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Are there interventions for BBC addictions?

June 27, 2007

Help.

I am in a downward spiral of British television. How and why, you might ask?  Well, let’s not dwell on the how… but the why I can give you some ideas. It’s probably because I missed out on my semester in London or maybe I have a sudden calling as I was recently informed I was an eighth English. Either way, the problem is bad, and the internet is feeding my addiction. Now, I’m not going to tell you I can stop whenever I want, because that’s just untrue. Nor will undermine the whole thing with the probable but sad fact that its simply the accents (my speech patterns, they turn British without the dropped Ts), but I would like to share with you a small introduction of said wonderful shows.

Doctor Who

Seriously, you’ve never heard of Doctor Who? Not even in passing? Go, go now to your local video store or your online rainforest retailer and buy the old series on video tape. Or wait. Don’t. Do you even have a VHS player? I’m going to catch some ire from old school Who fans and said that pre-2005 series doesn’t hold my attention very well (yes, yes I am a 21st century ADD-induced child – I can’t pay attention to a slow-moving storyline over 4 episodes).

New Who, however, is every sci-fi fans dream. It is silly, it is dramatic, sometimes you can see the plots a million miles away and sometimes you’re geniuniely surprised. Add in the BBC 13-episodes a season model (more on this later) and new Who runs more like a miniseries than the serial it used to be. Also, David Tennant.

Spooks (known as MI-5 in the U.S.)

They had me at as-salaam wa alleklum. Spooks season 1 was only 6 episodes long and yet it felt longer than most long-running series. The show follows a section of U.K.’s security service (like homeland security, except more British?) as they do complicated spy business, diffuse bombs, and still have to do paperwork. Spooks is also the only show in which major characters die or disappear without warning or prolonged network contract negotiations. Therefore, all the TV-rules so effortlessly set out in How to Tell When You’re a Redshirt or a Noble Martyr, and Methods of Coping (okay, so that’s not an actual book, but its rules are well known to anyone who’s watched TV regularly over the age of 10) are null and void. This results in me not breathing at certain points in the show. When I wake up from passing out, I’m still impressed.

Life on Mars

A Manchester (England, not New Hampshire – remember this is a British Broadcasting Corporation problem) cop gets hit by a car in 2006 and when he wakes up, its 1973 and he’s just been transferred to a police unit that makes Starsky and Hutch look like a meeting of the Political Correct Public Relations Conference ’07. The most ridiculous set-up for a television show ever? Yes, but it works. My initial horror at the sexism, racism, and corruption melts away as you realize this show is… still awesome, and sort of makes you want to live in the 70s. (Mom – “The 70s, worst decade ever”) I won’t spoil the end, but a show that manages to base itself around a David Bowie song and succeeds? I just want to know where can I send a congratulatory email to the executive producers.

I have a lot of free time, so I see this Beeb problem continuing apace until we get American cable back and/or school starts.

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