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Ask Not What TV Can Do for You, Ask What You Can Do for TV

Posted by DGN on 1:40 PM in
With the election fever taking over most of North America - Both the United States and Canada have elections coming up this fall, not too sure about Mexico - I wanted to take a look at the role TV will be playing in who becomes leader. Be warned...this may be a long one!

The main focus here of course will be the American election system -mainly because it is so TV friendly.

American politics is always played out better than pretty much any other country in the world. Speeches are made that are better written than most movies or TV shows, and alliances and backstabbing is worse than even the best episode of Survivor. TV has always played an important role in the building up, or in most cases breaking down opponents. Who hasn't seen commercials where one candidate bad mouths anothers campaign ideas.


However, there are other ways that TV has really helped with politics and more importantly, Preseidential elections. In 1960, the first US Presidential Debate was held on TV. The participants were then Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon. The debate, like in years to come, was hosted on all major networks and greatly aided Kennedy in his eventual winning of the election. The reason: viewers were able to relate to a young, charming candidate in comparison to Nixon's "poor makeup, haggard appearance and gray suit which blended into the backdrop of the set". Kennedy's people knew the power of image, and used it to their advantage.


The same can be said of President Bill Clinton. In 1988 Bill Clinton was introducing Presidential hopeful Michael Dukakis at the Democratic convention. His speech was 48 mins long, and had people in the crowd screaming for him to stop. Clinton uttered the words "in closing" to a huge round of applause and a standing ovation. Later, Clinton appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, where Carson gave the longest introduction for a guest at 3 mins and 48 secs. The intro was actually pages long. When Clinton did come on, he was asked the question "How are you?" followed by Carson putting an hourglass on the table. Clinton laughed it off and came across like someone who could laugh at himself and very positively. The end result, nomination for himself in the 1992 elections and eventually President of the United States.


In the lead up to this year in particular, you have probably one of the most exciting and twisted elections ever. On one hand you have Senator Barack Obama, from Illinois - the first black nominee ever, who fought tooth and nail to win a very close primary against former first lady Hilary Clinton. On the other hand, Senator John McCain, a Vietnam vet, who has used getting a female running mate as his bargining chip into the White House. Both are looking for their first term in the Oval Office.

Let's see how TV has helped or detered each candidate out:

The Primaries:

With each candidate looking to stake their claim before official nominations had taken place, candidates were quick to show up on our TV sets. Obama, Clinton and McCain did the usual rounds of news and talk shows, but they even appeared on shows like Saturday Night Live (to show their lighter side), WWE Monday Night RAW (to get to those pesky 18-24 male demo) and even on the season finale of Last Comic Standing (again, I guess to show that they can laugh like the rest of us). In a lot of cases, these came across as trying to hard, rather than attaching some "cool" factor, and it doesn't help that all three would sometimes show up on the same show, so as to not show political bias.

Obama:

You just have to look at Obama's acceptance of the Presidential nomination to see how he's using the power of image and emotion to connect with voters. Making the stage into a roman colosseum, as if ushering a new era (Obama's campaign motto is Change), to the biography movie introducing him before hand (showing him growing up from humble beginnings to something bigger), everything is set up to give him the bigger than life appearance, that this is the man to lead us into the next phase of American history.

McCain/Palin:

The power of TV really is a strong example with these two. McCain clearly chose Sarah Palin as his running mate to capitalize on that Hilary vote, but also because she's a looker. His party knows that we are an image concious group, and we'd rather watch Barack than old man John, so he got us something we can look at. Palin is now the focus of the campaign, pretty much doing the talking whenever available. She has even helped in aiding SNL's ratings this season through the absolutely brilliant impersonations of Tina Fey.




However, through this masterstroke, McCain has also made a mistake underestimating TV. Scheduled to be a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman McCain cancelled last mintue, saying he needed to head to Washington that night to discuss the economic crisis with Obama and the current President. However, he then did a news show with CBS's Katie Couric and stayed in New York for the night. When this got back to Letterman, he went on a tirade making McCain the butt of show long jokes, and it doesn't seem like he's stopping anytime soon. Now consider than most American's get their news from the monologues on late night talk shows, can you imagine how much of a hinderance this could cause his campaign!





And all this coming off the heals that 57 million people watched the US Presidential Debates this past friday. That's more than the Friends finale!

There are probably a lot more twist and turns from now until November 4th, but whatever they are just remember :

The Revolution will be Televised!

As usual, what are your thoughts. Comments please.

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Flipping through the Channels

Posted by DGN on 10:51 AM in
One of the problems with writing a TV blog during the new season is, you either get caught up watching the new shows, or you get stuck doing other things and then your have to catch up on your watching TV and then catch up on writing your blog.
So in short, my apologies on the lack of posts. And without further adieu, here are some thoughts from the past week:
  • The CW picked up 90210 a full season. The proper amount of hype and controversy was enough to help the series get their order after four episodes. Congrats to them, clearly trying to create a new TV dynasty.
  • Speaking of the famous zip code, looks like the CW is planning on crossing the show over with a bunch of rich kids from the east side. Word on the street is that socialites from Gossip Girl may come pay a visit to the Peach Pit gang. Not sure how that would fair (Gossip Girl being a tad more risque than 90210), but definately a great promotional tool for the fledgling network.
  • FOX cancelled their hotel sitcom Do Not Disturbed making it the first casualty of the season. I've just seen the one episode, and boy was it bad.
  • Despite all the hype NBC gave it during the summer, the two hour Heroes premiered to some disappointing numbers. The show was crushed by the season opener of Dancing with the Stars. Sigh, "reality" seems to be winning again.
  • So far ABC seems to the strongest this season. Dancing with the Stars and a two hour premiere episode of Grey's Anatomy has really seen them take a strong start to the season. Though watch for some of that to change with the beginning of CSI next week.

That's pretty much for me. You will be seeing a lot from me hopefully this weeks. Chuck, Pushing Daisies and Dirty Sexy Money all premiere this week. Don't miss out. Seriously, its going to be good.


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Butterfly, Leaf, Handprint, Half Cut Apple, Frog - The Fringe Review

Posted by DGN on 6:01 PM in
So, I've been meaning to do this for a while, but life has got in the way.

Either way, typically I like to watch a couple of episodes of a new show before I review them. I say typically even though this is my first review!

Let me start of by saying I'm not a huge sci-fi fan. There are few shows in the genre that really appeal to me. The best ones in the lot being Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Clearly I'm a fan of Joss Wheadon. And clearly I can't wait for Dollhouse to start mid season. However, a show that is slowly adding to the list is Fringe by J.J. Abrams.

I've heard a lot of J.J.Abrams sci fi work, but unfortunately have never seen it. Fans of Lost swear by it (I believe there may even be a rehab program for it), and Cloverfield was praised by all. I really thought that the next Star Trek movie would be my chance to check him out in this field, then came Fringe. I have however seen his non sci fi shows, those being Alias (ok that one is a little sci-fi), What about Brian? and Felicity.

The premise is based on fringe sciences, or paranomal sciences. In a nutshell, FBI agenct Olivia Dunham (played by Anna Torv) is trying to save her FBI boyfriend, John Scott (played by Boston Legal's Mark Valley) from a flesh eating toxin. To do so she has to get Dr. Walter Bischop (John Noble) out of the mental hospital he resides in to help fight this. To make that possible she enlists the help of his estranged son Peter Bishop (Dawson's Creek's Joshua Jackson).

What us created is a character driven show built around a sci fi setting. Every character has a back story and reasoning behind their actions. Olivia is trying to find out about what John was covering up, Dr. Bischop is trying to prove he isn't the quack that people think he is, especially to his son, and Peter is finally seeing his father for who he is. Peter and Olivia also have this chemistry that I can only explain as Mulder and Scully-ish (or for newer tv watchers Booth and Bones-ish). The show even has what seems like a series long mystery built around their mystery of the week. Again, think Buffy or Veronica Mars seasons 1 and 2.

Fringe isn't for everyone. There is a lot of suspension of disbelief, but like any sucessful sci fi producer/writer, the fan base is there, and FOX is counting on them. Pairing it together with another character driven, mystery of the week show like House will really help its numbers (and it has!), so hopefully we can see a lot more of this series in the coming months.

By the way, if your confused about the title of this post, watch the show!

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Emmys turns 60...and it Shows!

Posted by DGN on 11:45 AM in
So I was going to do a full live blog of the 60th Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards, and then I thought to myself, why would anyone who watched it care?

Clearly you are watching it thinking the same thing I am.. more or less at least!

So rather than take you bit by bit through the entire process, hows about we have a look at some of the highlight and low points of the event:

Highlights:

Ricky Gervais: This guy is a comedy genius. If you've ever heard me talk about the Office UK, then you know I think the world of this guy. His introduction of himself, rules to accepting a good speech and then his mocking of Steve Carrel stealing his Emmy from last year were brilliant. For those not in the know, Gervais is executive producer of the American version of the Office. Do yourself a favor and check out Extras on DVD. You won't be disappointed.




Bryan Cranston winning for Breaking Bad: Sometimes winning an Emmy or any award for that matter, can really bring attention to the award winning subject. That's exactly the case here. Breaking Bad, another AMC original, is one of those shows that fell under the radar last year due to the writer's strike. The show is about a high school chemistry teacher who finds out he has six months to a year to live. To make sure that his family is well supported, he turns to creating and selling meth. If you've only know of Bryan Cranston's work from Malcolm in the Middle, then check this show out. It's a complete 180 from his previous work. I wasn't sure if it was coming back, but from his acceptance speech it looks like it is.

"What if I just kept talking for 12 minutes? That was the opening." : Line of the night and really summed up the opening. Good job Piven!

Don Rickles & Tommy Smothers: Two legend got what they deserved. Good for them, and nice moments in the show.

The Favorites Won: Usually I like a little mixing it up, but good for the shows in question. 30 Rock and Mad Men both deserved it. Network tv is clearly the place to go for your comedy favorites, and AMC just flexed some muscle in the drama category!

Low Points:

Just the one, but this was a huge mood killer...

Five Hosts; No Show: Remember the saying "Too many cooks..." , well nothing proved it like this. I understand trying to make a statement that reality tv has been "accepted" by the Emmy's, but none of these hosts really hosted. In fact the funniest thing with the hosts involved Jimmy Kimmel naming who the winner was. Unfortunately this really set a ton for the entire night, and really killed the pazzaz that usually comes with award shows. Lets leave it to Conan or Jon Stewart next year okay guys! Hell, why not give it to Ricky Gervais!

Well those are my thoughts, what did you think? Let me know!

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Pass the Remote: The Guest Columnist

Posted by DGN on 9:18 PM
This is something I'm looking to make somewhat of a regular here on the site. Hopefully if there are items people would like to discuss that fits in with our site, I'd be happy to present it to the world.

Today I pass the remote to adrian tango from videogamesforus.com, a blog about all the goings on in the gaming world. So obviously today he writes about gaming and tv, and some of the highs and lows of the marriage between the two. So without further adieu, I present to you....


Saturday Morning Gaming
by adriantango


I remember waking up Saturday mornings, excited about what new adventures the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or the X Men were going to get into. It was truly a magical moment when the week before there was a cliffhanger and now - finally - there was a conclusion to it. What made things extra special were the premieres of new cartoons, especially when they were characters and stories we already knew, cartoons that were adapted from video games.

There are three games that come to mind, Sonic the Hedgehog, Mega Man and the Super Mario Bros.

Sonic actually had two Saturday morning cartoons. The first show, Sonic the Hedgehog had a dark, serious feel to it. It really emphasized the villan and the hero as complete opposites with a strong hatred for each other. This was different than the other cartoons because the villains and hero just wanted to stop each others plans. Here, they wanted to kill each other outright. The second series, Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog went for the regular Saturday cartoon feel, with more characters from the game and really had a lot of colour. This clearly was designed for the younger set. Both shows began at the same time however this colourful version lasted longer with Sonic the Hedgehog getting canceled after two seasons and continuing in a comic book version. Adventures still runs in syndication to this day.


Mega Man, to me, was an abomination of a cartoon. All the ingredients for a great cartoon wer there. Plenty of villains including one main villain. This way story lines would never really repeat as he would have a new villian to face each week. Instead, they decided to make the show very campy and very nauseating for fans of the game. Amazingly enough the show was animated and produced by Capcom themselves. Even the introduction of Megaman X could not save that show. Apparently the robots of the future are even more campy.

The only good video game to TV show example I can think of is The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! It had everything, Captain Lou Albino, funny Italian accents and entertaining cartoon stories. The show never went to silly, or to serious. Plus, the series had a special surprise for everyone on Fridays, Zelda baby.

So, in retrospect, some video games do not make good cartoons, or even movies for that matter. When producers decide to make a cartoon out of a video game, they better have a damn good idea.

And with that, I take the remote back from adrian. Thanks so much for your thoughts about TV and the world of video games colliding. Be sure to check out videogamesforus.com, and please let us know what your thoughts are.

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Flipping through the channels...

Posted by DGN on 9:18 PM in
With new and returning shows, I thought I would talk about something things that have been on my mind...
  • Fringe didn't open to the greatest numbers on it's debut, but the show did win the night.
    Though the season premiere of House really helped pick up the ratings in its second week

  • Speaking of House, the show really started up with a great new episode, and really great character development. Amber, or "Super Bitch" still lingers with the show even in death

  • The monster that was the premiere of 90210 seems to have fallen a bit in the last couple of weeks. Numbers have dropped, but networks had to have realized that with all the super hype leading to episode one of this spin off, things had to have tapered a bit

  • While in the zip code, Global here in Canada really spoiled the one thing fans of the originals were dying to know. Every promo leading up to the fourth episode told fans who the father of Kelly Taylor's baby was. I'm not saying anything, but it isn't Brandon

  • Monday Night Football opened the season with a monster game. The Dallas Cowboys vs The Philadelphia Eagles. The game was very fast paced and high scoring, and word of mouth definitely led to the historic 13 rating for ESPN, the highest rating of all time on US basic cable

  • Season 1 of Chuck, Dirty Sexy Money and Pushing Daisies all came out of DVD this week. Be sure to check them out before the start of their season two premieres

There is still more to come. The big three nets, NBC, ABC and CBS will unveil their shows next week.

The PVR will be definitely be in overdrive.

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I Didnt Watch the Show...Now I want a movie!

Posted by DGN on 9:21 PM in
The other day I was talking TV with a friend of mine, and we were going back and forth on shows we enjoyed. Between the two of us, there were a few similarities, Dexter and Dirty Sexy Money being the two standouts. There were shows that she watched that I didn't - in this case Weeds and Lost. Then there were shows that I told her to watch, Nip/Tuck, and the one this particular entry will be about -Arrested Development.


In 2003, FOX debuted a show during its Sunday line up that was something, well, very un-FOX like. A smart character driven ensemble comedy led by Jason Bateman and Jeffrey Tambor (of the also brilliant Larry Sanders Show) about the riches to rag story of the Bluth family. The show was renowned for its well written, and often complex storylines that really came together, as well as unearthing some brilliant comedic talents.

Unfortunately like sitcom genius Seinfeld's first couple of seasons before it, the show struggled to find a solid audience. Often getting saddled with titles like 'The Best Show Your Not Watching', or 'Ratings Challenged', the show was a critical darling. However, FOX didn't really help matters by moving it around and not giving it a stable place on its schedule.

After three seasons, and a host of Emmys and Golden Globe awards for Writing, Acting and the show itself, FOX decided to end the series. Unlike some of the shows mentioned in my last post, the last four episodes were made into a two hour series finale, nicely tying up plot lines and character developments.

So that should be it.

Not Quite.

Cut to five years later, and show has sadly found its following a little too late. DVD sales and reruns on channels like Showtime in the US and CBC here in Canada have informed people about what they were missing out on five years ago. Maybe the show was ahead of its time. Maybe people just don't know a good thing when they see it. Whatever it is, it has built some hype that, with the success of TV to Movie versions of Sex and the City, the Bluth family may also be coming to a big screen near you.

Word going around is that everyone from the cast as well as writers will be coming back. Everyone that is sans Michael Cera. The Brampton, Ontario native, whose career has sky rocketed thanks to roles in movies such as Superbad and Juno, has said he wouldn't want to do the movie as he'd rather enjoy the series as it was, and fans should enjoy the DVDs.

This, has caused an uproar amongst the fans of Arrested Development that want this movie.


Fairplay.

Only I think these fans are people who didnt appreciate the show when it was on air. These are the people who have come to the party late, and now want everything everyone else got. The series finale, while not watched by everyone, was a perfect ending. Mitchell Hurwitz, the co-creator and writer, was happy to end the show, even going as far as turning down an offer to stay with the show should it be picked up by cable network Showtime (who in turn did not pick it up without him).

I don't think its fair to criticize any actor or writer who does not want to take part in bringing back a program that no one appreciated during its prime, especially when there is a potential for backlash from the same group. By that I mean, should this movie finally come to fruition, and it isn't up to the TV shows very high standards, this very vocal group of fans will end up getting even more vocal. As it stands right now, its almost smart business to stay away from it and give the fans doses through other movies (Michael Cera has starred with Jason Bateman in Juno, and with Alia Shawkat in an episode of Veronica Mars). And God forbid this audience that couldn't find the time to watch it for free on TV not make their way to the local theater to watch the movie.

Now please dont get me wrong. I'd love to see a movie. However I can live happily watching the show on DVD. Theres just something perfect about the show, that perhaps should just stay the way it was.

As always, the comments box is always open. Love to hear from you if you agree or think otherwise.

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The End is the beginning is the End...

Posted by DGN on 2:26 PM in
When I was a younger DGN, I was (and still am) a huge fan of "Spider-man". No matter what was out there, I would make sure to watch anything that had Spidey in it. This included the VERY hard to find and under rated "Spider-man and his Amazing Friends", "The X-Men" featuring a guest apprearance from everybodies favourite web slinger, and even the very very short lived "Spider-Woman" which featured Spidey every now and then. Two of the series that I enjoyed the most though were the 1994 "Spider-man" and "Spider-man: The New Animated Series" in 2003. It was when I was going through some old DVDs that I realized that both these shows had one thing in common outside of subject matter. They both ended their runs with a cliffhanger!

For those uninitiated: "A cliffhanger or cliffhanger ending is a plot device in which a movie, novel, or other work of fiction contains an abrupt ending, often leaving the main characters in a precarious or difficult situation, or with a sudden shock revelation. This type of ending is used to ensure that, if a next installment is made, audiences will return to find out how the cliffhanger is resolved. (from wikipedia).

Now, I can see why this is done from the standpoint of a writer or producer. Obviously, the goal is for people to come back and watch. But if this is the last episode of the series, it is absolutely terrible to the viewer.

In both cases of the shows I mentioned, the viewer is left wondering what's happening next. In "Spider-man", Peter Parker sets out to find his wife Mary Jane who missing for most of the season. I remember waiting to find out what happens next, only to see the pilot the next day. Confusion and anger set in. Similarly, with "Spider-man: The New Animated Series" the final episode shows a defeated (emotionally!) Peter Parker throwing his outfit into the sea, promising never to be Spidey again. This is how you end the series???!! REALLY??!! (Sorry, I really love the webhead).

The same can be said about a few other shows. "Las Vegas" abruptly ended last season on a cliffhanger and was then cancelled by NBC. Though I believe that may have had to do more with the writers strike than anything else. "Angel", a spin-off of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" ended with the beginning of an epic battle that left us wondering who lived and who died. MTV is notorious for these cliffhanger series finales. Along with the aforementioned "Spider-man: The New Animated Series", the smartly written "Clone High" was cancelled in this fashion as well. WB teen parody "Popular" ended its two season run similarly, with one of the characters being hit by a car. The list continues, I'd suggest checking out wikipedia for more info.


The question here is what can be done to resolve this. I understand network business means that if a show is not profiting either through advertising rates, or at the very least Golden Globe/Emmy fare, then it is too expensive to keep on air. However, if it has had a successful run, is it not possible to give it a proper send off for the fans of the show? Lets go back to the shows I was talking about. In the case of the "Spider-man" series, chances are we will see our favourite super hero in some other incarnation. The MTV series was supposed to originally lead into "Spider-man 2". The same goes with "Angel", who from what I've heard, continued its run in comic book format. Some of the characters in "Las Vegas" may return on NBC's new "Knight Rider", which share the same production team. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for "Clone High" and "Popular".


I would say the least that could have been done in cases like that is there would have an extra on the DVD. If the show was popular enough to warrent a fan following (and searches on the 'net will show that there are), then chances are there is money in putting an episode together for DVD. Granted this is much easier to pull off for an animated series rather than a live action, but it seems like something that could be done. "Family Guy" is a great example of success via DVD sales. Hell, it's even a reason to buy the DVD considering all the different ways we have access to reruns these days.


I don't know... perhaps I'm still bitter about not knowing where Mary Jane is, or what made Peter put on the tights again, but I think if you've devoted the time into watching a show over a long period of time, the least they can do is give it a proper ending. But maybe that's just the fanboy in me!

On that note...I know I'm about five years late, but still can't hurt..


Comments? Any shows that you have on this list? Would love to hear em!

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No TV and No Beer Make DGN Go.... something something

Posted by DGN on 3:38 PM in ,
GO CRAZY? Don't Mind if I Do!!!


Ok, well, not right now... but WOW did it feel like that last year! The Writer's strike really put a hold on a lot of good stuff that was out there last year. And while I do sympathize with their cause (seriously, how did the networks think they were not going to pay these guys, when they themselves were going to profit off it through the internet and dvd), it really made things boring on those long cold Canadian winters when there was nothing to do.

But thankfully those days are over, and there are new and returning shows in full force. Of the ones I really enjoyed last season, these are the ones to watch:


"Chuck" - great spy comedy from the writer/producer of the OC and Gossip Girl. Well written, and very tongue in cheek. Had a good run last season, and hopefully NBC gives it time to thrive.


"Dirty Sexy Money" - a drama with some fantastic acting. Any scene with Peter Krause and Donald Sutherland, is worth watching this show alone. The show has aspects of comedy and mystery. Last season we were left with the introduction of new characters and new plot lines half way thru, and then the strike hit. Hopefully it can pick up where it left off.



"Pushing Daisies" - an very offbeat show. Romantic, Dark comedy and sci fi all rolled into one, this show will remind anyone who watches it of Tim Burton's "Big Fish". The chemistry between the leads is very strong, and every week seems to have some odd surprise. Add a musical number? Sure, it doesn't seem out of place on this show.

These are the shows that really stuck out with me last season. These are the types of 'original' shows I was talking about in my last post.

The new season so far has been rather interesting.

"90210" opened to some HUGE numbers for the CW. That's what nostalgia, SUPER hype and nothing else on TV will get you. The next couple of weeks will really determine if the show is a success or not.

I'm still waiting to check out "Fringe" which I hear was good. Here in Canada CTV and A simulcast the program with FOX, so clearly they have a lot of hope for it to do well. My PVR is holding on to it for me, and I haven't heard any ratings news either.

"Bones" has moved past last season's finale, and returned to it's jovial beginnings (Thank GOD!) and "Priviledged", which I only caught a little off, seemed pretty decent. The show is very quirky, and well Joanna Garcia is back on TV. That's all I need (Hey Joanna, if by some fluke you happen to read this, Call me ;))

"Hole on the Wall" premieres tonight on FOX. That looks funny as hell.

Other than that, we wait and see what the new season has instore.

What are you waiting for? Let me know...

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They do say 'Imitation is the best form of Flattery...'

Posted by DGN on 2:21 PM in
Something that I have seen crop up over the last couple of years is the "franchising" of television shows across the world. By this I mean, taking a program that is popular in another country, and re-working it for the local audience.


This is a very common theme in the reality tv genre, the most popular being "Pop Idol" out of the UK becoming "American Idol" stateside, and "Canadian Idol" here in the great white north. But I'm talking more so about scripted programming following suit.



The first recent instant of this occured in 2003. NBC, looking for a way to make up for the impending loss of "Friends" to its Thursday night line up, and decided to add a show that had done phenomenally well in the UK. This show was "Coupling", a show built around the same concept as friends, except for its very heavy content on sexual activity and relationships (no nudity, no swearing, but a lot of inference). The show was on air from 2000 - 2004 (British TV is known for their shorter runs). However, NBC wasn't airing the original, but instead opting to re-create it with American stars. The result: Not good. "Coupling US" didn't have the same chemisty, and in a culture known for exploiting sex, but not necessarily open about it, the subject matter didn't resonate with audiences, ending after only 4 episodes (Nine were made in total).

However, that didn't stop NBC (good for them in this case!), and in 2005 added "The Office" to their Thursday night line up. The original UK Office was another huge hit in its home country, and made Ricky Gervais a star. The plot revolves around a concept that everyone knows about...a boss you do not like. The main difference between the American and British version is the boss himself. When the job was offered to Steve Carrel, he decided not to watch the original, and played the role very differently. PLaying more of a goofy Michael Scott than the cocky David Brent that Gervais based his on. The result: A sleeper hit for the network. While people couldn't stop comparing it to the original, "The Office US" blew up with the success of Carell's film "The 40 Year Old Virgin".


There are more shows coming down the the line. NBC is bringing in "Kath and Kim" (based on the Aussie hit of the same name) this fall and ABC has "Life on Mars" (another British program - perhaps I should start watching more of their shows!), and sitting on Footballer's Wives (British soap, but these footballers play the Amercian Version!).

Of course America is not the only place guilty of this. Since the success of the American verison, other Offices have set up shop in France, Germany, French Canada and Chile. CBC (Canada) came out with MVP:The Secret Lives of Hockey Wives (ala Footballers Wives). While not a hit on Canadian or American tv (it aired on ABC to low ratings) the show is coming back on SOAPNet in 2009. Canada is also the starting point for franchise show "Little Mosque on the Prairie", which is a success in and out of Canada and will have an American version to air on FOX sometime in the near future.


So, the question is, is this a good thing or a bad thing. In the case of shows like "The Office", it seems like a great idea. People really enjoyed the antics of Michael Scott and company, and then forces them to watch the original. However, what if you watched "Coupling US" . Would you watch the original. Doubt it, even though it's one of the better written comedies we've seen in a while. Chances are, the more of these "franchised" shows we see, the more failures we'll read about. Very few knockoffs are as good as their originals, even if some of the originals are utilized. And of course, what about originality? Are we not going to see any new ideas anymore? I understand ripping off a concept, that's been done before. But now we're just going to copy the entire idea?!

We'll have to see how these new shows pan out... but it would be nice to see some new ideas being mixed around with these old one...

Your comments are always welcome :)






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If Your Just Tuning In....

Posted by DGN on 9:14 AM in
...you've arrived to the very first post of 'TV Raised Me'.

Welcome. We're stilling finding ourselves, but this blog is going to be the thoughts of a TV addict!
I'm mostly going to talk about happenings within the industry, what I think about whats going on on the boob tube, as well as other random thoughts.

Feel free to leave comments. Would love to hear your thoughts.

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