Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Meh Factor

Heroes is on tonight. And I'm ....meh? Can't be bothered. I haven't seen it in a couple of weeks, and to be quite honest the novelty wore off after about 3 eps.

'LOST' think I managed to last til about half way through season 2.

'The West Wing' End of season 4 I think.

In fact my only real appointment viewing at the moment is Studio 60. I'm begining to think that is because I know it's going to end. A few more eps then bang. Finito. That appeals to me.

Okay, most American programmes are not set up like that. Studio 60 obviously wasn't though I think I read somewhere that Sorkin only ever intended 2 seasons max.
Long runs are manna from heaven to the networks, especially the commercial networks. But are they really doing the audience any favours when they go down that route?

This is a purely personal opinion and it would be good to hear others. But I like short run series. Another of my favourites is Firefly. Another casualty of the ratings. But hey, what a great one season show. And it made mega bucks on DVD and got a movie made. [I think the series was better]

Our version of The Office. Two series and out leaving nothing but a rose smelling fart joke in the anals of British sitcom. Oooohhh er missus.

I don't think this has got anything to do with my short attention span. There is just so goddam much to do that I really don't want to get invested in something that is padded out for 8 or 9 series when a couple or three would do the job better. And yes I know there were those who were heartbroken when Sex in The City ended or Deep Space 9 or whatever but I'm just not wired that way.

Again syndication in the US demands 72 eps or whatever. I know Micky Grade has made it known he is looking for long running series for ITV. But will I be watching? Maybe to half way through season two and then cursing him roundly.

By the way I very belatedly caught The Soprano's finale last night. There are only two words to describe it.

Absolute .


Anonymous said...

Absolute..... ?

English Dave said...

Sorry anaon, that was just my little joke with reference to the ending.

But also to kinda show what I think David Chase was going for with it.

It left you wondering and was the missing word 'crap' or 'genius'

Anyone could have wrapped up the show in a bloodbath or or some signficant moralistic point. But the show ended as it ran. Morally ambivabalent with a hint of menace.

I thought it was a very fitting epitaph.

Oli said...

Firefly is of course ace, but it's paced for a 22 episode run, and does feel very 'cancelled' when you only get 14 - especially as the last episode's a bit meh. As you probably already know, the unfilmed script for episode 15 is here.

I never got past the Lost episode where Charlie has flashbacks to every bad rock and roll cliche possible...

Emma said...

I thought Lost suffered from that the most - it could have been great if just one or at most two series, but the moment you feel they are treading water and just chucking in random bafflement to use up space, all the mystery is gone...

Book of Don said...

got it. Funny and clever and insigh...

RichardB said...

Meh, meh, meh, it's all you ever talk about...


I'm a big fan of long running stories, I think that 'long-form' TV can do stuff you just can't do in a movie or short run... 'The Wire', 'The Sheild', or even - this'll stretch yer memory- the first series of 'Murder One': single stories developed over 20 weeks, all good stuff. It's weird to think that 'Fawlty Towers' (12 episodes total) would be a half season cancellation in the States.

Having said that, I don't think we're being well served by the current shows -

'Heroes' - nothing can tread water like 'Heroes'. You have to watch 4 or 5 back-to-back to get a decent hours' worth of material. The only high point is the acting of Sendhil Ramamurthy (ex Holby and Ultimate Force) - it's fantastic - like watching John Redwood sing - you just want to see more.

'Lost' - people get their knickers in a twist over 'Lost' - how's it gonna resolve. Wrong Question. It's like going down the fair and watching a juggler - "hmmm, he's juggling two batons, an apple, a flaming brand, an axe and a small child. How's he gonna resolve that?"

'Studio 60' - I'll be interested to hear what you think at the end.. for me it became a bit too much the serpant eating it's tail - once the two lead characters start saying things like 'If this were a TV show we'ed be doing this just to get ratings' (or words to the effect), well it was all over for me.

Current appointment TV - 'Californication' (accurate in that in the three weeks I've watched, the writer hasn't written a bloody word) and er... thats it, really.

Jaded and Cynical said...

Smartass answer: Long runs are better than short, so long as the quality is sustained.

The reason so many British programmes only run to a few episodes has nothing to do with creative choice and everything to do with the fucked up, penny-pinching production model in this country.

If the BBC asks two guys to go away and write a series of The Office and they come back with half a dozen watchable episodes, then a miracle has been performed.

The BBC might want more than six epsiodes (of course they will if the show is a hit); and no writer turns down work lightly.
But when a couple of guys are asked to do everything (including acting in and directing episodes) then the well runs dry very quickly.

Meanwhile, take the identical concept to the US, set up a writing room of a dozen talented people, and the result is 20+ episodes a year, not 6. And perhaps a show that runs for ten years, not two.

And all for want of a tiny bit of extra investment where it might actually make a difference.

English Dave said...

Jaded I think you are right that the US system is better equipped to handle the 22 ep series. But I think where Lost for example loses out for me is that a final resolution is being held out, rather than like a stand alone ep genuine long runner with real legs like Battlestar Gallactica etc. where serial arc isn't all that important.

English Dave said...

Richard, I'll stick with it for now, I enjoy it in the main and I heard it improved latterly?