There’s that piece of music that makes your heart pump during Survivor. It’s when Jeff Probst reads the votes. The progressive percussion heightens blood pressure and clutches at your throat-even though you don’t have any interest in who gets voted off.
Shouldn’t every TV show have that kind of anticipated tension?
Unfortunately, they do not.
And they call this “The Golden Age of Television”?
Quite pleasingly, Scandal‘s season premiere contained similar scoring. Shonda Rhimes is at her best when her characters double cross or double flip on their apparent intentions. Fitz’s one-upping Mellie’s subterfuge-classic.
Vampire Diaries heightens tension by a lot of deaths and angst. Audiences happily cling onto Pretty Little Liars’ squeezing the guts out of red herrings. And The Walking Dead should be awarded with some kind of fitness commendation for making hearts beat faster (though much of Part 2 of the last season was akin to having anesthetic overdose).
Downton Abbey uses sweeping chord orchestrations with an underlying percussion. It heightens anticipation as well as masks the dark emotions underneath the silk and lace.
Unfortunately on Rhimes’ Grey’s Anatomy, much of the tension revolves around how she’s going to get rid of Sandra Oh’s character. The actress has said that she’ll leave the show at the end of the season. The decline in engagement is due to the addition of several characters-one whom was killed off in the season premiere. Not even a resident who caused said death has accumulated more interest.
Glee too seems to be on its last legs. More new characters.
And of the new shows, not one constricts breathing.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s group dynamics and snappy banter come close, but the danger seems somewhat muted. Audiences can admire the acting talents of James Spader, Blair Underwood, and Toni Collette, but unless there’s a sizeable threat, viewers are going to pass. In the recent episode of Blacklist, characters basically stood around for 26 of the 42 minutes.
Lucky 7 lasted two episodes. As did We are Men. Betrayal seems destined to join it on the cancellation train. As are Dads, Ironside, and Hostages.
You’d think with the omnipresent specter of cancellation, shows would try harder to captivate.