Gervais – British TV is division two

15 04 2006

Ricky Gervais and Homer
Just re-iterating what Paul Abbott (Shameless, Cracker) said recently (and what I’ve been saying for about 6 years) about the state of British TV, Ricky Gervais has rounded on British drama and comedy as well. In this article Karl Pilkington’s mate goes on to say..
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TV stuff

10 04 2006

When did five get so good? If I watch any TV through an antenna its with them, especially now Planet Earth has finished on BBC one. Everybody Hates Chris, House, The Wright Stuff, Prison Break.. Thats 3 hours of my life I’m giving them every week! I would like to send a shout out to the lady who emailed me about her love for Everybody Hates Chris after she spotted it on my TV list. She has set up a website with the latest news about the show here. Mmmmm, detailed. Chris rock is a funny man, and his childhood kind of reminds me of mine, especially the prudence of his Dad.

In other news, while I was away on ‘oliday, Mitchell Hurwitz announced that he would not be signing on to do another year of Arrested Development, and There is an interview with him here that explains why. Fans were vexed but I totally understand, it ended perfectly, he told the story he needed to tell in 53 episodes, kind of like those Mexican “Telenovelas” that I’ve been hearing about recently with a start, middle and an ending.

South Park went nuts last week, and I don’t know whats going to happen next. Last season they had a bleeding Madonna making fun of Catholicism, then a funny as hell episode with R. Kelly trying to get Tom Cruise out of the closet as Scientology got taken apart. That epsiode never aired in the UK, even though I know it was ready for transmission. The rumour is that pressure from Cruise that he wouldn’t promote MI:3 meant that Viacom pulled the ep. from the Paramount comedy Channel. Now last week they managed to parody “Family Guy” and islam at the same time. In a nutshell the plot was that an episode of Family Guy was going to show the infamous banned Mohamed cartoon. In the ep, FOX censored Family Guy at the last minute. But the Family Guy was a two parter, and the uncensored cartoon would be revealed the following week. Still with me? Didn’t think so) Cartman and Stan head off to LA to try and get Family Guy taken off the air for different reasons, and the townspeople reckon they won’t have to deal with the consequences of the cartoon if they (literally) bury their heads in the sand. The satire was on-point, even if it didn’t actually provide any laugh out loud moments. At the end, a statement comes up saying “Next week Mohamed is revealed… or will Comedy Central wuss out?”. Will they be brave enough? watch this space…

The BBC said this week that their iMP could revolutionise TV , at the end of their trial of the service. its basically a piece of software that allows you to watch TV whenever you want, with a catalog of the past weeks programming available to download whenever you miss something. It will be incorporated into freeview boxes from the Autumn through the brand name BT Vision and I think it will be good for people who’s hectic Job/life/whatever don’t meet the demands of primetime TV.

What was the top show when people were given the choice of any in the BBC archives during the trial?? Like moths to a particularly smelly flame, it was that crapfest Eastenders. If someone somewhere could tell me the appeal of this program to anyone over the age of 12 I would love to know. My theory was that nothing else is on, and people don’t waznt to think and just want to chill out and whatever, and its an environment they understand (the pub, the market) but now I see people actively seeking it out when given the choice of anything… I’m lost.

In other TV technology arriving in the UK, the details, pricing and date of Sky HD was announced last week, just in time for the grand start of HD in Europe with the World Cup. I think its a bit too pricey to catch on. Britons are a cost-conscious technophobic bunch, but they will try anything thats free with a 12 month contract!

In my opinion there are two big problem with HD outside of the US. In the US they have the content, having shot most primetime shows on film since the late 50’s. Any of that can be transferred to 720p/1080i as they see fit. Eastenders watchers won’t be so lucky. And 95% of primetime output on the 6 (soon to be 5) US networks is simulcast in HD, something that will NOT happen in the UK this decade.

Then there are the boxes. Mostly free in the US, with a tiny fee to have more boxes in each room. My sister who lives in Virginia didn’t even know her cable box was also a DVR, it was the standard package that cox provided. While I was out there I’m pretty sure HD was just a small one-off upgrade fee away. Here you have two choices, Sky or Telewest, hardly competition. With one company controlling the channels as well as the hardware, it will always be impossible for anyone to battle them on price. And competition is the only way price is ever going to come down. Roll on Virgin cable I say.

I had more to write but I can’t think now… “Lost” is getting good eh? All building up to a good 2nd season finale methinks. Thats all for now.