When I was a child, I would often lie awake in bed nights, listening to my parents, or my neighborhood from the open bedroom window (I lived in downtown Phoenix, so not only was it always hot, it was always loud). My parents - or at least my mom - watched Law & Order every night around 9pm. I don't know what it was, but overhearing the theme song for it terrified me. Like, I was legitimately scared when I heard the theme song for it, along with the "DUNDUN"s in between scenes, and especially that howling wolf at the end of the credits (which would, if my memory serves me correctly, be followed by the equally horrifying "It's 10 o'clock - do you know where your children are?"). I don't know what it was, but something about the seriousness of the tone of the song, and the overall dark mood of the dialogue overheard from my bedroom plastered in pictures of 'N Sync... it just struck the fear of all hell in me. (Thanks, Mike Post.)
Fast forward to being about 20 years old, trapped in a bad relationship in a bad room in a bad house in a bad neighborhood, but with a good subscription to Netflix... I find myself keeping myself company with Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Vincent D'Onofrio was a dream boat, and something about the bleakness of that reality comforted me. I only watched a couple seasons, but I managed to get past the weird childhood hangups and lied in bed with my depression and my cop show where everyone's life was infinitely more messed up than mine. (Where people get what they deserved!)
3 years later, the love of my life says "No, NYPD Blue is good!" when we're browsing Netflix one night with nothing on the agenda. I decided to give it a shot, and we skipped season 1 because he remembered the seasons with Jimmy Smits being where the money was. Before I knew it, I was hooked, and was always the one to say "Wanna watch another?" Also, that theme song is awesome and the segue music between scenes is funky as all get-out (Mike Post, killin' it always).
It was fascinating on both the law end of things and, unlike I'd remembered Law & Order being, on the character side of things. NYPD Blue developed it's characters and was really good at getting you emotionally invested in them ("AW, come ON, did you really say that out loud, Sipowicz?!"). I was significantly attached to the characters, their plot lines (romantic and otherwise), and just to the whole course of the show. Also, Jimmy Smits showed a lot of butt. It's not that I was really into seeing it, but I was always alarmed at what that show got away with, video- and dialogue-wise. (Little did I know at the time, the show would be retroactively sued for such things, but the case was thrown out - booyah!).
However, through season 4 was all that was made available to the public at the time, and we sadly had to move on... but not after signing like, fifty petitions to get Fox to release the remaining seasons on DVD or sell the rights to Netflix or somethin'. Because WHAT HAPPENS TO SIMONE?!
Also, 15th Precinct dreamboat Donna Abandando
( that hair! that shirt! that... 1990's! ):
Anyway. (Maybe one day I'll go into what makes each of these characters so damn awesome...)
We then start watching Law & Order, the OG version, right from season 1. It had some really, really bad moments, I'll be the first to admit (remember that time Greavey and Logan went to that school, and those "urban" kids were dancing and rapping the answers to their questions? "Get outta my school, you're not cool, I'm no fool!" That, to this day, still makes me cringe). But I will tell you this -- the character of Ben Stone, played by Michael Moriarty, never fails to make me yell at the screen "BOOM! YOU JUST GOT STONED." He is the Executive Assistant District Attorney, and pretty much the #1 lawyer you see schoolin' dudes in the courtroom. He's just brilliant. I guess it's partly due to the writers, but the way he delivers his lines is so convincing and so satisfying... especially when he trips people up on the stand for the win. ;) For all of Chris Noth's garbage tryin'-to-be-New-York-slick-cop (and to be fair, we're only 3 seasons in), Ben Stone comes in and never ceases to redeem the entire episode if it needs it.
And to further my point, Michael Moriarty, from his Wikipedia entry, sounds like a crappy, disappointing dude (some very harsh political views I absolutely don't agree with, but this isn't the venue for that!). However, even knowing that the guy portraying the character is kind of a toolbag butthole (for lack of a better term), it has not in any way lessened my enjoyment of his portrayal of Ben Stone. That's huge.
Also, Paul Sorvino (right) replaces George Dzundza starting season 2, and Paul Sorvino %&$@ing rules... and we just got to the part where Jerry Orbach takes over for Sorvino. Look at his face below -- that face means BUSINESS:
AAAAAAAAAAAAND then, here's the kicker -- we just found out that Amazon Instant Video is offering THE REST OF THE ENTIRE SERIES OF NYPD BLUE available for streaming for free for those with an Amazon Prime account. You bet your butts we threw down the $80 for a year of Amazon Prime pretty much only to watch the rest of NYPD Blue, which we never thought would be available to us. Ever. We're going back to season 1 and we're going to watch it all over again now that Jimmy has moved in.
Life is so good.
TL;DR: TV cop show/courtroom drama justice is super satisfying, the music is funky, people gettin' told left and right, and also Jimmy Smits' butt.
What are your not-so-guilty (ooh pun!) TV pleasures? :]