I have to say that the Brits do a much better job at television – drama, comedy, and even reality television since even the wildly popular(except on my tv) American Idol is an British remake! A couple of years back I watching some program and learned that even some favorite oldies of mine from childhood and adolescence “Sanford and Son” was an adapted British sitcom “Steptoe and Son” that ran from 1962-65 and again 1970-74 . I first fell in love with British comedy on PBS back in the mid-80’s and was an instant loyal fan! Actually it was before then – as a teen and in High School I remember watching “Benny Hill” who was a freaking crack up – My first real intro to the British accent so I didn’t get all the words or their meaning but when I did WOW! Not to mention an teenage male watching the sometimes barely dressed beauties Benny was infamous for always having on! But in 1987 when I moved from SoCal to Dallas, TX where the local PBS station KERA was where “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” debuted a couple years earlier in the States, I got a whole new appreciation for the Brits’ humor, not to mention the acquired listen and interpretation of the accents and meanings! “Petrol-station”, “Birds”?! The response from Dallasites was huge and they immediately got others – “Are You Being Served”, “Good Neighbors”, “Fawlty Towers”, “Up All Night”, “Blackadder”, “Keeping Up Appearances”, “As Time Goes By”, “Chef”, “Red Dwarf” and other sitcoms! Man, my brother and I loved Sunday nights when KERA played about 5 hours of Brit-coms! Other PBS stations followed and in the 90’s so did commercial television like A&E and we got some other favs like “Absolutely Fabulous” and my all time fav “Coupling” that some liked to call the British version of “Friends” but instead of hanging out in a coffee shop – they hung out in a local bar! To a degree I would agree – I do love both shows – and alcohol and coffee are both favorites too! Oh and I cannot forrrrrget another all-time favorite “The Office” the real “Office” the original – not the completely inferior Americanized copy. No disrespect to Steve Carrol, but he is way to animated and compeltely unbelievable character – it really is like watching live-action animation! Way too over the top – and maybe that is why I more drawn to British comedy and drama! But at least Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant are banking on the success and were not washed out – they created the original and became the executive producers of the (cringe) American Office!
And when BBC America debuted I was loving life – especially since my viewership crossed to dramas a few years before – especially mystery dramas! The Brits have a long history of great mystery writers so I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise! I loved “Morse” and in some ways can been seen in my “London Time” character and story – but also “A Touch of Frost”, “Second Sight”, “A Touch of Evil”, “Wire in the Blood”, “Cracker”, “Prime Suspect”, and many, many more – including the hour long dramas like “Ballykissangel” and now “Inspector Lewis” which is a spinoff – if you want to call it that – from “Morse” since Lewis was his younger partner when the series was on and getting first American air time on PBS stations under the Masterpiece Mystery.
And that “Inspector Lewis” is what brings me to this blog entry! This is the second series or “season” as we in America call it – for the “Inspector Lewis” show. You can watch them individually but if you’re a fan and know the characters – it is even more entertaining when certain responses verbally or physical expressions are given – I find the humor in it which is like an Easter egg in a series like this! And unfortunately, I found a pet peeve – I guess after all these years – it is a good ratio! But the series II finale featured a character – can you guess? – that has a disAbility – and more specifically and personally – a paraplegic! I was excited to see it in the preview of the episode that came at the end of the one before it! But I was also concerned – would it be represented in anyway authentically? The episode called, “The Point of Vanishing” did have a character who was a paraplegic – from a car accident that had occurred a couple of years prior to the setting in this episode and it was also portrayed by an able bodied actor. I was disappointed because of how much more superior I feel most British television is – authenicity is a priority in many themes but I guess – just like Hollywood – that is the one element that is not significant enough to be authentic – stick any actor in a wheelchair and poof – you have an instant character with a disAbility and we can tout ourselves as being sensitive to giving representation to those who are so often ignored in the media and in public (mainly because of the media images!)
Well despite this – British television is still more often the much better quality television, and I cannot wait for “Inspector Lewis: Series III” not to mention “Top Gear” that is supposed to come out this month! Hopefully, Abilities United Productions and my films like “London Time” will have an impact in Hollywood and Pinewood (Studio Group)!