Re-watching some season two Sandbaggers tonight, I figured out Yet Another Reason why drama more often floats my boat than comedy does.
(The first set of reasons, btw, involved me figuring out which kinds of humour I do and do not find funny — the latter category mapping with unfortunate closeness to the kinds of humour generally seen in modern American comedies.)
I really like watching characters do the thing they do well. I like competence. Whether it’s Burnside planning a mission or House diagnosing an illness or whatever, I can be happy just watching the clockwork go. Some of my favorite X-Files episodes were the ones where Mulder — who, after all, came out of the Behavioral Science Unit — dusted off his profiling skills to figure out what the bad guy was doing. Massive character drama is good, too, of course, but competence can be fun to watch.
And TV is a particularly good venue for it, since the episodic structure allows for repeated demonstrations of competence, instead of just the one big sequence a movie might have. But this, as I said, gives me another reason I don’t like sitcoms: they’re more likely to focus on the characters’ incompetence. I can find that fun, too, but only as a flavoring, not a main dish.
Should read about Mesoamerica tonight. Wanna watch more Sandbaggers. Whine whine whine.