Who wants to abolish democracy forever? Show of hands!

The Simpsons this week was great.  Quote of the week has to go to Moe, for “Who wants to abolish democracy forever? Show of hands!”  That’s rich; definitely has to go among my favorites – and just for kicks, here is one of those favorites, from Marge Simpson: “When Virginia Woolf wrote ‘every woman needs a room of ones own,’ she must have been talking about the kitchen!”  Hopefully, literary geeks everywhere laugh at that one. 

On to other stuff on the idiot box.  The Wireseason premiere delivered 100%.  It doesn’t look good for McNutty, his whole team, the entire police force, or the city of Baltimore as a whole.  My only regret about watching the show is the painful 7 days until the next episode; just when an episode has got you completely reeled in, it goes to credits and you’re left dangling.  D’oh!  Again, if you’ve never seen it, I really recommend renting the previous four seasons. 

Lastly, for my “See It While It’s Good” alert, I’ve been catching up on my DVR’ed episodes of Life On Mars, season two.  Let me say real quick how much I love my Dish DVR – and how much I am going to miss it, as I’m moving soon.  Thankfully, I will be able to get it back at some point, but until then I’ll be without.  It blows Tivo and DirectTV out of the water, as far as the interface, usability, and overall ease of use.  Anyhow, it is great leaps in human evolution such as the Dish DVR that has allowed me to do things like wait until now to watch episodes of Life on Mars that have been airing in a near-random schedule on BBC-America over the last few months.  So, I’ve been catching up, and I’m still amazed at what a good show it is.  At times it actually looks like it just might have been filmed in the real 1973.  So why is it in the “See it while it’s good” category?  Because David E. Kelly has acquired the rights to produce the American version. 

Don’t get me wrong; I am not one of these “the BBC version is better” people, who ubiquitously claim allegiance to the original version of everything and hate the new one – I feel I’m fairly open-minded as far as that goes.  Secondly, Kelly doesn’t make bad television, for the most part.  In fact, many of his shows are watchable, if not good.  However, there are things an American version simply won’t be able to do; the first will be, of course, envisioning a finite series.  Like all networks, they will want to squeeze all creative life out of the show until it no longer becomes profitable, and the idea of doing 16 episodes and ending it there is, well, it simply won’t process in the minds of network executives. 

Second, there is a certain foreign-ness that comes from the show being British; there is British slang, British culture – specifically British 70s culture – and I think that quality gives us in the colonies a certain lens of mystique and distance that won’t add up the same way when we are looking at a very polished, modern-looking American show about American 70s culture.  It simply won’t transport us to a different time the way the BBC version does.  Plus, I just don’t see American networks letting a show air that is truly as authentic as the BBC version is, specifically the way the women on the show are treated (which, remember, is supposed to be a show set among a UK police unit in 1973).  Finally, the music of the BBC version is just awesome; can a US network handle a show only playing music from the 1970s, with no modern takes, no bad remakes, no catchy theme songs?  I guess time will tell.  Granted, I may very well be eating my words one day in the future, but I can handle being wrong every now and then if it is because someone made a suprisingly excellent show. 


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