Fatal Encounters tells the story of two people whose lives intersect … setting in motion a series of events that lead inexorably to murder. An on-screen clock counts down the final hours before the crime, so viewers can understand the critical decisions and twists of fate that lead to tragedy. The series also explores the forces, both psychological and environmental, that contributed to a senseless loss of a cherished life.
Murder by environmental forces? What, like global warming?
So, to be crystal clear it’s not a feel-good show about down-on-their-luck people who triumph over adversity. Viewers know going in that their protagonists will get whacked in just under 60 minutes, either because they make one or two bonehead decisions, or just because they are the unluckiest so-and-sos who ever lived.
Case in point, an upcoming episode called Deadly Deeds:
Genore Guillory has been helping out her struggling neighbors, the Skippers …even naming them as beneficiaries on her life insurance policy. But Phillip Skipper is actually in a white supremacist gang with plans to unload its racist fury on Genore.
Or this one, titled Wicked:
They couldn’t have been more different from one another. Joel Leyva — 52-year-old family man; devout Christian. And Angela Sanford — 30-year-old social outcast; practicing Wiccan. Joel and Angela meet at a horse race track. They develop an unlikely friendship that ends in a mysterious murder.
Why on earth do we need a show like this? What’s the point, to make the viewer feel powerless and terrified to leave the house? I already feel that way, I don’t need a TV show to validate it.
I let loose my fair share of schadenfreude from time to time, when I see really bad people get what they deserve. I mean, people like Kim Kardashian or José Canseco. But why would I curl up on my sofa to watch a story about some poor, unsuspecting sucker stumbling blindly to his death, while a stopwatch runs in the corner of the screen?
There’s not even any suspense! No, “Wait! Stop! Don’t charter that fishing boat/make your shady neighbors your life insurance beneficiaries/go to the horse track with that Wiccan!” Save your voice. If you are watching the show, you know the poor guy is toast.
I’m no Pollyanna, but I think I’ll pass on guaranteed death and destruction. I’d rather channel surf for a possible no-hitter (MattCainMattCainMattCain), or follow the political escapades of Claire “I want my stop sign” Dunphy, or Pawnee’s waffle-loving Leslie Knope. And then there’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Veep! That one looks promising enough to re-subscribe to HBO!