Apr 13

Right, how many modern TV shows adhere to the format below? How much of the output from how many stations starts at step 1 before plodding the weary, well-trodden path to the end? And how many of us, just looking to relax after a hard day at work, are caught in the gradient of inevitability that surrounds such televisual masterpieces? Ten points and shiny prize* if you can identify some yourself.

Modern TV flowchart

So, how many did you get? With some slight variations in format, I can pick up the following just off the top of my head:

Parenting: Supernanny

Makeup / dressing: Snog, Marry, Avoid

Cleaning: How Clean Is Your House?

Cooking: Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares

Work: The Business Inspector

Hotel: The Hotel Inspector

Surviving: Young, Dumb and Living Off Mum

It’s late, I’m tired and am about to go to bed, but those just flew off the top of my head. I’m a massive Star Trek fan so am no stranger to formulaic TV that elevates “variations on a theme” to an artform (Enterprise visits planet, encounters threat, Kirk kicks the crap out of alien man / pumps** alien woman, Enterprise flies off with bridge crew enjoying hearty laugh) but this assembly-line TV is just insulting. And boring. Boring boring boring boring boring***.

* Prize may not be shiny. Terms and conditions apply once I make them up.

** Yes, pumps. I could have said “shags” or something else, but I went for pumps. Blame Irvine Welsh, my recent re-reading of “Glue” and “Porno” has obviously warped my innocent mind.

*** Boring. Booooooring. And I don’t mean entertainingly boring, like Last Of The Summer Wine for the last billion series. I mean Nick Clegg boring.

5 Responses to “Quick question”

  1. Jamie Says:

    You Are What You Eat, What Not To Wear, Celebrity Fit Club, Faking It – I think the list will be a long one.

  2. FawnDoo Says:

    I think the list would be far, far longer than the one we’ve started. What started me thinking about this was catching the last 10 minutes of an episode of Black Books a few nights ago, which was on TV not a kick in the arse off of midnight.

    Sophie bloody Dahl, Gordon Ramsay and that CGI monstrosity from Snog, Marry, Avoid get stuck on when people might watching and what is on in the graveyard slots? IT Crowd, Black Books and Curb Your Enthusiasm. In other words the stuff that shows an bit of wit, intelligence and creativity is shitcanned and the usual cookie-cutter rubbish is front and centre.


  3. Jamie Says:

    Agreed. It’s like in the 90s when BBC two showed Seinfeld at about midnight – if memory serves they did try and show it earlier but it didn’t get enough viewers. Maybe the moral is that people like watching crap TV. Or that decent programmes need better advertising.

    Still, it must do wonders for DVD sales – I’ve got the complete series of Seinfeld, Black Books, Spaced, The West Wing etc and most of Curb Yr Enthusiasm. Maybe that’s the moral – DVD sales. Or maybe there is no moral and it’s all just random bits.

  4. FawnDoo Says:

    I think that good TV programs need two things that they very rarely get:

    1) Good advertising.
    2) A stable spot in the schedules.

    Unfortunately, what we end up with is the usual old shite carrying the day and in lieu of quality we get Graham Norton promising to find the next Joseph / Nancy / Dorothy / Toto / Arse of a panto horse.

    Buying a series boxset is definitely the way to go. West Wing suffered from chronic schedule-itis when it was first on, if memory serves, and that’s one I have picked up on shiny disk. I’m still trying to warm to Seinfeld – I think that seeing CYE first is working against me because I keep expecting it to be like that.

    Any other morals we can draw from this one? I’d like to nominate that old favourite, “Too many cooks called Gordon Ramsay spoil broth, meal, atmosphere and everything about life ever.”

  5. FawnDoo Says:

    Oh, one other thing good TV shows need:

    3) Not to be cancelled for the fucking sport at the drop of a hat.

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