By Corey Brueggemeyer, For The Miami Student
ABC’s hit new show, “How to Get Away with Murder,” premiered Thursday to a stunning audience of 14 million people. “How to Get Away with Murder” is the culmination of ABC’s new “TGIT” (Thank God It’s Thursday) lineup, which also features “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal.” All written by Shonda Rhimes, these three shows combined to give ABC its highest-rated Thursday evening in five years.
“How to Get Away with Murder” is the story of fiery law professor Annalise Keating (played by Oscar nominated actress Viola Davis) and her intensive criminal law class actually called “How to Get Away with Murder.” This storyline is dichotomously contrasted by a look three months into the future as four students of Keating struggle to dispose of a body.
I just want to start out by saying this is probably one of the most poorly written episodes of television I have ever seen.
Within the first 15 minutes, the exact words “how to get away with murder” are said three times in a completely unnecessary context. The dialogue in the show is cringe-worthy, and the characters are shallow and unrelatable.
It became strikingly apparent within the first 15 minutes that almost no research was done in preparing to write this show. Regular legal lingo and courtroom conventions that can be seen in shows as primitive as “Franklin & Bash” are sacrificed here for the mass appeal of courtroom drama.
A first year law student getting a job at the defense attorney’s office within the first week of class and the main character using her personal affair as evidence in a case are only a few examples of how this show completely recants realism in the face of entertainment.
While this show may not be a paragon of cinematic perfection, it does offer an entertaining concept that managed to keep me engaged for the vast majority of the hour.
Viola Davis showed outstanding range with her portrayal of the ethically-ambiguous Professor Keating, and the supporting acting was good for the most part.
Honestly, it’s fascinating to me that the network that hosts the Oscars would show three extremely similar shows consecutively that are all written by the same person. Out of all the amazing pilots that have come and gone, ABC continues to crank out late night soap operas to catch as many viewers as possible in their net of complacency.
I’m not saying that these shows are bad; I just think that some TV stations need to try a bit harder to find a unique, creative idea rather than just cranking out shows they know will get viewers. When television becomes more about the amount of views rather than the quality of the programs, it stops becoming an art form and starts becoming a business.
While “How to Get Away with Murder” was an enjoyable hour of television, it was more rooted in soap opera style drama than in the pragmatism that makes courtroom dramas great.
If you want to kick back after a long day and just watch an hour of television without thinking too deeply about the content, then this is the show for you.
However, if you want to see a show that stimulates the mind and truly resonates both on and off the screen, I would try “True Detective” or “The Wire.”