this fall, for the first time in a very long time, it seems that we won’t be greeted with a new season of Law & Order, and by this i mean “vanilla” Law & Order, of course, not any of the myriad of spin-offs, and by “a very long time,” i of course mean “20 years,” during which time it appears to have employed every single actor who worked in New York City between September 13, 1990 and May 24, 2010. this is not a big deal in the way that, say, nuclear fission or the internal combustion engine are big deals, but while the show is not as old as i am (the running joke this week is labeling my age as “nearly 40”), it certainly ran though all my formative years. although thinking about it, drawing a connection between L&O and my formation may not be particularly flattering for the former, given that i am a wee slip of a man and prone to enjoying/celebrating many nerdy and/or distressing things. i think there was a recent re-telling of the time i was watching Guinea Pig: Flower Of Flesh And Blood (distressing in and of itself) while eating a massive, dripping plate of spaghetti? but i digress.
ANYWAY, Law & Order won’t be on this fall, and that makes me sad, and even more sad is the fact that two of its spin-offs will remain in its absence… including a completely new one. this would be less weird if the phrase “Law & Order” didn’t figure prominently in each show’s title, but still will remain weird due to the flagship program being axed while a somewhat-random West Coast version of the flagship program that has NEVER been aired proceeds full-steam ahead. sometimes i don’t really understand this country, or at the very least, the arts and entertainment portion of it.
none of this, however, is actually inspired by merely missing Law & Order. it actually has to do with the season one episode “The Torrents of Greed (Part 2).”
Sam, you shall be missed. just watch out for those robots and their metal claws and their desire to eat your medicine for fuel
this whole thing about “The Torrents of Greed (Part 2)”
now, i think we have all seen, at this point in our lives and unless we’re Amish or something along those lines, a multi-part television show episode. Seinfeld famously mocked the concept, but sometimes it’s necessary, especially for 30-minute-long shows: it just happens sometimes that you have a compelling/funny narrative that simply cannot be resolved within the normal length of the show’s episodes, no matter how much you abbreviate it or cut padding. and that’s fine, we’ve all come to terms with it. and we all know the drill: next week’s episode will contain a brief montage of scenes reminding us what happened last week, and then cut to the story. well… except for “The Torrents of Greed (Part 2).”
now, i don’t know how i didn’t notice this before. see, despite the fact that many claim that one never needs to purchase DVD sets of L&O because of the CONSTANT presence of its reruns on cable television, i own the first few years on DVD, and have watched them all. reruns are nice, you know, but sometimes you really need a predictable fix of Michael Moriarity and Paul Sorvino, and there’s only so many times you can watch Goodfellas. i mean, that’s a high number of times –Goodfellas is awesome– but there’s still got to be SOME sort of limit.
ANYWAY, so i was up at 0300 or 0400 or some other 0-dark hour where i might be spending my time running around in the yard attempting to trap skunks, but was instead spending the morning watching Law & Order, and “The Torrents of Greed (Part 2)” comes on. and it has the LONGEST INTRODUCTION MONTAGE EVER. it’s voiced by the default announcer, but it verbally walks you through every event from the first part of the pair of episodes, and gives a slow breakdown of all the characters of consequence. now, it’s not necessarily a BAD montage. this was two hours of television and the plot was a little convoluted: “detectives arrest three members of the Masucci crime family involved in an assault… which leads [the D.A.] attempting to use the arrest as a means to take down the entire Masucci crime syndicate… however, the plan backfires when [the chief witness] recants his testimony at trial.” and that was just the recap of the first episode.
but when’s the last time that you ever saw something like a 5-minute opening montage for a commonly-seen broadcast program? was this still a new, big deal on February 19, 1991? i wasn’t THAT old, so maybe i don’t remember how new this thing was. i don’t know, i was a little distressed, so i figured i needed to talk it out on the internet. thanks for listening, internet dudes.
and now, some random thoughts wherein i rant about the things i like least about various Law & Order franchises, as that’s much more “the kind of thing janklow does here on the internet.”
this is what Law & Order is now? sometimes i don’t really understand this country
some random thoughts wherein i rant about the things i like least about various Law & Order franchises
Law & Order (1990-2010): granted, the easily thing to like least is the fact that the show got canceled after season 20, preventing it from unseating Gunsmoke as longest running American prime-time drama. but that’s a little bit of a cheat. what i probably like least about L&O was the introduction of Dianne Wiest as D.A. Nora Lewin. granted, she followed the irreplaceable Steven Hill as Adam Schiff, but her character seemed so bland and annoying at the same time. plus, what the fuck has Dianne Wiest ever done? she’s always been presented to me as a good actress, but why?
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999-present): i most hate that it’s still on the air? that’s unfair. when it started, it was a good spin-off idea (the specific covering of sex crimes and child victims, much like the next spin-off would be a good idea of covering the Major Cases concept); it was distinctly different in that in focused much more on the character’s personal lives in addition to the specific kinds of crimes; and it brought back Richard Belzer’s character from Homicide, which was awesome. but what i despise is that it’s basically a show where the main detectives are presented as the Best Detectives Ever, go berserk/cross the line/get tossed off the case/generally be shitty detectives who are wrong about stuff in EVERY EPISODE, and then still get argued to be the Best Detectives Ever (sometimes LITERALLY, and sometimes while much less insane detectives are present). they should have long been fired by now, so could we PLEASE stop presenting them as irreplaceable cogs in the NYC justice system? plus, SVU has soaked up countless Emmys that other shows/actors deserve MUCH more. and further, it’s somehow now MUCH more infuriating than the easily more stupid ideas for spin-offs, which is just wasteful.
Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001â€“present): now, i always liked this show, because i never found Vincent D’Onofrio’s Sherlock Holmes act annoying; Sherlock Holmes is an awesome, interesting character. and it would be cheap of me to label the entire current cast, from detectives to D.A., as annoying, even though it’s especially so, since they ran through two sets of better detectives already. no, what i find most annoying was Eric Bogosian’s run as captain of the Major Case Squad, in which he played a smarmy moron who appeared to exist ONLY to dispute anything correct stated by his underlings. this is not dramatic, this is just fucking stupid.
Law & Order: Trial by Jury (2005-2006): it was barely on the air, and so there’s really not much to complain about, so can i hate the fact that it basically did better than NUMB3RS, where math solves EVERY CRIME EVER, but was the one of the two that got canceled? okay, THAT is a cheat.
Conviction (2006-2006): what’s to like? it was the SECOND L&O spin-off killed by NUMB3RS (which, seriously, is fucking annoying), only with worse ratings; it introduced a pair of mediocre actress who i’d have to suffer through on two series each (Milena Govich and Julianne Nicholson are, in fairness, not terrible, but i somehow dispute that they warranted reappearing on other L&O shows); it was focused on fucking lawyers, who have dominated smarmy, lame shows for years now, even though i have never met anyone who wasn’t a lawyer who gave a shit about lawyers; and it doesn’t even bother to use the solid-gold “Law & Order” name. idiots!
Law & Order: Los Angeles (2010-present): that it exists, and Law & Order doesn’t? sometimes i don’t understand this country anymore.