's nothing interesting about that at all.
What's at stake here? The worst thing that could happen is that the guilty party manages to evade a conviction. That isn't even close to being a high stakes situation compared to what happens in those other shows.
If the guilty guy walks free, then so what? Unless he's going on a total murder rampage afterwards, it really isn't interesting.
But in any case, what has to be the worst part of the show is that our protagonists do not care whether the accused is guilty or not. If they convict an innocent person, our guys just shrug it off like it was no biggie. "That's the way it is. Let's get some coffee".
So we are supposed to root for guys like these? Huh. I can't believe people liked this show.