Favorite Tumblr of the moment: Encyclopedia of Hypothetical Police Procedurals, “the definitive guide to non-existent police procedurals.” Written by Luke Burns and James Folta, it won a humor prize from Chronicle Books; peruse its pages for descriptions of TV shows just a shade too cheeky to be real.
(UPDATE: Check out our interview with Burns and Folta here!)
Just a shade, though. A lot of the premises for the programs seem ripped from the pages of TV Guide, if TV Guide was still something with pages. (For instance, #013: “An existential, nihilistic cable miniseries, ‘The Void’ is an uncompromising portrait of one good cop slowly losing his faith as he investigates a brutal string of ritualistic serial murders.” Yeah, OK. Wasn’t Kevin Bacon in that?) Each entry shares notable episodes (all with pun-tastic titles), catchphrases (for the above example, in which the killer turns out to be, uh, the Almighty: “I’ll get you, God!”), trivia, etc. for dozens of fictional shows.
Each reflects the kind of mocking/skewering that can only come from deep knowledge of, and appreciation for, the cop-show genre (which, as frequent viewers already know, sometimes lapses into self parody without even realizing it).
Other personal favorites:
#030: Some cops are one step ahead, some cops are right on time. But not FBI agents Wilkins and Williams: they’re always one step behind. ‘Close Calls’ trafficked in almost-solved crimes, where the viewer is teased with damning and irrefutable evidence that the main characters always just miss. It was called one of the most infuriating television shows of all time.
TRIVIA: Despite a record number of TVs destroyed in anger over the show, audiences tuned in each week convinced that the Close Calls agents would finally close a case. In fact, “They haveto solve this one…” became the show’s advertising tagline.
#060: If a case has been cold for several millennia, it’s time to call in the Rock Squad. When a hitherto overlooked federal ordinance is discovered that requires FBI agents to clear cases from the entirety of known time, the ‘Rock Squad’ is formed to deal with crimes deep in the geological record: Did a swamp knowingly swallow a Mastodon family alive? Did a tectonic plate slowly suffocate a sea to death? Was a large comet really responsible for thousands of acts of genocide?
NOTABLE EPISODE: When a tourist accidentally kicks a rock loose in the the Grand Canyon, Mandrill and Chia discover a key index fossil that helps them correctly sequence the stratigraphy of sedimentary layers that their section chief called, “The greatest unsolved case of the Carboniferous Era” (S01.E04 – “Gneiss Work”). This episode came under fire when actual geologists complained that the composition of the layer in question has never been in doubt, and the rest of the viewers complained that they didn’t want to watch a show about “rock nerds.”
And, oh hell yes, #072, “NYPD Blue Moon:”
The moon may not be made of green cheese, but it still stinks…of crime. When the mafia starts operating on the moon, NASA’s astronauts are deputized by the NYPD to join the fight against organized moon crime.
CATCHPHRASE: “So that’s why they call it the dark side of the moon…” / “In space, the only person who can hear you scream is justice.”
TRIVIA: The show was filmed on the same sound stages that were used to fake the moon landings.
Top image: “prop notes” from #064, “Low Self-Esteem Cops”
[H/t AV Club]