I know a lot of the people that stop by this blog are not TV watchers, but I need my hour or so each night because my eyes are shot.
What I wonder is: why the Big Three or Four Networks seems unable to make crime shows that don't quickly rely on a formula. Is it cheaper to do things the same way every week? Watch a show like Saving Grace and The Closer and you are never sure how the story will play out. It allows personal life to intervene, it takes detours. Starts in the middle. Ends with ambiguity. And I am not talking about shows with long arcs like Dexter or The Wire.
But watch one episode of a show like THE MENTALIST or CASTLE or the LAW and ORDER and CSI franchises and every show in the series will follow pretty much the same blueprint as the first. Why? Is it easier to write, cheaper to make, safer for your fanbase?
What network crime drama does best to avoid this? And why can comedies avoid stasis more adroitly? Does solving a crime put a chokehold on the writing?