- Joined Jan 10, 2010
Season 3 Episode 17 William and Walter calculate the arrival of the train with the bomb.
How did they do it?
How did they do it?
Except when the plot needs it to be "too pixelated to enhance further".I like when they zoom in on a low-resolution picture and it suddenly becomes sharp.
I'm okay with them using technobabble to do impossible things -- like open a wormhole in space or communicate in real time through "subspace" -- as long as they are consistent within the universe they create. Which, of course, they never are. But I'll give them a pass if they at least make an effort to be, which again, few will bother to do. Heck, most of the episodes of a typical show are written by different people with often whom have marginal awareness of what was in the episodes written by other writers. Commonly a given team will write perhaps one show in four or five.Hi,
Yes, ha ha, and that is not the strangest physics warping i have ever heard about. I did not actually see this program but have seen many others that simply state things and assume you can let your imagination take over and forget about reality. On TV or in theater you can go 1000 times the speed of light if you are the one writing the script (ha ha), and pigs can fly <sound: big chuckle>.
Hello,Except when the plot needs it to be "too pixelated to enhance further".
One episode of one of these CSI/NCIS shows had a scene where the picture was taken from too far away in order for them to get anything more than a really blurry view of the guy's face, so of course they couldn't run their magical facial recognition algorithm that they use over and over and over because that would have made it impossible for them to spend the next half hour figuring out who it was. So, how did they figure out who it was? They used that same image to zoom in on the reflection of something on the window behind the guy and enhance it enough to read the a name off of an employee badge of the guy that took the photograph.
The Columbo-type shows are largely just in the Sherlock Holmes genre where a huge fraction of the plot lines revolve around the main character having this amazing ability to spot seemingly innocuous clues and deduce the unusual significance of them in order to assemble a remarkable chain of reasoning that unerringly solves the case.I only watched a few episodes of that show but I still watch Columbo reruns. That show is fairly consistent but there is some 'unusual' reasoning going on sometimes.
Hi,The Columbo-type shows are largely just in the Sherlock Holmes genre where a huge fraction of the plot lines revolve around the main character having this amazing ability to spot seemingly innocuous clues and deduce the unusual significance of them in order to assemble a remarkable chain of reasoning that unerringly solves the case.
But what is really happening? The person that plotted the crime (i.e., the author) goes out of their way to plant clues, then tells the main character where to look to find them, what they mean, how to tie them together, and assures them that no one is going to question whatever absurd line of reasoning it takes to interpret them just the right way, no matter how many other explanations exist that are far more reasonable even as the main character asserts that their interpretation is the only possible one.
Now, some of these shows (and books and movies and...) do this better than others. Most do a horrible job -- because they know that the audiences are more than willing to suspend any semblance of critical thinking and just accept whatever happens hook, line, and sinker. To be fair, it's hard to justify the time and effort required to really put some thought into a story when you know that it will only have a minor effect at the margins.
There's almost no way to avoid having the plot master tell the detective what to do -- they are, after all, the author. You could have teams of authors working independently on opposite sides, perhaps with a go-between that leaks some information from one side to the other, but it doesn't take much effort to imagine how time consuming and budget blowing that process would be. But I think the goal should be for the author to have as light a touch as possible when it comes to being able to make prescient observations and leaps of deduction that are only plausible when the detective already knows what to look for and what the answer is. Instead, the exact opposite is the norm, in which the author goes out of their way to spoon feed information to the main character specifically so that they can exhibit amazing observational skills and deductive prowess.
The ones I hate the most are the ones whose solutions come completely out of left field and revolve around information that is only revealed at the final moment, making it absolutely impossible for anyone to have any chance of figuring it out as the story progresses. The ones I like are the ones where all of the clues are readily apparent to the viewer/reader and where the fact that they are significant is reasonably apparent. After all, the main character might be at the crime scene for hours, but the viewer is likely only seeing it for a fraction of a minute, so it's not reasonable to have a picture on the wall be a major clue when the audience only saw it in frame, along with a half dozen other pictures, for three seconds. To compensate for this, some of the better shows invite the audience into the process by having the characters discussing things amongst themselves, pointing out the things that they've observed and why it caught there attention, but without tying them together. As the story progresses, possible ties are discussed and partially explored, but the audience is given a reasonable chance to figure out the significance on their own, including revising their theories as more is revealed. I have no problem with red herrings being thrown in, either. One of the hardest parts of crafting such a story is dealing with the multitude of other mundane explanations that almost always realistically exist, especially for the more esoteric pieces of evidence.
Over the last couple weeks I've been rewatching the series Elementary, which is a combination of both the good and the bad (very bad) in these shows. Like most of these shows, I don't watch them for the quality of the technobabble or the investigative reasoning -- quite the opposite, I look at that part of the show as being a comedy -- but I can find myself getting drawn into the characters and their interactions. But that's beside the point. In one episode there is a feather on the floor at a crime scene and this leads Sherlock to immediately deduce that the murder was over the neighbor's bird and exactly how it transpired. But in another episode, someone else points to the presence of a feather at a scene and makes a very reasonable deduction from it, and Sherlock is able to immediately dismiss it as being nothing more than a feather was inadvertently brought to the scene stuck to the back of someone's clothes.
In some respects, I think that some of the shows from the 70's era had a leg up in terms of good writing. They couldn't throw around fantastic claims about what the latest forensic gadget yields. Instead, they had to rely on things that most people would have a fairly natural ability to cry foul if they went too far. The result is that they had to craft their plots consistent with those capabilities. Today, they just invoke some deus ex machina piece of technobabble.The other usual thing is that Columbo was made mostly in the 1970's so many of the actors in that show are long gone.
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by Aaron Carman
by Jake Hertz