Since the PC is still doing… actually, I no longer know nor care what it’s doing, but there are progress bars involved – some comments about last week’s TV:
The latest CITV factual series (and, to some extent, Big Bang-replacement) Prove It! went out on Tuesday. I was expecting to hate it, mostly on point of principle, but frankly it was quite good fun. Joe Challands I already knew was a startlingly good presenter – the revelation is Jamie Rickers, who riffs with Joe in an entirely unexpected way. They’re an exceptionally watchable duo, and as a result the show zips along at a merry old lick. Even the content wasn’t too bad, with some reasonable scriptwriting, though the giant blow-out experiment to close the show simply wasn’t as dramatic as the standard ‘cannonball on your head’ version of the same idea (full explanation available at my usual consulting rates).
But there’s still a niggling problem, which is that it’s sort-of a science show, and they’re supposed to be sort-of proving things everybody knows. Which, of course, ain’t how science works. I hate to have a philosophical objection to a children’s series, but really – this is pish. Very, very, very off-message, in terms of what public-service broadcasting of children’s science should be about. It doesn’t even work on a practical level, with the title holding the show hostage at every turn – the very first item was the familiar ‘racing raisins’ kitchen trick, and even having watched it I have no idea what the ‘proof’ was supposed to be about. The first item. Think about that. And don’t even get me started on the distinction between ‘not proven’ and ‘proved wrong.’
Aside from the Hutton Enquiry, the last show with a similar problem was The Scoop, which delivered good audiences, some fantastic items (Vietnamese pop was one of the best bits of children’s TV I’ve ever seen, right up there with John Noakes’ Cresta Run accident), and a BAFTA award. But, ultimately, it failed to deliver on its own title, and lasted only three series. Prove It! will, I predict, do similarly. The ratings were apparently good. So we shall see.
Meanwhile, Desperate Housewives started. As ever with an introductory episode, it’s too early to tell, but at first glance there was enough exquisitely-judged writing and performance to give me considerable hope. True, many of the characters are overly-familiar clichés, but I don’t mind a cliché if it’s done well. And Teri Hatcher’s ‘single-mother-with-smart-mouthed-teenager’ was utter brilliance. Yes, the woman they tried desperately to cut out of Goldeneye can actually act. How times change, eh?
And Germaine Greer on Celebrity Big Brother. I’m sorry – what?