Living overseas, I have come to appreciate television that is not American. There are a lot of series out there that are funny, interesting, filled with action and worthy of my time. Many of them are made in the UK. When I was living in the US, I used to watch BBC America a lot. I enjoyed shows like Cash in the Attic, Antiques Roadshow and Bargain Hunt. These were interesting programs, and I like to watch the appraisers tell the people about their items.
In the past few years, though, I have begun to enjoy the great scripted programs that the UK has to offer. No longer am I limited to the fare from BBC, either, I have the entire internet at my fingertips! I am an avid viewer of programs such as Miranda, Misfits, Primeval, The Office (the original UK version) and Doctor Who. These are excellent programs produced in that cold, wet rock known as the UK.
I adore these programs, and I actively watch them (even buying the DVD sets instead of downloading them illegally).
My issue is not with the quality of British TV….my problem is with the QUANTITY of British TV. In the UK, a British television “series” (what they call a season) lasts for 6-10 episodes. The entire series can be finished in a matter of a couple of months. The programs are of such a great quality that you want to watch more and more of them, but the British production companies feel it’s ok to tease the watchers and then end it. Sometimes, as with Miranda, they end it for several years before putting the next season on the network, or, as was the case with The IT Crowd and The Inbetweeners, they just decide not to make any more after we’ve waited a while for the new season. This is “unacceptable” (as Miranda would say)! The public love these programs, and we want to see more of them, but we have only so many to watch and then we have to wait years and year before the next set!
In the United States, one season of a program can last between 20-26 episodes. This gives the viewer enough time to get into the characters and for large storylines to appear. Now that BBC America has upped its game and viewers are being treated to programs like Dr. Who and Primeval. Americans will not be happy with short seasons. They will request more. I can’t wait to see how the UK television production houses respond!