First, let me say that I know the ratings for Backstrom haven’t been as high as everyone hoped; I also understand that you need to make money while entertaining us – in order to go on making the shows that do.
I’m also aware that beyond those rather obvious things, I know nothing of the business end of entertainment, of how the money is really made, of time slots and advertising dollars, contracts and so on.
I only know what I know, which is that…I kind of love this series. This winter, I’ve been watching four shows; three are somewhat hit or miss (I have a few eps sitting on the DVR); Backstrom is the only one that’s ‘never miss’ status.
I don’t really know why that is. I don’t know why some shows are ‘likes’ and some are ‘loves.’ At a guess, it’s the characters, but even there, I’m not sure why I enjoy watching some characters, but fall in love with others.
But I do. From the ads, I didn’t expect to like Backstrom. I don’t like jerks, and don’t enjoy spending time (even ‘TV time’) with people I don’t like. But I do like complex characters who, whatever they are on the surface, are more than that inside, perhaps are even more than they themselves know.
My affection for Backstrom began with the pilot, when I could see that others were loyal to him, despite his being an ass; grew in the following week when I watched his delight in a kite and came to understand that his relationship with Valentine is one of love, and tipped over the edge to full-on love myself when alone, he collapsed in tears at the end of Bogeyman.
It’s occurred to me that the show has said he sees the worst in everyone, and yet, he does so via, ‘I’m you’ (which I have to admit, has the potential to get old) – does that mean, then, that the reason he’s so successful is his self-loathing? If he comes to see himself in a more balanced way (as those who love him do)…will he lose some of his ability to catch killers?
I want to learn the answer to that, and after Ancient, Chinese, Secret, there’s so much more I want to discover about all of them:
- Even in a few short weeks, we’ve seen Backstrom change (it’s hard to imagine the man in the pilot wearing a pedometer); now I want to know how he responds in light of a psychic – one who, based on his knowledge of Nadia’s real name, might be legit – telling him he won’t see another Christmas.
- Almond: I adore this guy for his dignity, his faith, his loyalty, his quiet leadership…now I want to know more about his no-longer-estranged daughter.
- Moto! Moto rocks, and I’m looking forward to seeing him earn that promotion.
- Valentine? He fascinates me, particularly in his devotion to Backstrom. His grief and fear when he read Backstrom’s fortune was stark, never mind his attempt to dismiss it. I love watching them together.
- Nadia: Ooh…’complicated character, aisle four’: witness protection, only not; constant threat, and now…love.
- Niedermayer? I didn’t see his relationship with Nadia coming, but now, I’m eager to see how it develops, particularly given her secret that he now shares.
- And about that secret? Somewhere out there is a story about what happens, what the team does, when The Man finds her. You have no idea how badly I want to see Backstrom’s response to that kind of threat coming home to his team. No. Idea.
- Gravely? Being honest here, she often irritates me – far more than Backstrom does (which, yeah, probably says all kinds of things about my psyche that are better left unexamined), but I’m looking forward to understanding her better, to learning more about her background; mostly, I want to see how being surrounded by all these other people changes her. In this most recent ep, she blamed Backstrom for her increasing cynicism (which might be a fair assessment) …but will the others balance that out?
I love these characters, and have more invested in them emotionally than in any new show of the past four years, at least. Please bear that in mind when making a decision about whether I’ll get to learn more about them.