Thursday, November 18, 2010

Boob Tube Topography

(Click to open an enlargement)

Other than the fact that The Golden Girls was chosen over Miami Vice to represent Florida, what astounds me most about Kent State University scholar Andrew Shears’ recent map (above) associating U.S. states with the TV shows that may or may not represent them best, is that two of those programs--Jimmy Stewart’s Hawkins (1973-1974), about a wily West Virginia defense attorney, and Ken Howard’s Depression-era crime-fighting series, The Manhunter (1974), set at least partly in Idaho--are pretty darn obscure. I would be surprised if anyone younger than 40 remembers them. As far as crime dramas go, I’m less surprised to see In Plain Sight (New Mexico), In the Heat of the Night (Alabama), Memphis Beat (Tennessee), The Wire (Maryland), Justified (Kentucky), Hawaii Five-O (Hawaii), and Murder, She Wrote (Maine) on this map.

Of course, if I’d been in charge of putting this project together, NYPD Blue might well have taken the place of Seinfeld to represent New York, The Rockford Files would certainly have substituted for Baywatch in California, and Longstreet would’ve been tapped to represent Louisiana, rather than the lame Billy the Exterminator.

Subsequent to the release of his original “United States of Television” map, Shears altered his associations a bit to represent “popular feedback.” In the illustration’s second incarnation, Memphis Beat has been replaced by The Grand Old Opry, Breaking Bad has been substituted for In Plain Sight, and Hill Street Blues has bumped Roseanne from Illinois. Oh, and Miami Vice has kicked The Golden Girls to the curb.

What do you think? Are there any TV crime or mystery series you would suggest substituting for some of the shows that already appear on this map? Suggest changes in the Comments section of this post.


Bill Cameron said...

Oh, Lord, we have got to get something better going for Oregon.

Kiwicraig said...

I stumbled across IN PLAIN SIGHT on late night TV here in New Zealand recently, and really enjoy the show. I think it's one of those underrated shows with some good writing and characters.

Having said that, BREAKING BAD is pretty top notch too, so can't really complain about that.

NYPD Blue is hard to go past for NYC, as good as Seinfeld is. Friends of course would be another strong NYC contender, along with the Law & Order series.

Magnum PI for Hawaii? Probably my generation, and when I grew up (mid 80s to mid 90s), but that always was the show I most associated with your polynesian state, even if Hawaii 5-0 has Hawaii in the title...

There was also a pretty good cop show set in New Orleans that he doesn't mention (it didn't last long, unfortunately) that I also saw on late night NZ TV - K'Ville, starring Cole Hauser (who I always associate with Dazed and Confused) and Anthony Anderson. Seemed a good show - but obviously one of those that was cancelled before it got much of a chance, unfortunately.

Austin Carr said...

Billy the Exterminator is one of the best shows on television. Suspense! Terror! Fights to the death.

J. Kingston Pierce said...

I agree with Kiwicraig, that K-Ville was an excellent show, cancelled well before its time.


Michael Carlson said...

Bourbon Street Beat for NO?
Bonanza for Nevada.
26 Men or Tombstone Territory for Ariz
Crime Story for Chicago (or Las Vegas!
Law and Order for NY

Anonymous said...

Ugh. They would have to pick a show about two people with no self control to represent my home state of Arkansas. Honestly, they're an embarrassment.

Jane said...

Baywatch? How about Boomtown or The Streets of San Francisco. Maybe CA needs two--one for No Cal and one for So Cal. But seriously, Baywatch?

J. Kingston Pierce said...

Hey, Michael:

Yes, Bourbon Street Beat might be another excellent series to represent New Orleans ... except that it was shot entirely on the Warner Bros. lot in Los Angeles.