Most characters in any of the varieties of the action-adventure genre suffer from PBS–Plot Based Stupidity. You know what I mean: the failure to do the obviously-intelligent thing in a given situation because the plot demands it; and as a result the viewer or reader finds himself screaming “Don’t split up when you’re investigating the noise in the haunted house! Don’t go upstairs when running from the serial killer! Check for a lead-lined box that could be hiding kryptonite before confront Lex face to face!”
It’s always notable, therefore, when characters get a PBS vaccination before the story starts and do the intelligent thing.
Here’s an example to start things off. In from the late 80s private detective show Spenser: For Hire, the titular gumshow and his redoubtable non-sidekick, Hawk, would from time to time find themselves confronting a villain who was holding an innocent hostage by pressing a handgun to his or her head. As always in such situations, the villain would demand that Spenser and/or Hawk drop their guns. However, in a shocking display of common sense, they always refused. “If we drop our guns,” one of the heroes would point out, “first you’ll kill us, then kill your hostage, so we don’t get anything by doing that. On the other hand, if we keep our guns trained on you we have at least the chance of shooting you first or of persuading you to drop YOUR gun. Since we don’t have to kill you, we’ll try that.”
It was always beautiful to see them not be stupid (and to frustrate the cop show cliché) that way.
Anybody else have an example to share?