A glimmer of light on TV

A friend of mine has been telling me for years about how much he likes a particular TV show.

Last weekend, my wife Wendy and I became big fans of the show in very short order.

It began when Wendy stayed up later than me on Friday night, and ending up watching an episode. The next day she came to me and said, “have you heard of the show, ‘Blue bloods?’ I watched it last night and it’s really good.”

“I have definitely heard of it,” I said. “That’s that show my friend has been talking about for a long time.”

Wendy suggested we watch the series’ pilot episode on Netflix. We did, and before the weekend was over, we had watched several more episodes.

For anyone unfamiliar with “Blue Bloods,” the show has been running for six seasons on CBS and airs Friday at 9 p.m. central. It’s about members of the Reagan family, who live in New York City and are each in some way involved in law enforcement or the judicial field.

Several great characters are highlighted, including police commissioner Frank Reagan (played by Tom Selleck), his sons Danny (a detective, played by Donnie Wahlberg) and Jamie (a young cop, played by Will Estes), his daughter Erin (an assistant district attorney, played by Bridgette Moynahan) and his father Henry (a retired officer and former police commissioner, played by Len Cariou). Episodes are shot on location in New York and story lines are modern, pertinent and anything but boring.

So, OK, there are a lot of shows like that out there, right? Maybe, but what stands out about this one is the way it clearly illustrates how it’s not only possible to make a show without a bunch of excess and gratuitous imagery, language and innuendo, it’s possible to make a darn good one.

One of Wendy’s comments was, “there’s nothing vile to deal with.”

Indeed. And what a pleasure to not have to feel uncomfortable when watching a popular television program.

Of course, I understand that a lack of such content isn’t what sells best these days, but I like to think that the dozens of Bible verses that tell us to shield our eyes, ears and overall being from “vile” stuff are there for a reason (see Matthew 6:22, Galations 5:19-21, Psalm 101:3 and many, many more).

But I also understand that the reason that which is vile sells so well is that most people aren’t all that interested in using the Bible as a reference manual for behavior – even those who regularly attend church.

Heck, most people don’t even know (or care) what the Bible says, let alone have any leaning toward acting upon its words.

But I digress – back to “Blue Bloods.”

It really is amazing to watch a cop show that chronicles murder, rape, drugs and stuff like that and not have to endure lots of “realistic” overkill (that doesn’t actually enhance the viewing experience, but actually takes away from it and becomes a distraction). Miraculously, the show’s writers, producers and directors somehow come up with an end result that’s enjoyable without all that visible and audible chum.

I went to the CBS website and sent the powers-that-be a thank-you message for the very reasons I’ve outlined here. What Blue Bloods represents is not the norm, and I wanted them to know I appreciated that.

And I should mention that I really, really like the Danny Reagan character. Tough as nails, but as wiley as a fox and entirely tuned in to his duty and standing within the city.

And Selleck has never been in a better role; Frank Reagan is the epitome of a wise, experienced civil servant who has spent years building a solid understanding of exactly what his role is.

Maybe it took me a while, but I’m all in now and I understand what my friend has been trying to tell me all these years, and why the show has been rated higher than almost any other scripted show in the history of Friday night TV (and has long been one of the top-rated shows of any night).

Anyway, Blue Bloods has been running on CBS for six seasons and its seventh season begins in a couple of weeks (Fridays at 9 p.m. central).

Prior to the new season, there were already more than 130 episodes in the hopper. I see that as plenty of opportunities to make good use of Netflix.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. His columns are posted online at www.houstonherald.com. Email: ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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