Saturday Night TV enjoyment
I had forgotten the quality of BBC TV programming. Tonight I was blissfully reminded. I was also reminded that almost none of that programming would reach me if it wasn’t for PBS. I am fortunate enough to have access to 2 PBS channels, and tonight I got value for my money.
First I watched 2 episodes of “Are You Being Served?” on KBTC. It such a wonderfully simple comedy with lots of innuendos and stereotypes, without ever getting really nasty. Always over the top, with jokes that have several dimensions, so that everybody can laugh at them, albeit not always for the same reason. If you like intelligent humor and double entendres, then this is for you.
That was followed by “Good Neighbors”, or “The Good Life” as it is known in the UK. The core cast (Richard Briers, Felicity Kendal, Penelope Keith and Paul Eddington) are all fantastic, and the storyline of the upper middle class couple who decides to live off the land is simple, consistent and full of comic ability. And to be honest, they are talking full advantage of it.
I did have a conflict of interest watching “Good Neighbors”, though. At the same time as KBTC showed that, KCTS9 was showing “New Tricks”, which is a detective series I really enjoy. But you have to choose, and tonight comedy won over crime drama.
At least at that time slot. After that I did switch to KCTS9. The reason for that is “Spooks”, or “MI-5” as it’s called in the USA. Definitively one of my favorite (or maybe that should be favourite) spy TV series. I know this is going to sound corny, but part of what I like about it is that the people do not look like models, they have personal struggles as well as professional setbacks and things are more grey than black and white. On top of that, it doesn’t have a lot of colored filters, saturated shots and fast flyovers. There is a grittiness that makes it fell more real.
For those of you who know me, you know that I have to get on my soapbox as well, so here we go. <soapbox>I find it fascinating and frustrating that one of the issues that is on the table in the current budget debate is the funding for the Corporation For Public Broadcasting. They get about $1.40 per person per year, and for that I get access to at least 2 excellent TV stations, and at least 3 radio stations. If I compare that to the $14.60 that each person gives to General Electric, the company that owns NBC, in tax breaks, I’m actually appalled at the programming that NBC gives me. And GE is in no way unique in the tax advantages that are bestowed upon them by the American people. Those corporate tax breaks are an area where I would agree on a severe budget cut. It’s not even as if GE is paying no tax at all. They get money from the government. They get money from the government. And with that we get reality TV and news that focuses on the Roayl Wedding in England or what Charlie Sheen is up to, rather than important matters. ITs as if they didn’t want us to be informed and capable of critical thinking. That I find disgraceful, and I’m sure that the founding fathers would be appalled.</soapbox>
All in all an enjoyable Saturday evening, although PBS programming can be hard on the old bladder. There is just a short window between shows to go to the loo.
PS. I realized recently that Antenna TV, a commercial station, are running lots of “Benny Hill” shows. In all their silliness, they are actually quite funny.