Whatever it was I thought, "This looks dire, I'll give it a miss and if the reviews are good I'll catch up." It's a lazy technique but it's served me well before, and I don't have time to catch up on the shows that ARE worth watching never mind soiling my eyes with stuff I know I'm going to hate. I might as well watch The One Show, or paint drying, if there is a difference.
The reviews weren't good. They were scathing.
OK. So I made a good call. Go me! No down side. Except...
They were really scathing. So scathing that I hear they've postponed the third series of Primeval so people can forget about Demons first. You know, because the idiots that watch ITV programmes might not be able to tell the difference between two different TV shows. Or something.
This is proper, card carrying, hitting your own head with a mallet, nuts. Primeval is great. It's imaginative, original, exciting, varied, fresh, but most importantly of all it's the only Doctor Who stand in so far that actually gets Saturday Night/Family drama.
When I was a kid Saturday night TV was all about Doctor Who, Robin of Sherwood, The Tripods, The A team, Knight Rider, Manimal, Automan, etc., etc. Where is the variety now? It's no good just cloning shows about legendary characters or ripping off successful series from the nineties! We need some actual ideas.
Let's think about this for a second. Since Doctor Who did what they said couldn't be done and proved that British society hadn't slipped so far into some Anthony Burgess vision of the future that the whole family couldn't watch television together on a Saturday night without Graham Norton, Cilla Black, Noel Edmonds or Dale Winton staring dead-eyed back out at them there have been several further attempts at Saturday Night Family Drama.
Robin Hood. OK on the one hand this was the first effort, thrown into production as soon as Saturday night was resuscitated. On the other hand it was made by the BBC who might be expected to get it? In fairness I didn't mind Robin Hood. Most people though seemed to be a bit hung up on the non-period costumes and language but I liked it's Xena-ish tone and thought it was good enough fun. It's no substitute for Who though. The third series has been so long coming now that I wonder if anyone will even notice when they follow up killing Marion off by having Robin leave the show.
Primeval. We'll come back to this.
Merlin. Putting aside my previously mentioned issues with the retelling of the Merlin story (or rebooting of Arthurian legend), Merlin worries me for a number of reasons. It's another BBC effort. It's another period set show. It's another myth/legend poured onto our screens for family viewing. It's Robin Hood 2 isn't it? It's 'Here's what we learned from making Robin Hood by the BBC: We took out the anachronistic costumes'. Bit lazy isn't it? Isn't there any more imagination than this planning our TV schedules? What next? Beowulf? William Tell? Jack the Giant Killer? People in forests with swords volume 3?
Demons. I can't really comment on this as I didn't watch it. The fact that it appears to have failed says enough though. Clearly it didn't get Saturday nights.
What has Primeval got that these other shows haven't? I'll tell you. It mixes the every day with the fantastic. It has a different setting every week. It has a strong sense of humour. It doesn't take itself too seriously. Remind you of anything else?
But what this post is really about though is this; There are massive opportunities for people who do get it to create fresh, exciting family drama for Saturday nights. Just thinking of BBC1 and ITV there are 104 potential slots per year. At present only a fraction are occupied. The powers that be may not know this yet but if they get enough fresh, exciting ideas for family drama from talented new writers maybe they'll look at one and say, 'Hey, the eight million or so people who watch Doctor Who every Saturday night would watch this!"
Whatever you do don't tell any other writers though or they'll all be at it. Must dash, I've a family drama script to finish. You'd love it, it's period set...