It has gotten to the point now where almost every single show I watch is American made, its quite sad really. If it wasn’t for the likes of Sherlock and Ripper Street there would be no British viewing on my screen at all. Even those shining lights have minor problems like having 3 episode “seasons” or being cancelled after just two series, these sorts of things can really don‘t do a show justice. The first season of Sherlock was a huge success consistently pulling in around 7.5m viewers for all three episodes of season one, that is a huge number of people tuning in, any yet it took 18 months to produce another tiny three episode season. This simply would not happen in the states instead you would have a new season of twelve brand spanking new episodes in 8-10 months and during the time it is off air regular updates on the show to keep you interested.
British TV has become predictable to the point of boring and in fact I would be willing to bet that next year the BBC will put out another period drama, ITV will go with another crime drama and Channel 4 will continue to try and be edgy with some programme designed to shock you. All much the same as what came before it but just different enough to call it a new and original new show. I am not one for Americaniziation but lets face it they know how to make damn good TV and maybe we should take a page from their script.
Another problem with British TV is that it is dominated by the Soaps, Eastenders and Corrie rule the screens and everything else takes a back seat which is baffling. I have always thought of the term Soap Opera as a negative thing, conjuring up scenes of really poor acting and overly dramatic plots, which is what they are, and yet they are treated like the most important shows on their networks because they have been proven to pull in viewers. It is understandably to put these soaps out when so many people will watch them however it doesn’t have to come at the cost of real TV shows with real stories to tell. Just look at how many millions of people have gone out of their way to watch US shows like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones, shows that received no marketing on our home grown channels yet succeeded in this country and i am sure a rather large portion of those that sought out Breaking Bad also watch Eastenders. Good story telling will always find an audience and I fail to believe the art is dead in Britain, shows like Sherlock do break through occasionally blow away the cobwebs but if storytelling is to thrive like it does overseas then the industry needs to break free of what seems like a paralyzing fear of failure that keeps channels sticking to the tried and tested and they have to take a risk. How much of a risk do you think it was to sanction a show about a meth cooking chemistry teacher, if they had made that show poorly Breaking Bad could easily have been hated but the network took a risk, let the story tellers go to work and consequently they are now responsible for making one of the most successful shows of all time.
They have soaps in America and they have more than a few TV talent shows that get ridiculous viewing figures for what they are, they should not be taken away (or added to) but that is just light entertainment and I have no problem with them being on TV as long as they know their place. The X Factor should never be called a great TV show, Britain’s Got Talent should never be dominating our screens (it was won by a bloody dog what more needs to be said) and as for Strictly all I am saying is that it is genius marketing that can make a show about ball room dancing such a huge hit. These shows are massive in this country and aren’t going to disappear any time soon and nor should they but there is still plenty of time for real shows to keep us gripped and in my opinion they should be the priority. Without giving people a chance to be creative and tell a story the industry will fail and all we will be left with is these depressing soaps and mind numbing talent shows and is that really a world you want to live in.
If you disagree and think you have a really good British show I’d love to here about it so i can check it out for my self, I’m always looking for new shows and you’d be saving me hours spent trawling Netflix looking for something to watch.