Thursday, July 26, 2018

Ensemble Casts

One thing that we've seen more of on television in my lifetime is the ensemble cast, which I really like. That's not to say that shows with specific stars are bad, but you get more story possibilities with a large group. I think the best example of this is Hill Street Blues, and it's not necessarily because of the writing or acting, both of which are outstanding. No, it's because of the various types of characters.

Unlike NYPD Blue or Dragnet, which focused on the detectives, or Adam 12, which focused on the patrolmen, this show looked at everyone in the precinct from the Captain on down. This is something that most shows don't bother with. Just look at any Star Trek show and you'll see the focus on the senior staff, which is why "The Lower Decks" is always brought up as a great change of pace.

Seeing the same events from all sides, and being given completely identifiable, and flawed, characters from all walks of life was just great. I know that having regular casts of this size is cost prohibitive, but I'd really like to see more of this kind of thing. I understand wanting to focus on the "movers and shakers", but showing how it affects the people lower down, or even how the decisions of those lower down affect those above, adds a really nice dynamic to the storytelling.

What do you think? What are some of your favorite ensemble shows?

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