Good friend Nick and I were watching the season three opener of BSG with a virgin the other night. Said virgin, upon seeing the Colonials engage in suicide bombing asked how they could get away with that on American TV.
Nick and I immediately said ‘Cable!’
Someone, I think it may have been Warren Ellis, recently remarked that American Network TV is craptacular but that their cable shows are amongst the best in the world. The SciFi Channel produces an awfully large amount of rubbish (some of it worthy rubbish) but it also produces BSG, which has done a fairly good job of reconstructing Glen Larson’s Battlestar Galactica into a thoroughly modern, exciting political commentary set in space. BSG is the Naughties version of B5, except with better effects and a less obvious foreshadowed plot-arc. It, along with Lost, are my two ‘shows’ at the moment and I look forward to seeing where both end up. That the season three opener of BSG was even intelligible to a newbie seems to me to be good thing; the show can be so plot-heavy at times that you’d think that new viewers would be turned right off.
I’ve actually not watched much of America’s cable legacy. Deadwood looks interesting and the eps I saw I liked (but I’m a sucker for a Western). The Sopranos never interested me whilst Weeds sounds like fun I’m not motivated to go out and watch it. Still, it’s good to see, like the Beeb in the UK, America has a place for challenging TV that doesn’t necessarily have to hit all those important demographics.
Meanwhile, I’m still finding Supernatural to be a fairly weak show. I’m going to finish off the season just to see if they can create a gripping cliff-hanger, but I may not enjoy the slog getting there.