Thursday, November 20, 2008

Note to casting directors

Because I'm sure dozens are reading this blog...

Yet I have something to say to them if they were so inclined to listen. And here it is:

Stop casting well-known actors as the villains in TV dramas. Just stop it. Stop! Do you think we're stupid (don't tell my kids I used that word, please)? Do you think we don't know that when Scott Wolf shows up in the third scene of CSI he's going to be the guy the cops are looking for? Sure, he's not an A-list actor these days, but he's familiar enough that we know he's not going to be gone by the next scene. And tossing Chris Daughtry in to throw us off doesn't work. He's not an actor; he's a singer. Of course, he's not going to be the one to sweat it out when the cops drag him in for questioning. He had a few good lines last night, but he was just the surprise guest star, not the jerk who ran the girl over with his car then fled the scene.

This is why I don't watch TV dramas anymore--at least not the police dramas. I only watched it last night b/c I was reading a good book and can multi-task. I don't watch the dramas because "who done it" is never a mystery. Never. Ever. And I want to scream at Gary Sinise (whom I adore, by the way) and his ilk: "It's Scott Wolf!! You know . . . 'Party of Five?' He's your guy. Don't let him leave the precinct."

I'm also not a huge mystery reader, although it was a mystery I was reading last night. Sure, I attended Bouchercon this year, the big mystery convention. But I attended primarily because it was (relatively) inexpensive, I wanted to meet a friend in person finally who was going, and because Charlaine Harris was there. Generally, I don't bother picking up a mystery because I can figure out pretty quickly who the killer is and I'm always annoyed the detective in the story can't. This isn't a slam to mystery authors, and I'm not implying I'm smarter than the average mystery reader. I just don't have the patience to wade through a book once I know the outcome. Sure, I'm occasionally surprised (Anne Perry, for instance), but the writing has to be really stellar for me to stay engaged otherwise.

The mystery series I'm reading currently is so good that I don't even care about the solving, though. It's by Phil Rickman and is about a female vicar in England (do they have "vicars" elsewhere?) who becomes an exorcist for the church. It's not anywhere near as creepy as it sounds and the writing is just. so. incredible. that I forget to try to figure out who the bad guys are. It's a thoroughly engaging read that goes beyond any mystery series or author I've ever read before.

Maybe that's what the problem is with "CSI," "Law & Order," and other police dramas: the writing needs to outshine the casting. If I were so into the story that I don't care when Scott Wolf comes into the scene, then I'd be engaged enough to care about how the mystery gets solved from there or how the characters interact with each other or what the dialog is like. Great dialog will keep me reading or watching virtually anything. Thus my love of "Buffy"--I didn't watch every single blasted episode of that series to find out if Buffy and Angel stay together or if Spike ever wins her over. I watched it because I loved the dialog. It was brilliant.

But I digress. Back to the casting directors: Stop. Seriously. Please. You're more insulting than reality shows. Then again, if I'm not watching you, I can be reading more, can't I? Or waiting for Joss Whedon's new show, "Dollhouse," to premier in February.

So nevermind. As you were. Just be aware you're not fooling any of us.

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