At last count I’ve got 30 shows set up to record every week on the DVR. I’ll need to start winnowing that down soon, both to cut down on mandatory TV watching time, and also because I don’t think I can take much more courtroom drama.
While there are a couple of sitcoms that are attracting my attention this year — The Class has promise, for example — this year seems to be the Year of Hour Long Drama. And big themes seem to be the aforementioned courtroom (Justice, Shark), weird shit happening (Jericho, Six Degrees, Heros) and kidnapping and crime (Kidnapped, Vanished, Smith).
The real big trend, however, is the “last five minutes power montage,” a phenomenon that started a few years ago, and is even more the rage this year. The formula involves taking the last five minutes of a drama — basically everything after the last commercial — and running a mournful pop song or power ballad over a montage of one or more characters as they work out the ramifications of whatever killing, kidnapping, or random happenstancing they’ve engaged in over the episode.
So the end of an episode of Smith might be made up scenes of Ray Liota driving home from the latest crime spree, fading back and forth with scenes of his wife lying in bed wondering whether he’s back to criming again, overlaid with an Imogen Heap song.
I hope Imogen Heap is making out like a bandit herself this year, by the way: I’ve encountered her songs used montagely, in Six Feet Under, and also in several movies. Her Hide and Seek, which starts “Where are we? What the hell is going on? The dust has only just begun to fall…,” is all over the place this year, presumably because that opening line can be used to illustrate so much of the angst, criming, and weird shit that’s all over TV.