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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

January 09, 2006

Primetime Slime


The success of Lost sees a whole rash of new science fiction hokum hitting our screens this season. Excellent! Most will be cancelled, I predict, after one and a half seasons, so don't get too attached to them.

Last night Channel 4 showed the first two episodes of ABC's Invasion (with E4 showing the 3rd straight after). We've seen it all before (or think we have): Invasion... of the Body Snatchers. Pod people (or pod peaple), people not behaving as themselves. I once tried to argue that the 50s fear of the other, exemplified by the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers was replaced, for my generation, with fear of the enemy within. In other words, in the 50s, they were pod people; nowadays, a lot of us feel like we are pod people (or, as Simon might put it, victims of marketing and fashion).

I enjoyed Invasion, anyway, thought it was suitably spooky, and the key figure is Sheriff Underlay (!), who may, or may not, always-already have been a pod person, even before the hurricane.

But there is one whoopsie. Examine the photo above. A few years ago, there was some controversy in the US about how, in that season's new crop of TV shows, there were no major black characters. Efforts were subsequently made to introduce strong black characters - including positive role models for the young - to shows like ER, NYPD Blue, and so on. But it is still remarkable how often a major US TV series will open and whoops, they forgot to include any major black characters.

Think back to Desperate Housewives last year's hit. It ended with a new (African American) character arriving, because they forgot to include any to start with. How long will it be before they wake up to the telling absence in Invasion? It's particularly glaring here, because the show is set in the Southern state of Florida, and we already know that what characterised Hurricane Katrina was that the white people mostly evacuated New Orleans, leaving "those people" behind.

Anyway, if you like this kind of hokum, and I do, tonight will give you a triple dilemma, a trilemma if you will. Because at 9 pm you have a choice of three programmes. Life on Mars starts on BBC1 (cop show about a modern day copper who finds himself in 1973); NBC's version of Invasion, Surface starts on ITV2, and the 5th season of Smallville opens on E4.

All of which makes me glad I have a Freeview hard disk recorder with two tuners, so I can record two of the shows and resort to analogue for the BBC thing.

1 Comments:

  • I enjoyed Invasion - no pretences of cleverness like Lost. Though I love Lost too, of course... I've got a similar dilemma tonight, with the added complication of Balderdash and Piffle, and no Sky...

    By Blogger AnnaWaits, at 4:08 am  

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