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Friday, December 7, 2007

New episodes of "Law and Order" - how else will TNT survive?

Well, folks, NBC has confirmed my worst fears.

The midseason line-up announced yesterday - one that takes into account the ongoing writers strike - indicates that a delightful dose of sub-par television awaits us at the end of the winter hiatus.

Returning shows include "Deal or No Deal," "American Gladiators," "Medium" with newcomer "Baby Borrowers" thrown in for good measure once Gladiators ends its run. The latter is a take on a British show in which teenagers are shown the pitfalls and pleasures of parenthood by taking care of babies. Here's a more comprehensive look from Variety.

The only silver lining in all this is the return of "Law and Order" in its longtime Wednesday slot at 9 p.m. Not that it matters, considering rarely an hour goes by on cable TV without an episode of Dick Wolf's beloved franchise. Still, for loyal viewers, it'll be a nice change to see Sam Waterston's ADA Jack McCoy finally taking the big chair as Manhattan's District Attorney now that Fred Thompson is making a bid for President in the real world. At least Waterston's native Bostonian brogue won't seem as far-fetched as Thompson's Tennessee drawl.

In its 18th season - yes, you read that correctly - "Law and Order" is one of the few shows that has managed to retain fairly consistent ratings, thanks to endless syndication and successful spin-offs such as "Law and Order: SVU." The success of CSI - and other criminal procedurals - owes a lot to the L&O formula of "one episode, one story" that's perfect for the non-ritual TV watchers among us (not sure who those people are, but I understand they exist).

With its infamous "dun dun" sound to its "ripped from the headlines" plots, it's a show that, despite its long run on television, doesn't seem to get old. Doubtful anyone will be talking about "Borrowers" in 18 years, for sure.

Thoughts? Are you a fan or foe of the L&O format?

--Malavika Jagannathan, mjaganna@greenbaypressgazette.com

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2 Comments:

Definite fan, especially when I turn it on halfway through an episode and can still catch on. But it is nice to get the occasional glimpse into the characters' personal lives and mentalities.

By Blogger Eileen, At December 10, 2007 at 4:02 PM  

Just realized that Numbers has got ripped it from headlines plots such as a PHD in Mathematics living in car ( albeit out of choice and not California housing costs) and slipping into the base ment to ahve baths. believe there was areal case of a graduate who did just that

By Blogger Jagannathan, At December 10, 2007 at 4:45 PM  

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