Monday, 7 January 2008

Wait, so there's something on ITV worth watching?

So I sat down for my first part of TV watching in 2008 this Friday; the whole madness of Christmas TV dying down and making way for all the little shows they've had stored for months but wouldn't dare put on during the rating battle that is the month of December. So on an extremely bare Friday night that had shows like Extreme Pilgrim and Greatest Comedy Catchphrases, one of which seemingly is a religious version of Fear Factor whilst the other is a load of clips from Little Britain and Catherine Tate saying the same things over and over for 3 series (guess which title matches with which description). It was then I found an interesting little ditty called Bike Squad, a show that had recieved absolutely no press attention apart from a 3 inch wide "Inside Story" in a bumper version of the Radio Times that consists of 270 pages. With this in mind it was a shock to realise it wasn't just a piece of quickly mushed together piece of... mush, but was actually a piece of decent TV. Which was a first for Friday the 4th of January 2008.

Describing Bike Squad is pretty much the same as listing it's faults. The first thing you have to mention is it's called Bike Squad. An absolutely terrible name which sounds more at home on CBBC than primetime ITV. Then you have to note it's on ITV. That doesn't exactly bolster it's potential to be any good, in fact it throws any possibility of it being decent and smashes it with a large hammer. Then you finish with the fact that it's a feature length "dramedy" and it's at this point I'd throw in the towel and go watch something else. This article right here pretty much sums up why I hate comedy dramas that last longer than some movies. But it's either this or a repeat of New Tricks, so I keep going. The thought that it'll give me another reason to hate ITV by the end of it keeps me from turning off my TV.

Featuring a mildly stellar cast, the main star that bald, fat guy from the Full Monty who went to Hollywood to star as Fred Flinstone before being promptly booted back to ol' Blighty. It also has that decent actress from Shameless and Dinnerladies who once played that serial killer and a rather pointless character who is portrayed by that guy who was the male one in Smack the Pony and I'm slightly sure was in Saxondale. For a bit. It also stars a load of people I've never seen before who are all ok at what they do I suppose but won't be winning a BAFTA any time soon.

Going back to problems with one-off comedy dramas that last an hour and a half, this had the same problems as every other one of them. The story was too weak for something movie-length, it would've worked better if it was re-written as a 3 part comedy, you don't care about the characters enough to care that their lives are better at the end of it all, the jokes were too poor and again, the story was too weak.

But despite this, it was one of the better one-off shows there's been recently. It was at least watchable - and compared to the terrible and befuddling Learners it was great. They all had their predictable problems that they all overcame at just the right moment, the main character got his family back in a nice, if a little snoresome scene and it all wrapped up nicely in a big bundle of happy. It shows just how well some likeable characters can carry a show that has a weak plot, just a shame characters like this were wasted on a one-off and won't ever be seen again. At least I can thank the show for making me realise not everything on ITV is turd. Maybe next week I'll watch ITV again!

Oh wait, Dancing on Ice starts again, doesn't it? I'll stick to Dave then.

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