Monday, February 16, 2009

Getting Saturday nights

I didn't like the look of Demons, the recent ITV series. I don't know if it was Mackenzie Crook's bird mask, the synopsis that made the show sound like it had been made ten years ago (probably after someone watched a bit too much Buffy) and slipped through a time hole, the idea of getting a Brit to play an American (I mean in this day and age!), or the fact that Phil Glenister appeared to be wearing his Gene Hunt costume.

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...

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Snow is falling

Here's the view from the sanctum right now. That's fresh snow falling in case you can't tell. Just when I'd started thinking we were in the clear!

Did you mean: rob stidler?

Search terms, we do love them don't we. Here's some of the burning issues that bring those with a thirst for knowledge to the Island...

overrated noel clarke - Not by me, I think he's great.

Did Leon Jackson see ghostface pictures in the xfactor - Please don't come here again.

I don't know nuffing about no skellingtons - Ah, a Hot Fuzz enthusiast.

how do i stop my door getting jammed when it's damp? - Don't live in Worcester.

steps to follow to survive in an island - Step one, climb out of island...

sicknote facebook - What? Do you need a sicknote if you're not going to sign in or something?

this user has
no friends yet - Oh thanks Google, thanks a lot.

richard sharpe jokes - Someone writing an after dinner speech at the Bernard Cornwell Appreciation society annual dinner?

he's not my lover he's my boyfriend - Oooooooooooooookay.

In reality most people come here because they're searching for the Red Planet prize, Springfields lyrics or Charters and Caldicot. But none of those are that amusing.


On a more serious note this week was pretty disastrous writing wise. Lost a lot of time getting to and from work in the snow. This is really my own fault for a)living so far from where I work and b)living in Sedgley, which is placed upon an atmospheric rift which exaggerates whatever weather the rest of the country is having (If you see a light mist we get a pea souper, bit of drizzle? We get the monsoon. I'd complain but you know I love it really, it's so atmospheric!).

My boss is also off for a couple of weeks so work is a little more trying than usual, I did bear this in mind when planning this months writing work but forgot to account for the worst snow in eighteen years. Schoolboy error.

Luckily all I wanted to do was work up two TV treatments to try and decide what I'm going to write next month, so I can spare one lost week.

Hoping for some feedback on my most recent script next week. I'm also considering sticking it up on Trigger Street but a little foolishly paranoid about copyright stuff.

OK, that's all for now.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Being Human again

Remember when I (amongst many others) was going on and on about the Being Human pilot and how bloody great it was?

Well it's back and it's on BBC3 on Sunday nights, the second episode was on last night and if you haven't been watching it you should be. Don't worry though, I'm not going to get all in your face about it just as long as you go now and catch up via the old eyeballer
here. Do so now and we'll say no more about it.

I'll probably be banging on about it more some other time when I haven't had to walk through snow for forty minutes to get home from the local train station. In the mean time if you don't want to take my word why not see what Frank makes of it over at Cathode Ray Tube