"Great Debate" Transcript

Dateline: June 23, 1999

On June 14th, we held an online debate in the chat room about which is better: British or American TV. A special guest from England (GuestAllen) weighed in with his views. Like any chat, sometimes the conversation meanders a bit, but here is an edited transcript of what occurred. GuideRyan's comments are in blue, GuestAllen's in red.

GuideRyan Allen, my guest from England, is here and ready for a fight...er, debate.
Maggie I'm english, live in US
GuestAllen From where in England, Maggie?
GuideRyan We'll be getting started momentarily.
Maggie Cambridge
GuestAllen Just up the road from me (Peterborough).
Maggie yes
GuestAllen Which part of Cambridge?
Maggie used to go xmas shopping there
Maggie Milton
GuestAllen I know where that is.
Trish47 gee real people from England!!
GuideRyan Well let's get this show on the road.
GuestAllen Yeah, but no one's actually IN England right now.
GuideRyan Let me introduce myself (if you don't already know), I'm Ryan K. Johnson, the Guide here and supposed (at least the BBC thinks so) expert on British TV. I'm American.
GuestAllen I'm Allen Adams, a lesser known author and second-rate convention guest at British media conventions.
GuideRyan We're going to cover different aspects of British TV and how it compares with US TV. Feel free to jump in with your two-cents worth.
spitty I for one dont think there is any comparison!!!!
GuideRyan Here goes with my opening statement:
GuideRyan The British make funnier comedies, better dramas, and use better writing, therefore British TV is superior to U.S.
spitty applause, applause!!!!!d'accord
booboo28547 I agree
GuestAllen American TV has more money to play with even if this doesn't always mean it's spent in the right places.
GuestAllen British TV is like a poor relation.
Trish47 that's true
GuideRyan How about some examples?
Maggie Better writing cause that,s important in uk
Trish47 Chef!
spitty They may have more money, but spend it foolishly, poor writing etc...
Trish47 Eastenders out ranks any US soap
GuestAllen The X-Files, Twin Peaks, Quantum Leap, Profiler, Millennium. They are really good shows with good production values. When Americans make really good shows they ARE really good shows.
booboo28547 I agree Trish47
Trish47 The mysteries are definately creepier
GuestAllen I'm not into soaps.
SpinCycle The mysteries are the best part
Trish47 I never liked soaps until I saw Eastenders
GuideRyan On the British side, how about GBH, Our Friends In The North or Jonathan Creek for good, intelligent, well-made dramas?
Maggie the presentation of us stuff is weird--
GuestAllen But for every good one they turn out, there are a dozen bad ones.
Trish47 I think what we see here is pretty old
Trish47 Hamish Macbeth
booboo28547 Ab Fab is very funny.I can't imagine an American version It wouldn't work.
Trish47 Balleykissangel
spitty way too old!!!1
GuestAllen Usually poor copies of the ones they think worked before. With Britain, ratings are the end-all and be-all to everything, even at the BBC which doesn't rely on advertising.
GuideRyan Booboo, I agree with you. Rosanne was smart not to try when she realized it would be emasculated by American TV.
spitty Ratings in the US mean everything......
Trish47 the BBC does put out some seriously poor "comedies" eg Bottom etc
Maggie us tv spoils good shows with too many breaks spscially the one at the end where you go back to the show just for the credits
spitty US comedies rely on bathroom humor to make the grade
GuestAllen All British humour relies on toilet humour.
Trish47 on the BBC do they show as many comercials throughout the program?
spitty Dont agree with you Allen, what about As Time Goes By, no toilet humor there
GuideRyan There aren't any commercials on the BBC.
Trish47 there is toilet humor and then junk
GuestAllen Spitty, that's a sad, awful one as far as I'm concerned.
SpinCycle even the cartoons are hilarious, eg Bob & Margaret
Trish47 NO COMMercials!
Trish47 Where is my passport
spitty No toilet humor in To the Manor Born,
GuestAllen What about King of the Hill, The Simpsons, and Futurama?
Trish47 Wallace and Grommit is that BBC??
spitty Crap, pure and simple
GuideRyan I will defend British comedies with Father Ted, Monty Python and Goodness Gracious Me. And Vicar of Dibley.
Maggie you pay for a license instead of commercials paying for costs
Trish47 I love the vicar
GuideRyan Trish, yes the Beeb made Wallace and Gromit.
Trish47 Dawn French is hysterical
spitty Monty Python has been done to death here,
Trish47 and here
Maggie wallce and grommit is clever
Krina Oh, Spitty, nudge, nudge, wink, wink
GuideRyan I think something that helps breed good shows in the UK is radio is a "farm team" where a lot of the best shows are tested out first.
spitty BBC America needs to update its programs also
Trish47 is the farm team like the previews they have here
Trish47 or do they do more than 6 episodes
GuestAllen When American sitcoms work, they are really good, but the ones that don't are cringe and sickmaking.
Steed Oops...Too quiet...Doesn't American TV make other countries assume that America is all about style over substance? Or are we? :-)
spitty If BBC America showed better programs I'd buy a dish tomorrow!!!!
Krina Steed, define style
GuideRyan Trish, they will do a complete series on radio first and sometimes transfer it (just with pictures) to TV (remade though, of course).
Trish47 sounds great
Trish47 No one here bothers with radio
Trish47 I miss the old programs
Steed Something that leaves an impression on you would be a good start I think Krina.
Krina spitty, how can you not want to watch Ballyk and Hamish Macbeth and Resnick?
Krina Ah, thanks, Steed. No matter what the impression. ;)
spitty Sorry Krina, never heard of any of those!!!!!!
Trish47 Even if they are older shows that have been seen in England...
Trish47 they are new to me
GuideRyan Just to clarify, everyone here does understand that the BBC is funded entirely with mandatory license fees (and doesn't show ads) whereas ITV and the other channels run ads just like in America.
Trish47 spitty get with it
Krina spitty, they're on BBC America and I like them. Stephen Tompkinson, Tom Wilkinson, Robert Carlye
spitty Yes, but Jasper Carrot has good programs, why arnt they shown here?
GuestAllen The BBC has been taken over by accountants and the programming consequently has suffered. They've gotten rid of their ability to make programs themselves. They are all bought by outside production companies.
Krina I think BBC America is slowly evolving. Hi, Si
booboo28547 I love BBC America.I got my dish just for that channel
Maggie All I know is that I usually have a good feeling after a brit show which is not there with a us show
GuestAllen It's obvious the British don't know how to market their programmes properly abroad.
Krina I like it, too, booboo. Not everything. But a lot of it.
spitty I think I will just move back to England, then I can enjoy good programmes!
Krina When do we leave, spitty
Trish47 before cable the only way into American TV was on PBS
spitty Best answer yet Allen!!!
GuestAllen I have a great feeling after watching The X-Files and many other shows.
Maggie didn ,t they try abfab over here? and it bombed?
Trish47 abfab?
GuideRyan There was no American AbFab.
Krina I thought abfab had a great cult following.
GuideRyan Absolutely Fabulous.
SpinCycle PBS is the only thing worth watching for me besides A&E
Trish47 i get 2 history channels now too
Krina SpinCycle, sometimes Bravo and Ovation are great, too.
GuestAllen PBS tries self-financing, it's dire. Are You Being Served? reruns and the same concerts repeated during pledges.
Steed Comedy central kept showing the same 3 episodes of Ab Fab, It made you think that's all there was.
Trish47 I hardly watch the major channels
spitty PBS where I live is the pits, they are hung up on gay life, abuse, all the sad stories...
SpinCycle I am not sure what ovation is.. I have heard of bravo
Krina PBS in Denver is rerunning its pledges.
Maggie anyone seen the us attempt at fawlty towers?
Krina SpinCycle, Ovation is somewhat similar
GuestAllen I enjoyed the American Fawlty Towers. It was like a car wreck happening in front of you.
Trish47 I wonder if there is a way to ask the BBC for certain programs on BEEB America
GuestAllen The formats have to be radically changed for a sitcom to cross over the Atlanta and work.
Krina GuestAllen, also, sometimes it's the actors. Like Cleese versus Laroquette. Not the same styles.
GuestAllen That 70s Show - brilliant in America, Days Like These (the British one taken off because it was so bad), the comedy timing was rubbish, even though they tried to cast it properly. The researchers couldn't even research the names of bands correctly.
spitty Nothing wrong with the latest ones on PBS, keeping up appearances and As time goes by
Krina Those are great, spitty
GuestAllen I concede that Fawlty Towers, like Father Ted is a perfect show that you can't remake.
spitty they are quietly entertaining...
Trish47 have they ever tried to mix the american and british actors in some of the shows
GuideRyan We ARE in trouble in this country if we rely on PBS to come to the rescue all the time.
SpinCycle Hyacinth makes me laugh
Steed Terry Gilliam was american.
SpinCycle yes
GuideRyan Yeah, Robbie Coltrane popped up in the American Cracker!
Trish47 that's right
Maggie Goodnight sweetheart is my favorite---it ought not to work because its so impossible but it does
Krina True, Ryan. SpinCycle, have you seen Patricia Routledge in the mystery series, Hattie Wainthrope (sp?)
spitty I used to subscribe to PBS, and tho I love animals, I got tired of them so much
GuestAllen Keeping Up Appearances is a stereotyped form of British comedy concerning "the family."
SpinCycle yes I love Hetty Wainethrope
Trish47 Fawtelty Towers is still the classic
spitty Keeping up Appearances is a womans program, males usually dont like it
GuideRyan Hetty Wainthropp is great. At first I was afraid it would be the British Murder She Wrote but it is just so much better in every way.
Maggie keeping up appearances is all about social climbing--not a familiar concept here
Krina I agree, Ryan
Trish47 Miss Marple was good
Trish47 Poirot
SpinCycle I watch anything I can get my hands on, I think I might be brainwashed but I love everything
Trish47 Sherlock Holms
GuestAllen I don't like 4.2 Children either. But I do like Til Death Us Do Part. I'm afraid to say the best British sitcoms were made in the 60s and 70s.
Krina Yes, Trish, Hickman and that great David Suchet
Krina Ah, Jeremy Brett, Trish. Yes
Trish47 Jeremy - the "real" Holmes
GuideRyan In England, nearly every show is written by one or two people. In the America they use "teams" to create enough jokes to fill half an hour.
spitty Yes Allen, I have been trying to get Dont Tell Father, and Dont wait up they were good, but out of print
Krina And often fail, Ryan?
Maggie too many cooks spoil the brorh
GuestAllen But a lot of people can come up with a lot of different jokes. And they are able to play them through and make sure they work with a bigger group of people to make sure they're funny.
Trish47 Don't wait up is on here sometimes - it's fun
SpinCycle where are you Trish?
spitty Trish,k where are you, I'll be there tomorrow!!!!
Trish47 hehehe
Trish47 salt lake city
GuideRyan I'm always worried when 27 writers work on a movie. "Too many cooks" and all that.
Trish47 no takers
SpinCycle oh,,, poopies on rye,, cant get there
Maggie if ther are too many jokes its hard to fully enjoy them all
GuestAllen 3rd Rock From The Sun has many writers and it's funny.
Krina I think it contributes to losing coherence and build up, Ryan
Vicar how about the dry,caustic wit that is so evident in the best british comedys? everything in the us is dummyed-up!
spitty Trish, is it on a pbs station?
GuideRyan I certainly wouldn't want anyone other than David Renwick writing Jonathan Creek.
Trish47 i like jokes too but what happened to a plot line and character development and what vicar said
Krina Vicar, it's like they are trying to hard to play to the camera
SpinCycle Jonathan creek is on often in this area
Trish47 spitty, yes PBS
GuestAllen Vicar, on the bad sitcoms that's true, they have to hit you on the head with a cricket bat to get the joke, but it's no different here. Bad sitcoms are bad sitcoms, even here.
spitty Thanx, I will burn up the phone wires tomorrow!!!!
Vicar or just trying for the cheapest laugh,nothing that requires any thought
Krina Right, Vicar
Trish47 Between the Lines is on here now
SpinCycle everyones so greedy.. hhe
GuideRyan I can hardly watch any US sitcoms - even Frasier and that's really popular in the UK (even the BBC radio guy cited it to me).
Steed And it's in Seattle too. :-)
Trish47 Frasier is innocuous compared to some of the swill
Krina All that latte. :)
spitty I like Frasier, it is more like a Brit comedy
GuestAllen I think most American cop shows are better than any cop shows in Britain. I'll cite NYPD Blue, Homicide, and Law and Order.
Trish47 resnick
SpinCycle even if they made enough to reduce the amount of adverts on tv, they wouldnt in favor of more money
GuestAllen Maisie Raine, a British one, is crap.
Steed Thin Blue Line!!!!
Krina Maybe, GuestAllen, but the actual mystery series like Resnick, as Trish said, are wonderful.
Maggie what about Dixon? showing my age now
Trish47 love thin blue line
GuestAllen Steed, not one of Rowan Atkinson's best. In fact, a good cast ruined by bad writing.
Maggie that was nother era!
GuideRyan Thin Blue Line grew on me, but considering the talent behind it, I guess I expected more at first.
Krina Stanton Blues, Guest?
spitty Thin blue line is out in video now
Steed Actually, It's a Mars Bar. Some of it is good.
Trish47 I'm sick to death of Mr. Bean and they show it here all the time
GuestAllen I loved Dixon of Dock Green, that's what I grew up on.
Maggie Blackadder! there was a show
GuestAllen But I also like Ironside, Kojak, Columbo, and Starsky and Hutch.
spitty Trish, thats hhow I feel about John Cleese!!!!!!
Trish47 I miss In the Heat of the Night here
GuideRyan Trish, anything can get overexposed. PBS should get used to more variety instead of just pandering to what is popular - that makes them no better than commerical TV.
Trish47 Blackadder has some great bits
Trish47 you're right Ryan
GuestAllen PBS just use Red Dwarf and Dr Who to pull in money.
Trish47 too much of a good thing
Trish47 tom baker
Maggie Is badder on over here?
spitty Yes Ryan, I agree, have written more letters on that subject to PBS, but they dont listen to me!!!!
GuideRyan Cable is going to put the fire underneath PBS, even if it makes the prices of shows go up.
Vicar still,the writing on most brit-tv was more involved,more obscure references,more pride maybe in a quality product?
Krina PBS in Denver has even started showing Ballyk
Trish47 We have digital cable with about 200 channels
Trish47 not bad
spitty Are you in Denver Krina?
SpinCycle but nothing to watch
Trish47 most of them are trash
Krina Wyoming, but we get Denver PBS
Trish47 but more discovery, history channel, BBC America and learning channel
Trish47 I am an information junkie
GuideRyan The British *can* make their dollars (er, pounds) stretch: I'd match the production values in Hornblower to anything on glossy US stuff like ER.
Krina Classic movies, too, Trish
SpinCycle more discovery, history,, you get more that one of each?
Trish47 6 discovery channels
Maggie At least PBS coes the World News---the only way to stay informed in the US
Trish47 2 history channels
GuestAllen Gulliver's Travels was pretty good - they even hired British actors.
Trish47 A & E plus a biography channel
Krina Or on BBC America news, Maggie
SpinCycle wierd, all different programming
Trish47 yeah, spin
spitty The ITV news twice per day on PBS is excellent coverage world wide
Trish47 for the different sciences
Maggie how do I get bbc am news Krina?
GuideRyan On the news front I think the British *own* news.
Krina They do very thorough coverage, Ryan
Trish47 I like to watch BBC News because there is a whole world out there that Americans know nothing of
SpinCycle BBC WorldService is a prime example (although not TV)
GuestAllen I have to agree, on this one thing, the British know to do news better than anyone. American news has the attention span of a goldfish.
Trish47 Americans are incredibly segregated globaly
Krina And often features goldfish, Guest. :)
Trish47 but don't tell them they don't know
spitty American news is too much hype on violence, repeating over and over again
GuideRyan "If it bleeds, it leads" seems to be the dictum of US news.
GuideRyan I think we have a consensus on this one.
SpinCycle very funny
Trish47 good one Ryan
Maggie Yes Krina, Americans are very insular, they think ther is nothing going on anywhere else in the world
spitty Ichat with several Brits, and am amazed they all watch Jerry Springer!!! they cant believe their eyes!!!!
GuestAllen All American talk shows are popular in Britain. We only have a few left now.
Krina Hey, now, spitty. I hear he promised to tone down the violence.
Trish47 jerry springer now there is an interesting topic
Krina We have a pleathora, Guest
Vicar keeps us away from the real news of the world, all action-all the time
GuideRyan And the ratings dropped 30% this week alone!
Trish47 he promised once before
Maggie Does anyone else think Americans are prudes on the one hand and too 'free' on the other?
Krina Too many talk shows here.
Krina Yes, Maggie
GuestAllen It turns out on a lot of UK chat shows, the guests were actors so they could be controversal. You'd see the same ones over and over playing different parts.
Trish47 How many BBC channels are there and how do we get a selection here
Krina Alan Partridge was faked, Guest?? :)
spitty I do not think Americans are prudes at all Maggie, they are the opposite in my opinion
Trish47 Do we get something from each channel
GuestAllen Alan Partridge is a spoof show.
Trish47 I hate alan Partridge
Maggie two bbc channels
GuideRyan There are two BBC channels in the UK.
Krina I know, Guest, just teasing.
spitty But only one BBC here, right?
GuideRyan Let me ask you folks here: do production values matter? Have you ever turned off a show because it looked "cheap"?
Trish47 BBC America is the only one that I know
Krina I don't know, spitty, some of the things I see on older British tv would never had made it here at the time.
Trish47 yes ryan
GuideRyan BBC America just shows reruns and is not like a "feed" from England or anything (except for the daily newscast which is live).
Trish47 low budget and cheap are two different things though
Krina I have, Ryan, except I think it might have been the quality of the tape, itself.
GuideRyan Blake's 7 for example is generally regarded as a cheap-looking show, and yet if you could get past that, it had some really good ideas and writing going on.
Steed It depends Ryan on the subject. Sci-Fi can't be cheap anymore...
spitty Wehave to remember that there are two ways of life here, Brit & American
Vicar a story can dictate the show, look at dr who! effects stunk but made up for it in spades,sci-fi channel here has great effects but the programs stink!
Krina Yes, Maggie, I meant I thought that's the topic you were addressing.
Trish47 Sci-fi has gone to flashy sites to no plot line
Krina Some of the classic Alfred Hitchcock and Twighlight Zones don
Krina oops. don't look expensive
GuideRyan Yeah, it's gotten bad with SF shows that *any* jerk with a computer can have splashy effects. It used to be that good effects at least indicated that it would be a good movie or show.
Maggie It was but its nothing to do with tv which is what were supposed to be doing!
Vicar no character development either, just crashes,lasers etc.
spitty Always a question of personal taste, where any program is concerned, or even movies for that matter
GuideRyan Was anyone here ever bothered by the BBC's insistence on shooting dramas on video tape instead of film?
Krina Yes, Ryan
Trish47 american education does not require a background in the classics and does not emphasise reading...
GuestAllen Shooting on tape looks really bad. It was the biggest mistake they ever made.
Trish47 i think that is a problem in the understanding of programs
spitty Applause to you Trish!
spitty No culture,
GuideRyan It's heartening to see NBC (at least once a year) doing some sort of "classic" adaptation each Spring.
SpinCycle Well I dont know if it is the film/tape thing you are talking about, but I prefer the look of the british filming technique, the colors look better
Trish47 there is a serious derth of cultural understanding here
Vicar exactly trish!
GuestAllen The BBC have done period classics to death and as a consequence the viewing figures have dropped. Moll Flanders, wonderfully done, but because it didn't do the figures, the BBC went into a terminal decline over these.
Trish47 I got my TV about 1978 so the colors all look the same to me
GuideRyan Does everyone know that Hornblower was made by ITV (co-produced by A&E) and not the BBC.
Trish47 Hornblower was well done
Trish47 NOT the beeb
Trish47 wow
GuideRyan But the BBC doing historical dramas keeps ITV "honest" so they have do some to keep up as well.
GuestAllen Or they use Robson Green.
Trish47 well at least A&E was involved, they do some good stuff
spitty Trish, if you want to see lack of cultural understanding at its best, come to L.A.
Trish47 that's OK spitty, Salt lake is about all I can handle
GuestAllen At least I can swim in Salt Lake. :-)
spitty lol
Trish47 i've smelled that lake i wouldn't swim in it
GuideRyan Generally speaking, I think the British can get away with more sex on TV, while the Americans can have more violence.
Trish47 british tv programs generally look more like real life than american
Trish47 not "real" but it could happen
spitty I agree Trish
GuideRyan But they've been criticized lately for being *too* dreary and they can't export them.
Trish47 the actors interact without always screaming and shooting
Vicar more believable
GuestAllen No guns in Britain.
Trish47 not enough blood for americans
SpinCycle that was basically the description I was searching for earlier Trish
GuideRyan The actors come from a better theatrical background in the UK. Not just picked out of a model book.
Trish47 gee, actors that can act how novel
Krina I like that, Ryan. Sometimes here, I can't tell them a part. They all look the same -- same type that is.
GuestAllen There are some violence British TV shows. Liverpool 1.
Trish47 the guy that plays resnick, I don't think he would have gotten on American TV
GuestAllen We're always doing psychological thrillers. It seems it's all we're doing.
Trish47 Neither would Dawn French
spitty Scouse I thinkk they are called!!
Steed Have they been forced to be more violent to compete with American TV/
Krina Tom Wilkinson, Trish? I agree.
Trish47 He plays great rolls
Trish47 roles
GuestAllen Steed, no. There is a perception that all Scousers are a bit on the dodgy side criminally (allegedly).
Trish47 scousers?
GuideRyan Wilkinson is great. He was the older guy in The Full Monty
Trish47 He has varied talent
GuestAllen Scousers = People from Liverpool.
spitty a Scouser is a Liverpudlian I think
Trish47 Ahhhh
GuideRyan So are co-productions the wave of the future? Worked well with Hornblower and even those NBC things like Gulliver's Travels were made with Channel 4.
Trish47 Time for This Life
Krina Like the American Cracker. The guy who plays that is much more "acceptable" than Robbie S.
spitty I wonder why Maggie Smith has never done a series?
GuestAllen I agree that co-productions can bring out the best in both countries.
Krina Oops. Robbie C.
Trish47 Ryan, channel 4 is very special
Trish47 not the usual american TV
GuestAllen This Life was a soap opera for thirtysomethings who were sexually deviant.
GuideRyan I've only seen a few This Life but I liked it. I see the actors now in all sorts of other things.
GuestAllen London Bridge is another show in that same style. And a sitcom in that style: Cold Feet.
SpinCycle Two Fat Ladies is on FoodTV
Trish47 Haven't seen those
GuideRyan Cold Feet is being remade by NBC this fall. The British one is great though - Helen Baxendale is terrific.
Krina That's good, SpinCycle
GuestAllen I like Two Fat Ladies but Ryan doesn't.
SpinCycle heh
Trish47 I will have to see those ladies
GuestAllen They honestly look like they enjoy their food and they don't take any rubbish. They're cooks with attitude.
spitty They look too unsavorary to me to be cooking!!!
Trish47 i like attitude
GuestAllen It's they are always smoking and drinking.
Krina Like Monty Python housewives.
Trish47 you want unsavory, you should see my cooking
spitty besides, they cook things we wouldnt want!!!!!!!!
Steed What do you want with your jugged fish?
GuestAllen They've led interesting lives and make interesting meals. Britain seems to turn out the more eccentric type of cooking presenters.
SpinCycle they remind me of my Nana
GuideRyan There are an awful lot of cooking shows on British TV.
SpinCycle jugged kippers
Steed Rat Tart!
Krina There are whole channels of nothing else but here, Ryan
Trish47 I need shows with directions for boiling water
spitty Trish I meant the fat ladies look unsavorary, meaning trashy in a way
GuestAllen Graham Kerr used to drink most of the wine during a show and get drunk. So did Fanny Craddock.
Trish47 yes spitty
GuestAllen I don't think the Two Fat Ladies look trashy at all.
GuideRyan Spitty, are you just biased against those on motorcycles?
SpinCycle they seem wealthy too, they eat expensive food
spitty do you know what I mean by unsavory Allen? They look as tho a good bath would improve them
Krina Would you give us they look "unkempt", Guest? :)
GuestAllen They are both wealthy. One owns a restaurant and both have been married to very wealthy men.
Trish47 I think the british programs I have seen have more "real" people than the american ones
GuestAllen I don't think they look unkempt, they just dress in a bohemian style.
spitty unkempt, you got it!!!! Hair hanging down over the food, UGH
GuideRyan Like Tom Baker.
Trish47 tom baker
GuestAllen They haven't poisoned anyone they've cooked for yet.
Steed Another consensus.
GuideRyan Well, as Allen said, the Fat Ladies don't really do much for me.
Krina If they do get real people on American tv, they take them off because they aren't good looking enough.
Trish47 one problem with british TV that I have heard here is that no one can understand the language
SpinCycle well i wouldnt really want to watch them cook in hairnets ,, hehhe
Trish47 I can't believe it
Krina It is difficult sometimes, Trish, for me.
Trish47 I do believe it
GuestAllen We're back to style over content. The Americans are obsessed with the body beautiful. Unfortunately the majority of most Americans fail to meet this criteria.
GuestAllen British as well.
GuestAllen In fact, most of the world.
GuideRyan Allen, you're undermining your own argument.
GuestAllen I'm not. I'm just agreeing to a good point.
Trish47 yes, I would need a wide screen TV
SpinCycle I am used to some of it.. when I visit my nana she speaks that way..
Krina Like Daniel Benzali in Murder One being replaced...
spitty I suspect a chauvanist or two!!!!!
GuideRyan Krina, but he turned up in NYPD Blue again recently.
Krina For a guest role, only, Ryan. :)
GuestAllen I never really understood the hype about Murder One (or Murder Two)
Krina Oh, I liked it Allen.
GuestAllen But then I did like Wild Palms.
Trish47 I guess I missed those
GuestAllen It would be a boring world if we all liked the same programs.
Trish47 true
Trish47 thank goodness for cable TV
GuideRyan Americans don't really have a good breed of character actors any more.
Steed Allen, if you liked Wild Palms, did you see Maximum Bob last summer?
Krina Or looked the same
GuestAllen No, they have to get Canadians to do it.
GuestAllen I loved Maximum Bob.
Trish47 There is no more Humphry Bogart
SpinCycle thank goodness for 6 discovery channels.. I still am awe struck that there are 6
GuideRyan I agree, Bob was really great, a breath of fresh air. Of course they had to take it off.
Steed Same here, I wish they'd pick it up again.
spitty Does Anthony Andrews appear in any tv programs?
GuideRyan Geez, there are six Discovery channels? Wow!
Trish47 well there was Max Headroom
GuestAllen Spitty, he only does theatre or films now.
GuideRyan Smitty, try the Internet Movie Database to see what he's up to lately.
spitty thanx, I was wondering
GuideRyan I loved Max Headroom, but it started as a British show don't forget!
GuestAllen The British make really good science programmes, I'll cite Horizon and Equinox. Although a lot of these seem to be made as co-productions with WGBH in Boston.
Trish47 I would like to see the british science programmes
spitty There was a series from Agatha Christie, one about a discontented housewife , do they ever replay those?
GuideRyan A lot turn up here under different names.
Trish47 WGBH is very special and innovative
Krina I don't remember that one, spitty.
GuestAllen Or on the Discovery Channel. The "weather porn" ie hurricanes, lightning, volcanoes were made in Britain.
GuideRyan One woman is in charge of WGBH. She controls all the money and decides what can get made.
spitty It was not a mystery, but an interesting study
GuideRyan Rebecca Eaton is her name.
spitty see, I knew we had a chauvenist here!!!!!lol
Krina spitty, I remember Miss Marple, Hercule, Tommy and Tuppence and one with a quiet male detective.
Trish47 hmmm I never knew that
Steed Ted Turners sister/
GuestAllen I've never heard of Tommy and Tuppence.
Trish47 the house of elliott - is that A&E?
GuideRyan It was BBC, Trish.
Krina Allen, Francesca Annis was Tuppence.
spitty Krina, this was a different type of series, I have a copy of the houswife one, it was done years ago on beta, and is a bad copy, but I just love it!!!!
GuestAllen Doesn't ring a bell but I just remember Bill And Ben The Flowerpot Men (little weeeeed).
Trish47 Blue Peter?
spitty Tommy and Tuppence played here on pbs a few years ago
Krina I'd like to see it, spitty. I like all the Agatha Christie mysteries.
GuestAllen I have to concede the British win hands down when it comes to Children's programs.
Krina Parker Pyne, that's the other one, spitty.
GuestAllen Because when Americans do live-action children's programmes they are extremely patronising and simplistic.
Trish47 Just watched the Cronicles of Narnia again
GuestAllen I agree, that was good.
GuideRyan And it had Tom Baker in it!
Trish47 ooops...classics again
Trish47 tom baker
spitty Krina, its not a mystery, just a study of a discontented housewife, but is very good.
Trish47 guess who I liked as an actor
Krina Oh, spitty, I'll bet that's from a book Agatha wrote under her pseudynom.
spitty I'll send you a copy if you like
Krina Oh, spitty, I couldn't ask you to do that. Too much trouble.
GuestAllen I think the best answer to this is you take all the best American programmes and all the best British programmes and you have one channel called Most Excellent TV.
spitty Hell no, I do it all the time, I enjoy the fact that other people enjoy this stuff
GuideRyan Well yeah, we'd all like to have that. But it's not likely to happen, is it?
Trish47 METV
Krina We could start our own channel.
Trish47 who get's to pick the shows
GuestAllen We're just going to have more and more channels, showing more and more crap.
spitty So does Allen feel the US is the best?
Krina spitty, could I pay you?
Trish47 I hope it's not my brother in law
Trish47 he watches fishing
GuestAllen We'll have to be a gold miner trying to find a needle in a haystack.
GuideRyan Well even though we're not "The Mining Co" any more, I will try to point out the good ones so people can catch them.
spitty Nope, no pay, 'tis for love of the Brits!!!!
GuestAllen Spitty, for science fiction programmes.
GuestAllen And cop programmes.
GuestAllen And animated sitcoms.
GuideRyan What's left?
Krina Well, thanks, spitty. Let me think about it. You'll be back here sometime, won't you?
Trish47 wallace and grommit
GuestAllen Made in England by Aardman Animation.
spitty yes, I will. YKou can tape something for me if you would feel better
Steed Allen, What did you think of Stressed Eric?
spitty So Allen, sum it up percentage wise!!!
GuestAllen Steed, I loved the exploding donkey episode.
GuideRyan yeah, I have to agree, that was the high point.
GuestAllen 60/40 in favour of the US.
Steed Another series not given the chance to grow out of it's growing pains, IMO.
Trish47 oh no
GuideRyan I thought there would be a second series but Allen is saying apparently not.
Trish47 60/20 british favor <--bad at math
GuideRyan LOL.
GuideRyan I'm going to stick my neck out here and say 75/25 in favor of British.
GuestAllen All I'll concede is 55/45.
GuideRyan I feel like eBay.
Trish47 i like ryan's better ... sorry alan
GuestAllen Anyway, I've discovered a new American show, The X Show on FX. I've made notes and I intend to present my own version to Channel 4 when I get home.
Trish47 does this happen every week
spitty I go with Ryan!!!!! I belong to the old school, and remember the good old days, especially he London Palladium
GuestAllen Because we have a lack of male chauvinist pig programmes at home.
Steed Bye Trish. Looks like it's wrapping up so I'll go too. Thanks everyone!
GuideRyan I can't recommend The X Show. It's lame.

Previous Features