American television viewers love to watch people being murdered. We love to watch murders being solved.
Killers abound across the schedule. There’s only one hour a week on the broadcast networks’ fall schedules that won’t regularly feature murder in one fashion or another. Some hours feature two deadly shows. Some hours feature three.
And that’s not counting the unending mayhem on cable.
If the real population was being murdered at the same rate as the TV population, overpopulation would be the least of our worries.
The mayhem continues this summer with shows that try to break the formula a bit. ABC’s “Motive” (Thursdays, 8 p.m., Channel 4) shows us who the murderer is in the opening moments and then we spend the rest of the hour watching the police try to figure it out.
CBS’s “Brooklyn D.A.” (Tuesdays, 9 p.m., Channel 2) is a docu-series that follows real prosecutors as they try to win murder convictions.
It’s pretty good, although the genre feels a bit threadbare after umpteen episodes of “Dateline” and “48 Hours.”
And coming our way are attempts to expand on the teen drama/murder mystery genre and make murder mystery into a game show.
“Twisted” (Tuesday, 10 p.m.) is the ABC Family Channel’s attempt to build on the success of “Pretty Little Liars” by launching another series about ridiculously attractive teenagers caught up in a murder.
Avan Jogia stars as Danny Desai, a 16-year-old who returns to his hometown five years after he went away for murdering his aunt. (And we’re not sure what exactly happened there — it’s a Big Secret that Danny refuses to tell.)
On his first day back at school, Danny attends a kegger (as kids do). And when someone at the party ends up dead, Danny is the prime suspect.
“Twisted” is entirely in the ABC Family wheelhouse. It’s aimed at the same teen and twentysomething crowd that watches “Pretty Little Liars,” and they will probably like “Twisted,” too.
“Whodunnit?” (premieres Sunday, June 23, at 8 p.m. on Channel 4) ought to embarrass ABC. It certainly ought to embarrass Anthony Zuiker, the creator of “CSI” and this incredibly lame, low-budget reality show.
It’s “Ten Little Indians” as a game show. Thirteen annoying contestants arrive at a mansion, and they’re “killed” one-by-one as they try to identify the killer and win $250,000.
From the lugubrious butler to the ludicrous screams of “terror,” this is a parlor game gone bad. The contestants think they’re on “Survivor”; the producers thing this is interesting.
It’s not. It’s just lame.
Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.