"Dum-de-dum-dum!" Those four notes signaled the 2003 return of one of TV's all-time classic police dramas, "Dragnet." This time, Ed O'Neill (in a role worlds different from hapless family man Al Bundy of "Married ...With Children") played the hard-nosed Det. Joe Friday. He and partner Frank Smith investigated crimes in Los Angeles, usually homicides or other forms of corruption. As with the Jack Webb-produced predecesors, careful attention was paid to realism as Friday and Smith investigated and pieced the clues together before they made their arrests of the bad guys. Like the earlier shows, the fate of those charged in conenction with said crime was announced at the end of the show. Written by
Brian Rathjen <email@example.com>
One must really wonder why Hollywood execs are so damn stupid. Okay, Dragnet wasn't a powerhouse, runaway hit. But it was a solid show. So which is better: a show that develops a loyal following who watch it regularly, or a show that is tinkered with to get people interested, but so similar to everything else on the market that it dies a quick death?
Apparently ABC thinks the latter. Which is why we now have numerous tight-shirt-clad model-quality women wandering around the station house, pretending to be cops. Including the always annoying Rosalyn Sanchez, who is neither as attractive nor as good of an actress as she or her handlers seem to think. There's nothing wrong with having female cops on a show, but why are they always so stereotypically "attractive", and always wearing tight rayon shirts to show off their bulging silicone? Sure, breasts are fun. But is it necessary to dump sugar on our every meal? Do these catalog women really belong on a purportedly serious cop show with rumpled old Ed O'Neill?
Dragnet is an ancient franchise, one that was supposedly built on the strength of the stories. Ed O'Neill is a very good actor (and I wish the posters would stop with the lame "Married With Children" jokes, they're not funny). It is possible to have a good show that doesn't rely upon the tired formula of scantily-clad women pretending to be professionals in a professional environment. Look at the X-Files, which although flawed towards its end, started out as the tale of a rather mousy-looking guy and a kind of dumpy girl solving weirdo crimes. It gained acclaim from its stories. Even "ER" started with a lot of less-than-Fabios on its staff. Same goes for "NYPD Blue", which used to have "real" New Yorkers on its stage. Notice a pattern? After each of these shows started to add more and more models to the set, the show quality disintegrated. Sure, one of them is still a powerhouse, and one lasted for a while. But that's because they were spending good will they had built up with the audience. Dragnet wasn't left on its own long enough to build up good will; so now we have a cookie-cutter show that is trying to earn a place. And now it is sure to fail.
Please, for the love of god, stop tinkering with these shows to meet the teenage demographic! There are enough damn shows out there for small-minded, short-attention-span teenage boys. Give us some stories and something to figure out - you know, the things television crime shows used to be about.
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