Thursday, 24 September 2015

Spoon Fed Entertainment.

(A subtle and ironic recommendation of probably the best TV series ever. Ever x)

I read an article recently about how the BBC was being encouraged to conform to the 'box set' generation and produce a series a little more adherent to that nature. The words 'epic' were used and even a little paragraph about chancellor George Osborne's two cents on the matter was included, perhaps his advice on how the BBC can keep its licence. The BBC has conformed to this trope and has in fact made an 'epic' to be aired soon. It is all very well and good for our Conservative chancellor to counsel the corporation about making the new Game of Thrones but I am doubtful as to whether such interference produces good television. As much as forced content made to appeal to the masses works with marketing when producing a form of art, the kind we expect from a visit to the theatre or the cinema, the content falls dead.

When I think of good television the shows that come to mind are somewhat masterpieces. The programmes that everyone obsesses over have a beating heart at their centre. Real thought and care went into the script, into the directing, into the acting. A good television show rarely ever begins with a following that is sure to indulge in its 'box set' nature, but usually ends up growing a strong fan base to merit its own worthiness. If a population is spoon fed its entertainment and told that it is all good and yummy it will most likely spit it out and go in search of a better source. Good television does not come from trying to be the next Game of Thrones, it comes from standing out on its own and genuinely entertaining those who stick around to watch it. In fact, the 'box set' culture only happened because the 'mass' was able to take control of the content it consumed. The traditional form of sitting down each week to unveil a new episode of some brilliant series only really happens if the viewer is gripped from the beginning and makes his own decision to carry it on.

It is actually difficult to describe the feeling of becoming addicted to a television series but I can relate it as extremely enjoyable. I try not to spend entire days watching Netflix but if I find something I am truly keen on it is hard not to press 'Play Next Episode'. The BBC's new 'epic' about the Trojan wars set to rival Game of Thrones has had approximately £2 million spent on each episode, I really hope it was worth it. One can spend a couple million on a production to make it look pretty spectacular, but that money won't buy a story worth sticking around for. That has to happen almost by accident, it has to happen with the audience's consent.

Most people, contrary to popular belief, aren't always the stupid consumers we like to think they are. Where the masses may like to swallow whole the marketing crap they're continuously fed, they aren't always so keen to passively accept their forms of entertainment. Good content does not happen on demand, and 'box set' series do not just occur when the Chancellor of the Exchequer says so. The BBC is known for its excellent content, it has often shaped and created that British trademark, especially for good drama series. I just hope that it comes to remember this if the next of its multimillion pound 'epics' comes to epically fail.