Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Whatever Happened To Integrity ???

This title is a bit pompous considering the topic and subject matter but I'm seriously pissed off and need to vent somewhere.

In the beginning, God created The Heavens and The Earth. And God saw that this was good. Then God created BBC1 in black and white and thought this was pretty good too. Next He created ITV1 to give a bit of competition and this was even better.

I'd better get off this biblical way of talking before I upset someone.

So, hard on the heels of these 2 channels came a third called......BBC2. We're not very creative when naming our tv channels.

Years later we got colour and a couple of other channels called Channel 4 and Channel 5.
Yes, the creative juices still weren't flowing.

We got these channels from an aerial on our roofs which looked like they'd been devised by preteens out of old wire coat hangers and some super glue and which doubled as perches for the local bird population. It was all vey low tech but it worked well enough in the days before we needed widescreen, plasma and HD Ready sets to better watch Richard & Judy.

But since the arrival of Sky TV way back in 1763 or some such year in the distant past, we who love watching tv have been 'blessed' with more and more television channels to help kill what brain cells remain.

Ok I agree, in my case, not that many.

I was one of the first to get a dish strapped to my house and back in those days, it was a dish large enough to be used as a backup for NASA if they needed to communicate with the Space Shuttle. I remember it collected snow better than an oversized wellie and in winter when this happened, I'd lose the picture and have to go upstairs, lean out the back bedroom window, and use a water filled fairy liquid bottle to dislodge the buildup of snow. Mr. Marconi would've been proud.

Then our street got cable and I jumped ship and went with it. The road since then has been winding and often full of potholes and I'm not talking about the physical road either.

Over the years the number of channels has expanded exponentially but as happened in America decades ago, the overall quality dropped just as fast. If I discount sports and movie channels (which are awesome of course), there are probably half a dozen worth watching on a regular basis and yet at the last count, I pay for well over 150.

BBC and ITV haven't been slow to jump on this bandwagon and we've now got BBC3, BBC4, BBC5, ITV2, ITV3 and so on. Obviously those in the channel naming department went on sabatical many years ago and never came back.

With so many channels trying to buy up the few quality shows available, it's obvious that at times we, the paying viewers, are left with dross and drivel to keep us on our couches. It's just not good enough - literally.

And this finally brings me to what has got me steamed up. I hate being taken for a ride. I hate being led astray. And almost as much, I hate it when I see it happening to others.

Spending half my year in America, I watch a lot of their shows over there and like to continue watching them here in the UK as well. So I know a bit more than most about US shows. Many are taken up by one UK channel or another and I've long since ceased to be amazed how a prime time, and thus very successful, US show ends up being broadcast here on some minor cable channel in the small hours of the morning. Vive la difference and so on.

Anyway for the last few weeks we have been getting previews and promos for a new US series called Smith, starring the relatively well known actor, Ray Liotta. The pilot was broadcast last night (Tues) on ITV4 at 10pm. When I saw the first preview and learned that this show was to be broadcast here I was amazed. Why ?

Well because only 3 episodes were ever shown in the US before the series was cancelled. Indeed only 7 episodes were ever recorded and the last 4 were available only on the internet some months ago. That was it. No more Smith and obviously no storyline ending, good or bad.

Has this stopped ITV4 picking up this series and showing it here ? Nope.
Has ITV4 kept it low key so that viewers don't get hooked on it ? Nope.
Has ITV4 informed viewers up front that it will suddenly end after 7 episodes ? Nope.
Is this an outrageous way to treat ITV4 viewers ? YES.

It was bad enough that in the previews and promo adverts for the show they called it a 'hit' US series. What criteria would class a show that is canned after 3 episodes a 'hit' ??

But even worse is not telling viewers up front that there are only 7 episodes - although it's obvious why they don't. That's right, who would watch when they know it'll end abruptly with no closure ?

So in true Mr. Angry mode I emailed ITV4 to ask both those questions and today I got their reply........a reply that just about sums up their contempt for their viewers and is also a sad commentary on tv in this country now.

Basically there are 24 hours to fill every day and we'll broadcast anything we can as long as we get advertising revenue - which, after all, is what it's all about.

I give you their reply, brief as it is, and see what you think...............................

Thank you for your email.

They used the word 'hit' as the programme was well received by some

We can confirm that ITV4 has acquired 7 episodes of this series. There
will be an on-air announcement when episode 7 is shown that it's the
final episode of the series.


ITV Duty Officer

Ok so in the great scheme of things this is hardly blogworthy stuff.

But it made me angry and having typed this, I'm not so angry anymore.

Beats taking a pill.

Now where did I put that remote....................

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