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October 1st, 2009

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12:00 pm - Waking the Dead
On telly these days I watch University Challenge, a few repeats (like the X files on Virgin), Criminal Intent Season 6, and Waking the Dead.

I really like Waking the Dead, though I don't see much fannish stuff online. I think Trevor Eve is great as Boyd, and Sue Johnson is also superb as Grace Foley. I mean, it's standard crime drama stuff, with grumpy psycho cops getting too emotionally involved in the case and so on, but I enjoy it a great deal. Perhaps I find it easier to enjoy a drama in a professional setting if the people in charge are oldsters rather than implausibly buff youngsters.

Both Criminal Intent and Waking the Dead have had extended storyline with the male cop flirting with a female super-brain psychopath. I know it's a cliché but I've really enjoyed those stories in both series.

I read a good online article the other day, might have been on Pandagon, where she said that views on torture were distorted by dramas that use torture as a lazy plot device to make the protagonist more edgy. Pretending that torture is effective makes sense in dramatic terms (was her argument) even though in real life it's obviously a rubbish way to get information.

Personally I think drama can be much more exciting and transgressive where police don't carry guns and don't use torture. If it's well written that is. There have been many scenes in Waking the Dead where Boyd and his crew have had to walk into danger unarmed, and I think it's exciting. The requirement to dominate by force of personality not force of arms makes for better drama. Similarly, I think that non-violent interrogation scenes can be a lot more thrilling and exciting than ones which centre around the application of force. Homicide: Life on the Streets used to give some brilliant interrogation scenes.

(6 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:October 1st, 2009 12:10 pm (UTC)
The requirement to dominate by force of personality not force of arms makes for better drama.

Yes. One of the reasons I love Columbo is that Columbo is such a non-physical character. He never carries a gun; he never chases down a suspect; he's small, the sight of blood makes him queasy and he gets both seasick and airsick. It's all about him confounding the culprit through superior brilliance.
[User Picture]
Date:October 1st, 2009 12:53 pm (UTC)
Yes, I love Columbo. I always think he's my TV dad.
[User Picture]
Date:October 1st, 2009 12:19 pm (UTC)
Personally I think drama can be much more exciting and transgressive where police don't carry guns and don't use torture.

Unfortunately these days everything has to be dark and edgy. Using guns and torture makes a hero dark and edgy. Using intelligence doesn't make a hero dark and edgy.
[User Picture]
Date:October 1st, 2009 12:54 pm (UTC)
Peter Boyd is quite dark and edgy, and I know that's a big cliche, but he manages it without weapons and that's more interesting. Pembleton from Homicide wasn't exactly well balanced either.

ETA - this all sounds like I'm disagreeing with you, what i mean is - I think dark and edgy without cheapo violence can be pretty good

Edited at 2009-10-01 02:55 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:October 2nd, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC)
Dark and edgy is like anything else - it can be effective or it can become an annoying cliche. In the past few years it's become more and more of an annoying cliche. I'm all in favour of dark and edgy if it's done well.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:October 2nd, 2009 06:36 am (UTC)
Yes, there are layers of transgression and my post was only concerned with the shallowest layer. Torture and shooting people gives a superficial thrill of transgression to police or spy drama; another one is ostentatiously breaking traffic rules. It's a shallow rebellion which underneath the surface buttresses state power and punishes deviation.

And then the next layer down is the transgression of the person who doubts the system, has all angst about it, but nevertheless enforces it, and Rebus would be a good example, or Boyd. It is still enforcing norms, but for a slightly more cynical audience. I know that.

However, regardless of this cynicism about cynicism, I do find that kind of mental-violence drama really exciting. Cracker would be another example.

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