The hype surrounding certain television series over last year reached levels perhaps only seen before with films and certain storylines in the original Dallas. TV, overall, seemed to have a goodish year, though many series were culled just as they were finding fans or were unable to be given the attention they needed from their respective networks. But if you were to ask me how good British TV was in 2014? I’d tell you that I wouldn’t know, because 2014 marked the first year I rarely watched broadcast TV intentionally and hardly any of it was British. So, what do I want to see happen in and with British television this year?
5. Production companies and distributors stop working against online on an international level
Pirating of TV series is still a huge problem today, despite the availability of technologies and platforms that would ensure that those who are only pirating TV shows due to a lack of accessible legal options, would do otherwise. I’ve already written extensively about the landscape that broadcasters and distributors have created, but it doesn’t have to be this way. It really doesn’t. It’s time for TV media companies to stop worrying about territories so much and start realising that they could make more money if they improved accessibility to their content. The likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime help stop piracy.
4. Speeding-up of broadcast distribution
I’m not sure which side of this situation is to blame exactly, but after the ground work by the BBC when it came to airing Heroes the same week as it was shown in the US, UK broadcasters have slackened in their approach of showing US shows close to the time that they air in the US. This too does increase piracy, as people desperate for their favourite shows to not be spoiled for them take to pirating so that they don’t feel compelled to stay away from large swathes of the internet. While localisation is an issue, the English speaking sections of the world have probably had enough of dodging Doctor Who spoilers.
3. Terrestrial channels showing Sky the middle finger
If UK terrestrial channel networks like BBC, ITV and Channel 4 are going to continue limiting their own drama and comedy output, then I think they need to strip back their reality TV funding ways and start chasing bids for more US shows. Sky is looking more and more like a service Brits have to use if they want to have access to a wide variety of television programmes, and while I have no qualms about paying for TV, I do have issues about stuffing the pockets of the Murdoch empire and seeing little return on my TV license fee. If we’re out of the worst of the recession, it’s time for the BBC, Channel 4 and the rest to take more of a chance with US shows or make some of their own dramas and comedies and give Sky a run for its subscribers.
2. BBC 3 saved
The fate of BBC 3 is still not 100% determined, but does seem pretty clear at this point. Since the initial announcement of shifting the brand completely online, it’s been revealed that the shift will see it face a noticeable drop in viewers, at least initially. I think what’s frustrating is that a large number of the channel’s target age group are license payers, so it’s disconcerting to see that the group’s loss of viewing material is being seen as a boon of £50 million in savings. Unless BBC 1/BBC 1 +1 or BBC 2 start having shows like In the Flesh, then it looks like the BBC is no longer concerned with 16-35 year olds. I’d like to see the channel saved, but I don’t see it happening.
1. A new space based SF series with decent budgets and fantastic levels of drama announced
I miss the remake of Battlestar Galactica (up to a point, the final season was a bit of a mess), and I’d love to get excited about a new series set in space. It doesn’t have to be come 20+ episodes a season, 43 minutes an episode bruiser, but among genre fans I think there is room in their hearts and viewing schedules to enjoy a fresh dose of space exploration or escape with heavy amounts of analogy between it and our current predicaments as a species. Either that or Firefly comes back – I’d be happy in both instances.
I doubt any of these will come true in 2015, but if someone could keep Dapper Laughs of the telly then it’ll be a successful year in British TV.