Tag Archive: television

I didn’t swear off LiveJournal… However, I may swear off television.

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted to my personal blog. Which means either something wonderful has happened during a hard time I don’t want to talk about… or something has ticked me off to the degree to shake me out of a good life.

Right, as if life were entirely black and white. Oh wait… there’s reality television. For the people who watch American Idol while shows like Firefly are cancelled, the world is very black and white. Everything fits into little boxes and you’re either a good guy… or a bad guy.
About 2100 more words on who really lost

Saturday I made a post concerning coming to terms the changes and evolution of Sesame Street by using the Kübler-Ross stages of grief.

The post was spawned on after getting to a point where you can only see the sardonic and subversive, politically incorrect humour potential in the show. That comprised the second half of the post. I note that it was the second half of the post because the first half of the post got posted to LJ’s metaquotes

As of this posting it now has 212 comments. Making it the 3rd most popular thread of the month.

Granted most of the thread is (as Robin Williams put it so well in “Dead Poet’s Society”) a trip down ‘Amnesia Lane’

Nostalgia is running rampant on the threads discussing what sections and pieces of Sesame Street that they miss the most.

I am so happily amused at this. When I tuned into Sesame Street in my early 20s (let’s say late 80’s into the early 90’s) it felt NOTHING like the show I’d grown up on. I hated it. Grover had been replaced with Elmo (who so sorely needed to die), Kermit and Ernie were gone. The show just felt wrong.

Now the beauty right now is not just seeing the number of posts on the metaquote thread who happily support my views. What makes me giddy is the number of them from people who are currently about 24-28. Let’s do the math. 24 years ago is 1984. Peak age for Sesame Street is 4-8.. So that’d be about 1988-1992.

That’s right.. the people who absolute agree with me today about how much the show isn’t Sesame Street (and let me tell you I’ve had two declarations of love for me for my post)… are making their judgement based on the airings of the show that were not my Sesame Street.

It’s amazing to contemplate that the importance of my post wasn’t so much the anathema and anger towards the changes but towards the path to accepting why the show must inevitably change and it’s okay.

Well, not that I mind becoming the target of affection for disliking the show at one time.

At Least Doctor Who has been improving with age 🙂

For starters here’s your reference link.

Life on Mars is a stunningly original series from the BBC. Part Sci-Fi.. but predominantly Cop Show.

Sam Tyler (played in the UK by the amazingly talented John Simm (and yes, bluerose I can hear you squee)) is a homicide detective. While solving a huge case he is hit by a car. The accident looks near fatal. When he awakes on the road where he was hit he is completely unharmed… except for one minor issue. It is now 1973. He is still very much Detective Sam Tyler with all of his memories solidly in tact. He’s just 35 years in the past. (35? Cripes)… He is on record as a transfer to the department he’s in. Now he’s a cop with modern training reliving the police mentality of 30+ years ago. Occasionally, Sam’s ‘real world’ “reaches out” to him in bizarre ways making you wonder the all important question, “What is actually real?”

The show and acting were so amazing that the ratings went through the roof, Simm was tapped to play a fairly big role on Doctor Who (another sigh from bluerose among others) and the show has been picked up for reworking for American audiences.

Which leads to the real purpose of this post. “Good Idea? Bad Idea?”

I will say now that reworking the show for American audiences is an amazingly Good idea.

Now, I am a BritShow purist and will watch shows on BBC, BBC America, YouTube, etc. Some shows work.. some don’t. And many of the current Brit fans are reeling from the US abortions that were, “Coupling, Men Behaving Badly, and Red Dwarf.” Yes… I’ve seen both Red Dwarf American Pilots. Yes… I attended the US taping of the “Giggle Loop” episode of Coupling. So I know of what I speak.

But, for every bad import there are the good ones. “The Office” and “Weakest Link” are very strong recent imports. On top of that are the classic ones that people don’t realize aren’t American at all. “All in the Family”, “Sanford and Son” and “Three’s Company”. In the case of those, you’re dealing with extreme rewrites.

So why did Red Dwarf and Coupling fail? In both cases.. the humour of the series was very British in nature. Thus is was more risque than American audiences are used to. Further it had a flavour (note the spelling) that doesn’t necessarily translate. For Red Dwarf fans.. one has to realize that Rimmer is a stock British personality. The closest we get to that in the states is “Frank Burns” (who frankly isn’t funny). In the case of Coupling the comedy was so complex and interdependent that by taking off pieces, it fell apart.

So with comedy you either have to stay 100% faithful or you have to overhaul.

So… Why is “Life on Mars” a good idea. The allure of this show isn’t patently British. The plot isn’t extraordinarily new. In case you think it’s a new concept I strongly suggest reading, “An Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” So.. will the show be the same or different. Personally, I hope the show is a bit different. As much as I am a BritShow traditionalist there are certain issues at play.

First, the average American television watcher doesn’t know about the original or if they do… they haven’t seen it. As much as we may love British television. American productions companies are not producing for the small percentage of BritPurists. For those of us in that group there is Sci-Fi, BBCAmerica, and PBS. So.. the show needs to appeal to the general mass of America. Some may say that this will ‘ruin’ the show. Truthfully, one needs to let go of a show, an actor, etc as easily as one should accept a new cast for a Shakepeare reworking. It’s a different entity based on a good strong foundation.

Second, the show really needs to be redone for the US audiences based on culture. In the 1970s detailed cultural exchange between Brittain and the US was for the rich and well travelled. Television shows RARELY crossed the pond. And frankly, post vietnam US in the early 1970s was not the same as it was in the UK. Police were similar, but different. In the US television mindset police fell into two and only two types: Barney Miller and Starsky&Hutch. That’s the TV that the over 30 crowd grew up on huddled over their secret Black and White TV’s as kids behind their parents backs at night. As a result, the show needs to recapture the 70’s of the television audience.

I think Life on Mars has a great deal of potential. They need to remain true to the underlying mystery of where reality lies and let the history and characters take the show as they may. The basic plot is proven.

Such is my 47 cents. (Well, it’s the value of what you can buy today for what you could have spent 2 cents on in 73)

Despite what folks may think, we don’t watch “A LOT” of current television in our household.

Actually, I think I can count the shows we watch on one hand. Most of it is science fiction. There’s Heroes, Doctor Who, and Stargate SG-1. All of which were on hiatus until this weekend.

Stargate left us hanging with a pretty big cliffhanger. For some reason however, when Friday’s new episode ran… the Tivo opted to ‘blow it off.’

I really hate having to verify that the system is going to perform the way it’s supposed to. You find a set of rules and you have to learn to trust them. If not that leads to what others call paranoia. Primarily, because you learn the holes in the system and become sensitive to the surprises.

So… now.. unless I check the Tivo… it looks like we may not get our planned entertainment.

So.. I guess I must put a call out to anyone who might have recorded Stargate SG1, “The Quest, Part 2” It doesn’t look like SF is rerunning it anytime soon.

The problem being that I need the episode with closed-captioning in tact. Oh, sure… SF-channel says, “Just go to iTunes and buy it.” But let me take a moment to rant.

That’s right. Me… Mac-man, the Apple fan. I am not buying a video iPod. I am not buying episodes of tv. I am not buying movies. And I really think no one else should either.

Quite simply.. none of the video is captioned. So.. gosh I can have the privilege of watching video and then reciting it to anyone who need captions.

So.. Looking for Stargate… with captions. psigh 🙂

For those that have missed it, Doctor Who has returned to the states. And this time, you won’t have to watch a pledge break between cliff hangers.

Doctor Who is the longest running Science Fiction tv show in history. Not counting hiatuses it has run for 28 years.

Sci-fi channel is running last year’s series. And it is one of the best incarnations of Doctor in its History.

I strongly recommend this series!