Sunday, 3 July 2011

Talking Point: which US TV show (that's never aired in the UK) do you want to see most?

Sunday, 3 July 2011
The cast of PARKS & RECREATION: unseen by British viewers

These days, the best US drama/comedy usually arrives in the UK, even if it occasionally takes 9 months (I'm looking at you FX, with your indolent scheduling of Dexter). The birth of digital TV in the mid-'90s meant there were suddenly dozens of extra channels in the UK, many on 24/7 schedules and consequently desperate to fill their airwaves with programming. The two options available to them are: (a) repeats of UK shows, or (b) airing US imports. Some channels specializing in those areas, like Dave or 5USA, respectively.

But even in the year 2011, there are numerous gaps in the UK TV landscape when it comes to some American shows. For whatever reason, some shows have never been picked up by a British broadcaster, and I'd love to know why. Too expensive? Very unlikely. I hear it's because some shows are perceived as being "too American" for British audiences (despite the fact we're very Americanised these days), or just not something anyone's interested in buying.

Here are a few US shows that have never been broadcast in the UK: The Colbert Report (strange, seeing as The Daily Show was a notable part of More4 for awhile*), Men Of A Certain Age, The Middleman (short-lived, but perfect for Syfy), Parks & Recreation (great fit for Comedy Central, who show its spiritual antecedent The Office USA), and the United States Of Tara (starring Toni Collette, whom Brits took to their hearts in Muriel's Wedding). It's actually rather interesting whenever Collette appears on a UK chat show and can't even discuss Tara, a project she did from 2009-11, because nobody's seen it here.

So today's Talking Point is simple: are there any US TV shows you've been longing to see come to UK TV, that hasn't arrived yet? And if so, do you have a theory for WHY that's the case? Do you think most US shows that don't air here are deserving of that fate? Or is it ludicrous in some cases?

* I've since been told The Colbert Report aired on FX here for awhile.