TV shows are primarily for entertaining their viewers, but with entertainment also comes the opportunity to learn about what it is being shown on screen, which I have spoken about before in some of my blog posts. Based on my own opinions, below are my top 5 TV shows where I have learnt more about a type of employment. If you haven’t watched the shows, there may be spoilers!
When thinking about television shows that look at a police or law enforcement department, White Collar is probably not one of the first ones you think of. However, I think it is a clever show which looks at a different side to the chasing of those who break the law. Based in the FBI’s New York White Collar department, con artist Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) becomes a criminal informant to Special Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) and works on cases that focus on white collar criminals. If the characters in this show weren’t so charismatic, I probably wouldn’t have found it entertaining as white collar crime seems to be a boring subject compared to the many other police departments. However, the show is quite humorous, and serious when it needs to be, and it’s this mix which allows the viewers to possibly take on a new appreciation for the crimes of this nature that are carried out and what needs to be done to catch the offenders. Crimes including art theft and fraud are not usually the more exciting of crimes for a show to focus on, but they are important to look at nonetheless, and White Collar is the perfect show to showcase them.
The Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory is one of the biggest and best comedies of all time, and within the 12 seasons of the US show not only did we get to find out a lot about science fiction, superheroes and comic books, we also got an insight into how scientists work. Most of the core characters are scientists of some nature (physicists, engineer, astrophysicist, aerospace engineer, neuroscientist and microbiologist) at a research university or related institutes. Like with White Collar, such jobs could be seen as not being the most exciting elements of a television show, but The Big Bang Theory brought these jobs to the forefront, whether they meant to or not. The show allowed for such jobs to be shown in a number of different ways, including research projects being conducted, experiments being made, or jobs being created from their work. It was all wrapped up in comedy, but it showcased a field of employment that isn’t looked at a lot in mainstream entertainment, but which is important to know about. As well as the show being hilariously funny, I think it has probably also inspired a lot of people to develop careers within the sciences because it shone a huge spotlight on a neglected and vital platform of our employment sector.
I have previously spoken about the US show Mr Robot in terms of the TV shows where I have learnt more about mental health, but the show is also heavily focused on computer programming and cyber security. Rami Malek plays the main character, Elliot Alderson, who is a cybersecurity engineer and works for a cyber security company. When he’s not working, he is a vigilante hacker who hacks different people and find out more about them, sometimes using it against them. A group he is a member of, ‘fsociety’ tries to cancel people’s debt by hacking into one of the world’s biggest corporations, leading to four seasons of high-edge drama. I know next to nothing about computer programming, but from watching Mr Robot I now have more of an appreciation for the skill that it takes to learn it.
The law features in a lot of television shows in one way or another. Police dramas are always a big part of the television genre, but the process of how cases are brought to the court room is only one aspect of showing a criminal procedure. By watching the BBC 1 show Silk, I learnt, for the first time, how much dedication and preparation actually goes into prosecuting or defending a criminal case. Without any real-life knowledge of the criminal justice system, on television shows you usually see a crime being committed, the process of the police finding the perpetrator, and then the courtroom evidence giving by witnesses. Silk went beyond this normal television focus and we saw barristers taking on cases, and everything that was involved within the London law chambers of Shoe Lane. Whether prosecuting or defending someone, the barristers committed so much time and effort to their role that as a viewer I came away from it with a huge respect to this job because in real life it must really take over a person’s life with the amount of time that is needed to take on the cases.
Line of Duty
Arguably the best British television show of the last decade, Line of Duty has grown over it’s five, soon to be six, series and it is now a must-see show whenever a new series starts. It is based on the police department AC-12 which is one of many anti-corruption departments within the police force. Like with Silk, a lot of fictional shows don’t focus on this side of crime. We may hear about police officers committing crimes and going against their own job role, but rarely do we see the process of finding out all of the information of such complex cases. Line of Duty follows the characters of DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston), DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) as they investigate police officers who seem to be corrupt. Over the series so far, we have learnt that their work is more complex as organised crime is involved with their cases over the years being linked up, which they have yet to fully solve. The show brings with it a different sense of right and wrong, as the good guys are trying to catch the bad guys who are supposed to be good!
Do you agree with my top 5 TV shows? Are there any different shows you have watched where you have learnt more about a type of employment? Let me know in the comments section.