Friday, April 20, 2007

Law & Order To End?

It appears that Law & Order may be cancelled due to low ratings. While I hope that this does not occur, I think I know why even good shows like this can be cancelled.

There three kinds of television shows. Some shows have a constant continuation in which you cannot miss a single episode. If you miss an episode, you may not know what happened to cause a character to be hurt or killed. An example of this would be The Sopranos.

The second kind of show is one that has both an internal conflict that gets resolved in each episode while allowing the audience to see the evolving story of the characters. Shows like NYPD Blue would fit this category. On NYPD Blue, there are several cases that are solved by the end of each episode. In addition, we see how the lives of the detectives change with relationships, marriages, and deaths of loved ones. While you can watch random episodes of NYPD Blue to see how they solve the crimes, you will be confused as to what has happened in the personal lives of those detectives if you see the episodes out of order.

The third kind of show is one in which every episode has an internal conflict and resolution that does not affect any other episode. These shows can be watched in any order. That is why I love Law & Order. I love watching an episode begin with a crime and end with a criminal going to jail. You can watch the episodes in any order without missing something that you needed to see in a previous episode. But the appeal of that is also potentially the show’s downfall.

While I watch the show almost daily, I watch the reruns of the show instead of the new episodes. Since each show can be viewed individually, there is little appeal to see a brand new episode if you have so many reruns to watch. I have only developed an interest in the show in recent years and can see an older episode each day. The only difference between seeing an older episode and a new one is that the new episodes do not have Jerry Orbach, who died in 2004.

This is difficult because even if I had the ability to give the producers of the show advice, I have none to give them. They make the show the way that I like it. With 17 seasons of the show, there are so many reruns that can take someone months to watch. I feel that the show’s true appeal is from the fact that there is no need to watch new episodes if have so many reruns to see.


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