TV And “The Lawful Good”

This is an amazingly overthought article. In fact, it could be the most overthinking we’ve ever seen anywhere.

Well done, Overthinking It! Yess!


by Shana Mlawski

Is the Golden Age of Television really over? Andy Greenwald at Grantland seems to think so, as do some of Breaking Bad’s mourners. It’s true that some of our favorite prestige dramas have given way to less-good copycats: instead of The Shield, we now have Low Winter SunDeadwood and The Sopranos have turned intoBoardwalk EmpireMad Men is ending, so Masters of Sex began; Game of Thrones is on hiatus, so we’re stuck with the CW’s Reign.

Now if you ask me, reports of TV’s demise have been overstated. This year alone has given us Orange Is The New BlackThe Americans, and Rectify, one of the most different programs I’ve ever seen on the picture box. I do, however, agree with Greenwald on one point: more diversity on the boob tube is always appreciated. I’m not just talking about racial diversity, though that always gets a thumbs-up from yours truly. I’m talking more about diversity of personality.

Basically, I’m experiencing asshole fatigue.

I’m not the first person to express this opinion. Entertainment Weekly recently called TV’s newest antiheroes “anti-entertaining,” while The New York Post claimsantiheroes have “jumped the shark.”

But what other choice do we have? Villains and morally-gray folk are simply more interesting than heroes. Look no farther than The Vampire Diaries to remind yourself that Good Is Boring and Evil Is Sexy. Even John Milton knew that everyone prefers a bad boy. Batman’s cooler than Superman, Logan beats Piz any day of the weekKatara should have hooked up with Zuko, and Jess was superior to Dean. This line of thought applies equally to female characters: Why pick Betty when you’ve got Veronica waiting in the wings?

I’ve bet you’ve heard these arguments before. I’ve definitely made all of them myself. But you know what? I am done with all that shizz. Here’s my new motto:


I. Lawful Good:  A Definition, A Defense

If you’ve never had the pleasure of playing Dungeons & Dragons, know that it operates on what’s known as the Alignment System. Players build characters around two axes: their morality and willingness to follow rules. Characters can be Good, Neutral, or Evil on the moral scale, and they can be Lawful, Neutral, or Chaotic on the rule-following spectrum. You can read more about D&D alignmentshere, but the following image illustrates the concept well:

Read it all