Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2002-02-26 Entry: "Fascination"

I'm not entirely sure where my particular tastes in TV come from. I mean, I'm willing to watch any sci-fi show on - even the really poor ones like Mutant X. However, the only shows I get excited about are the cancelled ones, those that only managed to survive a season, or half a season, whether due to network incompetence, or the show being so out there that people didn't watch it.

There are quite a list of shows that fall into this category. Shows that could, potentially have survived, but with management eyes on viewing figures, died a swift death. It doesn't really matter that the poor viewing figures were due to the show being frequently pre-empted, or shuffled around the schedule at the drop of a hat, or even put up against a show it had no hope of competing against.

Quite a lot of these shows aren't all that good. They might be less than comprehensible to the casual viewer (VR.5 springs to mind). They might be based on a movie and not really have anywhere to take the story (Planet Of The Apes). Strangely, a lot of them seem to have built in lifespans that are never reached (Cupid, Brimstone).

But I still find them entertaining. I'm guessing it's the fact that they don't have any conclusion - the idea hasn't been flogged to death by writers pressured into turning out 22 scripts a season. They have the opportunity to set up the premise, explore some of the themes of the show, and then stop before it's tired.

And now, with the advent of DVD, some of them are actually getting releases. I've spotted two so far on my list. There may be others but I haven't spotted them. The two are "Kindred: The Embraced" and "Cleopatra 2525." The latter is notable as having been cancelled twice. Now all we need are the rest.

I guess my top five would look something like this:
1. Now And Again
2. Cupid
3. Strange Luck
4. American Gothic
Joint 5. Brimstone
Joint 5. Prey

So I couldn't choose between the last two! They both have some appeal, and neither is particularly long (13 episodes apiece).

Strangely, my DVD purchasing decisions have moved from films to television recently. I'm probably buying as many as I was (too many basically), but most of them are now television shows that are getting released, rather than films. This may go alongside my general disatisfaction with films I've seen recently - none have got me all that excited. I've no idea why this is though...

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