Friday, 8 February 2013

Where is the quality British drama?


It seems that the last few years there has been a certain upheaval in quality in TV programs, particularly coming from the US. Shows like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and House of Cards just ooze quality, quality that feels like it blurs the line between TV show and movie, especially when movie star talent like Kevin Spacey (house of cards) are taking roles in shows of these calibre. So I ask myself sometimes, why isn't British TV like this? Where is our breaking bad? why are we still making dribble like blandings?

I think the answer to this question is, as much as we as Brits love to play the superior to our American friends, our TV companies don't want to push the envelope or they still think our dramas are better than the Americans, which if you compare what is considered "bums on seats" viewing the British shows just don't compare. The big shows on in the UK at the moment are Call The Midwife, Ripper Street, Dancing on The Edge, and even though the season has just finished I think Downton Abbey is worth a mention.

While Brit shows get talented actors they seem to lack that hook
I recently sat down and watched the first episode of Dancing on The Edge which while the production values are certainly there and the talent is certainly there it was stiff and at times it was quite awkward to watch, and it was boring. Which is something I imagine TV show makers don't want the audience thinking. It also didn't go anywhere, it is about the band and their rise to stardom but the rise to stardom -which we know is going to happen thanks to the adverts showing them performing in glitzy hotels - was so slow and dragged on for a lifetime. Also worth a note I felt an actor of John Goodman's calibre in a show like this was wasted, they made him stand around and "look weird" because that's what his character does. Why is a program like this seen as top quality British TV? It wasn't written that well, the characters were crappy and the big knife to the shows heart is that it was boring. The lead in at the beginning of the episode designed to get you interested was so poorly pulled off and felt so out of place and disjointed that the only feeling it conjures up is confusion, not intrigue. Compare this to the opening of the latest series of breaking bad, which I won't spoil for the slow pokes out there, which, while it was out of place, it felt expertly put together and conjures up a feeling of intrigue that I find myself questioning on a daily basis.

I guess what I am trying to say here is, where is the quality British drama? Something of the same calibre as Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad? We definitely have the actors of a high enough calibre to act in these sort of programs because they're all in American dramas these days. Sure, our dramas are playing catch up but they seem to lack that certain something that makes the American ones truly special.

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