We finally got our DVDs of THE GOOD WIFE and we've been watching steadily. Just finished S1 disk 3 last night. What a deftly written show. You almost wouldn't think it was on broadcast. I love a TV show that's written for an audience who's ready to pay attention. Nothing is said twice, and many things aren't completely said.
Of course, it's inevitable that it's essentially a detective show. These days, you can have any kind of hero on TV, so long as they solve crimes. You can have a lawyer show or a doctor show, so long as they solve mysteries.
There's almost a template for a high quality broadcast show. A TV show wants to delve into its characters, and that means story arcs. But viewers want to be able to tune into any one episode and get 45 minutes of entertainment. How do you square the circle? The way VERONICA MARS did. Every episode has an episodic A story that entirely begins and ends over the course of the episode. It has an interpersonal B story that gets resolved by the end of the episode, too, but is part of a longer dramatic arc. And there are a few beats allocated to the show's uberplot -- in this case, the political and legal battles of Alicia's husband.
Within that template, the show is subtle. Alicia Florrick is intentionally hard to read. Does she want her husband back? She doesn't seem too sure. She'll defend him against an outsider but will barely give him a smile when they're alone. What Alicia and the other characters leave unsaid is at least as important as what they say.
Labels: watching tv