This time 7 months ago, I wrote a piece about the state of British television which was rather a critical and despondent view due some of the tripe that appears on the Box. However, I’ve decided to re-visit this matter to see if TV has bucked up its ideas and given us something good to watch.
And the result is a hell of an improvement, which may have to do with the season we are in, when new shows and new series are usually aired. But before I start to get all positive, I have to single out ITV.
If you didn’t know, ITV actually stands for Idiotic Trash Viewing, at least that’s the conclusion I have made from years of poor service and coverage. As a keen football fan, ITV Sport occasionally cover live games but seem to have a growing reputation for fuck-ups. It was the Steven Gerrard goal at last year’s World Cup that the nation missed when the network suddenly had a technical fault.
It’s not the first time it’s happened to them either, missing goals in live games, which is pretty essential when showing LIVE sport. If it’s not that then it’s the terrible presenting and punditry that other channels can do better.
It’s not just sport. Their Saturday night appears to be 6 months of X Factor and another 6 months of I’m a Celebrity. Throw in a period drama or two, not to mention a random film, and you’re done. ITV1 is just plain awful and pretty far-removed from “Channel of the Year,” as they keep reminding us.
Saying that, at least their little sister channels offer some hope with ITV3 showing some decent films (as well as repeating awful ones), whilst ITV4’s coverage of football appears to be better than the primary channels (work that one out).
TV Licence Tax Robbing BBC are not much better, and while I can’t criticise their football coverage, I can’t say I watch anything else on either BBC1 or BBC2. However, their airing of the new American drama Pan Am on BBC2 is a breath of fresh air, and although it may attract more female viewers, it’s nice to see hotties like Christina Ricci and Margot Robbie on terrestrial TV screens.
Last year, those Marmite Comedians Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant sent their mate around the world where he complained and moaned a lot, doing incredible although sometimes awful things. It was funny and somewhat original for SKY1, and this year they did it all again. Unfortunately it wasn’t as hysterical as the previous An Idiot Abroad. Maybe the next incarnation will just be called “Idiots.”
Another void has been replaced following the end of The Inbetweeners earlier this year, concluded by the awesome movie in the summer. When I first heard the news that Peep Show creators/writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong were making a new comedy drama based on University life, I nearly wet myself at the prospect. The show, Fresh Meat, finished its first season last week and I have to say, it was rather enjoyable and the only thing that’s made me proper laugh out loud in a long time.
Although, I do think it is a show that only Uni students would “get” as they were able to capture the awkwardness, weirdness and character stereotypes that first year of Uni has to offer. Whilst I heard some people criticise it for being too “far-fetched,” let’s remember it’s a comedy and not trash drama like Hollyoaks.
Channel 4/E4 have done themselves well by finding a show to follow on from The Inbetweeners, and whilst Fresh Meat may never live up to its heights, it’s a damn good substitute and I hope it returns with a 2nd season in 2012. You can watch the entire series on YouTube.
Elsewhere across the digital channel spectrum has seen more quality shows available with The Walking Dead Season Two well under-way on FX. It fills the void left in my heart by Caprica. Fuck you SyFy!
FX has probably become my favourite channel, boasting shows like True Blood, Family Guy and American Dad. With US hits like Dexter and Breaking Bad going from strength-to-strength, British drama is beginning to look a bit anaemic.
I also found this beauty on the FX website: The Walking Dead Webisodes! Although I’m currently 2 episodes behind on season 2 saved to my SKY+, so I can’t say if these are spoilers or not. Check them out if you’re up to date though!