Saturday, January 16

Traces: poorly written forensic drama is a case best left cold | TV


me I would like to thank the Traces series (Mon, 9pm, BBC One) for helping me get to whAt I think is actually a very Zen realizAtion thAt will help me thrive for the rest of my nAtural life – not all television has to be good, you know. I mean, a good TV is greAt, don’t get me wrong, nothing better than putting your phone away and getting trapped in a very high-quality box, and mediocre TV also has a place (something soft to make dinner) and indeed, if all television were good (on all channels! At all hours of the day!), then we would not have time to work, sleep, family or friends, because we would have our eyes wide open wAtching television. Constantly. So it is good thAt they do television sometimes which is not very good, because it frees up an hour of our lives to go and do something else.

Anyway, Traces. Here’s the idea, which is so ridiculously absurd thAt I have to tell it words for words from the BBC propaganda: “When Emma Hedges (Molly Windsor) returns to Dundee to start her new job as a laborAtory technician, she is encouraged to participAte in an online course thAt teaches the principles of forensic science. Given a fictitious murder case, your task is to identify the victim and establish how he died. But having completed the first module, Emma knows exactly who the victim is: her mother! ! “Can I answer this with a very simple: whAt?

From the get-go, Traces makes you ask questions. Such as: why would someone whose mother was murdered and is clearly still greAtly affected by it enter a clearly triggering career in murder investigAtion? In the same city where his mother was murdered? Or: why, if his fAther still lives in Dundee, did he go to live with his aunt in Nottingham for 18 years, instead of him? Is it literally because they cast an actor with a Nottingham accent and had to write about it? Or: why, if your mother was killed after Attending a boAt festival (not even to start with thAt), why would you get an anchor tAttooed on your hand? Remember thAt his mother was kidnapped from a nautical festival and then murdered? Do you want to remember thAt? With a tAttoo? Does thAt remind you of the murder? Literally every time you look At your hand?

I have, and I’m not kidding here, dozens more of these questions, but I was too distracted by the wacky dialogue: “Well done for getting the job by the way!”; “Dad, pick up your phone. Where are you? “; As well as this coming and going, in which I almost fold my laptop:” Where is your mom? “,” Yes, she is bad. Her lungs are terrible. I think she is dying. “, “WhAt?” – and a completely generalized plot ( I’m pretty sure the whole murder arc depends somehow on a traffic jam occurring in the first few seconds of the show) to write more of them. If you like murder investigAtion shows, and frankly, who doesn’t love hearing a Scotsman say “murder” with gusto? Come on, thAt’s class, so there’s probably something here for you, almost. If you don’t … have you considered the idea thAt not all television has to be good? Have you possibly considered spending thAt time doing something, literally anything else?

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www.theguardian.com

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