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How did L&O survive?
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Kaos
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How did L&O survive?
Sunday morning, Law and Order marathon on Sundance. 

Just watched parts of the first two episodes of the series (from 1990).  How did this show survive for 20+ years?  I'm not sure how it ever got renewed after this first season.  If it debuted today I think it would vanish quickly, quietly and without notice. 

The acting is bad (par for the course in 1990 I guess), but 80% the show consists of one outrage-fueled character essentially shouting his outrage in a dramatic soliloquy after another.  The courtroom scenes are badly cut and even more badly lit.  It's pretty strange to see it.  Looks and feels more like a bad high school play than anything. It's actually pretty awful. 

The performances from Chris Noth, Michael Moriarity and Richard Brooks are barely soap opera quality.  Lots of bug-eyed mugging and over-emoting.  Even Steven Hill, who eventually added tired, wizened, cranky ass stability to the over-reactions of his assistant DAs seems to be floundering as he finds his base.

I get that it matured and evolved. Hit its stride when Lumiere (who tried to put Baby in the corner) was running the street side of the show with Greene or Rey.  So many actors got their start and/or guested on L&O it's staggering.  Pretty much the entire cast of Sopranos (save Tony), Julia Roberts (she was also on Miami Vice and smoking hot), Bradley Cooper, Darryl from Walking Dead, Robin Williams, Elizabeth Banks. That list would run 50 pages.

Always liked the show.  It is a staple for me and one of those things I can watch over and over. I think it holds up better than either of the spinoffs (CI or SVU).  Yeah, I got really tired of Jack McCoy's liberalism and pontificating but it balanced him with Abby Carmichael's staunch conservatism and the common sense of eventual presidential candidate Arthur Branch among others.  Plus, even as a liberal McCoy was constantly flouting the law he claimed to love in order to win. It was one of the few shows that didn't portray things as strictly black and white/good or bad.  It wallowed in the grey.  I liked that.

I'm just surprised at how threadbare and grating this show was in its origins.  So much of it is so terrible I'm struggling to see how it made it past season one. 

I went to see how the show performed in that first season.  It debuted in 41st place, squandered a top-ten lead-in (Wings) on NBC and got hammered in its timeslot by Knot's Landing. Didn't break into the Top 30 until 1994-95.  Outside the Top 20 until 97-98.  Outside the Top 10 until 2000-01. First reached the Top 5 in 2001-02 and started a precipitous slide the next season (Lenny Briscoe left).  Back out of the Top 30 in 05-06.  (Those are the Dennis Farina years and the show was marked by turmoil in both cast and crew.  Most of the NY crew had slowly been replaced by Cali expats who didn't really understand the nature of the business). Climbed back into the top 30 briefly in 07-08 before falling out again, never to return.

While looking for those numbers, I found a review of that first episode that encapsulates my general perception. Here's an excerpt: 

Though the concept of the following legal procedure must have sounded intriguing when first advanced, its execution comes off as leaden and contrived. This is television by the numbers, connecting the dots to make the picture. Here people issue “grand speeches,” the sort of TV pronunciations about justice, honor, dignity and what have you that is now dialogue by rote. Here form is chief consideration, resulting in a program that fails to properly function.
If you want free cheese, look in a mousetrap.

#NotMyAriel

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Re: How did L&O survive?
It was the theme music. It contained a satanic incantation that mesmerized everyone.
Five statements of WISDOM
1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity, by legislating the wealth out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.
5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friends, is the beginning of the end of any nation.


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Re: How did L&O survive?
One of my favorite shows. I still watch reruns. I think I've seen 99% of them,, but still enjoy the stories. One another note, the music and noises annoyed my drunken ex-girlfriend, so that made it even more enjoyable. Dunk-Dunk.


Kaos
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Re: How did L&O survive?
One of my favorite shows. I still watch reruns. I think I've seen 99% of them,, but still enjoy the stories. One another note, the music and noises annoyed my drunken ex-girlfriend, so that made it even more enjoyable. Dunk-Dunk.
Ex wife hated it as well.  I recorded and used all the different doink-doinks as ringtones.  They varied a little from season to season sometimes and they varied from show to show.   

For a while every call I got, every text I received and every notification that came through my phone was doinking.  She loathed it.   


If you want free cheese, look in a mousetrap.

#NotMyAriel


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Re: How did L&O survive?
Let's all go to court....