Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Agit-Prop TV

Blanket statements annoy me.

For example, "All TV shows are propaganda."

Frankly, that's not true, even with CBS shows, where there is at least one episode of agit-prop per season demanded from the higher ups. (You can tell it's a command from above when you get a character in one episode being a monumental jerk in one episode, then the character returns in the very next episode, and it's like nothing ever happened. For whiplash like this, see Blue Bloods Season 5, episodes 3 and 4).

However, this season I can make you one very exact generalized statement.

All TV lawyer shows are propaganda... Especially this season.

I think it's been a near constant over the past 20 years. David E Kelly was broken by the existence of George W Bush in the White House. As far as I can tell, every lawyer show he's done since then has been less about the law and more about whatever BS agit-prop agenda du jour the writers wanted to push.

Fast forward to the two TV lawyer shows of today. All Rise and Bluff City Law. They are both crap shows with lousy acting and writing -- in one case from a halfway decent actor.

All Rise... my Lord, is this such insulting garbage. The TV show is supposed to be about a new judge appointed to the LA bench. But the first episode spends a few seconds on how she's "different" from other judges -- mostly that she's black and female. The casual racism is very casual, and is even insulting to the people of Los Angeles ... about which I don't care, though; LA can burn for all I care. And while the first episode was mostly trying to treat Night Court scenarios in a straight fashion, it was largely harmless.

However, you know the entire series goes straight to garbage in short order when the second episode is all about agit-prop. And I mean all of it. From minute one to the last.

First, you have to believe that an ICE agent can charge willy-nilly into an LA court in pursuit of an illegal alien. Then you have to believe that ICE stakes out the LA court houses in order to "go fishing" to "get easy catches"...

I'm sorry. I'm wrong. The first thing you have to believe is that ICE is even allowed in the City of LA or the state of California.

But then you have to believe that the "solution" to the episode involves an LA prosecutor, judge and defense attorney all conspiring against the federal government to make certain to enforce the "sanctuary" status of California ... which, if anyone was honest, is a flagrant disregard for the actual law.

This is the same week that real life California released two men charged with rape and murder because they were illegal aliens. So the idea that ICE is even some sort of threat is ludicrous.

This was followed by Bluff City LawSomeone wanted to make Erin Brockavich, the TV show, so it's "small lawyer versus big business" every week. Which works fine if you're Leverage and you want to do a cross between The Sting and Mission: Impossible. But this is more like Matlock -- where the writers cheat and pull out a deus ex machina solution for everything.

I would feel sorry for Jimmy Smits being part of this garbage on Bluff City Law, but apparently, he's one of the producers. 

Even the "villains" are stock cardboard cutouts from the communist playbook. Evil chemical company. Big Agra. I'm relatively certain that they even stole the antagonists from Leverage episodes. 

Both of these would be bad enough as they are for the main plots alone. We won't even go into the tonnage of schmaltz and soap opera crammed into each of the episodes. And of course, the curse of every "legal drama" -- the speeches. The endless, lengthy, "heartfelt" speeches that have no place in a courtroom, and dialogue that has never been spoken by a living person who knows how to actually use the English language.

And while we're at it, let's throw in another bit of agit-prop TV. S.W.A.T.

No, not the 1975 TV show, the PC crap starring Shemar Moore. I can tell you how most of these plots are developed.
  • "Hey! Let's make a story around illegals!"
  • "Hey! Let's make a story around LGBTBBQ"
  • "Hey! Let's make a story around evil white people."
  • "Hey! Let's make a story around commie protesters who hate cops, but make them smarter than our heroes."
I've actually being watching the 1975 TV show S.WA.T. on DVD. Why? Because it was $10 remaindered in the Edward R Hamilton catalog and I'm cheap.

The funny thing about the 1975 show? The plots are smarter than the current edition. The writing is stronger. The tactics ... exist (S.W.A.T 1975 knew what vertical movement meant, and what rappelling was for).

Hell, the 1975 version has better characterization. How is that possible? I've seen 70s TV. It largely sucked. But this is so much better than the current edition, I used it to convince current viewers of the new show to stop watching it.

But you know how bad all three of these the current shows are? Here's how bad.
  • I would rather watch Bull, which is average on its best day.
  • I would rather watch the current thing that calls itself MacGyver, which is barely even watchable on its best day.
  • I would rather watch the current Hawaii 5-0, which makes me want to take a power drill to my ears.
  • I'd rather watch the thing call Magnum, PI, which has exactly one actor I even find tolerable, and he's only there for three minutes every episode.
Frankly, I'm going to recommend a laundry list of books rather than this current batch of suck. Only some of them are mine. But you can check out any review on this website, I'll back it over the current schlock.

Start here, though, if you wouldn't mind. :)

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