9 January 2018

2525

This is my thirteenth year of blogging. So far, including this offering,  I have created 2525 blogposts - hence today's title. When one has been blogging as long as I have it is easy to forget some of the topics that one has already covered.

More than once I have begun typing a new post when a little voice inside my head has asked - "Haven't you dealt with this before?" Then I have gone to the blog search facility and discovered that indeed that subject was addressed a few years back.

Take this morning as an example. I had a bee in my bonnet about TV crime drama. I decided to let off some steam but as I finished composing the post that little voice asked the old check question again. And sure enough I discovered I had composed a similar post in April 2013 entitled Detectives. You might want to check it out.

However, waste not want not. Having spent an hour ranting about TV crime drama this morning I am not going to dump that post in the virtual waste bin. If you have bothered to read this far I beg your indulgence:- 
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Crime

I don't know any police officers or detectives. Furthermore, nobody I have ever known has been murdered. Our neighbourhood is pretty peaceful and law-abiding. Though occasionally I contemplate crime, it doesn't really figure in my everyday life.

In such respects, I know that my experience is not out of the ordinary. Though we might read of crimes in our newpapers or watch items about  stabbings, shootings, bombs or bank heists in the TV news, most of us live quiet and fairly uneventful lives.

Okay so far?

Well if all of that is the case, how come so many films and TV dramas focus upon crime, on murders and on the clever or ruthless tactics of the guardians of law and order? Personally, I am sick of it. It is as if the TV schedulers always opt for the lowest common denominator. Crime is traumatic and dramatic so building TV tales around it is relatively easy. It is a tried and tested formula.
How much more challenging it is to create gripping drama that focuses on ordinary lives and ordinary events. But isn't that what drama should do? Shouldn't it reflect real human experience instead of creating the delusion that life is filled with murders and robberies all attended to  by brilliant detectives.

So Lord save me from "Luther", "Broadchurch", "Line of Duty", "McMafia", "Wallander", "Rebus", "Prime Suspect",  "Taggart", "Poirot", "Rosemary and Thyme", "A Touch of Frost", "Dalziel and Pascoe", "Miss Marple",  "Sherlock", "Dexter", "Hill Street Blues", "Cagney and Lacey", "The Wire", "Columbo", "CSI Miami", "Law and Order" and "Murder She Wrote". This list goes on and  on.

Instead give me dramas about Welsh sheep farmers, karaoke singers, disappointment, coping with illness, meeting long lost relatives. And drama about obscure villages where nothing ever happens and about coal miners and young mothers and laughter and natural deaths. Give me drama about the residents of high rise flats and about plumbers and hotel workers. There's the entire gamut of real human experience to choose from. Is that too much to ask or must I continue to gripe about an endless diet of crime and killing and investigation? Quite simply, that's not how life is.

37 comments:

  1. You are a writer, Mr P. Write a script based on one of those topics!

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    1. That would be quite easy to do Margaret but the way the media works it is highly unlikely that my script would get past first base. It's often about who you know and besides I feel that the TV public have been conditioned to consume crime drama.

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    2. I believe in you. Its not about getting your script on air, it's about doing it. Because as much as you complain about crime stories, I bet you'd find that there is very little drama in those domestic situations that you describe. But if anyone could pull it off. you can.

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  2. I love a good crime series. I'd be a hypocrite to say otherwise.

    I've just finished bingeing on "Boardwalk Empire", "Peaky Blinders" and I loved both series! They came after I binged on "Justified"...twice...second time around immediately after the first go around!

    As for "Luther"....great series (Idris Elba...wow!), as is "Line of Duty" and so many others.

    "Dexter"....I loved Dexter, and never missed an episode.

    Need I go on...no, I don't believe I do.

    I enjoy a good crime novel, too. I've read all of Colin Dexter's (must be something about the surname) Morse books; and I've watched all the episodes of the TV series - a couple of times each.

    Michael Connelly and Jonathan Kellerman, just to mention another two, write great crime novels, too.

    I'll stop now....

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    1. Sounds like you are a crime glutton Lee. In this way you are different from me.

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  3. One does not have to exclude the other, does it? I think there is enough room for both.
    Like Lee, I enjoy a good crime series. Not because I want to be entertained by other people's pains and misfortunes, or look at severed limbs and bloodied bodies - I much prefer the more subtle kind, where you don't actually get to see the victim. For me, it is about guessing, about following the detective on his or her quest for the truth. The undercurrents of human relationships, at work, in a family, in a community; things that happened in the past and still influence the present, that kind of stuff.

    By the way, in my wider circle of family and friends there are several police officers and a detective. And, sad but true, the sister of one of my closest friends was murdered some years ago. There have also been a handful of burglaries and stolen handbags among family members and friends. So, crime is very real to me, even though I am lucky and have never come to bodily harm myself, in spite of often being out and about at night, with and without company.

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    1. Oh, and I also want to say this: You can cover a certain topic on your blog as many times as you like! And if, as in this case, years have passed between one post and the other, your perception may have changed, you have learned new facts about said topic, and/or your readers do not remember or weren't your readers yet when you first brought it up.

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    2. Thank you for the additional comment Meike... but getting back to TV crime dramas. If TV dramas accurately reflected real life experience only about 2% would concern themselves with crime. I don't know how it is on German TV but here it is as if 98% of TV dramas have a crime focus and this gives a distorted picture of everyday reality. For a long time I have found TV crime drama exceedingly boring and so damned predictable.

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  4. One analysis of mystery/murder writing goes that people enjoy it because there's always a clear resolution.

    But I do see your point - and Thoreau was onto the same idea - that “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Perfect fodder for a blood-free tale.

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    1. Thank you Marty. I am not sure what you meant in that last sentence. Please expand a little.

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  5. I don' mind the occasional detective play or film, but I agree that there are far too many these days. Even the soaps seem to have so many crimes (murders, kidnappings, robberies, shootings) all going on in one tiny street or small village. Highly unlikely, but I suppose, it's what sells. As someone else said, you'll have to write an alternative, YP.

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    1. I could write about a London lady who booked a faraway holiday and sipped Martinis as she watched the sun sink over a Caribbean bay. And then she came home to plan her next trip.

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  6. I'm with Lee and Librarian. I enjoy a good crime series too. As most of us lead a quiet law abiding existence, perhaps that's why we enjoy something that doesn't figure in our daily lives.

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    1. Yes I think you are right CG. Perhaps it's a kind of escapism.

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  7. Over the last ten years, our television watching has dwindled to almost no time at all. I guess nobody save you and your readers would be interested in those subjects that you mention. Give me a great, or even good, book, I say. At the moment, I am re-reading The Winter of our Discontent by John Steinbeck. I imagine you would, or did, find yourself in a lot of ways similar to the protagonist of this amazing story, Mr. Pudding. How I was able to understand Steinbeck when first read 50 years ago is beyond me. Anyway, the one thing good about watching television is that I can concentrate on knitting at the same time. Can't do that whilst reading a hardback book, I'm afraid.

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    1. When I was young I read almost everything John Steinbeck ever wrote apart from "East of Eden" which I caught up with just three years back. He is a great storyteller but he speaks about the human condition - not about crime and cops. He proves it doesn't have to be that way.

      What are you knitting sister?

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  8. I don't watch TV at all anymore, preferring a good book. And among books, I prefer what you have described - the everyday lives and feelings of ordinary people. My husband calls them books with "feeeeeelings" but I notice that even he is reading them when I bring them in the house :)

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    1. I admire you for having the mental fortitude to resist what television has to offer. I wish I could make that leap.

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  9. Sounds like you'd be a good candidate for Slow TV, or whatever it's called, in Norway, Mr. Pudding.

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    1. I might find Slow TV interesting for a while but great, tight drama can be created from the ordinary. It doesn't have to be an uneventful marathon.

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  10. My thoughts exactly. I cannot maintain any interest in crime dramas, however quaint the setting British ones tend to go in for, nor the torrents of the same that spew out from the US. I have absolutely no influence on the TV in our house. Alas, my wife enjoys anything with violence, strong language and flashing images.

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    1. Nice to find a kindred spirit Philip. I guess it was your violence, strong language and flashing images that first attracted your wife to you!

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  11. We pick and choose our crime but on the whole I agree with you. At the start of every week we peruse the tv magazine and ring anything of interest, some days there is nothing ringed and we read or do jigsaw or maybe even talk to each other, lol
    Briony
    x

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    1. You talk to each other? That's incredible. I guess nobody really knows what goes on behind closed doors!

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  12. You know the type of program you want to see, one's full of human drama, are already out there, right? Don't we call them soaps? or "reality tv"

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    1. I disagree. Soaps frequently contain events that would be extremely rare in any real community. As for "Reality TV", it is not envisioned and carefully scripted drama.

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  13. Shit you made me check mine
    5991
    I cannot believe it's written so much shit

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    1. Christ! You will soon hit 6000! That's a lot of blogposts. Well done John!

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  14. I like a bit of both. Love my Vera and Wallander and Silent Witness but also enjoy Doc Martin, Downton Abbey and Yorkshire Vets. The problem is Tony will not watch the gentler stuff so in the interests of harmony I often watch them on my own. Then again I won't watch gory war films and gangster series.

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    1. I had imagined that Tony would be hooked on cooking programmes and suchlike. Real life drama does not have to be tame. It can be more gripping than crime drama in my humble opinion.

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  15. Thirteen years is a long time. Congratulations. I have the same feeling that I've written on the same topic.I will have to check more often

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    1. We can't remember everything.

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  16. We do watch crime shows, but prefer those that involve the characters as much or more than the crime. Here in the US Blue Bloods is one such show, about a family of three generations of New York law enforcement officers.
    We did decide we were watching too much voilence and dropped a couple of weekly programs.

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    1. A TV diet of crime drama is likely to affect one's mental well-being. At least you are someone who has reflected upon the issue Linda.

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  17. I recall Hamish Macbeth - wasn't that one about more ordinary events and 'smaller' crimes?
    I agree, manysuch shows now are so dark they are almost unwatchable. Hopefully, life really isn't that relentlessly bleak!

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    1. Okay Hamish Macbeth had a certain lightness about it but still every episode circled a crime. Life can of course be bleak but it can also be joyous and TV drama has the power to illustrate that.

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  18. I recently re-watched Hamish Macbeth and Who Pays the Ferryman, The West Wing (for the umpteenth time) and some of the older series are much gentler. I abhor the serial violence of so many programmes. However living alone has the great advantage that I can watch what I like. Almost all my television is watched late evening so that I can wind down.

    I am sure that if the programme makers thought there would be a mass market for the 'ordinary' dramas of life in the vein of, for example, the film A Very Peculiar Marriage then they would make them.

    We are all different. A friend of mine - an atheist, opinionated, former teacher - made the comment at a gathering at my house about 15 years ago years ago that 'only morons watch football '. I never watch football but that statement has come back to haunt him ever since.

    People like what they like. They can watch it. You don't have to.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.