And so it came to pass that the watchers were cast into the maelstrom of perfume and chocolate, of toys and sweets, of clipshows and “classic” episodes of old sitcoms, of ancient films, and yea verily of a multitude of Christmas specials.
“Fork handles? Fork handles? Hahahaha haha Hehehehehe. Oh please God, make it stop!”
Yes, it’s the worst month of TV all year, all at once, coming up in just a couple of weeks.
The cultural vacuum that is yuletide television viewing is almost upon us once more. When that War and Peace sized guide to vacant staring hits the newsstands, that’s when you know to get the boxset shopping list ready.
It is a sorry state of affairs that the taste wasteland that comprises british television of late, means that the other eleven months of the year are equally difficult to navigate without making your brain want to run out through your ears.
For every Breaking Bad and State of Play, there are a dozen variations on America’s Next Top Model and The Jeremy Kyle Show, and the TV companies seem to be more and more reliant on remakes, reinventions, and tired formulas to fill the schedules.
Some genres appear to be flourishing however, and thanks to channels like FX and SyFy, the Sci-fi/Fantasy audience is especially well catered for, with future cult classics like Alphas and Walking Dead, and even doing a half decent job of remaking the classic ’80s space opera Battlestar Galactica.
But I’m not so keen on them messing with some other childhood favourites. One of which, ’70s teen Sci-fi series The Tomorrow People was ITV’s groundbreaking alternative to BBC’s Dr Who.
It centred on a group of polite young people who, through the next step in human evolution had developed the ability to “jaunt”, or teleport, and communicate via telepathy. They also shunned weapons and violence, making the series child friendly, whilst still retaining enough edge to keep parents entertained.
Given previous attempts to remake it, which are best forgotten, I shall spare myself the trauma of watching future reboots, and remember them in all their ’70s glory.
Of course, some shows don’t need remaking, not when you can just wake up their immortal star and send him whizzing off through the cosmos on any number of new adventures, original format intact.
If it ain’t broke, as the saying goes, don’t fix it.
Without doubt, Dr Who must qualify as one of the success stories of recent years in the revived brand category.
Despite the dread that fans of a certain age had about the rejuvenation of an old friend, the way that the new incarnations have dovetailed seamlessly into the perpetual storyline will ensure that generations to come will be able to name their favourite Doctor, just like the rest of us.
And although some commentators think the new incarnation too formulaic, I think it’s a brand worth saving.
The Wire is certainly amongst the best, if not the best cop show for many years, tying together as it does, multiple storylines across five seasons detailing the investigations of a team of detectives who use the wiretap of the title to gain access to the inner dealings of a drug gang, corrupt union officials, city hall shenanigans, and shady goings on in inner city schools.
With such long plot and character arcs, you invest a lot in the story, and the interweaving tales of the sleazier side of Baltimore draw you in, much the way creator, David Simon‘s follow up Generation Kill, drew you into the world of the marines in the gulf war.
My girlfriend calls all of these shows “nastiness”, but I have invented a new category.
The sort of show that falls into it is perfectly epitomised by the atrocious saccharine retch-fest Grey’s Anatomy.
Elaine will see autopsies on CSI and say “Eeuurgh, disgusting”, but find it perfectly acceptable to watch two beautiful lovestruck surgeons make mushy eyes at each other over the blood soaked entrails of some tragic patient with a back story even Oliver Twist and Anne Frank would think a bit much.
After which they will go and whine nauseatingly about whether or not it’s ethical to allow their torrid love life to interfere with the moderately less important actual life of the poor sod bleeding to death on the operating table.
Well, I’ve christened this vomit inducing, cliche ridden, soft focus bollocks “Nicetiness”. Another nominee would be the Desperate Housewives escapee Dana Delaney’s latest vehicle Body of Proof, a show so nondescript it doesn’t even deserve a link.
Another show I was a big fan of was convoluted, fan flumoxing ratings roller coaster Lost, and although a detailed discussion of it’s pros and cons would be both damn near impossible, and extremely tedious, it is worth sharing this link, which is from a writer on the series.
It gives the most satisfactory, and satisfying explanation of the initially disappointing end of what I thought was a great show.
Now, if that doesn’t give you a good selection of things to see you through the seasonal brain death marathon, I suggest you just sleep off dinner and get an early night before Variety Hell is unleashed over the airwaves.
Ooh, wait, wasn’t there a show called Twin…… something?
No, it’s gone. Maybe another time.
Here’s a tune to play us out.
Thanks to Steve (he is the Doctor) for inspiration. You know who you
were will be are.