TV inspires me to pause and blog often. I used to enjoy watching TV with someone, so we could pause and chat, but now that I live alone this is my compromise. I share with my blog.

Today I watched the opening pre-title scene of a recent NCIS episode.

(Yes, maybe that makes me old, if you believe the online chatter than NCIS is this generations’ Murder She Wrote, watched only by seniors.)

I’ve been a fan of the ensemble characters since season 1, but this blog he nothing to do with the show. It’s more about the genre of the DB reveal.

Far too many shows on TV these days open the show by revealing a dead body. Almost every show in the late prime time television spot opens almost every episode by revealing a dead body, for which the characters then have an hour or two at most to solve.

These opening sequences have a wide variety, and most frequently the scene has nothing to do with the rest of the show. It stands alone, as one or two random people, living their everyday unrelated lives, just happen apon, dig up, witness or otherwise discover a dead body somewhere. As actors, they get the privilege of a speaking role credit, despite having less than a minute on screen time. It’s a great first role for anyone.

My mind likes to think of the off camera work behind the scenes and I’ve often wondered about these opening reveal scenes. Most shows mix it up and have at least one or two episodes a season without an opening dead body reveal, but for the most part it is a murder show staple. I use the term “murder show”,  while others probably consider softer wording, like crime drama, cop show or detective show procedural. The commonality is that they’re all solving murders in one way or another.  Prime time has a lot of death. Everyone is killing everyone.

The massive demand for random and unrelated body reveal scenes must be difficult to keep writing, week after week, show after show. I ponder; do directors and writers buy and sell those scene scripts separate from the show? It seems like a perfect opportunity to separate the entire scene from the rest of the production. An amazing opportunity to give guest directors a chance, or pay back favours by casting your brothers daughter. Whenever I see a fresh new face in a DB reveal opener, I wonder if it was a gift role. I wonder if some writer wrote that reveal and sold it. I wonder a lot of things.

For writers, I have to believe they would welcome creative ideas for this part. It’s totally less important than the show plot, and could easily be farmed out or even freelance purchased.

I think it might even be a neat marketing ploy during sweeps week to have a more famous name director do the opening reveal scenes, perhaps for a whole evening or week of reveals, or maybe theme them in stunt casting and shared scenarios.

Can you imagine Tom Hanks being directed by Woody Allen discovering a teenager who was pushed in front of a train on next week’s episode of NCIS.

I probably should have come up with more youthful examples to try to regain my stance that I am not a senior citizen. Oh well.

In the preview I watched tonight that inspired all this, I saw a distracted man texting while driving, drive over his dead body before the credit roll. A meaningful public service announcement built into the DB reveal. That’s great. They’re finding a way to make them less useless. A DB reveal that teaches us about life.

I wonder if the driver of the car was somebody’s nephew.

Jeff Goebel

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