I have almost literally run out of anything to watch on my NowTV box. I was filling in a survey the other day and one of the questions was about the amount of live television that you watch in a typical week. And I realised that the answer was almost none at all. Even stuff that is being broadcast now I tend to watch on catchup or otherwise time-shifted.
So we’re down to watching a soapy show called Betrayal from abc. That and new episodes (as they come along) of Modern Family, Futurama, The Blacklist, Elementary and Stalker. Even The Leftovers has finished now, as has the preposterous The Last Ship. Last night, I even watched an episode of The Flash. Everybody* in these shows is called Jack.
So, things are getting desperate. You know something’s bad if the lead character is called Jack and everybody keeps reminding you that his name is Jack, in case you forget, Jack. Because all the characters, Jack, are interchangeable, and it might have been better not to use such a common name, but no Jack, instead they pepper the script with the word Jack, as if that somehow builds character. Betrayal: all you hear is Jack-ack-ack. Stalker: Jack-ack-ack.
So I endured the painfully slow iPlayer software (what is that written in? Hypercard?) to watch Intruders, the already-a-flop BBC America thing starring John Simm and Mira Sorvino. The lead character is called Jack. Mira Sorvino plays his wife, also Jack, and there’s some kid running around swearing and saying, “What comes around goes around.” She’s called Jack-ack-ack.
Hey TV writers, here’s a fucking plan. Why not avoid the name Jack for the rest of time? It has been done, my friends.
Intruders is rubbish, like most things the BBC produces. Someone should take the BBC out back and shoot it, seriously. If this is an example of their commissioning process, there is no hope.
Now, I don’t mind a bit of the old enigma code. I like a long-running mystery. I stuck with Twin Peaks through two seasons, even though the second wasn’t very good. And I went to see the film. I stuck with The Leftovers through all 10 episodes even though it was from the Lost people and even though it took till episode 9 till we got some of the back story filled in. The thing about Intruders, you don’t really get a handle on what’s really happening until episode 5, and that’s a little bit too late considering you lost half of your audience by the end of episode 2.
This is woo-woo sci-fi written by people who have never read and don’t understand science fiction. Characters you don’t care about, with some clichéd
Jack back story, and nothing at stake but a bunch of horrible people who all deserve each other. And it’s photographed like everyone is dead already. Everyone looks like warmed over corpses and it’s monotone. Anyway, it’s about people who jump their souls into other peoples’ bodies or something. It’s all woo woo. Invasion of the Body Snatchers it is not.
Here’s another suggestion for TV writers. Ditch the high concept shows. Tell me a story.
*may be an example of hyperbole for purposes of humour.