Grumble Grumble

I ought to start this rant with a disclaimer: I know that everyone’s tastes vary. I know that my tastes are probably very old-fashioned. And I’m certainly not criticising anyone whose tastes are different to mine.


Why do all the good TV shows get cancelled? Every now and then I discover a wonderful show, sweet and funny, quirky and cozy, and then BAM! Cancelled. Men In Trees. Samantha Who. Cut down in their prime. And in their place, a million reality shows, plumbing the depths in a pretense at entertainment (has anyone seen the trailers for the new show, Dating In The Dark? I mean, really, could they scrape the barrel any more???). So many forensic crime shows. And all the soaps, brim full of screaming and abuse and misery.

And it’s not just TV. It’s incredibly hard to find a contemporary work of fiction that is enjoyable, uplifting, or gripping. The fluffier books are all carbon copies of each other. The more serious works are gritty to the point of being painful. And movies have gone the same way. Chick flicks are laughably predictable. And if you don’t enjoy comicbook/supernatural/vampire themed movies, it doesn’t seem like there is much choice left to you. Apart from the occasional period drama, which appears like an oasis in the desert.

But maybe it’s just me. I’ve always been out of step in my tastes. Old for my years. Boring, maybe. I’m almost afraid to discover new TV shows, because I’m like the death warrant for them. If I like it, then you can guarantee that it’s on its way out.  I guess I’ll just have to stick with my re-runs and DVDs, my old books…..

18 thoughts on “Grumble Grumble

  1. No, you’re not alone. I go through the TV on a Saturday for the following week, just so we’ve an idea of whether there’s anything we’d rather not miss because we didn’t notice it in time (yes, I know, serious issues here), and we’ve found that there are days on end with absolutely nothing on worth watching. I refuse to watch reality shows, let alone let the children watch them, and virtually everything else is indeed completely predictable.

    Mind you, I just love ‘Outnumbered’ (ask picperfic!).

  2. the reality shows are horrid, ditto for crime dramas, etc. but every new posh yarn is unpredictable, gripping and luscious!!

  3. I have a very broad set of tastes – my criteria for watching is it has to pique my interest – I love witty, intelligent shows, gentle period pieces, good crime drama (thank you BBC4 for showing Wallander), “weirdy” stuff (American Gothic, anyone?) – but it seems to me that anything I enjoy also ends up being cancelled – Pushing Dasies being a prime example of this – quirky, funny, sweet, and cancelled.
    I guess it’s all about The Ratings – for commercial channels. you show the shows where the folk who watch them believe the adverts and rush out and buy… Even the BBC is under pressure to become more commercial – and unless the show is an instant hit, it will be pulled mid run, and replaced by “I once met someone sort of famous so I’m now a celebrity chimney sweeping”.
    I live a lot on BBC3 and BBC4 these days – (and ITV4 for the odd repeat of 60s & 70s shows such as the original Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)) and listen to a lot of radio. I’ve not been to the cinema in years – mainly due to there being nothing but blockbusters – I love Sci-Fi – what I don’t love is “wow – let’s use SFX to replace plot and dialogue”.

  4. I just love getting my favourite series on DVD– what I want to watch, when I want to watch it!

  5. Have you discovered Persephone Press?

    Quote: “Persephone Books reprints neglected classics by C20th (mostly women) writers. Each one in our collection of 83 books is intelligent, thought-provoking and beautifully written”

    Have you read Miss Buncle’s Book, for example? And Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day?

    Not contemporary, but….

  6. Not just you.
    Oh no.
    Definitely not.

    Especially the ‘grittiness’ of the gritty – whatever happened to joyful escapism?
    (I confess I loved the new Star Trek film as it was just that – playful, funny, gently teasing of the old series and exciting as well….. but SciFi & I know therefore not to everyone’s taste)

    On reflection I guess the best film I saw recently was ‘Duplicity’ which had chemistry between Clive Owen (phwoar) & Julia Roberts, shaken with a sneaky plot line, a dash of suspense to keep the pulse up and served with a twist of humour.

  7. See if you can rent Mad Men on DVD. It is a really well written and well acted TV series set in the early 1960’s at a New York ad agency. Plus it is great to see how well they have captured the looks and social styles from that time. The 3rd season just started to air here in the US, but the first two are available on DVD. They are totally addicting.

  8. I also would recommend Persephone books.All books that have been out of print and have now been republished.I read a lot but also am fed up with the same old thing again and again.Ones I would recommend are The Home-maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher,written in 1924 but way ahead of its time. The Far Cry by Emma Smith and They Knew Mr Knight by Dorothy Whipple.

  9. I’ve been meaning to ask you this for ages – have you ever read ‘Lady’s Maid’ by Margaret Forster? I read it years ago and loved it – it’s stuck in my memory ever since. It’s about the maid to Elizabeth Browning. Might just have to dig it out again soon.

    Oh, and TV is full of rubbish right now. Doctor Who isn’t on, Primeval has been cancelled and ER has ended for good. Back to the DVD player for me!

  10. i do feel the same at times! and yes there are way to many horrid reality things going on on the the telly!
    Bookwise…hhmmm I am reading Collette (again) and Arabian Nights- because i couldn’t find anything new that i would bother reading- NO it’s not just you!

  11. I’m with you on the reality and forensic shows. It’s just become too too much!! 🙂 However – I seriously <3 The Big Bang Theory. Maybe the funniest and sweetest show ever! 🙂 And have you read the Thirteenth tale by Kate Setterfield? Sounds like you might like it. 🙂

  12. Well, I might sound quite a bit censorious, but all these TV series pretend a world that doesn´t exist, so why bother with people who are just faking fates and emotions and get a lot of money paid for it and us being simultaneously showered with brainless TV ads when watching them ? Better use this time of your life for your own creativity, the films, patterns, pictures are all already in your heads. And a well stocked Posh yarn stash helps , too. The book cure for this syndrom: Ray Bradbury´s Fahrenheit 451.

  13. I also recommend Kate Atkinson, at least her Jackson Brodie books. Case Histories is the first, then One Good Turn & finally (so far) When Will There Be Good News. I don’t normally go in for so-called “literary” novels & was only tempted to try these by the crime element. However, I have absolutely ripped through the first two – the first unputdownable books I’ve read for a while. I’m slightly delaying starting the last one because I don’t want it to be over! If you’re not into crime, don’t let it put you off, they’re just bloomin’ good reads.

  14. TV – what’s that?! I have virtually given up on it. And don’t get me started on Misery Lit… But I am on a mission to recommend “The Little Stranger” by Sarah Waters to anyone who reads – don’t be put off by hints that it is a “ghost story” – it is so very much more than that – the characters are fascinating, the period (post war England) beautifully evoked. Sold yet?!

  15. A lot of good book recs in the comments. Another vote here for Persephone Books–when you’ve run out of 19th-c lit, it’s time to move onto to Persephone. I always feel dorky about recommending him, but I love Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series. As for TV, I’ll say just that I get a channel called BBC-America. I’m not sure if they think they can dump all their worst stuff on the US market (because that’s apparently what we go for) or whether their programming is proof that there’s plenty of utter crap on TV across the pond as well as here.