[This post was originally published as a couple of notes on Facebook in February 2010.]
So, most of what's currently - or has ever been - on television is
pretty awful, I think we can all agree. But it doesn't have to be.
Television, the form, is fine; it's the content itself that's the
problem. With that in mind, here are a few ideas for shows that I think
would be really good, if only someone would pay me lots of money to
actually make them.
Ahh, the cop show -
repository of more cliches than you can point a stick at. But for
years, I've dreamed of another kind of cop show - one in which our
heroes, the detectives and officers of some city police station, are
simple, happy people who take their job seriously, but who are
essentially mid-level bureaucrats. They are committed to their job,
yes, but in the same way that you & I are (assuming that you & I
have a job, and that we're reasonably committed to it). They punch in
at 8am, and out at 6pm (or whatever). They're all happily
married/dating, or single by choice. Those who are married have a
couple of children whom they see often and get on well with. Two
officers in our station are indeed dating, but they're both rookies, and
the department's HR section is aware of the relationship, since they
lodged the appropriate paperwork once it became clear to them both that
this was a serious relationship.
The captain in charge of the
station is well-respected by both his/her subordinates, and by the big
brass at police HQ (or whatever it's called). This is because s/he has
neither been a political appointment, nor an unruly headkicker. They
just get the job done effectively, a task made easier by the mature and
professional approach of everyone else in the station. None of the cops
has a drinking problem - although several of them get together on
Friday nights for drinks & dinner at a nice but casual restaurant
nearby. (Spouses/partners often attend too.)
the thrilling first season as the young rookie detective is accepted
well into the unit! He humbly learns from those who've been doing the
job since he was in short pants, and in turn also helps them take
advantage of recent advances in computer technology! Follow the
on-going story of the cynical older detective, who falls for an entirely
stable new girlfriend of approximately his own age, and be swept off
your feet as he proposes in the season finale! Watch as the detectives
solve cases calmly, methodically and without getting personally
invested! Look how none of them ends up investigating a crime
apparently committed by their ex, or long-lost school friend!
the title needs work, since it's currently a Simpsons reference. Other
than that, though, doesn't this show sound like a breath of fresh air?]
So You Think You Can Paint
of people, statistics show, sing in the shower/while driving/when
cooking, and they're well catered for in the modern television
environment. Plenty of people also dance like nobody is watching, but
also sorta wish someone was, and most of the tv schedule is about these
people. Ditto for cooking - once something people did because otherwise
they'd starve, now an almost-entirely competitive activity. (According
to a confidential source, 10% of all meals prepared in Australia this
week will be done for the camera.)
So what other popular hobby
enjoyed by the masses can be made into a television game show, I asked
myself. And then I answered myself, The Visual Arts. But 'So You Think
You Can Visual Art' makes for a title too clumsy and grammatically
troublesome even for commercial television, so we're going to generalise
to just Paint. All the visual arts will be represented, though -
painters, sculptors, origami-makers, installationists, quilters,
photographers, film-makers, graffiti artists, and those people who make
things out of twine.
The great diversity of contestants is what
makes SYTYCP so exciting! Rather than forcing contestants to try things
outside of their chosen field, each week everyone is set a theme for
the next round. (Note: might need to spread the show out in production,
to allow everyone to actually do their thing for each round. Show it
weekly once it's finished, though.) Thus, one week the theme might be
Childhood, the next week it could be Red, and so on. Expert judges -
along with a popular celebrity more recognisable than the average art
critic, but not a sportsman or former model - will offers comments each
round, before it goes to a popular vote as per in those other shows on
which this one is loosely based.
Finally, a television show for
all those who can't sing, dance or cook, but who still want to prove to
the country how talented they are!
The Law Is An Ass!
(Unlike the first two, both of which were the product of much thought
over an extended period, this idea is fresh & new. Which is code
It's Wallace & Gromit meets Mr Ed meets... The Practice.
this animated show, we follow the trials (pun intended) and
tribulations of a small but determined law firm staffed entirely by
horses. (Their opponents, as well as judges, juries etc, are all human;
clients are both animals and humans.) Combining heartfelt drama,
exciting plot twists, good-natured humour and the occasional office
dalliance, The Law Is An Ass! combines everything you've always
loved about legal dramas with the noblest of all beasts - the talking,
Throughout the first season, the scrappy
law firm of Caufield & Sons struggles to gain acceptance from the
human-dominated legal community. Young firebrand attorney Star fights
to have the courthouse modified for improved equine access, while older
associate Misty deals with trying to establish herself in the profession
while also raising two foals. The firm's head partner, Abercrombie,
faces the toughest decision of his life when asked to represent local
farmer Mr Jones, accused of selling beef which is, in fact, horsemeat.
Whatever the case, Caufield & Sons act with dignity, honesty, and
plain old horse-sense, and become the most sought-after legal
representation in town.
Yes, the show exists only because of its name... but then, that's true of most television.