20 July 2012

American TV delivering the heroes the country deserves

Recently I have through travel and DVD's been catching up on new American TV and I have noticed a strong shift in the themes presented. Shows like Justified, Longmire and Newsroom have stormed into America's (and so the world's) living rooms and look set to start a trend.  What do these have in common and what's the change? Let me explain.

If you remove the dross of reality TV and talent shows the most watched TV drama of the last 10 years was, in no particular order, House MD, Heroes, The Mentalist, CSI (of various flavours) ER and Grey's Anatomy. Now with a minute exception, the shows were about either genetically freaked individuals (Heroes, the Mentalist (I know...)) or psychologically broken but intellectually impressive men (CSI leaders, House) solving normal problems in unusual ways. The point was how normal the world around them is making them seem even more freakish and yet successful.

Now for the difference - these new shows show normal people - Marshal Givens in Justified could easily be imagined to say "Well shucks there ma'am I'd just laaaak to raise babies and horses but then criminal done be naughty and Aaa gone have ta shoot em" - and in a normality we all recognise which is, when juxtaposed with the demonstrated saneness of these heroes - bent and broken - the meth lifestyle of the Dixie South, the toxic culture of modern politics, entertainment and news in Newsroom and the background Native American apartheid in Longmire. All of these shows demonstrate how twisted the 'norm' has become by simply placing decent (yet resolute) heroes in their midst.

And long may it continue. We can't all have superpowers or be Asperger like in our focus, but we can look around and and decide enough is enough.

And if you were expecting a review of these, as this blog has been known to do, they're all well worth a watch and Newsroom, IMHO, is set to be a classic hopefully on par with The Wire, or at least Sorkin's last great effort, The West Wing.

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