Kinder Issues

There is one sentence in Kinder’s article that I didn’t fully understand: “But CSI never illuminates its urban context – either its actual setting of Las Vegas or the city of Los Angeles, whose race-based trials of O.J. Simpson and the cops who battered Rodney King and their disturbing outcomes help explain the popular appeal of this escapist procedural series” (50). I’m having trouble with the premise of the “race-based trials” as an explanation for “popular appeal of this escapist procedural series.” If there is a connection, perhaps it needs more illumination. Kinder’s references to cinematic processes and film history as foundational to television narrative and storytelling provide a broad framework from which to draw. The references to “precursors within the crime film genre” that combined “realism and emotional identification” bring Kinder’s discussion of “systemic analysis” onto a larger stage of media study (51). However, the one point about The Wire that comes through in Kinder’s article is that the characters are expendable and “can be killed off at any moment, as in real life” (52). The ensuing paragraph that discusses this expendability seems to apply to only the ghetto denizens. I recall that Kima Greggs, the only female on the case, gets shot up pretty badly; did any other cops get injured or killed? Kinder posits that viewers care about the public issues brought to the fore in The Wire because of the “characters who emerge from the ensemble cast” (52). If The Wire as a “powerful counter-example” that “never won an Emmy” had an audience “less than half of what The Sopranos normally drew,” – a show that garnered 22 Emmys, it would appear as if not very many of us were affected (57). Kinder makes a point about “television’s expanded narrative field” allowed by the concept of the series. However, with all the background and comparisons of film to television, Kinder does not mention the popularity of serial adventure, sci-fi and western films from the 1930’s to the 1950’s.

Comments are closed.