Friday, 11 July 2008

Repeats repeats re-bloody-peats...

Channel 4, a station that I generally enjoy, has it's foibles, over long idents, a range of programs so desperate to shock to achieve viewing figures, and incessant repeats of the most popular comedy programs they show. I wonder which one is annoying me now, hmm, let me just read the title... yup... it's the repeats!

This morning I am watching Frasier, I program I rather enjoy. I am being treated to the first two episodes ever. Yesterday morning I watched Frasier, I quite enjoyed it yesterday too. Yesterday I watched the last EVER episode (not for the first time!). It was quite sad and touching watching that last episode, seeing the culmination of stories begun so long ago, saying goodbye to characters you have come to know almost as friends. I wouldn't have found it so sad and touching if I had known that the very next day, at the very same time, it would all begin again. 

The same thing happens with Friends, a comedy of which I am quite a lot less fond, and one which I find myself believing is constantly on the TV, seemingly always on C4 or one of it's many offshoots. Whenever I turn on C4, C4+1, More 4, More 4 +1, E4 or any of the other Channel four stations, their  plus one/two/twenty seven and a bit variants there seems to be an episode of friends on or just about to come on or just finished.

Are Channel 4  now so creatively bankrupt that they can't find something new to show? I doubt it, they're still transmitting some great new shows. Are the advertising revenues from Friends/Frasier/Raymond et al so huge that they must be shown regularly to keep the channel solvent? I doubt it again, the adverts they are interrupted by are of the lowest cost possible, all the insurance, price comparison or personal injury lawyer dross that fills daytime TV, and in any case if the revenues were so great the shows would be constantly on prime time. Is there such public demand that the channel must show them or be beaten down under the weight of letters of complaint and ofcom inspectors? Nope, we have all seen them far to fucking many times to really care. Unless you're odd, and think that friends is the greatest thing that has happened to comedy (there are, strange as it may seem, people who believe this, and these people should be forced to watch Fawlty Towers until such time as they understand).

No, we are subjected to these shows over and over and over again because Channel 4 can't be bothered to think about what we want to watch, they are suffering a crisis of confidence, unsure whether they can get away with upsetting the apple cart and showing say Raymond after big brother instead of Frasier, or better still showing us something we haven't seen before. People wonder why the channel isn't making a profit, whether it needs more government funding, and don't realise that it's because no one really watches it because we have all seen it before, often yesterday, and can't be arsed to press the 4 button on the remote because we know we won't be stimulated by anything new. 

Quite, quite sad really. 

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