by Sam Prince @phisammajamma
“Art imitates life and, sometimes, life imitates art. It’s a weird combination of elements.”
The post-World War II era in America was full of uncertainty. Could we economically sustain ourselves after military spending decreased, was a question in the mind of all Americans.
Bonanza was one of the most popular series of this era. Set in 1859, Bonanza would take place in the pre and post-Civil War era. After the seceding Confederates surrendered, there was still an air of uncertainty surrounding the reunited states.
Bonanza highlighted a frontier ranch family, representative of America’s toughness and grit. The subconscious message behind Bonanza: we made it through the conflict before the Civil War, the turmoil during it, and the uncertainty after it, and we can do it again.
Now that’s positive entertainment!
Fast forward to 2001. 9/11 happened, spawning the terrorism era. Everywhere you looked, whether it was at the government, in the media, at sports, or in business, the country was engulfed in the uncertainty surrounding terrorism.
Like in the post-World War II era, Americans could once again turn to television drama for a message that imitated life. Follow the below timeline, and you’ll see that as terrorism became normalcy for Americans, television networks began showing dramas surrounding that subject matter like never before seen. Today’s television dramas consist of many forms of terrorism, including: foreign, domestic, and cyber.
24- Yes. The show many Americans came to love featured Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, a counter terrorism agent. This show started in November of 2001, two months after September 11.
Without a Trace- An FBI unit investigates the mysterious disappearances of people.
MI-5- Follows the cases of England’s domestic intelligence organizations.
NCIS- The cases of the Naval Criminal Investigation Service’s DC Major Case Response Team.
Criminal Minds-The cases of BAU, an elite group of profilers who analyze the nation’s most dangerous criminal minds in an effort to anticipate their next move.
Numb3rs- Working for the FBI, a mathematician uses equations to help solve various crimes.
Jericho- A small town in Kansas is literally left in the dark after seiiing a mushroom cloud over nearby Denver, Colorado. The townspeople struggle to find answers about the blast and solutions on how to survive.
The Unit- Hour long show which looks at the lives of American super-secret operators.
Burn Notice- A spy recently disavowed by the U.S. government uses his special ops training to help others in trouble.
Archer – At International Secret Intelligence Service no one ever shuts up. Covet black ops and espionage takes a back seat to zany personalities and intricate relationships between ISIS agents and drones.
White Collar- A white collar criminal agrees to help FBI catch other white collar criminals using his expertise as an art and securities thief, counterfeiter, and conman.
Covert Affairs- A young CIA operative/trainee, Annie Walker, is sent into the field to work for the DPD (Domestic Protective Division)
Homeland- When Marine Nicholas Brody is hailed as a hero after he returns home from eight years of captivity in Iraq, intelligence office Carrie Mathison is the only one who suspects that he may have been turned.
Person of Interest- An ex-assassin and a wealthy programmer save lives via a surveillance AI that sends them the identities of civilians involved in impending crimes.
Last Resort- A US sub picks up NAVY SEALs and receives an order for a nuke launch. Due to circumstances of the order, the Captain refuses to fire.
The Blacklist- Elizabeth Keen, and FBI profiler has her entire life uprooted when a mysterious criminal, Raymond Reddington, on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted List turns himself in and insists on speaking to her.
The Americans- Two Soviet intelligence agents pose as a married couple to spy on the American government.
Scorpion- An eccentric genius forms an international network of super geniuses to act as the last line of defense against the complicated threats of the modern world.
Legends – Follows a deep cover operative named Martin Odum, who has an uncanny ability to transform himself into a different person for each job. But his own identity comes into question when a mysterious stranger suggests that Martin isn’t who he thinks he is.
Mr. Robot- Follows a young computer programmer who suffers from social anxiety disorder and forms connections through hacking. He’s recruited by a mysterious anarchist called Mr. Robot.
Quantico- A look at the lives of young FBI recruits training at the Quantico base in Virginia, when one of them is suspected of being a sleeper terrorist.
*See IMBD for more in depth descriptions.*
Who’d ever thought television networks could make so much money off of terrorism? Your pain, their profit, right?