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Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Massive Moan

What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is a bit of a whine and a moan about something that most (all) of you came to terms with years ago, if it ever bothered you at all. It's also something which, given the advances in technology in recent years, is pretty much irrelevant now anyway. That said, I'm still writing it, because it wound me up recently and this is my blog, so nyah!

Oh, and I'll be making several references to The TVTimes (other listings mags are available). It's just cos that's what I buy. I am in no way endorsing it especially. (If any other listing mags would like to to pay me to endorse them, I'm for sale. Not TVEasy though; there's not enough money in the world.)

On Saturday 7th of January 2012, ITV began a repeat run of Murder, She Wrote, the classic US murder mystery show starring Angela Lansbury.

Whether it's intended to be a full repeat run, or just there to fill space in the schedules until they can find some new, 'totally unsuited to the timeslot but we didn't realise because we bought it based on the premise without ever actually watching it, but it'll be all right because we'll just skip the particularly difficult episodes and cut the others to ribbons cos no-one will notice, cos it's just wallpaper anyway, and oh look no-ones watching, we'd better shift it to a graveyard slot and never bother buying past S1' show to delight the weekend crowd, I don't know. It's possible of course, that ITV don't have the rights to screen a full run; I haven't looked into it. Regardless, they started from the pilot, so I thought I'd give it a go; I do like a chance to watch a long running show from the beginning, and seeing how it develops.

The pilot being a feature lengther, it was split in two, and we got the second part on the 14th. After which we were told, by the announcer, that the next episode would be on the following day. That's Sunday 15th. Sunday 15th rolls around and Murder, She Wrote is not on. The TVTimes (other listing mags are available, some of them are pretty good) (TVEasy isn't though) backs up the words of the announcer. Murder, She Wrote should be on. What do we get instead, without any explanation? I'll tell you; Doc 'Glorified Sunday Night Granny Telly' Martin. Now, I'm not surprised that Doc Martin was on; you can usually find it somewhere on the ITV network, whenever there's a Y in the day, but at this particular time, I had been promised a bit of JB Fletcher magic. I was livid! (I wasn't really. But I was genuinely annoyed.)

The following week, the TVTimes (other listing mags are available, email me for my competitive rates) (not TVEasy, those knobs; I mean, massive fucking spoilers on the FRONT COVER!) promised more Murder, She Wrote. I settled in, and waited to see what would actually appear on my screen. Lovejoy? Dixon of Dock Green? Bad Girls: The Next Generation? No, wonder of wonders, it was Murder, She Wrote. And here is my complaint... what do you mean you thought the last paragraph was my complaint? Don't be silly; my complaint is as follows...

We got episode 3. The episode that had been advertised but never materialised the week earlier (episode 2, in case you weren't paying attention, come on, keep up) was just forgotten about. Now, you might argue that missing out one episode from a series that's decades old and has little to nothing in the way of ongoing storylines, should not be considered a major deal; you know, by sane people; and it's possible that you're right. Maybe. I guess.

Except actually, no, it's not possible you're right at all.This particular instance is mild, I'll admit, but it's typical of the kind of indifference that big broadcasters have in this country when it comes to imported shows. There is simply no respect (I refer you back to the start of the post; those italics? yeah).

Whether it's shoving shows ever further back in the schedules until they disappear forever amongst the Roulette wheels and chatline ads, or stripping shows across 5 nights a week, making it virtually impossible for anyone with even a semblance of a life to keep up; and yes, we have recordable TV and series link buttons and all that jazz, and people like myself (read; sad cases) will always find a way, but it still means a commitment, which most won't be willing to make, of 5hrs a week devoted to one show; or just not bothering to show stuff at all past a certain point (ITV viewers have only been waiting 15 years for S2 of Millennium); the fact remains that the major terrestrial broadcasters in the UK show little to no respect to their acquisitions. Which means, by extension, they're showing little to no respect to those viewers who might want to watch said acquisitions.

ITV viewers only saw 1/3rd of this show.I've just been through next weeks TVTimes (other listings mags are available; seriously, I'm skint) (not skint enough for that, Mr 'Lets announce on the cover that a major character dies even though all the trailers and hype are built on speculation over his fate'). In it I see yet another example of what I've been moaning about here. BBC2 is going to screen US thriller serial Rubicon (previously seen on BBC4), starting from Tuesday night. Will they give this intelligent, critically acclaimed show with a strong over-arching narrative requiring close attention a prime time slot and decent promotion? Of course not. 11:20, with the 2nd episode straight afterwards at gone midnight. It's a travesty, is what it is.

Anyway, there's my moan. Doesn't really apply to Sci-Fi, specifically, although I did manage to cram a Millennium reference in there, for appearances sake. And now that I think of it, ITV''s treatment of Beauty and the Beast back in the day is probably as perfect an example of what I was talking about at the start as you're likely to find. And CH4's scheduling of Stargate isn't far behind. Yeah, all broadcasters are shit!

With the possible exception of CH5, who are like clockwork with their scheduling of imports. It's just a shame they're so limited in what they buy; there's more to US TV than glossy cop shows, lads. Although, back when they did have more range in their shows, they bought Cleopatra 2525 and never screened S2, so far as I can tell, so that's them in the bad books as well. Sods, the lot of 'em.

EDIT: I've had a comment on twitter by someone who read this post, to say that their complaint about TV broadcasters is down to stations not delivering on promised subtitles. Now, as someone who doesn't require that service I can't say that I've ever noticed a problem but if it's true (and I have no reason to doubt this persons word), then it puts my own petty rantings in the shade.

In this day and age, can they expect to get away with stuff like that? Does the same thing happen with sign language? I don't know, but it just seems really off to me.

In fairness, this person did single out the BBC as being very good with this stuff, so well done them, but the rest need to buck their ideas up.

Next week, I shall have a nice praise filled post on here (and I know I said that last week as well but like I say, Murder She Wrote got me riled up), about an actual show I've watched and enjoyed. I just haven't decided which one yet. Wait and see.

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