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Autumn TV preview – ‘Attack of the Clones’

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

And another thing, while I remember. I’ve just had my first article for the Santa Fe Reporter published. The Reporter is the alternative weekly magazine in town, and it’s read by around 50,000 people.

I did a preview of the new TV season, and it begins:

This season, cloning comes to television. The networks’ nerve has failed and instead of blazing new trails they give us copies of existing programs that weren’t great in the first place, or try two versions of the same suspect reality TV idea.

Several of the retreads build on the success of the tightly plotted but heartless ‘CSI’ franchise. CBS launches a new spin-off, ‘CSI New York’ (Wednesdays), with Gary Sinise lending some gravitas to the show. Proving that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, NBC also tries to cash in on our ghoulish tendencies with ‘Medical Investigation’ (Fridays).

These shows are competent but leave little room for character development, nuance or quirkiness, which is why they’re so easy to clone (the ‘Law and Order’ family follow a similar approach). The characters and settings are completely interchangeable: you just need one slightly aloof leader with a black sense of humour, one loyal female lieutenant, a couple of younger earnest helpers, two unrelated investigations each episode, one poorly-lit laboratory (where the requisite ‘science bit’ happens) and you’re done – in New York, Vegas or Miami.

In a little while I’ll post the full article in the relevant section on this site, but if you’re really keen to read the full thing, let me know and I’ll send you a copy.

Posted by David in • Life