Man does not always choose its brand ambassadors. In the case of the “Tatort”, next to the “Tagesschau” the most important core brand of the ARD, it is Olaf Scholz, who has breakfast of all files, who of course struts around with the bazooka with his legs apart. The thing with the brand is to be understood literally, because the Federal Ministry of Finance is responsible for around fifty special stamps of Deutsche Post every year. Scholz’s house is currently issuing a “crime scene” stamp. The occasion is the 50th birthday of the Murder and Advice series, the first episode of which was not yet produced as a “crime scene”, “Taxi to Leipzig”, was shown on November 29, 1970. It began – just like the latest episode, which is just as atmospheric – with a headless attitude.
The stamp was designed by the Bonn graphic artist Thomas Steinacker, who cheekily mounted a motif from the iconic series opening credits in the outline of a cathode ray tube screen in front of a museum test image: pure nostalgia, indulging in old size. Nothing of all the digital youthful Killefitz that ARD is so proud of.
For the anniversary, a lot of additional low-budget content was dumped into the social networks: quizzes, games, chats, mash-ups, congratulations, interviews, a funny mockumentary about the new Bremen team about to start work (Jasna Fritzi Bauer , Luise Wolfram and Dar Salim). “The ‘Tatort’ will also face changed viewing habits in the near future,” announced WDR program director Jörg Schönenborn on the occasion of the fifty year old – and it sounds like a threat. The “Tatort” app has apparently gone so badly that it has now been shut down meekly.
With the force of a classic tragedy
Perhaps Steinacker’s suspicion is just right: The “crime scene” campfire on Sunday evening is no longer explained by the fact that the series is excitingly innovative, but by the fact that it is precisely that. What may once have been a spiritual cleansing ritual at the end of the week – the mucked out Augean stable -, since Schimanski also a proletarian-social-democratic reply to Helmut Kohl’s republic, is now perhaps just a ritual of the fixed time. Less law and order than common law.
In the midst of the great online chaos, the Germans want one last place where things still glow analogously; the average of 620,000 digital views do not even reach a tenth of the linear audience. It can be funny for the audience, although it doesn’t matter if it’s the same jokes over and over again (i.e. more Münster than Weimar). Otherwise too large deviations from the where-you-were-yesterday-evening norm will be punished reliably. To want to transfer the “crime scene”, this little grandmother in wolf’s clothing, to the other side of linear television seems like an act of desperation: such a (ridiculously cheap) production can hardly stand up to the high-end series from around the world.
Almost as numerous as the airs of the inspectors are now, a consequence of age, the anniversaries: the 25th case from Stuttgart, 25 years of Lena Odenthal, the thousandth episode, the millionth Currywurst. The anniversary that is currently being celebrated is, after all, a real one. And with appreciation it can be reported that the ARD treats itself to an aesthetically and narrative unusually strong, completely humor and lecture-free double episode: a mafia plot under the beautiful, multi-meaningful title “In the family”, which is far from the usual clichés the force a classic tragedy unfolds and ultimately transcends the genre. The only thing that doesn’t work about it recently is the interconnection of two “crime scene” teams, which leads to an absurdly high density of investigators.