Monday, 1 October 2007

FTN RIP

Oh, FTN, how I will miss you. For the uninitiated (and oddly, judging by the lack of advertising for the latter, it seems a lot of you are), today is the day that FTN finally bites the bullet. But lo, like a fat, ugly caterpillar, you have spurted from your cocoon and are now pretending to be one of those proper, grown-up telly channels! You've got a number at the end of your name and everything! Virgin 1? Perfect!

But before I get onto Virgin's brand new, sparkly TV channel, I feel a moment is needed for the awesome crapness that was FTN. Now you have left our lives, gone is the ability to turn on Freeview at 6pm and know that for the next 12 hours you can watch cast-offs from Virgin-owned channels that you've either a) watched a hundred times before or b) don't ever want to watch ever, or even worse, some kind of late-night quiz show. Gone is the chance to watch Gladiators, and realise that no, Saturday Night TV isn't worse nowadays compared to the past, but that it's always been shit. And I'd rather look at Ant's screen-encompassing forehead than Cobra's screen-encompassing trouser bulge, if I'm going to be fully honest.

I remember back in the day, when you first appeared on the scene, you said you were going to have NEW programming! What happened FTN? I was rooting for ya! You were better than the Most Haunted marathons every other day made you out to be. You could've been something!

Anyway, that's enough fake sympathy for that load of crap. We've got Virgin 1 now! It's going to have NEW programming! Hold on a moment...

Quite obviously Virgin's answer to Sky One, Virgin obviously felt that they needed to do something now that Sky have yanked Sky One from them and stuck their tongue out at them. And Virgin did indeed do something. They have pretty much stole Sky One's template, crossed out Sky, drew Virgin in red felt tip pen instead and stuck it on Freeview. As many American imports as they can get, poorly made homegrown efforts and even more American imports.

However, credit where credit's due; they have started well over at Virgin 1. A nice logo, some in your face marketing (as sparse as it's been) about it being 'Proper Telly' and Richard Branson pretending to give a crap about it in a load of press conferences.

However, criticism where criticism's due; it falls at the most important hurdle for a TV channel, TV shows. Tonight, it starts with more of a quiet whimper than a loud bang, starting off with Criminal Minds, yet another American Crime show that from what I've seen (I'll be honest, I've yet to see more than previews for this show), blends perfectly into that Crime show genericness that CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY and Law & Order (again, with added spin-offs) have managed to create and bore with.

Also tonight is Penis Envy, a 'Cockumentary'. How very BBC Three of them. Closely followed by a double of Dog the Bounty Hunter, poker and then more repeats. The only highlight of the night is The Riches, starring the wonderfully delightful Eddie Izzard and the wonderfully round-faced Minnie Driver. I urge everyone to give this a watch at some point. Please.

The shows don't fare much better in the future; Terminator spin-off and bound-to-be-as-bad-as-the-new-Bionic-Woman The Sarah Connor Chronicles appears next year. The so good it was cancelled after 9 episodes Ted Danson show Help Me Help You will show up at some point. More generic drama starring some kind of armed force in The Unit (again, I'll avoid ripping into it too much till I've seen more than one episode). Good shows in the future however include Boston Legal, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia and the hopefully awesome Viva Laughlin (based on the actually awesome Viva Blackpool).

And to finish it all off, REPEATS, LOTS AND LOTS OF REPEATS!

And that right there is the problem with virgin 1, their advert can proudly mouth off how they have 'No Soaps, No Makeovers, No Nonsense, Just Proper Telly' but that means nothing when 90% of the shows you plan to put on are 5 year-old repeats. As much as I love Seinfeld, That 70's Show, Star Trek and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, it just sounds like FTN all over again but with Will Smith swapping roles with Derek Acorah.

You're supposed to be a 'Proper Telly' channel now, so show some proper telly.

5 comments:

Daniel said...

Don't bother watching more than one episode of The Unit, they all consist of generic drama. Just figured I'd save your trouble.

Andrew said...

I wish Will Smith would swap roles with Derek Acorah. They'd both be more entertaining.

Adam's Advert Monitor said...

What i'm particularly unhappy about with the demise of FTN is the fact that no longer will I be able to see repeats of Takeshi's Castle unless i get cable. (Which i certainly shan't do)

JoeyJ said...

Actually, you're in luck! Takeshi's is still on Virgin 1, in fact opening night had two episodes of it... at 3am...

lady b said...

why oh why has my weekend entertainment been ruined by the loss of channel ftn...never again will i enjoy the classic gameshow '3,2,1'...