Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reminder to Self: It's Downton, Not Downtown

Last chance to get in one final post for 2013.  Don't expect greatness, or even mediocrity in these words.  Can't produce that when I'm being rushed.

So I finally gave in and downloaded the first season of "Downton Abbey."    I've been reading positive revues and, although I'm not that big on BBC series, I figure I would suffer through the accents and give it a view.  Before I finished watching the third episode I downloaded all four seasons.  I have become addicted to those British Ladies, Lords and servants.  I am about to start the third season.  At the end of the last episode I watched Matthew and Lady Mary have finally devoted themselves to each other and meanwhile Mr Bates has had his execution overturned to a life imprisonment.  (We all know Mr. Bates is innocent of the murder charge he's been convicted, and even if not, we know his ex-wife had it coming!)

I have eighteen fresh episodes left before I am up to date, I wish they would put more than nine per season, and I am trying to slow down my viewing consumption to make them last.  This is why I am taking time out right now to write this.

Before when I stated that I am not that big on BBC series, do not mistake that for dislike of  the Brits, because that would not be true.  Some of the finest television and movies ever made, in my opinion, have come out of the U.K.   I love everything Monty Python did and I understand they are planning some sort of reunion.  Benny Hill was hilarious thirty years ago, the funniest show on television at the time.  Unfortunately Benny does not hold up like Monty.  The Flying Circus reruns are still handing out hands for repeated knee slapping.

Some of our best television was stolen right off the BBC.  Here's a sampling of hit US shows that got their start overseas.  Back in the 1970's "All in the Family" actually began on the BBC as "Til Death Do Us Part", and "Sandford and Son" was the UK's "Steptoe and Son."   In the 1980's our "Too Close For Comfort" was taken from "Keep It In The Family," and "Cosby" was copied from "One Foot In The Grave."  Some shows we didn't even bother to change the title.  Et al: "Dear John," "Life On Mars" and "The Office."

It's not just comedies and dramas we pilfered.  "Antique Roadshow," "Cash Cab," "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" and "The Weakest Link" were handing out pounds and euros way before American dollars.

And I am just touching the tip of the iceberg.  For every show I named there has to be five to ten more that originated on the BBC.  (And I probably am overly conservative in that estimation.)

So why do I prefer American TV to the BBC?  Because I am an American and I can understand our use of the English language a whole lot better than theirs.  But still I have to give credit to our neighbors over the pond.  A whole smack doodle worth of credit.  And so far I have failed to mention the film industry.

Have you seen Guy Ritchie's "Snatch?"  No, I am not referring to his ex-wife, Madonna.  I mean "Snatch" starring Jason Statham and Brad Pitt.  If never seen, then I suggest you quit reading this and download it for immediate viewing.  Guy Ritchie is the England's answer to Quentin Tarantino.  If you liked "Pulp Fiction," you will love "Snatch."  And since I mentioned one Brit flick, I may as well mention another: "Sexy Beast!" with Ben Kingsley at his evil best.  Or should I say "Sir" Ben Kingsley?  Do us Yanks have to include the Royal "Sir" when talking about a knighted person?  After all he was just plain Ben Kingsley all of last millennium.  The "Sir" did not kick in until 2002.  Oh well, that's a subject for another posting.

So in conclusion, I thank you, BBC, for all the original programming.  And I thank you, United States, for stealing and Americanizing the best of those programs.  I can't wait to see "Downtown Co-Op" or whatever they will call the rip-offed remaking of "Downton Abbey" when it appears on ABC or HBO.

No comments:

Post a Comment