Sunday, September 20, 2009

MediumRob's Meme - fantasy scheduling

Inspired by Rob's latest meme on fantasy scheduling, here are my thoughts. I've not been able to focus in on a single night or channel, so these are more overall mutterings and suggestions:
  1. Extending Tobe's thought, a pox on reality TV -- sorry fans, but this also includes all Strictly-come-slit-my-throat-rather-than-vote shows too. I appreciate the banter of others who love this sort of thing, but the incessant media ravings over the schedule battle of X-Factor vs Strictly had me screaming "fighting the battle of who could care less" (apologies to Ben Folds Five)

  2. Saturday nights in the wintertime = Doctor Who. Where it belongs. It should air from October to Xmas or January to Easter. I have loved having a Xmas Special but they've not all been special enough to justify the Spring starting time (with the Xmas ep as a taster/teaser/one-off story).

  3. Saturday evenings in the spring OR early autumn = Merlin. This depends on DW gets that post-Xmas to Easter slot. Saturday evenings should have at least half the year with some supernatural/spooky/sci-fi entertainment. And no, I'm not wanting 'Demons' back thank you.

  4. Be consistent with schedules/slots -- we all remember debacles about scheduling 'Seinfeld'/'Arrested Development' etc. Bumped around the post-'Newsnight' schedule, going AWOL for a week or more. Whilst digital channels are sometimes erratic about screening things in order, they are often more predictable about screening the same programme or type of programme in the same slot. Five is the nearest we have on terrestrial for managing this most of the time. I might not like or always agree with its programming but I know that 9pm on Tuesday is pretty likely to be CSI-ish in nature.

  5. New dramas -- ITV1, BBC1 and BBC2 at the least should be compelled to regular commission, produce and then schedule within 6 months of completion* one-off single (short) series dramas of 3-10 hour long episodes. These should not be then endlessly recommissioned until the lustre of the original gem is utterly diminished (especially if they were designed as a one-off originally). Use the 'strip-across-the-week' technique if you must.

  6. 11pm onwards every Saturday night on BBC2 = classic film slot. I want a decent film commentator to front the screenings. A five minute intro will suffice. I want black and white and classic art house. Nothing more recent than 10 years old. At least one in every three films not in English.

  7. Post-Newsnight Review on Fridays BBC2 = cult film slot running til at least 2am. Again, with commentator introduction. You may have guessed I am of the generation that grew up on Alex Cox and b-movie/cult/sci-fi screenings.

  8. Terrestrial TV repeats -- that digital switchover is still a few years off yet. In the meantime let's give people who don't want to clutter their houses with DVDs or fill their computers with downloads (illegal or otherwise) the chance to see some classic dramas of all kinds of genres. I'm quite happy for this to be run in tandem with...

  9. ... themed nights. After the initial effort of BBC2 linking with radio, themed nights got terribly carried away with themselves until they littered the scheduled with barely connected works. There's an opportunity under the Rullsenberg schedule to give this all another chance. Why not use themed nights - approximately 5 weeks apart - to bring out the context of contemporary or recent TV productions? Link 'Spooks' with 'The Sandbaggers' and le Carre dramatisations (even films); link dramas like 'Shooting the Past' with documentaries on photographers and 'Who do you think you are?' style family histories focusing on use of photographs as historical documents; link appropriate episodes of 'Coast' with 'The Onedin Line'/'Poldark'; re-air those dramas about comedic actors private lives with examples of their works and the legacy in contemporary comedy (sadly I think some legal restrictions may apply to these).

  10. Stage dramas and Shakespeare -- I want them on TV at least once a month. I'd prefer once a week, but recognise this may be unrealistic. However, full play-length dramas / filmed versions of stage shows can work. If live projections to cinemas can work (as the National Theatre has been experimenting) then why not TV screenings for broadcast as a play run comes to its end? It may encourage revivals. And if we're talking true fantasy, then I'd like screenings of plays starring Dougie Henshall and/or David Tennant on a regular basis please.
Bit random these thoughts. I couldn't reign myself in a channel or for a day. But this nostalgic approach would certainly make me happy.

* ITV1 -- I am so looking at you for commissioned and even promoting stuff only to faff about with actually airing things.


keppet said...

Good choices!

chrissie_allen said...

Great choices!

Toby O'B said...

If more network programmers were like you, they wouldn't have such a bad reputation!