Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
John Kettler

? for UK TV viewers Why so few episodes?

Recommended Posts

Here in the States, a season for a major show runs around 18-22 episodes, yet in the U.K., it seems more like 6 or 7. My comparison is based on Lawand Order here vs Law & Order/UK there. Please tell me why your episode count is so incredibly low for Law & Order U.K.. Is this typical, or this there some other factor at work? Frankly, I don't get it. I enjoy the show very much, but strongly prefer the original cast to the successive iterations.

Regards,

John Kettler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL, Law & Order, the holocaust of white dudes. In the early seasons the show reflected the ethnic/racial reality in NYC crime a la The Shield. But the suits were apparently unhappy with the ratings so they got with the program.

From Steve Sailor's blog:

More white murderers on "Law & Orders" than in real NYC?

I've never seen it confirmed, but it strikes me as pretty obvious that the TV franchise "Law & Order," which debuted in 1990, was heavily influenced by Tom Wolfe's 1987 bestselling novel Bonfire of the Vanities. Wolfe's novel is about NYC detectives and prosecutors, bored and depressed by arresting and convicting countless poor minorities, hunting down for fun and political profit The Great White Defendant, rich white guy Sherman McCoy. "Law & Order" is the irony-free version of Bonfire, with the first half hour consisting of detectives arresting a rich white person and the second half hour consisting of the prosecutors torturing the law to come up with some absurd justification for charging the defendant with homicide. This formula has made L&O perhaps the biggest franchise in television history.

A reader writes

It might be an interesting factoid for an article that there are more white murderers plotted on Law & Order (all editions) than there are actual white murderers in New York City.

There were 572 murders in New York City last year. We know that only 10% of violent crimes in NYC were committed by non-Hispanic whites, so if the same is true for homicides in particular, that's 57 white murders. There are three "Law and Orders," I think, with about 25 episodes per season with, say, 80% being white. That's 60 white New York murderers on one set of shows compared to about 57 in all of the real world New York.

Anyway, I bet it's close.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

dieseltaylor,

Thanks! Read it before, but obviously didn't remember the part about the episode count and splitting the 13-show buy into two seasons. That said, is the 6-7 episode per season figure typical of British TV? If so, why? Does British TV prefer to run more shows, at shorter season duration, for the sake of variety, than to have a longer run each season for fewer shows?

Childress,

I suspect the underlying reasons are not merely the Caucasian skew per se, but also because the visuals are much more interesting generally. Other things being equal, a Park Avenue townhouse, a mansion, or a beautiful country cottage are far more appealing to viewers than the dreary, run down places oft occupied by those barely getting by or on welfare, their grim, depressing environs, their shabby clothing; with counterpoint provided by the flashy pimps, by the bangers and their child minions. Designer duds, fine jewelry and watches look better on tape and are of viewer interest because so many want those things themselves.

There certainly are times this isn't the case, as in the rarely seen upscale minority professional family or the more frequently seen rapper/recording mogul, not to mention the bright ghetto/barrio youth gunned down before going off to college or brought low once there. And, of course, we have various foreigners, tourists, hapless teens and others who get eaten alive in the city. Then, there are those out to maim, poison, infect and otherwise kill New Yorkers. And the show definitely has strong views on certain hot topics, which won't be mentioned here. In a very real sense, though, NYC is a character unto itself, and the shows derive much of their effect by being shot with pride in NYC.

Speaking of NYC, apartment size is frequently exaggerated. I recall veritable screams from New Yorkers over the small town sized apartment in "Friends."

In closing, it wouldn't surprise me if the Caucasian skew weren't also tied into a fear by the suits that minorities would raise a ruckus over constant depiction of (insert group here) as being (insert undesirable status here), when in reality, most are hardworking, law abiding citizens/trying to be citizens/refugees fleeing from/etc.

Regards,

John Kettler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The moral standpoint of the poor (ignorant) forced into breaking the law is much greyer in depiction than that of the rich (knowledgeable) choosing to break the law: it is easier to justify the moral outrage (the desired somatic response) against the perpetrator of the crime. Drama painted with a wide brush and bright colours is easier to consume (and perform).

Also, most countries have a minimum requirement for local content broadcast.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our series always last between 4 and 7 (sometimes but rarely up to 12 but very very rare)..just the way it is. Also it makes a change the UK copying an American program..it's normally the other way round.

4 episodes would be a one off drama rather than a series.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sherlock (with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman) is actually only 3 episodes. They were originally going to work with 6 but decided they'd rather double the length of the episodes to get a full plot line in and halve the episodes. Great idea imho.

I suspect one of the reasons for a 6-ish episode season in the UK is that this means the top actors can do a stint in theatre over here or a hollywood film and still fit filming a TV series in (Gillian Anderson for instance fitted in filming "The Fall" in Ireland along with "Our Robot Overlords") that of course and our TV companies simply don't have the money or resources to spend on long runs of expensive drama series. In addition it may be that the talented writers, directors and production staff simply don't want to commit to a long run of one series but would rather go and do something else...

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2011/feb/23/british-directors-tv-drama-oscars

"The biggest challenge to those who continue to regard TV as an inferior medium is that Britain's leading actors seem increasingly to regard the media as interchangeable. Oscar-listed acting aristocrats such as Julie Walters and Helen Mirren have continued to move between TV and movies because the writing and production values in a small-screen drama did not inevitably result in slumming it."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In a very subjective opinion, it seems to me that British tv has a higher proportion of good to really good shows compared to US tv. Oh, they have plenty of drek as well, but it is well larded with the better stuff. Brit tv seems wise to me to make the most of mini-series and small numbered regular shows, preferring quality over quantity.

Another observation is that on both sides of the pond the quality of journeyman actors has significantly improved over the last couple of decades. Given adequate scripts and direction, most of them seem able to turn in quite creditable performances. This was not always the case. The really good ones could always manage to pull their weight, but those not quite up to it usually fell pretty far behind.

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
LOL, Law & Order, the holocaust of white dudes. In the early seasons the show reflected the ethnic/racial reality in NYC crime a la The Shield. But the suits were apparently unhappy with the ratings so they got with the program.

From Steve Sailor's blog:

More white murderers on "Law & Orders" than in real NYC?

I've never seen it confirmed, but it strikes me as pretty obvious that the TV franchise "Law & Order," which debuted in 1990, was heavily influenced by Tom Wolfe's 1987 bestselling novel Bonfire of the Vanities. Wolfe's novel is about NYC detectives and prosecutors, bored and depressed by arresting and convicting countless poor minorities, hunting down for fun and political profit The Great White Defendant, rich white guy Sherman McCoy. "Law & Order" is the irony-free version of Bonfire, with the first half hour consisting of detectives arresting a rich white person and the second half hour consisting of the prosecutors torturing the law to come up with some absurd justification for charging the defendant with homicide. This formula has made L&O perhaps the biggest franchise in television history.

A reader writes

It might be an interesting factoid for an article that there are more white murderers plotted on Law & Order (all editions) than there are actual white murderers in New York City.

There were 572 murders in New York City last year. We know that only 10% of violent crimes in NYC were committed by non-Hispanic whites, so if the same is true for homicides in particular, that's 57 white murders. There are three "Law and Orders," I think, with about 25 episodes per season with, say, 80% being white. That's 60 white New York murderers on one set of shows compared to about 57 in all of the real world New York.

Anyway, I bet it's close.

Friggin hysterical and sad all at the same time.

One of my all time favorite crime dramas is still Prime Suspect with Helen Mirren.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here in the States, a season for a major show runs around 18-22 episodes, yet in the U.K., it seems more like 6 or 7.

Think it's simply a matter of money. In the US, episodes per season averaged in the mid-30s until color. Then the episodes per season dropped to the mid-20's and steadily declined to the point where now you're lucky to get 20 episodes per season now. Then you take your cable company produced shows, and you're into the old UK average of 13 episodes per season.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just watched "Wipers Times" written by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman from Private Eye.

Absolutely brilliant (IMHO) based on real events of WWI and much of the source material coming from an unpublished memoir released by the main characters family.

British TV drama at it's finest...

http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2013-09-11/the-wipers-times-ian-hislop-on-the-wartime-newspaper-that-laughed-in-the-face-of-death

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Found DCI Banks and began watching the series. Brilliant! Based on the crime novels by Stephen Robertson (?), the show is the most original look at detective work I've seen in a long time, with not only strong characters (Banks is a hard-bitten, tough as nails, bureaucracy fighting terror) but also previously untrod locale: Yorkshire and all that goes with it. The cinematography is far better than in many movies, at times, breathtaking. Highly recommend this show!

Regards,

John Kettler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Found DCI Banks (Banks is a hard-bitten, tough as nails, bureaucracy fighting terror)

I've not seen that one, but I'd bet DCI Hunt could kick his arse. Heck, the Gene Genie could probably kick DI Regan's arse at the same time!

(Hunt-Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes, Regan-The Sweeney)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...