It's a strange yet irrefutable fact that today's TV audience demands murder. Be it a medical show, soap , legal drama, fantasy or even a superhero show, almost all of them feature people being murdered and most often all of them are getting away with it. The recent season of Marvel and Netflix's hit Daredevil brought this to mind. In Daredevil, a vigilante arrives in Hell's Kitchen (the setting for Daredevil) and instead of simply catching the bad guys like the titular character on the show, he also kills them as a means of justice. The whole season then revolves around whether or not killing is the right thing to do with "bad guys".
What is surprising is how many people these days are ready to side with and support characters like him. If one looks at the movies coming out these days, they are also not much better, From Kickass to Deadpool everyone is killing, believing what they are doing is right and not feeling any remorse whatsoever about it.
Gone are the days when killing people as a mean for granting justice was wrong, instead we are supposed to believe and support a new wave of heroes who are unremittingly killing off their opponents. Take the case of Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games, or Tris Prior from Divergent, two "badass" heroines but also, two merciless killing machines. From this it's easy to see that in today's world murder is a fact accepted readily. It's sad but true that our modern heroes aren't same ones that used to be there years ago. Heck even our Superman kills now!
TV these days is ripe with such characters from Game of Thrones to House of Cards, people are being executed left and right. And It's not only HBO or Netflix- two TV Show powerhouses who succumb to such tactics to entertain their viewers, prime time television suffers from the same dilemma. From Abc's political drama, Scandal, to NBC's police procedural fantasy Grimm, murder is a recurring theme and it's not just the antagonists who are doing it. USA's dark comedy UnReal a parody of the reality show series The Bachelor, shows the main characters covering up a murder just to keep the show out of trouble. Over at Fox a sorority house is facing a masked serial killer hell bent on killing the show's main characters and destroying their lives. But to no avail as the remaining characters still choose to host slumber parties and mixers, and nothing akin to grief is felt by ANY of the characters whatsoever.
Or Take the case of another ABC hit How To Get Away With Murder, the series follows five law students who have gotten away with a murder. There are plenty of killers in this show as well, but the series focuses on the so called "heroes", the ones we are supposed to root for, ship for and pray for. These are the heroes of today and let's be honest, we love them.
Show writers have a simple enough explanation for this, they call it making their characters "multi dimensional" (something which critics love, saying it makes the show more "real") but perhaps they do their jobs too well, for more often then we'd like to admit, it's hard to be anything but sympathetic to such characters. This brings me back to Daredevil and the serial killer vigilante hero Punisher. After hearing the tragic tale of his loss, we are compelled to support his crusade of chopping off the city's biker gang members and hanging them on meat hooks. And it's really not our fault, the character is painted in such a good light that we simply forget that this man is a killing machine, and ignore the fact that it was only a chance that prevented innocent civilians from escaping his bullets when he goes on a killing spree in a hospital. There are countless other examples such as this and most of these characters do negate that what they are doing is right but since we love them just as much as we do to the squeaky clean heroes like CW's The Flash and CBS's Supergirl, it hardly feels like anyone cares anymore.
Murder is in demand these days and for some reason, we just can't get enough of it.