This is from my previous blog – but it’s something I want preserved. Every once in a while, I’ll post things from my old blog just because I felt they were good insights, and fit in to this new place here. Also, I think this is a good segue into more posts about writing and issues of character, since most of what I have here has been related to gaming so far. Enjoy!
I have never liked the CSI shows. It’s not the style of show, mind you –I love a good mystery as much, and probably more, than the next guy. Murder mysteries get my mind going, and I’m always kept interested. Hell, even the suite of CSI shows are at least mildly interesting to me, because they DO always have a pretty good plot.
The problem is, all the characters in the CSI shows are usually stiff as boards and have the personality of a pet rock. None of them are memorable to me, save David Caruso who has his idiotic one liners. Even so, I hate his guts. He is a terrible actor and his character is poorly written. The main problem I have with these shows is that the characters seem to have zero chemistry with each other. The plots are exciting, but a group of stiff jawed Police types standing around a room doing science doesn’t do it for me.
I’ve been around the profession of Police work my whole life. My father is a Police officer who has run the gamut of police work from patrol, to K-9, to Detectives. He’s an expert shooter and an extremely intelligent man who has knowledge and expertise in a range of law enforcement and forensic disciplines. A little of that is bound to rub off. That being said, I know detectives, and I know they are not the stiff bunch depicted in the more serious crime shows on television. Detectives joke around. They have extremely inappropriate gallows humor built in, because the job requires it. I guarantee you that the people in a show like the original CSI would have had an aneurysm by the second episode, as high strung and serious as they all are. I don’t think I saw “Grisham” crack a smile in the three or so episodes I ever watched.
For what it’s worth, CSI can plot an episode fairly well, but their characters lack chemistry and interplay. Character, as every good writer will tell you, is King. I’ve always said that people come for plot and stay for character. As a reader, on the surface I am always more interested in plot. If a plot sounds stupid or lacks structure, I won’t usually give something the time of day unless I have someone confirming that it’s amazing. However, just imagine a marketing campaign that is predicated on character depth (see – or not – most Oscar winning films).
“See the most interesting characters of the century doing stuff. This guy has memorable quirks! Buy my movie!”
Sounds pretty lame, huh? But time and again that is what keeps me reading, what keeps me coming back for more. In a television show, it’s just as important. A television program needs interesting characters with good interplay in order to keep me watching. I love murder mysteries! Really interesting twists make me say “hey, I want to watch this!” But the best plot in the world can’t replace a character with some interesting quirks and a neat outlook on things who interacts with other interesting characters.
One of my favorite such shows is “Castle.” I love that show to death, perhaps because it’s about a writer, but that’s off topic. It is an excellent show, and the interplay between the characters is fantastic. The main character is charming and annoying at the same time, one of my favorite combinations. Most importantly (and on a more personal note), the characters have interesting and funny things to say. A crime show has to make me laugh –see above about detectives with sticks up their butts.
Guess that’s all for today.