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The Red Network

Perhaps the "B" in all the network acronyms should be for "Bloodcasting" because I have never seen as much of it as I have in the first week of the new season, albeit an exciting and interesting new season.

Between the medical shows and the forensic dramas, and there is not much between them but promos for more dramas, it would seem the sanguineousness quotient would have been met, and then some. (OK, there are only a couple of medical shows, but there are more than enough forensics to make up for it)

Yet there seems an endless supply of cornstarch and food coloring, or whatever they use these days, to be splashed up on the screen.

There used to be an NBC Red network, and after last night's ER, there is again. It was a great show, as usual, but it was even more awash in the stuff of life and death than I remembered, unless I was remembering the helicopter episode. OK, maybe it was the addition of the car crashes and the execution slayings and the rape that made it feel like they were trying to load it up with forensic drama elements on top of the usual quotient of explicit surgeries. Being the second half of a cliff-hanger season ender is much of the reason, I suppose.

But I wonder if there isn't a way to say essentially the same things on these shows, pull no punches artistically, but to somehow suggest a little more. Less can be more, a point that may be lost in the severed-arms race.

There is something to the argument that we can become desensitized to the bloodshed the more it becomes the daily red stain on the fabric of our lives.

Is it too easy to throw in some more gore to grab a few more eyeballs. If so, there's an uncomfortable queasiness to that laziness.

I may not be right about this, of course, but its worth thinking about and coming to your own conclusions.

By John Eggerton