So this new season (or series as it is called in the UK) of Sherlock looks to be amazing. For the past 15 years or so, the UK has been setting the best trends in television. In the 1980’s British shows seemed to come from another planet. The language and humor were indecipherable to us in the colonies. As the greatest example, the 1999 TV series SPACED written and starring Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson and directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead/Antman), showed a trendsetting that is unparalleled. SPACED showed such a love for American pop culture that it was easily digestible. Combine that with incredible production value and some of the most ingenious direction/camera/editorial work and it made waves. Sadly, most Americans still haven’t discovered this series. It spawned many American ripoffs of style, not the least of which include Family Guy and Scrubs.
This was followed by the UK original version of The Office, which found some success in the U.S. with it’s Emmy wins, but the American remake was to replace it in no time. Several other shows like GARTH MERENGHI’s DARK PLACE also showed a love of American popular culture reflected back to us.
Now with the BBC’s SHERLOCK, from the producers of the rebooted, upgraded DOCTOR WHO, we’re seeing the result of 15 years of cutting edge film/television. From amazing effects, ingenious cuts and transitions, to a compelling way of telling stories, SHERLOCK has crossed over well.
The BBC lead the pack in making shows limited. Only in the U.S. do we have the attitude about art that we need to milk it dry until there is nothing worth watching and as much advertising dollars have been made as humanly possible.
We’ve been seeing networks like AMC and FX buck the trend of 22 episodes a year into the more limited 10-13 (and 7 a year if they want to stretch it out hard in a final split season). It’s more likely you’ll get the best work in fewer episodes since you don’t have to “fill” or vamp for time. HBO mastered this too starting with the SOPRANOS also in 1999, which really set a trend for cinematic television, and the seasons as a novel vibe too.
Personally, I think we’re seeing the best (and worst) in television right now. With all these amazing series, only being dragged down by the lifeless (and talentless) reality programming, I find it so odd to see the television Renaissance at the time time that once great channels like HISTORY, DISCOVERY, and MTV are being inundated by crappy faux-reality shows about nothing and no one of significance.
Me? I’d rather re-watch 9 great episodes of SHERLOCK over and over again rather than see 1,000 hours of new crap.
[i]”And if I could choose a place to die, it would be in your arms.”
– Eric Clapton[/i]