Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why Did The Killing Suck So Much?

We watch a lot of tv at the PTU offices (with the exception of Bottle). The 15 inch monitors that hover over all of our desks as we toil away at crafting that perfect post that will touch the hearts and minds of millions are always tuned into the latest in sports and tv shows. One such show that Snoot and I began watching last year was AMC's The Killing. AMC has developed a reputation as the basic cable home for quality, thought provoking and kick-ass drama but, for many reasons, The Killing sucks. Big time. And it started out so promising too.

Based on a Swedish show, the premise revolved around the murder of a teenage girl, the ensuing investigation and the aftershocks felt by the surrounding community as well as the girl's grieving family. It was set in a very dreary, and very, very rainy Seattle, employed a cast of great actors and had a seemingly fool proof dramatic gimmick. So what the hell happened? How'd show runner Veena Sud and her writers fumble what seems like such an easy touchdown of a show? As only worthwhile character Holder once said: "It starts at the top!"

  • Head writer Veena Sud seemed to think of this show as above most procedural crime shows (i.e. CSI, NCIS, Law & Order) and would use this as a defense whenever people would point out that her show didn't, ya know, make sense, or the mystery just wasn't interesting. She also used this refrain in response to the uproar over last season's finale. Instead of coming through on their promise to reveal Rosie Larsen's killer, they instead pulled some BS about Holder suddenly becoming corrupt (a plot line that was quickly abandoned). The whole "this isn't your normal tv show" was just a cop out to avoid things like a sensible plot or an entertaining storyline. It would sometimes almost be deep, or touch on something a little deeper than the normal cop show, but would then instead spend 45 minutes on a subplot that had nothing to do with anything like female circumcision or this guy.

  • There were waaaaay too many red herrings. This is well documented by the snarky bloggy types, but every fucking episode ended with an ultra dramatic montage, with that ever increasingly nervous music that just screams "hurry up and get to next week's plot point, Mad Men is almost on". They'd close up on exactly who looked like must have been the culprit....and then the next week of course it wasn't them for some insanely stupid reason. Of course, you have to keep them guessing but after the 18th tiime this happened, it was just silly.

  • The show was too unrealistic for even television standards. You have to suspend your disbelief whenever you're watching a fictional movie or show, but this show might as well have had fairies riding unicorns trying to crack the case. Again, some of the show's few defenders will argue that this was a pulpy show not meant to be taken all that serious. Except it also tried to be a serious show, with ultra realistic values (again with the "not your normal tv show") but also wanted to be a wacky, out there show when it couldn't come up with any better, plausible ideas.

  • The writers were just lazy. Really, really lazy. Kind of like how lazy I'm being writing these couple sentences.

  • The one saving grace of the show was top 5 wigger Detective Holder, who was almost always the high point of the hour. Here's hoping that Joel Kinneman finds a new home on a much better show in the not too distant future.

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