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April 2008
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Futile

First reviews are in of DEA, the unreality drug war violence porn that Al Roker premieres tonight on Spike TV:
The Star: War on drugs a total bust

In the end, it all seems so futile.
Undoubtedly, this was not the intended message of DEA (Spike TV, 11 tonight), a new six-part series that returns a spotlight to the battle that once occupied the zeitgeist before terror: the war on drugs. […]
So what you get is a high-octane sprint across the front lines of the drug war without any rooting sense of context. As such, DEA has the pulse of Cops, the heartbeat of World’s Wildest Police Chases, but none of the contemplative sobriety of The Wire. […]
What is surprising, though, is that communities, governments and law enforcement continue to fixate on supply, without adequately considering demand, which is to say, treatment for addiction.
No, not much has changed since drug kingpin Pablo Escobar was gunned down by Colombian agents in 1993. And nothing ever will until this war gets new battle plans.

New York Times: Drug War in Detroit, Macho Style

The program, somewhat incongruously, is produced by Al Roker Entertainment yes, the jolly weatherman and thats about the most interesting thing to be said about it. This being Spike TV, the show is heavy on the macho side of drug-enforcement work, light on the painstaking investigation and drudgery. But its all stuff youve seen before, in shows real and fictional: doors being bashed in by raiding officers; suspects being forced to the ground; plastic bags full of illegal this and that being displayed.
Looked at one way, the series is an argument that the trend of shows about real people doing their jobs ought to be put out of its misery. Every time one of these agents opens his mouth, you can more or less guess whats going to come out, because when enough ordinary, TV-watching people become TV stars themselves, the clichs of script writing and the mundanities of daily conversation merge.

Update: Ah, but check out the Spike TV viewer demographic:

LindseyMorales: “Honestly — cannot wait for this show!!!!”
YDLY318:”This program looks very exciting. I will be watching. I am happy to know that we have these type of guys out there working to protect us and our children. Thanks guys!!!!”
paris5kttbm: “This show looks very exciting!!! The citizens of Detroit should throw a parade for these men who risk their lives everyday to make Detroit a safer place in which to live!!!!”

Note: Those above were supposedly from three different people, all who apparently subscribe to the quad-exclamation-point style of speech.

paris5kttbm: “Can’t wait to see the entire series! I would hate to be the person on the other side of the door when that big guy comes busting in!”
darkside8mile: “The guy with the freedom patch looks like he must have been tanning during the series – “Mr. Hollywood”….”
DottieDimples: “Looking forward to seeing these guys in action!”
rus828: “looks cool”
jprunest: “I can NOT wait for this show! I have the DVR set!”

I’m not watching it. But if anyone does, feel free to leave your own descriptions in comments. And don’t feed the trolls.