Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Piqued Peaked

I had wanted to give it a day before commenting on the results of The 50 Greatest TV Dramas, which was broadcast over the weekend. The delay also afforded me the time to catch The Sopranos, back on Channel 4 for a sixth season.

Watching the first episode it became apparent that while The Sopranos is a good drama, possibly a great drama, but it’s certainly not the best drama. Especially since, now extended beyond the original five-year plan, the show seems to be caught in some drawn out holding pattern, waiting for the end.

Instead it’s the best example of why a number of current ongoing dramas were justifiably omitted from the list, however good they are at the moment, because we have yet to see if their potential will be ultimately realized. That said, I still can’t get my head around the startling omissions of both Deadwood and The Wire, which have transcended their genres to create two startling examples of quality, thought-provoking television.

There were also a few too many worthy dramas that were designed to inform and educate rather than entertain. Ultimately though, the only entry in the top ten I had a real issue with was Twin Peaks. Yes, the series was certainly important in the annals of television for shaking up American network television with its non-sequiturs and non-linear narrative strands, oddities and general weirdness.

In the end, however, it went on too long, ran out of ideas and just filled the void by ramping up the weirdshit-o-meter to 12 while running on empty. In doing so Twin Peaks actually had a negative effect on quirky, quality, sometimes experimental, dramas. By alienating its viewers, the show actually sent the wary networks back to their tried and tested formulas like Murder, She Wrote.

Anyway, it was a list based on opinion. If I didn’t wholeheartedly agree with it, no great shakes. And, at least it was determined by pros. If the great unwashed fuckwits had been allowed to raise their hands, the top spots would have been filled with Doctor Who, Torchwood, Heartbeat and fucking Lewis. And if that happened, right about now I would have exploded with rage after having gone on a nationwide killing spree. So there was a good side to the results after all.


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