Sunday, February 28, 2010

Law & Order: Global Domination Squad

If pressed to name the various incarnations of the Law & Order franchise, even a casual TV viewer would probably be able to recall the original show and its perversity-prone spin-off, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as both appear on NBC. If the person being quizzed has basic cable, he or she might also be able to name Law & Order: Criminal Intent, the spin-off created for NBC but since relegated to the USA network. And an especially TV-savvy interviewee might be able to name the various cancelled spin-offs, Deadline, Trial by Jury, and Convinction.

But did you know that the Dick Wolf universe — which, by the way, is a dimension populated almost exclusively by hard-driven brunette lawyers — includes both British and French extensions? TF1 is currently running the third season of Paris enquêtes criminelles, which happens to be the only of the spin-offs to ditch the signature voiceover and titlecards between scene changes. But it’s apparently done entirely in the L&A spirit and “will be connected with the Law & Order canon,” according to the Wikipedia page. Meanwhile, ITV1 is currently running the second season of Law & Order: UK, a truer-to-the-original spin-off that includes all the trappings of the original show. It even has it’s own uniquely British voiceover intro:
In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups. The police who investigate crime, and the Crown Prosecutors who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.
According to Wikipedia, Law & Order: UK is the first U.S. drama to be adapted for British television, which seems kind of shocking in that American pop culture is so powerful and omnipresent but which is no-so-shocking when you remember that the U.K. just rebroadcasts any American shows that don’t suck (and a lot that do). So remember that even if you feel like you’re watching too much Law & Order, you could always be watching more, provided you’d be okay with watching non-New Yorkers stumbling across battered corpses during their morning jogs.


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