OPB: To engage or not to engage… that’s the old existential dilemma | Jim Day


But much of that programming is stereotypical and wooden, especially those ‘murder mystery’ shows that take place in small English towns after the war. Weird inhabitants. Rich accents. Lots of bikes. Beautiful gardens. No real poverty. And someone dies every week. Which means that after a season or two these villages would be practically depopulated. Regardless, they keep killing people.

A second problem is the concept of “masterpiece”. Yes, you can create a series on “Pride & Prejudice” or “Middlemarch” and call it “Masterpiece”. But I find it the height of absurdity to take a script in which the ink is barely dry and no one has ever taught at a liberal arts college on the east coast and call it ” masterpiece “.

Third, “Masterpiece” and these other shows are almost always in English. How come the only TV entertainment worth showing (or importing) is in English? I’ve noticed a few forays into German and French broadcasts in recent years, but the public television industry has been MUCH late for the party on this one.

It’s a bit like going back to the example of the liberal arts of the East Coast, teaching the novel and leaving out Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Turgenev, Balzac, Zola, Flaubert, Mann, Hesse and Goethe because they don’t write not in English.

And then there are the radio shows. “Over and Under”, “Around and Through”, “Now and Then” and “Here and Now”. “Etc.” My conclusion is that there are too many of these shows chasing too few decent stories. And there is a bewildering amount of COVID programming. I read and hear about COVID all day. And then I turn on the radio on my way home and there’s another show on COVID and healthcare or COVID and schools or COVID misinformation or what COVID thinks about COVID.

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