Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Law & Order SVU Fans: Don’t Bury The Show Before It’s Dead
Fans of the original recipe Law & Order learned long ago that cast changes can and will happen, and fans coped. In some cases for Law & Order, cast changes brought iconic characters like Jack McCoy and Lennie Briscoe to life. Keeping Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay paired as Detectives Stabler and Benson for such a long time has both helped AND hurt SVU. The upside was that both actors have a solid following and brought in a lot of viewers. The downside is that losing one of these actors can further erode viewership. But one can’t ignore the fact that SVU has experienced a significant drop in viewers over the years. This could mean that viewers are tiring of the show in some shape or form - the actors, the writing, the formula, etc.
Change is long overdue for Law & Order SVU. While I fully understand fans of Chris Meloni who now declare they will never watch another episode again, this change is a chance to bring new energy to the show. It has to be done right, and this is one of those times where casting is EVERYTHING. I can’t stress enough that the new cast member will have big shoes to fill, so hiring an actor that is a well respected big name with a established following is a must. It has to be someone that will draw in new viewers. It has to be someone that both fans and the media will say “Wow, I can’t believe they got ____” and mean it in a good way. There can't be any also-rans for this role, period.
It bothers me when people who profess to be fans of the show are willing to bury the show before the show is dead. Law & Order SVU may be an ailing patient right now, but it is possible that with a carefully executed “transplant” the show may have more life, get new fans, and be stronger than ever. While I certainly respect the feelings of Chris Meloni fans, I also have respect for the fans of SVU and all the Law & Order brand shows who are willing to give this change a chance. So before anyone buries this patient, let’s first see if it can’t be cured and given a new lease on life. I’m not willing to declare it dead yet.
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