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The Use of Voice Overs in TV Shows: Effective or Distraction?

There have been a number of TV shows that have used voice overs. Such examples would be Veronica Mars, Burn Notice, Grey’s Anatomy, Scrubs and Dead Like Me. Do voice overs add anything to the story lines or are they merely a distraction? Why are voice overs used? Should they be used more or less often? Are there examples of TV shows that have used voice overs, but weren’t really effective? On the flip side, are there TV shows that could have used voice overs to help add depth or clarity to the story lines?

  • Good topic. Another possible example the article writer could use is Jane the Virgin. – Emily Deibler 5 years ago
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  • This would be great to write. I think bringing up something like Dexter as well. The show has a very complex voice over of Dexter the serial killer. Does he really believe in what he's saying? That he has no emotion and yet manages to portray it? Or is it simply him asserting that he is a monster and neglecting the idea that he could have other psychological levels? – tparish11 5 years ago
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  • In my opinion, they are often used to explicitly summarize events of the show or a characters feelings about said events (Scrubs is the best example) and for this reason they are often redundant and/or heavy-handed. They are not necessarily "distracting", but neither are they useful to the storyline. – TheSnob 5 years ago
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  • There are a few shows that have tried different things: Arrow had voice overs in its first season, then dropped them, and it would be interesting to examine why. – bbctol 5 years ago
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