Sometimes The Sick Violence On TV Just Becomes Too Much

The first scene in a new NBC summer drama series has a small boy gazing sadly upon the apparently dead body of his mother whose eyes have been cut out.

Welcome to summer on NBC.

This show called “The In-Between” -- about a psychic who helps the Seattle police department solve heinous crimes -- is another in a long line of TV shows that make you just want to give up on TV altogether.

Elsewhere in the first two episodes of “The In-Between” that NBC provided for preview, more glimpses of empty eye sockets, accompanied by a coroner's in-depth description of how this victim's eyes were removed.

At one point in the series premiere, airing Wednesday night, a child ghost describes in detail and at great length the feeling of satisfaction she felt when she drowned a baby.



In the second episode, a kidnaper imprisons a small boy in a storage locker and leaves him to bleed drop by drop so he will die in as excruciating a manner as is biologically possible. Here too, this show's audience (if any) will be required to wallow in this man's sadism as he describes his methods and motivations for killing this boy in this way.

The title of “The In-Between” isn’t even made clear. At some point in the second episode, there is an indication that it may refer to the space between death and eternal rest in which restless spirits roam -- and make criminal mischief (or worse) -- until their “final destinations” are somehow determined.

But who knows? And more to the point, who cares?

A person would have to be a sadist or masochist on par with this show's many revolting characters and/or the people who come up with and produce this kind of valueless mess to actually sit through five minutes of a show like this, much less a full hour.

The restless spirits in this show make their presences known to only one person, this psychic named Cassie (Harriet Dyer, pictured above). One of her fathers (she was raised by a gay couple) is a homicide detective who applies her visions to solving crimes. For no apparent reason, this Seattle detective character is an Englishman.

Cassie herself is a bartender, which may or may not be an appropriate job for her because early in the premiere episode she is shown to be a serious alcoholic. But then this situation evaporates and is never implied again, which must rank as the fastest, most complete recovery in the history of 12-step programs.

She must also be the world's most successful bartender because the craftsman-style house in which she lives alone is the kind of dream house the whole world seems to pine for (at least according to the home-seekers on “House Hunters”).

Yes, like psychics and mediums from all over the world of entertainment -- from “The Sixth Sense” to “Long Island Medium” -- Cassie sees dead people. She also hears them, converses with them, and sometimes imagines herself in their place as they are being kidnapped or murdered.

If nothing else, this show will make you happy you are not a psychic because encountering dead people -- at least one of whom is an executed serial killer -- seems to be a stressful way to live one's life.

So, for that matter, is working as a TV critic when you find yourself spending a spring morning watching an upcoming TV show in which people's eyes are cut out, children are tortured and various killers are seen roaming the northwest seeking revenge (which happened to be the storyline in both of the first two episodes of this series).

On the other hand, “The In-Between” would be sad and depressing no matter what time of day you choose to watch it. The best preventative measure for that: Choose not to.

“The In-Between” premieres Wednesday (May 29) at 10 p.m. Eastern on NBC.

5 comments about "Sometimes The Sick Violence On TV Just Becomes Too Much".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, May 28, 2019 at 1:01 p.m.

    For me, the line was crossed many years back with all the torture scenes in the program Criminal Minds. Content need not contain gore to be still considered too disturbing for mass audiences. But your point is extremely valid.

  2. Bill Shane from Eastlan Ratings, May 28, 2019 at 1:21 p.m.

    TV shows, movies, video games are all following the same path.  The world is becoming desensitized to the cruelity heaped onto the character victims as well as the viewing audience. I'm sure there is a group of people out there that believe the gorier, the better.  By the way, I assumed the title of the show "The In-Between" to refer to Cassie's character as she is the go between of the living and the dead.  I think you're over-thinking it.

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 28, 2019 at 3:49 p.m.

    As I point out in my recent book, "TV Now and Then", when the three broadcast TV networks owned 90% of the primetime TV audience and they went whole hog into violent fare---as happpened in the late 1950s ---the public became satiated with this type of programming and, suddenly, most of the violent shows lost many weekly viewers and were cancelled. These days, with 200 channels available per viewer as opposed to five or six, with three dominant---most people don't watch a given episode of a violent show and, as a result, they aren't as overloaded as one might think with such content. There's just too much else to watch---luckily for us.

  4. John Grono from GAP Research, May 28, 2019 at 7:19 p.m.

    I'm with you Adam.

    I can't bear to watch Congress or the Senate.

  5. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, May 28, 2019 at 9:55 p.m.

    I trust your judgement, Adam. Didn't like the promos. You sealed it.

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