Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Life of Crime! - Anna Campbell

by Anna Campbell

Hey, have you guys noticed the explosion of criminal activity lately?

Well, on TV at least!

I must say my addiction to American cop shows is a fairly recent phenomenon.

Here in Australia we get a mixture of telvision, local, UK, American. I was brought up in a family that mainly watched British imports on our government channel, the ABC. I still love a good British crime show like MIDSOMER MURDERS or POIROT (love David Suchet in that role - he's amazing!).

Before I became a full-time writer, I spent many years working as a captioner for the Deaf and hearing impaired. Suddenly I was exposed to a whole range of American television I'd never watched before. I became a LAW AND ORDER franchise fan and gradually that seems to have seeped over into other shows.

These days, I watch a lot of American crime shows! I get them out on DVD so there's no ads and I don't have to stew on the cliffhangers (apart from the ones at the end of the series!).

There are four of my favorites!

I love BONES for a stack of reasons and not all to do with David Boreanaz! I love the sly humor and the dark irony. I love the geeky stuff! I love that the heroine in many ways takes the role the hero often does - you know, the clever, solitary, focused one who is out of touch with her emotions. I LOVE that she's so clever.

BURN NOTICE isn't so much a police procedural but it definitely revolves around burned spy Michael Westen operating outside the law. Hmm, having mentioned David B, I must say I find Jeffrey Donovan who plays Michael very easy on the eye. Love the way he wears Armani on that long lean body. Love the way he takes his shirt off too.

Who, me? Shallow? NEVAH!

THE MENTALIST is a fairly new one to me. Again a handsome hero! Nothing wrong with that. Again, I love that the main character is always the cleverest person in the room.

CRIMINAL MINDS is full of people who would be the cleverest people in the room if, um, they weren't all in a room together! Again, I love the geekiness of a lot of these characters. And while I mourn the departure of wonderful Mandy Patinkin, there's some nice looking boys left, all the same (Shemar Moore, anyone?). Oh, and the stories are pretty good too!

Hmm, perhaps I should admit to being shallow!

Actually there's a few things these shows have in common. BURN NOTICE, BONES and THE MENTALIST exploit ongoing sexual tension to keep you tuning in. Will they, won't they is a great way to keep a story ticking over. Any romance writer can tell you that!

BURN NOTICE, BONES and CRIMINAL MINDS feature a team of people who are specialists in their own fields and pool their skills to create a whole greater than their parts. And all of these shows portray strong loyalty bonds between the ongoing characters. I love that aspect!

So what about you? Are you, like me, pursuing a life of crime? Do you have any favorite crime shows? What makes one show stand out from another for you (because after all, there's a million of these out there!)? Let's STEAL a few moments and KILL some time talking about TV!


Mary Kirkland said...

For some reason my first post didn't show up. hmmm, well this blog is just the kind I like, all about the shows I like to watch on tv.

Las and Order, CSI, Criminal Minds and Lie To Me, love those shows.

Mary Kirkland said...

That should be...^Law and Order...

ev said...

You need to add in Castle and NCIS and NCIS:LA.

Both are awesome shows! Great story lines and really strong female characters like Bones, and a sense of humor that, no matter how serious the crime, works. And lots of sexual tension.

Bronwyn said...

Hi Anna *waves*

I'm watching Rush as we speak and have to say I tune in for the eye candy more than the predictable story lines and laughable crims. Bones and Castle are my fave shows on tv at the moment but I'll always watch reruns of Law and Order. As to writing, reading or wanting a life in or around crime, have to say it's not for me. My mum's a prison guard and the stories she tells are enough to turn me off the bank robbery I had planned =D
As far as the characters go, I would want to be Bones and jump into David's... Anyway, off to have sweet dreams!

Happy watching!

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Waving at you, Anna, my fellow TV captioner! (Though you're now an ex-captioner...) It's a wonderful job because you get a chance to analyse how a story is constructed.

I got hooked on Criminal Minds and Without a Trace on a recent visit to my dad in America. I love Thomas Gibson. The last episode I saw ended on a huge cliffhanger involving his character. I'll have to seek out the next ep to see what happened to him.

PinkPeony said...

Hola Anna!

I love crime shows like Law & Order, Criminal Minds and Without A Trace. Jeffrey Donovan...major man cake. :) As popular as CSI is, I can't stand watching it. It's too glam to be plausible for me and the lab scenes make me nuts. I don't know who their technical advisors are but they should teach the actors proper pipetting procedures! Do you remember watching a series called "Hill Street Blues"? It was a cop show in the late eighties and very well done.

ev said...

I loved Hill Street Blues, that show started it all for me with the PP's.

And the new Burn Notice episodes are on tonight!! That means I watch Gray's Anatomy on DVR. LOL

Linda Henderson said...

My favorites are Castle and NCIS, the original one that is. I love the fun part of Castle, the characters are all great. NCIS has been around quite a while and just keeps getting better. I even watch the ones I've seen before on USA Network. Without A Trace is good too.

Susanna Carr said...

I watch a lot of cop and murder mystery shows:

Bones (love the characters)
Burn Notice (stylish, fun and a little bit different than police procedurals)
Castle (loved the sexual tension and banter in the previous seasons and I want it back!)
Psych (not really sure if that counts as a cop show, because they break a lot of rules, but I'm going to add it anyway)

I just started watching IN PLAIN SIGHT which is about U.S. Marshals and the witness protection system. It's interesting so far.

Nas said...

I like this post! My favourite is The Mentalist and The Criminal Minds and we are getting a new one now The Forgotten!

Annie West said...

Hi Anna,

Would you believe you've mentioned a stack of shows I haven't seen? Instead I've spend tiem watching a lot of British and European crime shows. I can see it's time to expand my horizons. Nothing like a good criminal mystery to get the brain working. Always fun to try to pick whodunnit and how they're going to be caught. The new (short) series called 'Sherlock' was quite different and fun that way.

Anna Campbell said...

Mary, sorry you lost your post. Isn't that frustrating? So glad you enjoyed the blog. Thanks for saying so. I think some of my recent fascination comes from my US visits! I haven't watched Lie to Me. I must check it out - it's on cable here.

Anna Campbell said...

Ev, I tried NCIS back when it first started and never went back. It's got an enormous following here - tremendously popular and I've often thought I should give it another go. Another franchise I haven't dipped my toe in yet is the CSI one. Shoot me - but I tried the first series of Castle and just didn't like it. Yeah, I know I'm the only female on the planet!

Anna Campbell said...

Bron, Bones and Booth are pretty hawt together, aren't they? I must say, like you, I'm not at all tempted to write crime, let alone commit it! I love Law and Order - I think the writing's so taut. I often watch re-runs here too. It's only almost all the time on Cable! Yeah, I think the eye candy is a given in these shows. And yeah, I'm shallow enough to admit it's one of the major attractions!

Anna Campbell said...

Vanessa, without a Trace is one I seem to go through phases with. I love Anthony la Paglia - hey, did you people in America know he's an Aussie? He plays an American SOOOO perfectly! But the stories all got a bit grim for me. Criminal Minds is really good although I do miss Mandy P!

Anna Campbell said...

Jen, I watched a couple of the really early Hill Street Blues but again, it was a bit grim for me. I went through a major stage of NYPD Blue when Jimmy Smits was in it (had a major crush on JS!) but it all ended up a bit grim too. I know it's not terrifically realistic but I like a bit of glam in my procedural. Like the private plane in Criminal Minds! So glad you're another cop show fan. As I said, I'm yet to test the CSI franchises. Wonder what I'll make of them.

Anna Campbell said...

Linda, I find with the really good shows, I'm quite happy to watch them a few times. I caught a few Bones reruns when I was in the US last July and they were still utterly entertaining. Seriously, I AM the only woman in the world who doesn't love Castle. Not that I think they're worried - they obviously have adoring fans galore!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Susanna, looks like I've hit a nest of cop show fanciers. What fun! I don't know Psych. I must check it out. There's a new one starting here in a couple of weeks called The Glades that looks really great. I like quirky characters too - love the nerds in Bones!

Anna Campbell said...

Nas, I've got seriously hooked on the Mentalist over the last couple of months. Love the way the characters interact - it's not all just Simon Baker. And I love the unresolved sexual tension! I must check out the new one. I haven't heard of it. Ooh, more TV for me to watch! It's kinda bad but it's kinda good too!

Anna Campbell said...

Annie, I'm looking forward to seeing the modern take on Sherlock Holmes. Sounds like fun. I think one of the things I like about a lot of these American shows is that they're nowhere near as intense as a lot of the British ones. Sometimes, I want a mystery, I want some banter, a bit of unresolved sexual tension and a story that closes nicely in 40 minutes. And then I want to sleep at night. The realistic element of a lot of the Brit shows works against that a lot of the time. Yeah, I'm a wimp!

Pat Cochran said...

Oh, Anna, have you ever made my day! Over the past several years
I have found myself dropping my cooking show faves for a life of crime! You have pictured five of my current favorites. Add in NCIS, CSI, Castle, Law & Order, The Closer, and newbies White Collar, Covert Affairs, and Memphis Beat. BTW, you have caught me in the middle of a Burn Notice repeats
marathon which will lead up to the
season opening show tonight! I'm
in crime show Heaven!

Pat Cochran

Kandy Shepherd said...

Anna, I often wonder about myself that I write fun romance but love, love, love watching crime shows (and reading thrillers, too!)
I love all the shows you mention with the exception of Burn Notice, I just can't get into that.
My fave of all is Law&Order SVU-for the plots, for the dialogue but most of all for the characters in particular Olivia and Stabler.
My other utter favorite is the English show Wire In the Blood, sadly no longer in production but I am gradually acquiring all the DVDs (and the books by Val McDermid that sparked the series.)
Everyone raves about Castle, I must try it.

Deanna said...

Hi Anna, *waves*

I'm a bit late to this post. We were at the tennis yesterday.

Anyway, love, love, love crime shows. Just finished Season 7 of 24 and I think I crushed the boy's hand holding it while I had heart palpitations during all the tension filled moments.

Also enjoy Numb3rs (how dare they finish the series, no more shows ... ever! *sob*), Criminal Minds, NCIS (who can resist Mark Harmon?), NCIS LA (Chris O'Donnell ... nuff said!) and there are others too but right now my mind is just busy picturing Chris O'Donnell running.

No, we are not shallow at all. Running takes skill!!

Anna Campbell said...

Pat, how wonderful! Oh, wish I was there to drool over Michael Westen. I find him strangely attractive ;-) So glad you're another crime show fan - we should organise a marathon some time. Sounds good, huh? I keep hoping White Collar will turn up at my DVD provider - I like to watch them all in a row without worrying about cliffhangers! I'm into instant gratification.

Anna Campbell said...

Kandy, actually I can remember us talking about our mutual Law and Order obsession when you used to drive me home from Turramurra Writers' Group! Oh, the nostalgia! I'll be interested to know what you think of Castle - as I say (a bit like you and Burn Notice), I can see why people like it, I just don't! Thanks for swinging by!

Anna Campbell said...

Ah, Deanna, my fellow shallow...uh, athletically interested person!!! Yeah, the man candy is a big part of the appeal. I'm not to proud to admit it (or to beg, but that's another blog!). Thanks so much for swinging by, by the way! You're not late at all! One of the great things about coming to all these great shows late is that there's generally a whole backlog of shows to watch. Love it when I can have a real wallow in a series or two in one gulp! Especially when the man candy is yum, LOL!

Deanna said...

Anna, another blog post could be athletes (result of my full day of live tennis yesterday)

- Pat Rafter in Bonds underwear!

- Roger Federer in the Lindt chocolate ad - have you seen this man in jeans .... mmm .... never mind the yummy chocolate.

.. I'll leave the rest in your capable researching hands.

Hmmm ... yes, more imagining running ... *sigh*

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Pat in Bonds underwear was seriously dangerous for a woman's blood pressure, Deanna! Actually he's an athlete I really admire! Always so self-deprecating and gracious.

Haven't seen Roger F in the Lindt ad but I must say the idea is working for me!

Sharon Archer said...

I love "armchair crime" too, Anna! Castle, CSI, Law and Order, Bones. And I'll add the UK shows, Waking the Dead and New Tricks, to the list. Ooo and what about Life on Mars - now there's a slightly different take on a police procedural!

An oldie that I used to love was Hill Street Blues.

Mmmm, too much temptation!


Dina said...

I love to watch Castle, Law and ORder SVU and sometimes Bones.

Anna Campbell said...

Sharon,sadly, we don't get paid for watching TV shows. Sounds like we could earn quite a bit doing it together (although NO Castle, thanks, LOL!). So glad you're another fan. Sounds like I'm not the only person who loves a good police procedural. Obviously I'm not - there are so many, they have to be popular!

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Dina! Great selection! I used to be addicted to SVU but it got a little to dark for me at one stage. I should give it another go. I remember thinking the acting was amazing.

SiNn said...

I am a crime show junky I LOVEEEE Criminal Minds Loveee it also love Bones and NCIS and CSI Law and order Criminal intent and SVU


Anna Campbell said...

Ah, SiNn, how wonderful that you're a fellow devotee of the glory that is Criminal Minds! Hard to believe Greg from Dharma and Greg grew up to be so serious, huh?

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, thanks, everyone, for a fun day talking about our nefarious ways!

Dina said...

Hey Anna,
I love the SVU only, not really getting into the other ones. Maybe the storylines keep my interest.

Paula Roe said...

Hey Anna - after your post, I have another reason I like you so much ! Looove all these shows (including CSI in all its forms) and have many of them on DVD (just got the latest season of Bones... hoping Booth will take of his shirt in this one ;-)

For me, the character interaction and growth sucks me in - fascinating how the writers layer and layer to creates such wonderfully heroic and flawed people.

Abigail-Madison Chase said...

I watch all the same show as you do. Burn Notice and Law and Order SUV tie as my favs.