06 February, 2007

The Americans are coming

The Guardian:

"A new generation of US drama is due to air on ITV and BBC evoking the era of Dallas and LA Law. So why have imports suddenly become so popular?"


Chris (ukscriptwriter) said...

I think it is because of the choice available.

In the US there is a glut of pilot shows each year that costs a fortune. The networks gamble that at least one or two good shows will come out of that gamble and make it pay off. That way you may have something different making its way out of the bowl of pilot soup (ultimately the ratings decide).

Over here the TV stations hold onto caution like it's the most valuable thing on earth, only putting out the odd show here and there, and I believe by doing that they put constraints on what could possibly emerge.

To me the US shows seem new, fresh and sometimes groundbreaking (Lost, Scrubs, 24 (although I only saw the first series), Battlestar Galactica, The Outfit), and the UK offerings are somewhat stuffy and "same old". Dr Who and Torchwood just don't do it for me with the latter being a camp X Files riding on Dr Who's cult fan base, and don't get me started on Robin Hood. There are others but after watching one or two episodes of each I lost interest (I'm sure I'll offend lots of fans there).

Saying that, the quality of the new round of imports has still to be seen.

Robin Kelly said...

I think it's the general consensus that this has been the best year for US drama for a long while because they have taken even more risks than usual.

Although the harsh commercial environment of network TV means that a couple of quality shows have been pulled (Smith, Six Degrees) but they would have done very well on premium cable, in my opinion.

Because my cousin sends me videotapes of all the shows, I'll try and preview the ones to watch out for.