I have been watching TB since Woodentop. Over the years Producers have come and gone, and the show has waxed and waned somewhat. So the promise of new grittier storylines actually gave me some hope that 2009 would end on a real upswing and breathe some new life into the formula.
Not on this current showing it won't.
The post-watershed change appears to have sucked most of the humour and humanity out of the characters. Now we have the monotony of DC X and DS Y investigating Teenager Z who's in grave danger because of A, B or C. DC X/DS Y get overly involved, and somebody has to pull them back when they let their emotions interfere with the job (although it often turns out they were right all along if only *someone* had listened to their angsty rant earlier).
Unfortunately, for me that pretty much sums up the 9pm episodes so far. There's been the odd flicker of amusement, but mostly it's been as dour and humourless as a sixties kitchen sink drama. The main problem is that whilst some of the episodes have been undoubtedly "worthy" they have also been dull and pedantic, the Pinter-esque style and moralising in a programme like TB is just not what I look for in what was my favourite show.
I would also like to see an episode containing no one under the age of 25. Yes, children and teens in danger are worthy subjects; but crimes against children are not the only crimes out there. And shifting the focus away from the central police characters towards the impact of crime on minor characters doesn't seem to have worked either.