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08 April 2010

Thursday Thirteen: Reasons I Love/Hate British/American TV


  1. Pro-Am: Long seasons. There's nothing like the wondrous 25 weeks of new eps of my favorite show. This is the main inspiration for my Fall Happy Dance.
  2. Pro-Brit: Short seasons. It took me a looooong time to come around to this way of thinking. But short seasons keep everyone fresh. Mamet once said that writing for TV is like running as fast as you can until you die. That can't be good. Plus, it's cool to see your fave actors in different roles throughout the year.
  3. Anti-Am: Too, too shiny. Everyone and everything is just too slick and pretty.  I find it hard to empathize with the plastic-ness of it all.
  4. Anti Brit: For pity's sake break a window!  I swear, if I see one more action sequence with someone trapped inside a many-windowed house banging on the FLIPPIN' GLASS -- I'm gonna have a heart attack and die.
  5. Pro-Am: The adrenalin-laced, testosterone-driven glee with which action guys break stuff: glass, limbs, automobiles, spaceships (Enterprise shout-out)...oh yes and entire buildings. Sooooooohohohoo much fun.
  6. Pro-Brit: The actors, the actors, the actors....omigosh, the actors. The care, feeding and education of actors in the UK has created a pool containing the best actors in the world. And the killer thing is you're just as likely to see them playing a minor role on TV as you are to see them playing a big role on film.
  7. Anti-Am: The actors, the actors, the actors...omigosh, the actors.We live in a world where character actor means: 'good actor, but not pretty'. Too many of our actors look as if they've never had a real emotion in their lives and wouldn't know how to express one if they did. 
  8. Pro-Am: Shows that are so much better than they have any right to be. My favorite trend right now is the hour show which takes the formula and stands it on it's head. From the description, you think you know what you're getting into (or avoiding), and then blammo, you're hit with something very, very cool. Fave examples; Invasion, In Plain Sight, Life, Life Unexpected and Veronica Mars.
  9. Pro-Brit: I dunno, maybe it's the short seasons or theater-centric creative culture; but I love the varied genres in UK TV land. A lot of their best programming would be absolute non-starters in the States. Can you imagine trying to pitch Lark Rise to Candleford in Hollywood?
  10. Anti-Am: Encroaching commercialism. Ten years ago, the television hour ran about 47 minutes, now it's down to 41 or 42. Seriously? Seriously? Advertising suits have the nerve to complain because TiVo'ers avoid the mulchfest of cranky, crass and crude; which now makes up nearly 1/3 of a viewer's hour? Cry me a river.
  11. Pro-Brit: Doctor Who. Need I say more? Probably, not but I will. I'm not sure about the new guy...he's all wrong. His name is Matt Smith for pity's sake and he's like, 12. His main problem, though? He's not Eccleston. Eccleston's my Doctor. I had the same issue with Tennant...right up until I didn't.
  12. Pro-Brit: Cast musical chairs. At first I hated it, but now I love it. Perfect (though perhaps not the best) example of how cast musical chairs keeps a show fresh; MI-5, or Spooks as it's known everywhere but here. There's a dimension of suspense added to a thriller when you know that no cast member is safe. 
  13. Pro-Am: Comfort of the franchise. We have a lot of franchises here in the States. And we love our genre-rated TV. I love (or am in at least strong like with) all the Law & Orders. I love court shows and medical dramas. I like other things too, and it's good Hollywood is picking up on the developing appetite for more variety, cause I like a lot of the new stuff too. We do good TV pretty darn well. But I'm not always in the mood for good or thought-provoking. A lot of times I'm just looking for a show to hit all it's marks and give me a satisfactory ending. We do that, spectacularly.

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