RARA-AVIS: Lack of PIs on TV

From: John Stickney ( stickney_jj@yahoo.com)
Date: 29 Jun 2007

TV Critic Lee Siegel was interviewed about the evolving television landscape on NPR's "Talk of the Nation" yesterday.

Someone asked him what happened to the Private Eye driven shows. Siegel said that Cowboy shows were replaced by PIs - PIs by "realistic" cop shows driven by the success NYPD Blue - and that this has since splintered into "realistic" cop shows by actual police in "Cops" and hyper-real shows like CSI, Law and Order, and (in a much different way) The Shield.

His observations about Westerns was the Sheriff represented a man working within the law (while wearing over-sized hats) - PIs fit a time when the law itself was often suspect so you needed an outsider (often sans hat) to do the job - and NYPD Blue eliminated the need for outsiders because they were already there - on the squad. Plus, NYPD Blue often featured folks with no hats, pants, shirts or blouses.

The NPR wesite features an excerpt from his book, a chapter on Why Cop Shows Are Eternal

John Stickney
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