Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Three More Great Examples of Sleuth Television

Sleuth television has pretty much always been alive and well. The mystery genre is so basic and communicates truth so well that it has and always been popular. (The very nature of the genre is the pursuit of truth.) That being said, the past several years have had several exceptional offerings that keep the genre fresh through the new angles they present. Three of those are:

Monk takes the often seen quality of some detectives, that their attention to detail is almost abnormal, and goes all the way. Adrian Monk actually is mentally ill. What really made the series stand out in its early days was that the series was incredibly positive in its perspective. It was a bright light in a period of dark, pessimistic mystery fiction. What it does especially well (and shares with a lot of other detective fiction) is differentiate the detective from the world he lives in. Monk may seem crazy, but he is not depraved and corrupted like the world around him.

Psych is a detective show where the detective pretends to not be a detective. His skill is great observation and deductive ability, something that all detectives should have. His problem is that the professionals around him lack those basic skills. To gain a place at the table, so to speak, he pretends to gain his insight through supernatural means. Where this becomes really fun is when the mysteries he encounters seem to have a real supernatural source.

Bones is at first glance just another one of those pessimistic, gruesome mystery shows that looked at the forensic approach to crime solving. Where it differed from its predecessors, however, is in the personal relationship between the two main detectives. One is a scientist and an atheist, the other is a keen judge of character and a religious man. The progress of the discussions about belief between them (as far as I have seen so far) is an interesting case study of evangelism done the way it should be done.

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