Thursday, June 14, 2007

No salt

Nuts, I have decided, to the BBC.

Everyone loves them, and they don't deserve any sort of love.
Why? Because their programmes are BAD PROGRAMMES. They rip off other things according to what is popular and what will get most people saying "Ooh, that's good, isn't it?"
Unfortunately, those same people would also spend real money on Vernon Kay's autobiography.

First of all: Doctor Frickin' Who.
Doctor Who is a great theme tune, let down by a shamefully bad show.
It's a shame, really. For many a saturday night I've sat myself down in front of the TV and I've really wanted to enjoy it. Time travel, aliens, robots - all signifiers of something that should have some sort of value. But within minutes it's all ruined by the writers reminding us of how witty and self-referential they are.
Case in point: one episode was set on a spaceship that was flying too close to the sun, putting the crew and the ship into danger. Sound like a good plot? Yeah, well, that's because it was stolen from Sunshine, which just happened to have been released two weeks prior, and was very popular.

As if this weren't shameful enough, it was ruined by a string of pointless, clumsy, off-putting pop culture references. Any chance at tension or credibility in the narrative was ruined.

The fact that both Peter Kay and Catherine Tate guest-starred says just about everything. This is crowd-pleasing, pandering junk, that thinks of itself as very clever and assumes that you agree.

Doctor Who isn't the only bad thing about the BBC, however. Another popular show, Hustle, is just as sickeningly smug. Now, I used to enjoy Hustle quite a lot. Yes, it's always been smug, but it was also just good enough to enjoy without cringing too much.
But, as the budget got bigger so did the producers' heads, and it's all gone wrong. The last episode of the latest series featured the gang of cons do a revenge job on a casino owner in Las Vegas after he attacked the oldest member, Albert. Sound familiar?
Yeah, well, that's because this plot was stolen from Ocean's Thirteen, which came out within the same week and was also very popular.
Robert Vaughn was even wearing Elliot Gould's glasses, for goodness sake.
Hustle has always stolen its ideas and techniques, but this cashing in on popular trends is just pants.

The problem is this obvious, adolescent BBC idea of 'cool', that can also be seen in Torchwood and Robin Hood.
People who rebel are cool! They don't wear suits or work for 'The Man'! They may have an attitude problem, but they always do the RIGHT THING!
They will probably be Cockney and/or attractive!
You're getting bored, you say? Uh...look, it's something you recognise from that film you watched and never really decided if you liked!
...Have some merchandise!

Anyway, this rant is over, because it's taken a ridiculously long time to write, thanks to the combined efforts of my illness and YouTube.


Anonymous said...

Feel better, my hombre.
I agree with all you said, but only vaguely as I don't spend enough time with terrestrial television for my opinion to have much credibility.

Brad Gamma said...

Yeah I really hate doctor who, its just not good. I also agree that catherine tate appearing in it lame. But I wanna defend Peter Kay a bit, I really think that he will turn into a great character actor as he gets older, cuz he has a darn good range.

tom said...

i meant to comment on this earlier to defend doctor who, but i've just now found out that catherine tate is actually going to be the main companion for series 4. that, combined with the fact that kylie minogue is guesting in this year's christmas special, has really ruined my appetite for defendin'.

i mean.. to be fair, it is a family show, and they do have to provide something to entertain the more moronic members of the family... but i do think that deep down it has a gooey caramel centre of goodness. okay, yeah, its not the most original science fiction format, and it definately does follow the genre rather than lead it, but it does have some good moments. like, the third to last one of the last series had them going to the end of the universe, and the whole sky was dark because all the stars had died out, and just, basically, the whole universe had been bitch-slapped by entropy. that was something that i found quite fresh, and it reminded me of science-related stuff i've read online.

i, personally, am inclined to blame the badness on russell t davies. i recently got round to watching 'queer as folk' and didn't really like it, but, i did get the impression while watching it that davies really would rather be making something doctor who related - and, conversely, while watching doctor who, i occassionally get the feeling he would rather be making queer as folk!