In news that’s eye-rollingly inevitable, NBC is producing yet another spin-off to its wildly popular Law & Order franchise, despite the fact that the original ended five years ago and the only incarnation left, Law & Order: SVU, somehow just started its 17th season. In news that’s disappointingly sigh-worthy, the spin-off will be a reality series, because even though we’re in a new golden age of television, a big network like NBC still likes profit, and reality shows can be produced on the cheap. And in news that is astronomically worrisome, this new spin-off will allow viewers at home to decide the verdicts of actual civil cases.
That’s right, your newest TV obsession is about to be Law & Order: You the Jury, a one-hour shitshow that will air live civil cases and allow viewers watching to vote on who is right and who is wrong. For all of you who have ever watched Judge Judy and screamed at your television to “throw the book at him, Judy!” this is the show for you.
The entire program will apparently be interactive, as a press release announcing the program states viewers can vote “throughout the trial on the veracity of witnesses and persuasiveness of evidence.” It’s an hour-long show after all, you can’t just yell guilty after 10 minutes and be done with it.
It remains unclear just how much power and control viewers will have in doling out sweet, sweet justice, and how the verdicts decided upon by the TV masses will hold up in the actual legal system. After all, voter-based shows have quite a murky history. All it takes is a quick look at some of the baffling American Idol winners of yesteryear, not to mention presidential elections, to show that some people may not be as well-informed or good-natured as others when it comes to having the power to decide.
Honestly, this show sounds like a disaster from the get-go. I don’t know about you, but I have so many follow-up questions. For starters, what judge will be presiding over these cases? It’s clear through other daytime court room shows that people will line up to have their illegalities shown on national TV just for some attention, but are any actually stupid enough to let someone other than a law degree holding individual decide their fate? Probably.
Also, this show demands a lot out of its viewers. We all know how much people love jury duty, which begs the question: who is the target audience for this show, and more importantly, could this count as actual jury duty? Speaking of the audience, how are NBC and the powers that be going to combat abuse of this viewer voted verdict? In today’s tech, hack-happy age, you know there’s bound to be some shenanigans that come about from bored bottom-feeders who like to troll. Finally, and most importantly, will the “dun dun” sound effect still play a role? If you want my verdict, the jury is still very much out on this show.