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I love television. There are hundreds of thousands of shows, movies, and other types of programs that are available to any cable subscriber in America. I especially enjoy vintage TV shows that are often rerun during daytime, news and movie channels. My absolute favorite genre is suspense. Seeing a mystery unravel with twists and turns is one of my favorite ways to relax. I enjoy it in both reality show format, like Ghost Adventures, and drama format, like Law and Order Special Victim’s Unit. In fact, Law and Order are one of my favorite TV shows because the investigations are very suspenseful and involve memorable characters.
The Winning Formula
Certainly, “Law and Order: SVU” is one of the most successful spinoff television shows in history. It began as a part of the Law and Order franchise in 1999 and has been running for 19 seasons since. Over the years, the show developed a distinct formula that almost every episode follows. Each episode includes a crime loosely based on a real event that recently happened, which leads to the investigation. Investigations often become complicated due to an unexpected crisis like the suspected perpetrator being revealed as innocent. However, in the end, the real perpetrator is found and put to justice. Despite the consistent use of the formula, the show creators often find ways to outwit the viewers, making each episode as engrossing as the last. The pacing of the show supports the formula and leads to a suspenseful hour of television.
Equally important are the characters of the show. Over 19 seasons, SVU had dozens of characters change and develop, with certain effects slightly changing their personality. Perhaps my favorite character was Detective John Munch that was portrayed by Richard Belzer. His interest in older conspiracy theories contrasts well with his older age and belief in justice. Also, his interactions with fellow colleagues, such as sergeant Fin Tutuola who is played by the rapper Ice-T, are entertaining, funny, and sometimes touching. The mix of very serious subject matter and lighter interactions between characters allows the show to keep the viewer’s attention while also not becoming too emotionally difficult to watch. However, when characters leave the show, it always feels like a great loss for the program. Due to the amount of time that viewers spend with them, they become attached and such loses lead to distress for the fans of the show.
Finally, the legacy of the show should not be understated. While the original Law and Order ran for 20 seasons, SVU is fast approaching its number of episodes and has already become the longest currently running prime-time scripted television series. The show has been ingrained into the public consciousness to the point that people who do not watch the show are aware of its existence and tropes. Its success has spawned a line of Law and Order spin-offs and even a Russian adaptation of the show in 2007. The show’s formula has been replicated numerous times, and it has defined the genre of procedural suspense dramas.
Law and Order: SVU is my favorite television show because its characters and formula always make me immersed in its mysteries. Out of hundreds of thousands of shows, I chose this one because no matter when I put it on I can be sure that I will feel relaxed, immersed and interested. Unfortunately, my favorite character has left the show, but I do not intend to stop watching because it is still a very entertaining and suspenseful program.