Inspired by an interview with Philip Glenister (DCI Gene Hunt on Life on Mars):
• 1990: Ha ha, look at those daft Japanese game shows where they have to eat bugs! Losers!
• 2007: When’s the next Fear Factor?
I have to agree with Mr Glenister, and have said so on this blog before. ‘Someone makes big bucks at someone else’s expense and it’s the sadistic element of shows like Big Brother I ﬁnd so cruel,’ he said.
And I will miss him and John Simm in Life on Mars, which reaches its climax tonight on BBC One at 9 p.m.
What makes event television, as seven million-plus viewers in the UK will tune in tonight, is not heavy promotion or big prizes. It is quality writing, acting and direction. Life on Mars delivered, placing the right ingredients ahead of the bean-counter mentality that has given us such crap as Fear Factor.
Fear Factor and its counterparts may make money but they gain a network little loyalty. The network brand is not enhanced at all—and that’s where the prize is, in an age when TV has to compete with downloads and DVDs.
I can’t imagine Survivor DVD collectibles in 2020, other than a brief fascination with the decade from teenagers who are being born now.
As for tonight, my theory is that Sam is in 1973 and just happens to be right about 2006.
He’ll have to confront DCI Frank Morgan from Hyde, who had transferred Sam to A Division to take down Gene Hunt and his team.
Instead of carrying out his original mission, he sides with Gene—but not before Frank reveals Sam’s purpose, putting him at jeopardy with the rest of the team as they head into a violent shoot-out.
If he does wake up and it’s 2006, he’ll ﬁnd that he could only have done so by confronting Morgan. But I don’t think he’s from our time at all.
I know a lot of the Brits are criticizing David E. Kelley for doing an American remake of the show. As I said at the IMDB, I think the Americans have the talent to pull this off, although I feel it should be set in Seattle (which has changed considerably since 1972, the year the Americans have decided to set their Life on Mars) and not the mooted Los Angeles. I also believe that John Wayne in McQ could be a model for their Gene Hunt.
The evidence for this lies in the excellent Day Break, the Americans’ own time-travelling cop drama which started here tonight—but which never made it past 13 episodes in the US.
It won’t be lack of talent that could sink the American Life on Mars, but network gutlessness and the proﬁt motive—which are what killed Day Break there.
And to those criticizing Mr Kelley: do what you like but he gets to go home at the end of the day and shag Michelle Pfeiffer.
I’d rather be like him than the whingers, and congratulate him for giving Life on Mars fans an extra ﬁx, albeit with an American accent. Posted by Jack Yan, 10:34
Great commentary Jack!
I like this bit, "It won’t be lack of talent that could sink the American Life on Mars, but network gutlessness and the proﬁt motive."
I just watched a HBO award show for Jerry Seinfeld. He told of his challenges getting his show on the air.
At one point he explained that network people don't really understand entertainment.
There seems to be plenty of evidence to support his claim these days.
And you are so right about these sorts of shows not enhancing the network brand. They are in effect an abdication of owning and expressing an authentic brand.
Thanks for offering up another great post.
Thank you, Mike! Mr Seinfeld is probably right. My own experience with network TV seems to be in line with all the negative comments that are made. I particularly like the way you put it.Post a Comment
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