Blue Bloods Reigns Supreme Among Primetime Procedurals, And The Reason Why Is Obvious
There’s a reason why “Blue Bloods” has become such a Friday night staple for CBS. Years of following the Reagan family have resulted in a legion of fans who would cross the desert to find out if Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) will end up in a romantic relationship with his decades-long partner in the field, Maria Baez (Marisa Ramirez ). They’re addicted to those Sunday night dinners which feature the entire Reagan clan talking out their current problems, celebrating their latest victories and mourning their latest failures. They want updates on the marriage between Eddie Janko (Vanessa Ray) and Jamie Reagan (Will Estes), and desperately want to know if Eddie’s set to have a baby. And they need patriarch Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) to find love again in the long-past wake of his wife’s death. And hey, what the heck happened to Nicky Regan-Boyle (Sami Gayle) anyway?
To make an audience truly love your show, you have to excel in a way that makes you superior to your nearest competition. So, what specific ingredient has turned “Blue Bloods” into such a roaring success? With programs like “9-1-1” and “Chicago P.D.” around, what makes it stand so tall over the TV landscape?
Frankly, the show’s success comes from the simple art of combining a memorable and unique family story with a police procedural that gives viewers a fresh angle on policing every week. It’s the perfect combination of comfort food and unpredictability — a nightly joy that’s delicious enough to earn a plate on those family dinners.
There aren’t many TV shows about a whole family of police detectives doing their thing, to say the least, and “Blue Bloods” is almost entirely focused on the dynamic between the Reagan siblings, their father, and their grandfather. Instead of doing what other procedurals do — focusing on friends, colleagues or lovers-in-arms, who usually form a kind of found family for a show’s central protagonist — the Reagan’s most important bonds are with one another. On other cop-related shows you’re lucky if you get a parent-child or sibling-related connection. Here, we’re allowed to see the bad and the good parts of the Reagan family’s personalities, and how they all mesh together as a unit, tied together by love and blood.
Naturally, the show deviates from this formula occasionally – at one point, by pulling focus on Danny’s marriage to Linda (Amy Carlson), and now by spending a little story time on Eddie and Jamie’s union. But this works, and it works well, because watching the show makes you feel like you’re a big part of the Reagan family yourself, sitting with them at that dinner table and following them about at work. If you’ve had a lousy relationship with your closest relations, watching the Reagan tease, love and even provoke each other can be comforting. If you had a family even slightly like theirs, then spending an hour watching the show can feel like coming home for Thanksgiving dinner — without having to hear about your Uncle Lou’s goiter operation.