I don't think I'm alone in preferring to watch American drama shows rather than British. With the odd exceptions of perhaps Spooks, Hustle and Shameless, the rest leave me pretty cold.
I'm wondering if this is just a matter of my personal taste or are the networks indeed churning out mindless middle of the road pap at an alarming rate. Opinions would be appreciated.
Take 'Life on Mars' for instance. The TV execs are creaming themselves about this show. I know, I've heard them.
Me? I thought it was meh? Interesting concept, nice juxtaposition between the seventies and the naughties. But to me the individual episodes were weak on actually having an interesting story. I lasted two and half episodes.
I don't mean to slag off the writers. God knows it is difficult enough to get anything on TV past the never ending committees of taste arbiters. But it worries me that some execs are going about like this was the best show since ......the last one that didn't bomb.
I've recently seen trailers for a new show called 'SORTED' a drama series about postmen.
I can almost see them now, going through the check list of situations where a diverse group of people can be brought together
Cops - been done
Firemen - been done
Hospital - been done
Coastguard - been done [ it has, remember Harbour Lights? No?]
Factory - been done
Boatyard - been done
Postal sorting office --------BINGO
Bingo - been done
I know nothing about the show. I may even give it a try. But I doubt it. I may not have the busiest life in the world but I'm pretty sure I can be busy enough not to wait in to see a drama series about postmen. No offence to postmen.
Where are the shows like 'The Avengers' 'The Saint' ' The Professionals' ' The Duchess of Duke Street' ' Secret Army' Auf Weidersein Pet' [Yes I know that was a drama series about Brickies but it had the intriguing fish out of water twist]
I feel like Peter Finch in 'Network' ''I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it and stick your head out and yell ' I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this any more'!
The USA seem to be able to deliver shows like Lost, 24, The West Wing, The Shield, CSI, Law and Order, Missing, Desperate Housewives and Num3ers, almost at will.
Yes they produce a lot of crap too, but not in primetime.
I recently read about the head of ITV berating the advertisers for playing hardball on the money they pay. The cost of an advertising slot is linked to a formula dependent on ratings. So.... uhhhhmmmm....rather than moaning about the amount of money the advertisers are paying how about making some decent programmes? That will improve the ratings and guess what.....the advertisers will have to pay more money as per the formula.
Jimmy McGovern recently said you could guarantee that an ITV drama slot at 9 pm would be shit so you wouldn't even bother looking. That's one of the most respected writers in the business.
Judging by the current crop of BBC dramas I think we're talkng about the relative smells of fecal matter.
I've got a high concept idea out there right now. I've even written the pilot. Of course I'm not telling them I've written the pilot because the cheap bastards will then try to option the package including script for the same price as the bible and storylines.
Chances of success for the project? Slim.
Will I keep trying to get these kind of things made? Fuck yeah!
Because I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this any more!
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4 years ago