TV Times - Back in the shower

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This week’s telly with Liam Hoden and Lee Peace

JUST when things were looking up, an announcement is made to prove small screen creativity has reached its lowest ebb.

The news absolutely no one was waiting to hear came through last week – Dallas is coming back.

Fantastic.

Sky launch their brand new Atlantic channel, promising the absolute best of new US drama alongside classics, and a day later a long dead, unmissed corpse is dug up.

The creative balance swings from one side to the other at an alarming rate.

On one hand you have big screen writers and directors like Stephen Spielberg and Martin Scorsese making mega money programmes for television, suggesting home entertainment has taken the mantle as the main home for dramatic creativity.

But then another remake/rehash is thrown into the mix to suggest there are few new ideas knocking about out there.

We’ve already had the likes of Melrose Place, 90210 and most recently Hawaii Five O given the remake treatment.

None of these have done particularly well with Melrose being dumped after only one season.

So why anyone would think it would be a good idea to reanimate something else is baffling.

Yes, Dallas is held in fond memory and seemingly everyone on the planet was hooked by the ‘Who Shot JR’ plot.

But that was 20 years ago and the millions that tuned in have somehow managed to get over the show’s demise and move on with their lives.

Clearly, the entire project is based on squeezing every last ounce of 80s nostalgia out of the viewership.

Already, Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy have been signed up to reprise their roles as JR and Bobby Ewing.

Whether Bobby will step out of the shower and reveal the last 20 years have been just a dream is unknown.

But the ‘new’ Dallas is set to turn the focus on the next generation of Ewings, focusing on the rivalry between the young cousins rather than the old brothers.

So basically it’s going to be virtually the same.

The sad part about all this is the reason for all these remakes is simply money.

US production companies generally own the trademarks for these programmes and as such, it’s just a case of getting someone on board to tart up an old idea.

When keeping costs down in the primary influence on creativity, all you end up with is rubbish.

The Wire is a perfect example of how a low-fi, relatively cheap programme can be ground-breakingly brilliant.

Not everything needs to be as gritty as The Wire but if as much consideration was given to all dramas then the television landscape would be a lot better.

Taking a poorly thought out idea and pushing it out into the world with little thought is never going to be good.

But taking more care is not going to happen when there are profits to be made and costs to cut.

So what rehash will we be treated to next?

I’ve always fancied another go with Eldorado myself.