The Closer is a new detective show on TNT; it managed to sneak onto the schedule before I was aware of it, so I managed to miss the first episode. Caught the second, and I think I’ll catch at least a few more of this one. Kyra Sedgwick plays an ace detective just transplanted into the Los Angeles Police Department, where she investigates homicides in her quirky manner while working under a man she had an affair with. She brings to the job her own strong ability to notice the details, her own quirky foibles (she has trouble finding her way around Los Angeles), and her willingness to go off on odd investigative tangents that confuse her coworkers (a bit of a female Columbo in that regard, although by the time we saw Columbo, his coworkers knew what to expect and that he’d get the job done; this gal is still a discovery for those around her, and they don’t all like her.)
They feel the episode with slow-moving music, which may be intended for mood but just seems to similar to too many cheap cable drama series that it makes the show seem abit cheap. But the actors are good and interesting to watch, and at least judging by this episode, it’s more about how the interaction of the cops go and about the oddness of the investigation than it is about the solution to the case.

Not something that has changed my world yet, but something worth capturing on the ReplayTV while the summer doldrums are here.

In other news, I thought that they intended to run through all of Veronica Mars in order over the summer, but it looks as though they’re skipping around. Too bad, as I’m trying to hook some friends on the show (hi Sky!), so I guess I’ll just have them watch the pilot. If they like that, the DVDs should be out toward the end of the summer.

Published in: on June 23, 2005 at 1:20 am  Comments (10)  

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  1. Re Veronica Mars, yeah I was trying to hook a couple others on the show too and have since found out (by consulting the online VM episode guide) that they’re not showing all episodes. Locally (and I’m assuming all UPN outlets are doing the same), my UPN station seems to have settled into showing the 9p wed episode and then repeating it sun at 10p. The first week, though, they showed two episodes, the pilot at 9p tue and then the 6th ep (one of my favorites, featuring America’s “Ventura Highway”) at 9p wed. But then they only showed the pilot sun night. (After the two episodes last week, I kinda thought maybe that’s how they were gonna run it to fit in all 22 eps over the summer.) Last night was the 10th ep and it’s scheduled again for sun night. According to TitanTV next week looks as if it’s the 11th ep both nights and the week after that appears to be the 12th. So I’m hoping that maybe they’re at least going to show them in sequence from here on out. Which will help, but I don’t think it’s the right way to go if they truly want to build an audience from folks who didn’t see it the first time around. But what do I know….

    Re The Closer I don’t get TNT, so I can’t comment specifically, but I will mention that often times I find that otherwise good shows have incidental music that is way more than incidental to me. Too many times I find it lessens my enjoyment of a show rather than heightens it. I’ve often wondered how certain shows might play if they eliminated the incidental music altogether and just had actors acting out a good story. I’m probably in the minority on that, I know, but real life has no incidental music (well, unless someone’s playing a radio or CD) and I don’t think a good story needs such to punch it up any.

    One show I always point to as a show that I think did the incidental music almost perfect was Angel (a little better than Buffy, I think, in that one aspect). There were times it was almost subliminal, rarely intrusive. On the other end of the spectrum, I once tried the updated cable version of The Outer Limits on regular TV syndication and I could barely make it through one episode—the music was constant and waaaay too intrusive. I sampled a few others after that to find that that was “normal” and so I never bothered anymore. The Practice was another show that, while they did not over-use the music throughout, they did tend to put it in at the “dramatic moments” where I felt that the drama had built naturally and the scenes needed nothing more to add to the impact. As I said, it’s probably just me…. 🙂

    For some strange reason, intrusive incidental music seems to bother me more than an intrusive laugh track. Guess I’m just used to the laugh tracks, because, well, they’re pretty much all overused in sitcoms so it’s just become accepted, almost “natural”.

  2. Oh, one other thing… I don’t know how much it costs to put in incidental music, but if anyone ever did a drama without it it would help lower the cost a little. Whenever I hear about a show having budget problems I always think to myself, “Well, I’d start by eliminating the incidental music because it’s just not necessary.” I just think it’s become something that producers feel they have to have because everyone does it. And I think maybe it’s time that someone re-thought that “everyone does it” angle and tried being the one who doesn’t do it. Oh well, I’m sure nobody but me cares. 🙂

  3. OK, I lied, but this IS the last thing I have to say for now… Why can’t UPN show VM twice a week so as to show all the episodes? I mean, it’s not like they have any other programs, do they? 😉 🙂

  4. 1. I’ve also been frustrated by UPN and its haphazard repeats of Veronica Mars. Due to the number of shows during its timeslot that I would watch and/or tape for later viewing, VM usually got the short end of the stick, and I had hoped that I could catch all the episodes I had missed during the summer.

    2. The incidental music on Boston Legal (the successor to The Practice) was almost painfully intrusive with the horrible caterwauling that accompanied it. I can’t believe that anybody found that at all helpful in establishing mood.

  5. The music on Boston Legal does not bother me so much since it doesn’t seem to be during a scene. Instead it seems to be a tool to segue between scenes and I guess I’ve gotten used to it. But I can see (well, hear) how it could be annoying to some.

    It bothers me more when the lawyer is doing a closing argument or asking a key question and that long dramatic note of music begins so as to underscore the point and drive it home that “Here it is, the important point on which the case turns!” I just think that if the writing and actors are good, then the music is unnecessary and actually may detract from the impact of the moment.

    Thought I’d post a link to this article entitled Exasperated with sneak-leak plot giveaways (*) by TV critic Jonathan Storm in today’s Philly Inquirer. In it he points out how the networks give away key plot twists with their “Next week on…” coming attractions. I hadn’t really thought about it myself, but I think he’s right.

    (* Inquirer articles available free online for one week from date of publication with free site registration required.)

  6. I find myself not even watching the previews because it’s gotten so bad. Yet another instance of something that is so unnecessary, but they all seem to do it. Bad enough that movie trailers give away just about every plot point (and Disney trailers give away every plot point), now they have to ruin TV previews too.

  7. Having viewed works on which the incidental music had not yet been added, I think you’d be surprised how empty they seem. Particularly in transitions, music does a lot for setting mood and giving the work a rhythm. This isn’t to say that it’s not sometimes badly done, but getting rid of it may not be the panacea you expect.

    And yes, too many twists are revealed. Heck, I’ve seen twists revealed by the opening credits; the very fact that an actor is in those credits gives away something. I’ve even had twists ruined by the statement that there is a twist; going in to The Sixth Sense, I knew the twist simply because it was the logical thing if there was to be a twist.

    In comics, we have run into an odd problem: new issues are solicited months in advance of publication, and even if the solicitation information doesn’t give away what happens in that issue (“Wolverine versus Cyclops: which one will leave the X-Men?”) it can give away earlier issues (hey, two issues back the solicitation was “Guess which old teammate rejoins the X-Men?” — I guess it musta been Cyclops, if he’s an X-Men two issues later!)

  8. Well, I guess really my point was that if I had a choice between really intrusive incidental music and none at all, I’d like to give none at all a try, at least for a while.

    Without any music at all, I can certainly understand the feeling of emptiness especially when we’re all so used to having it. But I think two things might help alleviate the feeling: 1) retention of “segue” music for scene transitions (not to mention opening credit theme music), and 2) just taking time to get used to the “concept” of no incidental music during scenes.

    The show that I think would be most improved by eliminating the incidental music is American Idol. 🙂

    Lastly, I admit to being slightly goofy anyway on some things like this. Heck, remember way back when to that one-time experiment of NBC (I think) televising a Jets/Dolphins game without announcers, just crowd noise and on-screen graphics? Most folks hated it, but I kinda liked it. I’ve often found announcers on televised sporting events redundant anyway. (Dan Dierdorf in his stint on MNF always bugged me the most with such deep insights as “Folks, THAT was a tackle!” or “Jerry Rice is some football player!” Gee, thanks for ‘splainin’ the obvious, Dan.) I don’t watch near as much sports as I used to, but often I would turn the sound down to watch games. If I was reading a book at the same time I might have kept the sound up just enough to make out if some excitement occcurred that warranted my attention. And yes, there are times when crazy fluke plays occur and you need an explanation, especially involving obscure rules or something, but not that often.

    All that’s completely off topic, I know, but I only mention it to illustrate that when it comes to sound issues, well, I’m probably just not normal, but at least I recognize it and freely admit it. 🙂

  9. The Veronica Mars DVD set has been pushed back to October. I didn’t keep track of which episodes they reran during the season, but the summer reruns may have been the pilot followed by picking up with whichever episodes they didnt’ run during the season. But yes, two episodes a day might have been better.

    If it wasn’t for the upcoming DVD set, I might expect an MTV VM marathon shortly before the new season, or some such thing. That might do the show some good. Still, I wish the DVDs were coming out in August, so that I could introduce people to the show and get them in gear for the new season.

  10. I would do the FLASHING VERONICA MARS SPOILER ALERT thingie, but I don’t remember how so I’ll just prattle on meaninglessly here for a few lines to distract folks from the “spoilage” below…

    Maybe it’s not really a spoiler anyway, though, but…

    SciFiWire has this little news brief item posted this morning…

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel alumna Charisma Carpenter has joined the cast of UPN’s Veronica Mars, beginning with the show’s second season premiere, playing Kendall Casablancas, a sexy trophy wife and stepmother to brothers Dick (Ryan Hansen) and Cassidy “Beaver” (Kyle Gallner) Casablancas.

    I guess the site mentions it only because of CC’s show lineage since VM is definitely not SF.

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