Jeff Simon of Buffalo News makes the case that "'Homicide' isn't dead, it's just moved to cable TV":
There is life after death. You see it all the time on cable TV.
Take the tough, long-canceled NBC series "Homicide," one of the crowning glories of '90s TV, no matter what the idiot Emmy voters always thought. It is, of course, gone except for Court TV reruns. But its talents and spirit live on.
And, along with it, a hair-raising and entirely new breed of TV cop has been born - not to mention a new breed of weekly TV drama.
He goes on to talk about The Shield (which airs on FX, Monday nights at 9pm and 10pm Central time). Clark Johnson (who played Meldrick Lewis on Homicide) directed three episodes of the series (including the first one). Other people who directed episodes also directed episodes of Homicide (Gary Fleder, Leslie Libman, Nick Gomez, Stephen Gyllenhaal). Reed Diamond (who played Kellerman on Homicide) has a major role on the series, Max Perlich (who played Brodie on Homicide) guest stars in the first episode. It's a fascinating and addicting show.
Jeff Simon also talks about The Wire, which airs on HBO on Sunday nights. It was created by David Simon, the former reporter now TV producer/writer who wrote The Book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, which was the basis for Homicide. Clark Johnson also directed the pilot for The Wire. It's set and filmed in Baltimore.
He gets a few little details wrong, he makes it sound like Tom Fontana started doing Oz after Homicide went off the air, when actually he started that show while Homicide was still on.
But he does make some good points (behind the obvious personnel connections I mention here) about Homicide's legacy. He concludes:
The point to all this? You can kill a good TV show but not what it stands for. Not in the cable era you can't. There are way too many networks and too many hours to fill; you can't send guts and creativity on a 10-year holiday, the way network TV could 25 years ago.
"Homicide" took us deeper into the marshes of guilt and innocence than TV cop shows had ever done. Its death signified that when you're talking about major- league prime time, we want law and order and lots of it. But on cable, we want things to delve deeper, to shine a flashlight into the basement of the soul and the sewers of bureaucracy.
Welcome to the New Cop Shows - "The Wire" and "The Shield."