Hmmmm…. I don’t know if I should admit this… but my family doesn’t watch any mystery shows together from the three major networks here in the States. (Three of us, however, do have a show or two that we follow individually…) Instead, we "import" them… mostly from Great Britain. We do watch crime shows that are made right here in the States like…. Forensic Files, Masterminds, L.A. Confidential, North Mission Road, and we used to love City Confidential so much that we have seen all of them. (Please write me via the "comment button" below if City Confidential is still being made. I thought that both Paul Winfield and Keith David did great jobs as narrators, and I also thought that the writers showed a very good grasp of both the crimes and the cities in which the crimes occurred.)
Getting back to my initial thought…
We started watching The Last Detective (starring Peter Davison) a little while ago, and we are finding it quite enjoyable. (I’ll write about it in another blog…) After finishing our last episode, we started talking (I have to admit that I did most of the talking!) and we started kicking around the question: Why do we watch these British exports instead of our "home-grown" mystery shows? There are so many right here in the States that are available with just one click of our remote, yet we don’t watch them…. Why is that?…..
Is it that the Brits have shorter seasons? Well, if that were true, then you would think that the longer seasons would give a series a longer time to develop characters and plot.
Is it that the Brits have fewer episodes per season? Again, if that were true, then you would think that the more the episodes, the better the chance to develop characters and plot.
Is it that the Brits have younger, more beautiful "stars" in their shows? Well, if that were true then wouldn’t we all be watching them on our major networks each and every week…. since our major networks seem fixated on youthful beauty.
Or is it that since we do have more episodes per season, we "dilute" the writers… They simply can’t spend the time needed on each of the (+/-) 26 episodes on which they feel compelled to present a mystery and wrap up the solution in the allotted 44 minutes… instead of taking a leisurely hour and a half, only five or six times per season to develop characters and plot…. thus not having the necessity of "cranking out" shows each and every week.
Well, then what is it? Why is it that more and more people are buying the DVDs or joining online rentals like Netflix and Blockbusters?
I remember a time when we could count on A & E to air the high quality British mystery shows… Jeremy Brett in Sherlock Holmes, Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect, David Suchet in Poirot, David Jason in Frost, John Thaw and Kevin Whately in Morse, Warren Clarke and Colin Buchanan in Dalziel and Pascoe… (and I’m sure there are more…)
So, why is it that we keep (at least my two college-age children, my husband, and I) seeking out the exported mystery shows…. You only need to look above…. and see the highlighted words to know why we do…. How about you?