Tuesday, April 14, 2009

An open letter to television *spoilers*

Dear Television
How long have we been best friends? You've had my back for more years than I care to remember. There were the glory days of The X Files and Firefly, of Futurama and Frasier. We even managed to weather the lean years when Sex and the City nearly drove us apart. But now we have come to this. Three shows over the weekend that let me down. Big time. Television, how could you do this to me? Does our friendship mean nothing to you?

First there was Red Dwarf. Ah, the nights I would stay up to watch you show me the adventures of Lister, Rimmer, Kryten and Cat, muffling our laughter so we wouldn't wake the others in the house. You've been teasing me for weeks with the prospect of a new episode, after a decade of RD being off your screen. What happened, TV? Yes, the crew returned in the three part special titled 'Back to Earth', and I must admit it was good to see their faces again, but the magic was gone. The first part was one long set up without any jokes and no explanation of how or why the crew were back together. The second part was cliched and what a bad idea to bring in Coronation Street. The third part was derivative and ended abruptly. I know you say it was a homage to episodes in younger, brighter days, but when does a homage become rehashing of old story lines?

I could have forgiven you the Red Dwarf incident if - within a day - you hadn't hit me with a double whammy of despair. Even after the last few days I find it hard to make my fingers write about them. You know what I'm talking about, don't force me to say it, Telly.

All right, I will.


We've had good times with the doctor, T, don't get me wrong. We've both loved David Tennant as the 10th regeneration and followed his journey eagerly. I'm sorry to see him leave, but you promised me four specials this year to see him out. Specials. Notice the word, Television. SPECIAL. There was nothing special about the hour long mish mash of Tomb Raider, Pitch Black and previous Dr Who episodes that was served up cold and greasy on Saturday night. If I didn't know better I would think you were trying to poison me.

What's that? You're trying to take the sting out of losing David Tennant by making me stop watching Dr Who before he leaves? I'm not going to thank you for that, TV. I wanted to burn my eyes out after watching Planet of the Dead. I don't know which part offended me most. Perhaps it was the inane Lara Croft wannabe Lady Christina who could hardly wipe the grin off her face long enough to say her lines, and squeezed in the obligatory 'kiss the Doctor' before she flew off in a flying bus. Maybe it was the atrocious over the top scientist played by Lee Evans and the idiotic bumblings of UNIT that would have made the Brigadier blush. It could even have been the fact that the paper thin story centred once more about strange things happening in London, that the characters had no emotional depth or the fact that I've seen darker stories with deeper meaning on the Teletubbies. You know what hurt worst of all? It was boring, Television. I almost fell asleep watching it.

Perhaps I could have recovered from the stab wound in the heart that was Doctor Who, but then you kicked me when I was down. Your crowning effort, Television, was to pummel me in the kidneys with Primeval, ITV's answer to Dr Who.

It's always been ropey. The science fiction wouldn't pass in a 1950's B movie, it is traditional monster of the week fare, but over the three series I've grown fond of the characters and, let's face it, series two was a real corker. It was darker, and started to lead the characters down an interesting path. I've been disappointed by the first three episodes of series three, but I've learned that sometimes you have to give things time to bubble in the first few episodes until they thicken into a more satisfying whole. You've taught me that, Television. I never thought you would betray me with your own lesson.

You killed off Cutter. Never mind that he was the lynchpin of the series - I could forgive you if you had killed him in an interesting, dynamic way. But no, you just shot him in cold blood and ruined the only truly interesting part of the programme - the power struggle between him and his pretty amazing anomaly hopping wife. I could even have forgiven that if the preview for next week's episode hadn't featured that brain dead, stereotyped police man from last week. Bring him in as a new character and that's it, we're over Television. For good. I mean it this time.

You know that this pains me more than it does you, but you really have to pull your weight in this relationship if our friendship is to continue.




DNOTY2007 said...

I'm looking forward to Television's response...

I saw the Dr Who episode - it was really bad, no story at all, and as for the painful character you mention...!!!!

Shadowthorne said...

.... and they tell me I am weird... Now I can show them a girl who writes to her own telly, you. :)

I don't watch much telly myself, maybe the cartoons. Most of the time I played video games and watch dvds with Mr Telly.

Don't let Mr Telly make you feel down.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Dr episode was great - much more adult especially Lady Christina- certainly no dumb blonde she was well able to look after herself. Just shows different people, different tastes.

Inkpot said...

I hope Television responds, DNOTY2007/2008, but I am afraid that the response may not be the one I want to hear. :(

Oh I've got you beat hands down on weird Shadowthorne my evil friend. Playing video games and watching DVDs may soon be the only thing I do with Mr Telly, if he doesn't mend his ways.

It is great to hear you say that Anon. I couldn't stand the episode and you liked it. It just goes to show that one man's meat is another man's potatoes... wait, that can't be right. :S