Sunday, January 04, 2009

What Possessed Them?

I missed the announcement. Can you believe that? If I had known, no doubt I would have been on my knees, face pressed up against the television screen, trying not to spot with nervous anticipation. Of course rather than getting all jingly-jangly about such stuff and nonsense, I was too busy watching the second episode of HBO’s utterly phenomenal John Adams, which Channel 4 is currently showing.

Do you think the UK’s current drama commissioners were watching such an astonishing piece of work? Nah, me neither! Because if they had seen it now or when it was first screened on More4 last year, would they go ahead and give the nod to such utter toss as Demons? Were there any functioning brain stems in evidence when the suits from Shine went to ITV to pitch the show? Rather than wait for security to escort them from the building, I’d have simply set the dogs loose and put the popcorn in the microwave.

What was the pitch? Did they simply spill the fact that it was nothing more than a totally shitty UK rip-off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or did they go into more detail? I love the fact that the series creator, Peter Tabern, originally named the show The Last Van Helsing, until someone pointed out that Universal Pictures, who made a massive, fuck-off summer blockbuster some years back, held the rights to the name. This has got to give hope to all the dweeby knuckleheads dreaming up crappy dramas in their bedrooms. If even the most clueless fuckwits can get a commission then there’s hope for everyone else.

Still, would it have hurt to inject Demons with just a smidgen of originality? A kid finds he’s the last of the Van Helsings – the “Chosen One” whose destiny is to hunt demons? Come on?! The American godfather who reveals the fact and then goes about acting as his mentor is called Rupert Galvin? I mean, for fuck sake! Then it turns out that his assistant, who quickly forms part of this UK-based Scooby Gang is the Mina Harker. Of course maybe she’s simply on loan from Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and either Allan Quatermain or Captain Nemo will guest in future episodes.

I know this putrid nonsense is obviously aimed at kids and anyone with dog shit for brains, but even the most retarded must have stared, slack-jawed and goggle-eyed as Mackenzie Crook made his entrance with a squashed vulture nose glued to his face, and muttered, “What the fucking fuck?!” Then again, maybe that audience was probably all aquiver during the time of transmission and failed to notice. After all, they were probably still blowing their load over the news of who was going to step up to be the new Doctor.

Can you believe the BBC1 jacked off over half an hour of the Saturday night schedule for this? Shit, if they were desperate for filler, why didn’t they lump a bunch of the great Fred Quimby-produced Tom and Jerry cartoons together and put in its place. Instead the less than momentous news that some callow streak of piss was going to take over from David Tennant was treated like it was Moses coming down from Mount Sinai with the tablets.

After watching a repeat of the Doctor Who Christmas episode on New Year’s Day, and not having a decent excuse like I was far too hung over to know better than waste an hour of my life on such appalling crap, the big announcement to get people cheering in the streets should have been that Russell T Davies was being shitcanned immediately. I phoned a fan of the show up to wish him a Happy New Year and the first words out of his mouth were, “That was shit!” So that saved me the trouble.

I couldn’t agree more. Although it did remind me that it has been far too long since I watched The Iron Giant. So I suppose there was some small benefit from watching it. If this is how UK drama sees fit to welcome in the New Year, I’d say there was little hope for 2009.


At 12:28 am, Blogger qrter said...

I missed The Announcement itself, I switched the telly on right in the middle of that pathetic montage set to some shitty music. Hey kids, this ain't your daddy's Dr Who anymore!!!!

So they've gone for David Tennant 2.0 - I can't be bothered to get really bothered, I've settled for being slightly miffed at all the hullabaloo (which is the same kind of palaver surrounding new Who since day 1 - the moment Western civilisation didn't instantly and collectively turn its back on Who after the very first episode, we were lost at telly sea).

At 10:21 am, Blogger Riddley Walker said...

But didn’t you all know that Doctor Who can cure cancer, bring peace to the middle east, halt the obesity epidemic and stop ‘youth’ being such cunts?

Or is that something else?

Where’s my medication? Nurse!!

And Demons looked like a pile of old toss, so I just steered clear and watched some more Chuck.

I’m with qrter, was busy out having a life away from this overblown, Emperor’s New Clothes tat.

At 12:55 pm, Blogger Jaded and Cynical said...

So, another new drama on British TV that can be safely filed away under Unwatchable Crap.

Thanks. You've saved me the 10-15 minutes of my life that I might have wasted on it. And this year I'm going to be ruthless about that sort of stuff.

The new DW announcement was interesting because it's emblematic of how the the industry works now. Every creative decision seems to be taken on the basis of what's least likely to get a body fired. David Tennant's leaving? Okay, hire an actor who looks exactly like him, only ten years younger.

Launching a drama about the supernatural? Wheel out Van Helsing and throw some of that shit at the wall.

I guess it's going to be another year of remakes, sequels, spin-offs and other expressions of the bleedin' obvious.

* By way of a rare bit of good news, C4 tonight features a timely documentary on twenty years of destruction and human misery in Gaza. Nice to see them taking the high road for a change.

At 1:45 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Now that the little dweeb has been signed up, I guess the next great momentous announcement will be who becomes his assistant. Gosh, it might be a girlie with long legs and titties. Oh, Lordy! I’m buying shares in Kleenex.

I know a good many folk want the most mindless entertainment to take them away from what they perceive as their daily ills... or whatever fucking excuse they need to conjure up. But when professionals start saying that the return of the show has made everyone a fan of Doctor Who - and worse, obviously believing such an utterly moronic statement – then you’ve got to seriously worry.

If this kind of pap is widely embraced and channels blindly trip over themselves to make the kind pile of steaming crap that panders to the same audience, what happens to the sort of intelligent or witty dramas that the schedules used to be rife with? They already seem like an endangered species. Over the next couple of years are they going to be well on their way to extinction?

I wonder how many people were watching John Adams on Saturday night? It really is an astonishing piece of work. Not only is the story intriguing but Adams is played by Paul Giamatti, while Laura Linney stars as his wife Abigail. You know, real actors.

By way of a rare bit of good news, C4 tonight features a timely documentary on twenty years of destruction and human misery in Gaza. Nice to see them taking the high road for a change.

Ah, J&C, you bad lad. You almost had me going there.


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