There is so much great TV on right now, sometimes I think we don’t spend enough time thinking about the shows we don’t get.
I have Verizon Fios, which is great, and there are tons of channels. Bruce Springsteen’s 1992 observation of “52 Channels” now seems quaint, like when the time-frozen Dr. Evil has trouble thinking past “one million dollars.” So I don’t quite get why we don’t get more foreign shows. For instance, I have read quite a lot about all the great crime shows from Australia. I have a real weakness for cops and robbers, so I would love to watch some of them. One problem, there isn’t a BBC America for Australia. Why not? I’m no Kath and Kim fan, but I know tons of people who loved it. I’m sure it could net some viewers over here, the same people who watch Coupling, which I love. One of my holy grails has been is an Australian miniseries called Anzacs about World War I. Now I don’t know about you, but there are two things I love, Crocodile Dundee and Band of Brothers and I feel like Anzacs is as close as I’m ever going to get to a crossover– because Paul Hogan is in it one year before Dundee. And how about the original Wilfred? I’d check it out.
I’ve also been vaguely curious about Forbrydelsen, the original Danish version of The Killing. With The Killing being so critically lauded, how difficult would it be to throw on some subtitles and let us see it? I’m not proposing a Danish version of BBC America, but I just can’t imagine that it would be too expensive to get the rights to air that here in America. And how about the original version of The Bridge? I’d watch that.
I wonder if there’s some rider in the re-make contract that they can’t show the original show in the new country?
There is a caveat to all this. Sometimes people say things are great that they can see and you can’t. I don’t illegally download shows and I don’t like to watch anything on my computer. If I can’t get it on my TV, I lose interest. I work at a computer screen all day. It’s hard for me to relax in front of the old computer.
Netflix streaming has occasionally come through in a big way. They’ve led me to a lot of great British TV that, for whatever reason, hasn’t been on my radar. One of those shows is the Jack Taylor series, which I just wrote a review of. I love you, Jack Taylor! Anyway, the point is that perhaps online streaming will give us a lot of foreign shows. Netflix was certainly where I saw the original Swedish versions of the Girl with a Dragon Tattoo series. I keep waiting for more moments like that. I’ve gotten lazy as I’ve gotten older and I do, often, have to be tricked into watching subtitles. But when I do go to that trouble, I want the show to be great.
Remember on 30 Rock when Jack Donaghy said “I remember when Bravo used to air operas?” Who is airing the operas now? Well, I don’t really care because I don’t like opera. But it is weird that with so many channels we don’t have more quality shows. I do remember when HBO used to show plays and I really enjoyed them, although I don’t remember what any of them were called.
I know that TV stations are business ventures and trying to make money, so I get that they want to show things that people will actually watch. But who would have thought so many people would watch Downton Abbey? Take a chance, A&E. I know that people love that Kardashian family, but you could probably find an hour a week to try something different. How about you, HBO? I bet a lot of those foreign shows have boobs and swearing.