I was having a mildly entertaining conversation on Twitter last night regarding gameshow criticism and how often people are quite often initially wrong, started off with a link to the DS Forum re: the first series of The Chase.
It is often important to keep in mind the self-selecting nature of DS and Twitter, and what comes up represents the opinions of about five people total. The only real way to gauge what people think is with BARB. The truth will out eventually.
Naturally I’m just as guilty, although if I wasn’t right so often you’d have stopped reading by now, ahem. I work 8:45-7pm most days and between that and life events I have just as little time to watch things as everybody else, so really something has to be pretty good to warrant subsequent viewings. I’ve always tried to be constructive but it certainly doesn’t surprise me if the average viewer basically thinks “this is pretty good” or “this is rubbish, I’ll watch something else” and just gets on with their life. For me though I have, I think, one of six broad visceral reactions to any new show:
- This is really very good. Something that grabs immediately, I can’t see the joins but I can see the logical reasons they’ve done what they’ve done. Examples: Millionaire, Weakest Link, Deal or No Deal, The Genius.
- There’s something here but it’s not quite there yet. These are the most interesting shows because clearly there’s something worthwhile in the concept but you can easily think of ways the show could be better. I think most discussion-worthy shows fall into this category and examples would be most shows ITV have put out between 3pm and 6pm over the last ten years. Shows in this category are likely to be watched more than once even if I don’t go out of my way to do so.
- It is perfectly competent and in being competent it is dull. Most BBC1 2:15pm quizzes of the last ten years. Shows in this category I’m happy to leave to the whims of BARB and commissioners.
- This really ought to be better. It’s dull or someone’s clearly overlooked something which seems quite obvious or both. Alphabetical.
- It was worth a try, but it doesn’t work. I think it’s worth celebrating innovation even if clearly it doesn’t really work on screen which is why when things like Sell or Swap happen, which ended up being really very poor television, you can at least understand why it was worth a try.
- I don’t understand why it was commissioned. Examples: Letterbox, Babushka.
I have never worked in television, I have a proper job, and I’ve never been especially creative. I would be rubbish at having to devise something. But I do quite enjoy looking at something and toying with it which is one of the tenets of Bother’s Bar really.