No conspiracy here…

There have been several times when I have considered that there might be  intelligent design behind the vast majority of dross on TV. An evil cabal plotting to keep the masses passive by spoon feeding us anaesthetics via the media. Mind numbing pap to dull the wit and destroy the soul. I couldn’t possibly entertain that idea any more though. Mainly because such a scheme requires some level of forethought and planning. It would demand a veneer of integrity to disguise the maleficient intent. Disregarding the potentially endless cycle of double to n bluffs, you wouldn’t want to make it obvious that you were embarking on a mass hypnosis scheme to ensure the compliance of the great unwashed. You’d want that media content to be interesting and compelling (obviously without encouraging too much critical thinking though).

After tonights offering it is easy to see why voluntary euthanasia has become such a big topic recently. Where do I sign up? Oh sorry I meant to say where do I start? Let’s begin with Top Gear…

Top Gear Crashes

The BBC refuse to disclose the budget for the show, but I think we can all assume it must be fairly substantial. Top Gear “the 2nd generation” has always had its critics. It did after all abandon its core audience of average middle income blokes interested in which car they could afford might be the best one for them to purchase with the added bonus of the odd bit of news or review of something far beyond their means if not their dreams. When it changed to an endless conveyor belt of executive toys it at least did so with some genuine humour. I used to enjoy it, it made me laugh.  However it stalled many years ago, in the last three years any humour has been mostly accidental, the only remaining draw being the one chance I get a decent look at a supercar.  I don’t actually want a supercar, even if I could afford to purchase, insure and fuel one, however they are often beautiful objects.  Beyond the  expensively painted curves they contain machine monsters designed by man. Great lumps of complex metal and electronics focusing the power of chemical explosions to propel humans along tarmac surfaces at extreme speed. They are fantastic examples of engineering (obviously that’s not a pun)

I don’t know who writes the scripts, but I hope they don’t get paid. The presenters are now simply a parody of themselves and tonights show was like a car review version of ‘The Office’ but without the humour. It is so contrived and predictable it is like watching a re-run of Some Mothers Do ‘ave ’em, and there’s a very good reason why they don’t ever re-run Some Mothers Do ‘ave ’em (otherwise known as the Frank Spencer show. Clarkson & co. spend so much effort trying to be effortlessly humorous and failing that it is truly sad to watch.

Reality? No Thanks

It’s all around us right? OK so there’s not much family adultery, rape or paedophilia happening in my life, but that’s why we need soaps apparently. If you really want to watch fictional families from one street enduring year after year of statistically improbable torment then I think you should be allowed to do so. If you feel somehow empowered or superior watching sad hopefulls fight to be exploited by global media companies, be my guest.  I just wish the mainstream media would offer us a few more alternatives. Like for instance some original, inventive fiction that doesn’t aspire to be a soap opera. Or at the very least many more programs that don’t involve ‘celebrities’ or even average nobody’s playing up to the camera in the vain hope of being anything less than someone to laugh at for the rest of us. I think the Roman’s gladiatorial system was more honest.

Let’s make it up as we go along!

This is probably why TV fiction is so bad. If you write a book it has a beginning, middle and end.  There is a dynamic that must be fulfilled; the last page. Most TV shows now adopt a philosophy of concept over story, or characters. Episodes are written on the fly and the lack of over-arching story or any constraints become obvious. Consider…

Please Be Humane

Being Human was pretty good for the first two series. It was never “high brow” but the characters were well fleshed out & the situation was novel. The last two episodes have offered some tenuous explanations for killing off the remaining characters from the last series who at the time of writing hadn’t committed themselves either way and then set up the replacements to establish their characters in exactly the same (now) formulaic positions that the exiting actors characters occupied. You’d have to be a child or moron not to see through the paper thin episode level storyline not to see this. My question is why is it even necessary?  If they had written a beginning, middle and end before they started filming anything the actors could commit themselves to the whole story, they could develop and pace the dramatic tension across the available episodes and finish with something complete and memorable. Instead they chose to continually push a ‘concept’ until we’re so sick of it that anything laudable from the beginning has been watered down to an unwatchable and emminently forgettable, never ending mediocrity (at best).

Mortal for a reason

This concept isn’t new. Ironically most people these days only encounter the idea from the visual media but Current TV & Film companies seem to be trying to prove the reciprocal of “The light that burns twice as bright, burns half as long“.


If a group of clever, power hungry, conspirators were really trying to keep the masses quiet through the various ‘entertainment’ media channels, rather than filling me with the desire to either kill myself or kill everyone else in the whole wide world, they would actually produce, compelling, gripping, interesting watchable programs and movies.


There is still some good stuff out there mind. If you didn’t see the first series of Game Of Thrones you should try and watch it soon as the 2nd series will shortly begin on US TV. An (so far) excellent (for someone who hasn’t read the books) adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. The main selling point being that it is adapted from something that has a beginning, middle and end (as long as HBO are willing to fund it for the 6 or 7 series it will take to tell the whole story! Is that likely? Maybe if I can get more people to watch it ;p)

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One Comment

  1. Amanda says:

    Good blogging!