Sobering take on reality TV

A few months ago, a colleague suggested I check out the new Dr. Who. I had some trepidation about this. See, eons ago when I was a geeky teenager, I loved Dr. Who, which at one point (and may still be) was the longest running television show of all time. The show was infamous for the terrible special effects, the ever changing Doctor and his companions, and some really rather dorky episodes. I loved it. But time marches on and well, you find new and usually better things with which to occupy your time.

But he said, “watch it, you’ll like it” so I did and I did. CGI and special effects have advanced to a point where you no longer need to have a frisbee, some superglue, and some glitter to create a space ship, so that part of the show is much improved. They got Christopher Eccleston to play the first incarnation of the doctor, which gives the show more credibility than it might have had otherwise. Scripts are pretty tight. There’s the general goofiness that is part and parcel of Dr. Who, but they’ve managed a couple of actually creepy episodes.

Then this week, the Canadian station was running the first part of the season finale , which had an interesting take on reality TV. It’s several hundred years in the future, and all that’s on are versions of current reality shows (albeit the British versions, and lest we forget, they’re the ones who brought us Trading Spaces, What Not to Wear, Groundforce and so on…). Plenty funny, except of course is the fact that instead of merely being “evicted,” “eliminated,” or “fired.” You die.

HBO’s got a new show out which is rather good. Rome, while it lacks the magnificent performances from I, Claudius, ain’t nothing to sneeze at either.

I am going to make a concerted effort to watch traditional TV shows this season. Shows with a narrative, actual actors, dialogue and such. Not that my TV is hooked up to a Nielsen machine or anything, but maybe the change needs to start small…


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