A Mischief Of Magpies

If the Sun were the size of a beach ball then Jupiter would be the size of a golf ball and a Mischief of Magpies would be as small as a pea.

Friday, March 31, 2006

A pile of crap by any other name ...

A somewhat desultary conversation half-started over at 'la Rullsenberg' the other day, when the 'understudy', Anna Waites, running the site in Lisa's absence, used the phrase "quality TV" which I suggested was an oxymoron. It rapidly declined into an agreement that one should try and define the word 'quality' in this context. I suggested to the no doubt younger-than-me correspondents (well, everyone's younger than me these days, dammit!) to try and imagine reaching the age of 60 plus and deciding which current or recent TV programs they would be thrilled to see again.

I thought, in the circs, that the least I could do from my age of 66 was to try the experiment for myself. Immediately I became aware of the enticing dangers of mere nostalgia. Thus, Z Cars, which was required viewing in my barrack-room in the 1960s (required that is, or the 'Scousers' would turn ugly - than which etc, etc.)) was an excellent forerunner of the modern Police series which now seem to fill so many of the channels. But would it stand up today and earn a place under the heading of 'Quality'? I doubt it.

The only program I can think of, and which I can confirm from experience that it reached the required standard because recently a good friend gave me the two BBC videos as a gift, is Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. This is more than just 'quality', it is excellence of the highest degree. The plot is intricate and intelligent, the playing of all the actors in roles both big and small took full advantage of a superb script and resulted in a production that was both subtle and profound. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is one that will last and if anyone hasn't seen it, I urge you to buy the two videos.

Anyone else got a TV program they think will qualify as one they would look forward to seeing again in their sixties?

8 Comments:

At 5:37 pm, Blogger Paul said...

Glancing at the TV series I liked so much that I bought the DVD turns up...

Brass Eye. Spot on satire and still funny.
Blackadder. All four series which, I think, get better as they go on.
Brass. A bit of nostalgia here - I loved the series back in 1982 and it does still stand up today.
Fawlty Towers. 'nuff said.

and... erm... Eurotrash. You can't realy go wrong with naked Germans, can you?

 
At 7:29 pm, Blogger David Duff said...

Paul raises a point that I, in my high-minded (miserable) way, had not considered - comedy! And, of course, he's right. If ever TV can make a claim for 'quality' or 'excellence', then surely it has to be in some of the comedy productions.

 
At 9:02 pm, Blogger ill man said...

I'm afraid all my choices would be comedy too. With maybe the odd exception, TV drama doesn't do it for me.

 
At 10:22 pm, Blogger matt lobster said...

Dirty Filthy Love (http://www.itv.com/page.asp?partid=2126) which was a one off drama on ITV last year was amazing. One of those programs that is unlike any other. I want to watch it again now.

Warriors (http://www.flickfilosopher.com/flickfilos/archive/003q/warriors.shtml) a BBC drama made more of an impact on me than any war film I've ever seen.

And of course 'I'm Alan Partridge'. A man in a service station buffet sneaking in his own big plate. I laugh when ever I see plates now. It makes my social life tricky.

 
At 12:20 am, Blogger Clairwil said...

I'll go for comedy and nominate a childhood favourite. Bagpuss and in fact anything involving Oliver Postgate.

 
At 11:06 am, Blogger alan said...

I absolutely agree about 'Tinker Tailor...'. It is truly superb.

There has been some timeless comedy, yes, but being an arch-intellectual I would add these:

Heimat
Berlin Alexanderplatz
Twin Peaks
The Jewel in the Crown

4 amazing series made for TV. Only one in the UK, however, but all shown here at various times.

 
At 12:24 pm, Anonymous David Duff said...

Thanks, Alan, you've just reminded me that the truly excellent "Das Boot" was made for TV. That deserves to last for ever.

 
At 11:42 pm, Blogger Paul B said...

Apologies for my late appearance on this one, having been offline for the majority of this week.

I have to agree that TV is a medium for comedy rather than drama - the cinema is far better for 'serious' works, as the big screen allows for an all-embracing catharsis that the small just could not ever hope to match.

My choices for timeless TV quality are:

I'm Alan Partridge. Series one only though.
Brass Eye. Still wonderful viewing.
Black Books. A slightly controversial one, but I've recently watched all three series again and it's utterly wonderful. Better even than its stablemate Father Ted.
The Simpsons. Great for kids and grown-ups alike, and brilliantly written and crafted until it jumped the shark.

But the number one timeless show on TV has to be, in my opinion... Dangermouse. For me, still the best thing David Jason's ever done, just ahead of Open All Hours. And I say that in all seriousness: it's a total delight from start to finish. People often sneer at cartoons, but from Tom and Jerry onwards many of the best things on TV have been animations rather than live-action.

 

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