Masterpiece Mystery is airing the latest series of Lewis over the month of July, something which has me tickled pink, because I adore UK police procedurals. Meanwhile, US crime shows continue to leave me cold; I know we’ve got a whole slew of them returning in the fall, and I just can’t be bothered to care all that much. Producers and creative teams in both nations approach procedurals radically differently, and I find the UK version much more to my taste.
INT. POLICE STATION – AFTERNOON
OUR HERO leans into his computer screen, reviewing surveillance footage. THE BAD GUY appears, and OUR HERO freezes and zooms.
Widespread surveillance is becoming increasingly ubiquitous, particularly in the United Kingdom, where it is impossible to go more than a few steps in an urban area without being seen by a camera. In addition to a massive network of state-owned cameras used to monitor citizens, there’s a vast ‘dark network’ of cameras maintained by private entities, all of which can be used to piece together a story by following people from shot to shot.
There comes a time when even the greatest of television shows must be brought to a graceful and quiet end; see, for example, the stellar and possibly unbeatable closure in Six Feet Under’s finale episode. Creators, actors, and producers alike eventually need to move on to other projects because they’ve said what they need to say.
Unfortunately, some shows currently airing have apparently not gotten this message, and it appears they need a bit of a gentle kick in the rump to remind them that it’s time to exit stage right before they get too much longer in the tooth.