Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Caught Napping

It may be more than a little premature for a Spring Clean, but all of a sudden the UK television channels, as one, are rooting out space in their schedules to blow off the now-cancelled US dramas everyone had high hopes for when they handed over their cheques.

Daybreak and Smith have already started their brief runs on Bravo and ITV4 respectively. BBC One put out 3 lbs at close to some ungodly hour on Sunday night and then last night Channel 4 premiered Kidnapped.

I started watching 3 lbs simply because of Stanley Tucci. I first became aware of him when he briefly appeared as Karl Draconis in thirtysomething, years before he chewed up the screen as the flaky Richard Cross in Murder One. After such a powerful turn it seemed like he was in danger of thereafter simply being cast in “the Stanley Tucci role”, which was why it was great to see him cameo as Stanley Kubrick in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers and give a blistering performance as Eichmann in HBO’s Conspiracy, which dramatized the infamous Wannsee conference.

I gave it twenty-odd minutes, which was more than generous. 3 lbs had Stanley Tucci in a tailor-made “Stanley Tucci role”. Even if it hadn’t appeared in the shadow of House, which it was so obviously modelled on, I still wouldn’t have seen it through to the end.

Kidnapped I did watch. I mean, for starters, it had a cast filled out with Dana Delany, Timothy Hutton, Delroy Lindo, Linus Roache, and whoever the kid is who plays the kidnapped kid. Kidnapped I actually liked. Did I mention it starred Dana Delany?

Channel 4’s decision to splice episodes together and show them two at a time initially looked they were just doing their damnedest to get it over and done with. But it worked. After the forty-odd minute mark, where the join obviously was, I actually wondered if I would have come back for a second helping if it was shown an episode at the time.

Perhaps one failing of some of the new breed of dramas with continuing stories – probably most notably attributed to the ones that actually failed - is that they make absolutely no concessions to casual viewers tuning in late in the day. It certainly isn’t a new occurrence.

By the time someone convinced me that there was more to Farscape than the Muppets in Space the show was so far along in its run, and the storylines so utterly convoluted, that it was utterly impenetrable (as well as silly).

Obviously, by going straight into part two, the second episode was shorn of an opening “previously on...”, but it certainly looked like if they weren’t there at the start line viewers were going to be left in the dust. Anyway, it got my attention, which will have me back next week. After all... Dana Delany.


At 8:29 am, Blogger Lee said...

I'm going to have a bit of a rant now.

The last time C4 did the two episodes together thing was for Sleeper Cell, which they cut to shit.

Stargate, Alias, Angel, The O.C - every imported drama I've made an effort to tune into on 4 has had massive chunks excised (possibly Smallville too, but they can't make that short enough). Often this is because they've chosen a completely inappropriate timeslot. Who knows what the excuse was with Sleeper Cell.

Maybe they'll show Kidnapped uncut, but they pissed on their chips too long ago for me to give a damn.

This is why bittorrent is my friend.

At 7:36 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Lee, yeah you told me about Sleeper Cell. Channel 4 do come across as bollock-brained cock knobs when it comes to hacking and slashing imported dramas.

No big deal if Kidnapped is trimmed. They had a gunfight when the kid got snatched that was sudden but brutal. Then again, it is a network rather rather than from a cable channel.

I'd lay off The OC and Smallville. Aren't they for teens and paedos?

At 10:37 am, Blogger Brian Sibley said...

Bring back Dr Richard Kimble and the one-armed-man, I say! You knew precisely where you were EVERY week!


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