How Do You Account For The Popularity Of The Crime/Cop Genre With Television Audience's?

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Dee Hamdi

Tuesday 23rd March 04

How Do You Account For

The Popularity Of The Crime/Cop Genre With Television Audience?

In this assignment I am going to be looking at two different crime/cop shows which are famously known by audiences. After watching and discussing episodes of ‘NYPD Blue’ and ‘The Bill’ I am going to use my notes to talk about how famous the two shows are with television audiences and in what genre they fit in. I will also be discussing the two episodes I watched and try to point out the main characters and the representation of the two shows.

Firstly the popularity of the crime/cop shows are very popular with television audiences this because most things that happen in the shows are realistic and actually happen in most of our lives, or we have experienced them before. Therefore this makes it popular to watch as we as the audience want to see how different people react to the same crimes that we have experienced. Most Crime/cop shows tend to change the genre sometimes adding comedy to it to give the audience fun and excitement. However most crime/cop shows are inclined with crime, danger and fights. To gain successful for this type of genre crime fiction, they played with the genre by adding their own ideas to make it popular and more realistic towards their audiences.

Crime fiction quickly became a stable of TV programming as British Television developed and grew during the 1950s. The genre encompasses a wide range of programmes and new angles are repeatedly being developed.  Many of these programme trait policemen, with uniform or plain-clothes, who try hard to investigate crimes and try to find evidence to solve the particular crimes.

Series are those programmes which have the same stars and the same locations every week but which have different stories each episode. Theses stories are self contained, unlike serials whose stories continue from one episode to the next. In the early days of television the most popular series were westerns, but since the 1950’s the police series has taken its place as the most successful series genre. Moreover unlike western it is a genre that has been easily adapted by many countries world wide and has been successful. The two genres have both in television and films, have several parallels.  

The genre itself has had many prime classics including ‘Columbo’, ‘Poirot’ and ‘A Touch of Frost’. But the history of crime/cop shows comes in a variety of forms. The ‘Advanced Level Media (2nd Edition) by Angela Bell, Mark Joyce and Danny Rivers (Hodderton & Stouton 1999) book provides a background to the genre as a whole pointing out programmes such as ‘The Bill’ that features policemen and their domestic lives whilst others feature specialists who work in conjunction with the police such as a forensic psychologist in ‘Cracker’ or a pathologist in ‘Silent Witness’. Many programmes feature private investigators, from Sherlock Holmes to Inspector Morse and others focus on individuals who encounter crime and rise to provide a solution ‘Murder, She Wrote’.

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The two shows also have a history with NYPD Blue being one of the longest running and critically highly praised police dramas in broadcast history receiving many awards since its network debut in September 1993 as it was one of the most successful ones of all time. (Including 4 times Emmy Award winner Dennis Franz who plays Detective Andy Sopiwicz). The Bill has also gone on to become a popular programme since its network debut in 1983, and has dominated the screen with an estimated 10.75 million viewers, and attracting different audiences from different age groups.

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