Leave it to the great Richard Briers to be able to brilliantly put in to words what I have thought for a long time. With a resume that includes the British comedy classic, The Good Life, along with other notable series in both the British comedy and drama worlds such as Ever Decreasing Circles and Monarch of the Glen, he knows of what he speaks.
According to Briers, there is a danger that quality television drama is over given the meteoric rise of cheap television clogging the airwaves. Briers goes on to say that “…TV is full of cookery, gardening and reality shows that are suffocating new talent“.
While this is a very valid opinion, where or when does it end? Who’s to blame for this? The program commissioners at the network level, the program producers or the audience, whose appetite for these programs never ceases to amaze me? Is it the commissioners / producers / funders saying that they are providing television that has been demonstrated as being the type viewers want to see or are viewers watching more and more of the reality-based, unscripted programs because that’s all there is to watch.
Unfortunately, personal opinion is that the bottom-line is to blame. The reality-based, unscripted programs are cheaper to produce making for a better ROI than really good quality drama or any other genre for that matter. I can somewhat disagree with Briers on a very, very small point. While there may be a great number of the how-to genre for our own good, reality shows are the ones that people need to take aim at. Cooking and gardening can be entertaining, educational and intelligent. When you have shows such as Deal or No Deal, The Bachelor, The Biggest Loser, Shedding for the Wedding, Wife Swap or The Nanny, that’s where I see the divide between good and worthless television.