The Reinvention Of The Crime Procedural: 5 Shows Doing It Right

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Arrow
Jesse’s Pick: Arrow
One of the most common emerging twists on the television procedural is to make the new shows superpowered. Most of the current crop, whether it's ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or The CW's Arrow, involve a (super)villain or mystery of the week that the comic book inspired crew must then overcome. Well, AOS seems like it's still trying to figure out what it is, while the series based on DC's superhero has successfully used the episodic formula to produce an exciting season and a half of TV. Just last night, Oliver Queen completed a mission to Moscow while his sidekick had another one-episdoe run-in with Floyd Lawton a.k.a. Deadshot. Without the 'headlines' to pluck from (like Law & Order, the king of procedurals), it helps that the writers have such a rich source to turn to for stories each week, whether it's bringing in Green Arrow allies or villains from Batman's Rogues Gallery.

Already in this young season, Oliver and his crime-fighting crew have defeated a bunch of copycat Hoods (vaguely similar to those in The Dark Knight), The Dollmaker and a member of The Leagues of Assassins. Sure, Arrow also contains its fair share of serialized storytelling but let's be honest, what procedural doesn't also develop its characters and narratives over time as the adversaries are thwarted and cases are solved? Law & Order doesn't count. It stands to reason that The CW's Flash will follow the same formula as the series providing it a back-door pilot but Marvel's upcoming shows on Netflix will probably opt for a more serialized approach based on the streaming network's model and the fact that they're all building towards The Defenders mini-series. Still, prepare for a lot more super-procedurals on your small-screens.


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