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Mutation of the Television Police Drama through the Decades - Essay Example

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Through the Decades Television has evolved in many ways since its humble beginnings in the late forties. The first TV’s had grainy black and white pictures on screens almost too tiny to see, with huge cathode ray tubes that constantly needed repair…
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Mutation of the Television Police Drama through the Decades
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Mutation of the Television Police Drama through the Decades

Based upon current adjustments that set would cost almost three thousand dollars today! It is interesting to note that same advert also listed prices for the above mentioned replacement tubes. If it wasn’t already, the Kennedy assassination in 1963 showed the worthwhile effectiveness of TV. By then radio and television had done a flip-flop with one another, with radio becoming mainly a musical formal, while drama and other programming had become almost nonexistent. Television sets in America numbered in the millions and it is said that television caused LBJ not to seek reelection in ’68, stating in response to a CBS editorial on ending the Viet Nam war “If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America”. Color programming was prevalent by the late sixties. (Stephens) Yet neither of those eras would recognize the modern television, or even believe the new technology. The modern flat screen television is solid state and basically TV repair shops have gone away. Cable and satellite services with crisp pictures are the norm and even broadcast channels require a converter box on older sets. Even the set itself is said to be in danger, as those watching television shows via their computers have grown considerably in the first decade of this century. Even the programming itself has vastly changed. From Howdy Doody and Jack Benny in the forties, these days there is almost every kind of channel imaginable, for whatever subject one is interested in. Sports? Try ESPN, Outdoor Channel, and even specialty networks like the Golf Channel. Children are well represented also, as Disney, Nick, and Cartoon Network are all very popular. The Jack Benny style variety show is still around but quite different, with shows such as Saturday Night Live. History of the Cop Show. However, nowhere are things any more different than the police drama. The genre was pioneered on TV by Jack Webb, bringing his Dragnet from radio in 1951, and the show lasted for over twenty years. The show was indeed groundbreaking for its time with the show’s stars rotating between the various divisions. Dragnet was realistic because it was filmed in cooperation with the Los Angeles Police Department and the Department provided advisors. Genres have come and gone but the police drama has been a constant. There has not been a season since 1951 that did not have at least one cop show. Indeed the genre is still popular, for the fall 2011 has eleven police dramas and one comedy featuring a police officer (Mike and Molly). This includes a hybrid mixture of the wildly popular reality series and gritty police drama, the long running Fox series Cops. In that show, a camera crew rides along with an actual police patrol and experiences the same comedy and moments of high tension that a policeman endures during his average patrol. Of course several of the most popular police dramas use a mixture of science and police work. Evidentiary procedure has come into the forefront of the American mindset, especially since the highly televised OJ Simpson murder trial. Therefore the crime scene investigator researching DNA and other scientific evidence to bring the killer to justice works along side the policemen on these shows. Some of the things that they show on the CSI type programs do seem a bit farfetched and police departments are quick to point out that crimes aren’ ... Read More
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