One of the constants that one can find on TV at any given time are the procedural shows. These are the programs that you feel like you’ve already seen, even if they are brand new. And in a way, the feeling is a well deserved one, since some of these TV staples have been in existence for as long as anyone can remember.
These procedural shows are a comfortably familiar affair for most people. These include, but are not limited to, gritty cop drama, medical drama, family sitcoms, legal drama, and science fiction mainstays. Every person who watches TV has viewed one of these procedural shows, and most people have a specific favorite that they particularly enjoy.
We picjk out things that suit our entertainment tastes, and we gravitate to them because they are fun to watch. It it familiar and derivative? Of course. But it’s in the familiarity that the fun can be had. For example, I like to watch NCIS and CSI because I can usually guess who the bad guy is in the first 10 minutes of the show, and I like to play detective.
Others like family sitcoms (like The Big Bang Theory or How I Met Your Mother) because they are comforting and have a fun outlook on life. Others enjoy science fiction shows because they usually are campy and ridiculous (like Eureka). We all find enjoyment in TV because of the fun we can have while watching.
So, what is it that makes these shows enjoyable? It’s not the uniqueness of the concept or the way that the show is striking new ground. No, it’s because the show is familiar and instantly identifiable. It’s being able to exclaim “He’s dead!” when watching cop shows, or yell out “THEY DID IT” during legal shows. It’s having fun with the fact that the good guys win, and the bad guys lose.
So, here’s to the procedural show! Everyone has one that they watch (if not 6), so everyone can relate. Having a favorite and watching it religiously is part of the fun of the experience.