Wednesday, 10 September 2008

The new tv season

Yes, I'm back after a wee break trying to sort some business things out. Apologies for not gracing the blogiverse with my unthought-out streams of consciousness about all things televisual.

So it's Autumn, and the schedules are chock-a-block with new shows, returning favourites and all that. How exciting!

Have you noticed how Americanised our way of talking about tv has become? It's not a new series of something, it's a season. From the US, where they simply make 22 eps a year, repeat them over holidays and the summer, and start the new season in the fall- sorry, autumn. We haven't got quite that Yankified.

Or maybe we have.

Last night I saw someone mentioned the start on Living of the new cycle of America's Next Top Model. Now I've worked in tv and had an unhealthy obsession with American tv above all else, but I'm only vaguely aware of the phrase. I think it's because they run two series a year so they can't say season. Probably. Perhaps. Small idea: why not say series?

It all started with video then DVD boxsets - seasons became a more used word, then the cabsat channels started to say "see season 9 from the start again" as it sounded less repeat-y than saying series.

Anyway, must admit to not being that bothered about many of the new highlights. Merlin - hmmm. Looks more like Robin Hood than Dr Who to me. I'll try it out I s'pose. X Factor sneaked in at the end of the summer (as it runs for six months or something now) and so far, so far the same as ever. Great show, well made - how they've managed to keep it seeming even slightly fresh after all those endless singing eeeejits... you know, *RAISES HAT TO THEM*.

But let's look back to the US, they're boring of the endless auditions, of laughing at the tuneless morons and picking a favourite identikit karaoke muppet. It'll happen here too, some day. ITV must be quaking, although they've got Britain's Got Talent and can shoehorn Cowell into it if the other one starts to fade away.

Other Autumn treats - err, um... there's the Peter Kaye spoof of talent shows, that'll be champion I hope. New series of Mad Men, Simpsons and other top American treats. Some documentary stuff looks good - a series about money, that analysis of why British property prices have been so ridiculous manages a new spin on a tired subject, lots of new 9pm C4 shows to replace Big Brother (I managed to avoid all but twenty minutes of one show, surely a record considering the thousands of hours broadcast)

Oh, and one final not-to-do-with-Autumn-or-America-but-here-you-go thing - did anyone see BBC News at Ten last night, the day before the Cern particle wotsit was switched on? They had science guy David Shuckman (sp?) explaining how it would work, with some pretty nice CG effects showing where the big circular accelerator thing was, how deep down - so far, so Day Today but verging on OK.

But but BUT... then they had him standing next to big whooshy dubbed-on particle beams flying around and then reaching in to pick up two huge glowing balls of particles and hold them up. Er, what? This proper actual journalist was holding up his hands and having Mr CG Animator DRAW BIG SHINY THINGS ON THEM. On a NEWS programme? Utterly astonishing. It was too ridiculous to caption it 'Reconstruction' but it was a stunning piece of stupid lowest-common-denominator telly, and certainly the first time I've seen a reporter act along like that.

What next, BBC Business Editor Robert Peston gets his head bit off by a giant CG bear to indicate that stocks are in a bear market? US reporter Justin Webb dressed as a boxing referee in a ring, standing inbetween a cartoon elephant and donkey having a fight to report the presidential elections? Huw Edwards flying onto the news' set (itself virtual) on a huge 3D dragon, just because he's Welsh?

Now the last one would be cool, I admit, but come on - just have the news people GIVE US THE NEWS. I can watch it without it being illustrated in every single way. Much as I like flashy titles, good graphics and whoosh sounds, I don't need an important scientific story to be jazzed up by lying stupid animation. No-one mentioned how Cern got their 'billions' of Euros to do this, that's more important to me than pointing at the screen going "LOOK! BRIGHT SHINY LIGHTS! In that man's hands! It's the neeeeeeeeeews! Happy now?"

Errr, bit of a rant there but that's what these things are for. If you want an example of someone ranting a little bit too much, go to and listen to his latest podgram about tv compliance procedures. I love him to bits but even the godlike Mr F has got somewhat too concerned about certain tv prodedures.

I do hope he didn't spontaneously combust seeing the news last night.

No comments: