I wrote an article a while ago for another site, but was just reminded of it tonight. It was an article about the growing number of graphic imagery they show on TV crime dramas all the time now.
I have the movie JFK on, muted, because there's never anything on TV on Saturday nights, and I just peeked over for a second and at that moment, they showed a tragic, graphic real-life scene that upsets me to this day.
Even though it happened 44 years ago, the image of RFK lying on the floor, his bloodied head cradled in someone's hands and his eyes open, is still so disturbing to me, I can't look at it. This was the scene that came on the screen when I looked.
One of my favorite shows, Criminal Minds, has changed since it started on network television. There was always a crime committed of course; however, recently they began to show the actual crime, from start to finish, using extremely graphic violence. It began with the first show a couple of seasons back, and has continued.
I am not a prude and I don't have a weak stomach, but I don't feel this show needed to change drastically from what it once was. It is about a behavior analysis unit who finds the criminal by analyzing the crime scene to figure out what type of person commits these sorts of crimes. For me, and many others, evident by the show's popularity, this was an interesting and entertaining concept for a crime drama.
Showing the gory details of the crime is similar to overkill, no pun intended. Many people don't need to see a crime to get the idea of what happened to the victim. Writers did not need to write this violence into the script for its current fans, and I cannot understand why they are doing so now. Perhaps they are trying to attract a bigger audience, but in doing so, for me they have cheapened the show from what it used to be.
It is similar to what has been happening over the last several years with the CSI programs. The show used to be all about gathering the evidence and finding the perpetrator through clues found in that evidence. They began showing the graphic violence several years ago on the original CSI show.
I remember the night I first noticed it. It was about a man who committed suicide, staging it to look like murder, so his family would collect the life insurance. They figured out that the man placed a knife in between a door and the hinge, blade side out, and repeatedly backed into the knife, until it killed him. That idea was bad enough, but the writers or producers decided to show the audience how he did it. They did not only show it once. They showed it several times during the course of an hour. I had to look away each time. That is not entertainment for me. In my opinion, that is something I would expect to see in a horror film, not in the top-rated drama on television.
What disturbs me almost as much as the graphic violence they show, is the belief that the writers are trying to keep up with the viewing public. I believe that watching violence on television does make you immune to the violence and after a while, a little violence is not enough. It has to be bloodier, gorier, and more graphic. I don't watch the original CSI as faithfully as I once did.
Now, 24 was different for me. Number one, because of Kiefer Sutherland and Number Two, it was quick and to the point, and over almost as soon as it started.
Anyone else notice this trend?