Attack of the Clones

Finnish Clones

So there I was passively watching a special edition of the Conan O’Brian show in which he visits Finland. During his visit he was a guest on some television shows, and one immediately caught my eye - Lauantai-illan HUUMAA!! (Saturday Night FEVER!).

This of course would be the Finnish version of Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. I guessed this given the fact I saw Little Ant and Little Dec… or rather their clones (Little Jaska and Little Lore). The resemblance (both in looks, their actions, and the way they behave) was shocking.

Now I’m not shocked by the fact that such shows are exported and their variants shown in other territories, but I am experiencing increasing disbelief at just how little is actually changed. Only the other week I came across “Dancing with the Stars” on ABC – or should I say “Strictly Come Dancing”. I knew that an American version of the show existed, but not that:

  • 2 of the judges are the same,
  • the music is the same,
  • the set is the same,
  • the titles are the same,
  • the hosts jokes are just as badly scripted,
  • heck even the announcer is the same – bloody Alan Dedicoat, ‘voice of the balls’!

This perfectly illustrates my point. They can’t even be bothered to cast an American voice over guy!

As I write this, The Corbert Report (one of few remaining reasons for owning a TV set) finishes on Comedy Central, and next up is Distraction. This would be yet another clone of a UK gameshow… same set… probably the same titles… and Jimmy Carr – they’ve even exported the host! Need I say more? Well, yes.

This lack of creativity doesn’t only extend to international versions clones of shows, but even local variations of the same show for broadcast on competing channels. Here some sort of creativity IS required so as to avoid legal disputes. So that would be swapping a ball room for an ice rink then.

In fact scrub that. ITV has proven that you can have the same show (run almost non-stop) on the same channel: PopStars, PopIdol, PopStars: The Rivals, PopIdol 2, X-Factor, X-Factor 2…. Seriously, you can add new titles or make minor rule changes - it’s still the same fucking show!

Yesterday the UK Government released a whitepaper outlining it’s proposals for the BBC’s renewed Royal Charter (More). Erm, no Tessa Jowell, the BBC should not make entertainment it’s top priority. It should make educating and informing the top priorities, and if that is delivered in an entertaining way then so be it. I’m not sure how much more British society can be dumbed down, but it certainly doesn’t need government backing to do so. Quite the opposite in fact.

Personally, I can no longer except this blatant lack of imagination and creativity and then be expected to either pay for it’s licence fee, or watch its sponsors advertising.

As a viewer, I expect more, and so should you.


4 responses so far. Go on, add yours!

 Gravatar#1 On March 15, 2006 8:55 AM, Jon Roobottom said...

It's clear what you've been doing with your time Mr.Lloyd

 Gravatar#2 On March 15, 2006 9:04 AM, Paul said...

As a proponent of scrapping TV all together, it's iroic that I have a category set up, and many posts that deal with Television on this very blog. I'm also itching to read an article in this months Creative Review about television brands and identity. Hell, I even wrote my dissertation about the damn thing!

In short - if it wasn't for it being 90% filled with crap, I probably wouldn't leave the house! So every cloud I guess...

 Gravatar#3 On March 15, 2006 11:27 AM, Si said...

I'm glad you've touched on this Paul as it is something that has really narked me over the last 5 years or so. It seems, like you have pointed out, television has been dumbed down for Sun-readers and has completely ignored the mature viewer, not to mention ignoring the educational aspect of television.

(It's sort of ironic that today Blair is hoping on support from his opposing party in the House of Commons to push out a very controversial education bill because his own party don't want anything to do with it!)

Being a nine-to-fiver, I look forward to sitting down at the end of the day with a nutritous meal and some good quality television to relax me into the evening. Instead, I am subjected to what can only be described as a Reality TV overdose. Every single channel has a fly-on-the-wall documentary covering everything from cleaning your house to “celebrities” trying to lose weight to mutating your body in the hope of "losing 10 years" to watching people watch television talking about celebrities. What has the nation come to? Why are we obsessed with other's peoples lives? Why should television companies throw this junk down our necks? Saturday nights are the worst for it and the government wonder why Britain is becoming an obese nation of binge-drinkers? It's because we don't want to sit in the house watching fat, old people prancing around in lycra or attempting what can only be described as kara-jokey.

How the hell are you coping in the home of junk TV (aka. USA)? At least you've got all those chances to go site-seeing around your new turf. I, on the otherhand, am stuck in ye olde Walsall.

 Gravatar#4 On March 16, 2006 1:46 AM, Dominique said...

Now I wish I hadn't carried on reading.
Don't get me started!!
I'm proud to say I've never owned one :)
Indeed, TV sucks & is truly bad, appauling, brainnumbing drivel for the most part. I have a nice 28in TV at home. It belongs to my brother. I helped him choose it and we made sure it had a nice screen. We turn it on for... hmmm lets see...
more DVDs
a few more Vids
when visitors want to watch something
oh yeah, and more DVDs

I used to watch lots of the drivel when I was a teenager. On the whole I think TV weened me off itself rather than me having to make a particular effort. Wouldn't miss it if it went, my Mac plays the DVDs.

When I have to survive the box's demeaningly uninteresting programs at work or on other people's TVs I mostly feel sad that some people actually organise their lives round it or tape and watch some of those series. No wonder so many people can't figure out why their lives are going nowhere.

Thankfully PS2s exist to distract our teenagers from soap operas and other such trash or I think I'd begin dreading going to work. At least they get to share tips and tricks rather than just get square eyes and a dull brain!

I'd rather kick a ball around in the freeezing cold in the back yard.

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This entry was written on 15 Mar 2006, 8:14 AM and is filled under .