As 2011 winds down, so does the need to tell you about any new programming on the TV. As a matter of fact, a lot of shows start showing reruns, leaving our DVR queue a little quiet.
This week, Tiffany and I share a few of our standby shows. They’re the ones we turn on while we fold endless piles of laundry, bake cupcakes, or pretend to get something done in the house.
My pick is one of a large and successful franchise: Law and Order. Specifically, Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
The original Law & Order has been around since 1990, and at the time of its final episode last year it was the longest running crime drama around. Criminal Intent began in 2001 and ended just this past May. While not as long running as the original, it definitely held its own with a ten year run, and for this TV watcher, it was the one that kept me tuned in.
Where the original series focused on the police catching criminals and the prosecutors bringing them to justice, L&O:CI paid more attention to the motives of the criminals. The show spent time singling out the criminal, showing what drove them, and generally ended with a confession. Unlike the other L&O series, Criminal Intent did not focus on the prosecutorial element.
So, for a TV viewer who likes good court case viewing, what made me choose the one L&O that shies away from the courtroom?
Simply put, Detective Robert Goren. The primary detectives working cases during the length of the series are Goren and Eames. Goren is a detective who has pays close attention to minor details, has a wide array of knowledge, and possesses a special knack for getting into the head (and often, under the skin) of the criminals he encounters.
Regular readers know how much I love the guys with a gift – Shawn Spencer, Dr. House, Patrick Jane – so it should come as no surprise that the character of Detective Goren holds a special place in my TV heart. After all, it is rumored that his character, like House, is based on Sherlock Holmes.
As the series continued, elements of his life are very slowly revealed that bring to light how he could be so good at what he does, and why he isn’t always appreciated for it. As a matter of fact, this is an element of CI I didn’t expect to appreciate; the characters personal lives are rarely touched on in the show.
Aside from loving the character, I will admit that the fact that he is played by the brilliant Vincent D’Onofrio is the biggest reason that this show is on regular rotation in my house. Whether he’s doing Kubrick, playing a demented serial killer, a tormented writer*, or an alien, I’ve never been disappointed with him in any role. Detective Goren’s character is occasionally over the top in interrogations, but D’Onofrio’s delivery keeps me watching.
While I wasn’t thrilled when the show added another set of detectives to share the caseload, it was definitely still watchable, particularly with actors like Chris Noth joining the cast for a few seasons.
Is this show an amazing feat of writing? No. The cases are often predictable, and some lines are occasionally cheesy, which is why I give this show the MacTV rating. But just like my mac n’ cheese, I’ll eat it by the bowlful, even the cheap kind from the box. Low on the nutritional value, but it will forever be a pantry staple.
And yes, I did, and probably forever will, have a bit of a crush on Mr. D’Onofrio.
Are you a fan of any of the L&O franchise? Does anyone share my admiration for the “actor’s actor”, Vincent D’Onofrio? What’s your laundry day go to?
Now click over to Tiffany’s blog and find out what she tunes in to when the household chores are piling up.
Come back next week to see what we have cooking!
Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.
*The Whole Wide World is based on the memoirs of Novalyne Price, following her relationship with the writer Robert Howard, creator of Conan the Barbarian. Random trivia time: Renee Zellweger thanked him when she accepted her Oscar for Cold Mountain. This movie is the reason why.
A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:
GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech