“He’s coming for us.”
And most of us have been waiting. With wine in hand. Candles flickering, eager as if anticipating a hot night out when all we will see is death and murder and mayhem all get resolved with a character who may be the worst partner for a heterosexual female ever but hey. It’s Idris Elba. It’s Luther. So it’s apt that he’s with us for just one night.
If ever there was the strong-silent-honorable in a dirty world-out for justice-but fucked up in so many ways type of guy, it would be Luther. The kind who may go right for the love of the right woman and if nothing plays to that fantasy, it’s that dream of viewers of any sexual orientation it is that they are the right person. And crime shows are where this fantasy abounds even moreso than any drama.
Why am I succumbing to this when I’m a writer and should be speaking about the elements which made the pilot one of TV’s best? (Jen Grisanti has a fabulous article on that). Or why it works as a show? Well. Because the reasons stated above is why it works. The best TV works at many levels but it must work at a visceral level, and that doesn’t mean to the lowest common denominator but it doesn’t mean shoving aside that either.
Essentially, people love mysteries. It’s in our nature, a physiological need almost. ‘The need for mystery,’ wrote American author Ken Kesey, ‘is greater than the need for an answer.’
People also love chemistry, sex, sexuality, or at the least, heat emanating from characters due to their interaction with each other and/or with us as viewers. Put the two together and BAM! Cases in point: Sherlock and Cumberbatch; X Files and Scully & Mulder; Buffy and her Angel. BTW: all crime shows, whether the suspects or crimes are of the supernatural ilk or otherwise.
Death, sex, the thrill of mystery, are all thrills, which, if you’re that type into energy and such, would argue those thrills all emanate from one place anyway, one well of creative energy channeled.
As a writer, there’s only so much you can do to ensure all the elements — except provide material so if that lightning in a bottle happens where the right lead is cast and the ensemble generates chemistry then you have solid material: the structure, the voices, the twists, the voice of the show, the voices of the characters. The more solid that is, the better shot all the other elements have to shine.
Like I say: it’s always the Writer anyway 😉 Oh… and Idris Elba…
And this duo…
“The stage is set. The curtain rises. We are ready to begin.”
You’ll have the whole day to get over your hangover for the “Sherlock” premiere, both in theaters (how’s that for TV success) and on the more humble TV screen January 1, 2015.