… Saturday night television?
As I sit here and wait for Match of the Day to burst forward at 10:20 tonight, I am distinctly aware of a complete lack of anything remotely interesting to watch on television tonight. The growth of reality television has effectively killed off what was, traditionally, a strong time for family television. Programmes such as the ever reliable Casualty on the Beeb, or films on ITV and Channel 4 have suffered as we are exposed to such television rubbish as Last Choir Standing (who cares?), X Factor (painfully pointless and long lasting – contributing to the demise of the music industry), and tonight, a programme celebrating the good work of the National Lottery. Now I appreciate the good stuff that the lottery does, but as someone who contributes to a television licence, I am more than a little peeved at this taking over an hour of prime-time television.
I find that I am left with the options of NCIS on Channel 5, and what is proving to be the winner of Batman Forever on Channel 4. Neither of which, if I’m honest, particularly inspire me. I have seen Batman many times, and NCIS is just a poor version of the much more popular (and better) CSI franchise.
My question though, is why does reality television still continue to flourish? It is, if we are honest, the lowest denominator of television. Programmes such as the aforementioned Last Choir Standing are less popular than either the X Factor or Strictly Come Dancing, yet they still manage to occupy hours of prime-time. Let us not forget Big Brother either, this television carbuncle still rumbles on ten years after it was initially started as a psychological experiment. At the time, in my opinion, it barely passed as an interesting experiment. Ten years down the line, I wonder how many people really still care. Switching onto E4 last night I was unfortunate enough to catch the last two minutes of BBLB. As I stared blankly at the screen I was unsure whether to be embarassed for the presenters, or embarassed for the people who still tune in. The question which I posed to my sister (to which there was no answer) was “is this entertaining?” I’m assuming the lack of answer was an answer in itself.
What can be done to save television? I know that is a hard question as tastes vary (indeed there are some who still tune into the aforementioned tripe) but there needs to be a swift return to quality programming, with people such as those at the BBC and ITV returning to the idea of making quality programmes, and spending some of the money they make either through the licence payer or through the advertising. Channel 4 is still involved in making some very good films, so why are we not exposed to these films more often?
In short there needs to be someone, somewhere who stands up to the ogre of reality television and fight back, for the sanity of most viewers nationwide. I have heard grumbles about the number of American programmes appearing on our screens from numerous people. My response is that they are better than what we can offer. I feel much happier watching some American dramas as opposed to British reality tv. That’s the way of it. British television sucks. Our television needs reclaiming, for the sake of the nation at large.