Saturday, May 12, 2007

Law & Order: Shark Jump Unit

Me thinks that NBC’s “Law & Order” franchise has finally jumped the shark. The original incarnation of the show has been on for approximately 17 seasons now, and with the spin-offs Special Victims Unit and Criminal Intent, the writers are becoming hard-pressed to come up with solid storylines and episode themes. I personally only watched the original series for a couple seasons in the late 90’s, and I followed SVU for a few seasons around the turn of the millennium; Criminal Intent sparked zero interest from me in the same way CSI: New York sparked zero interest. It was too much of a good thing, and it could only serve to thin out the pool of available decent plots. Seems I was right.

Episode trailers have been on NBC this week for upcoming episodes featuring a love triangle of astronauts, complete with requisite diaper jokes, and the story of a stripper-turned-model who looks 99% like Anna Nicole Smith, played by Kristy Swanson. Coincidentally, I’ve seen both naked in Playboy, but one’s in the grave, and the other’s career is in the grave.

This is just shameless and tasteless. Normally, I revel in the shameless and tasteless, but it also smacks of a stale lack of creativity and base dumbness that I can’t condone. I guess there’s always Law & Order: Truancy Squad, where a brash woman cop with a great set of jugs, an old white veteran hard-nose Irish detective, a misfit younger white Jewish rookie cop, and a quiet studious black cop with a gangland ghetto past will chase down kids skipping school and fucking off at the mall. Sounds like a winning formula. We can put it up against Ron Howard’s triumphant return to network TV playing a grown-up Opie Taylor in CSI: Mayberry. Yeah, Opie’s back in rural North Carolina after 20 years as an Army MP, suffering from PTSD from Iraq and heading up the department his father ran in the old days. But Mayberry’s changed for the worse: vicious gangs have taken over at Barney Fife Memorial High School and Mayor Gomer Pyle is embroiled in a gay-sex internet scandal.

Way to go, Hollywood. You’ve flogged a dead horse and flayed all the meat from its carcass; now you’ll crack the bones and suck the marrow too, it seems.

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