DVDs are old-school and Netflix the way forward. So I was told this week. Dread to think what that made tuning in to get my weekly fix of Channel 5’s The Railway as it was broadcast.
What with On Demand, the BBC iplayer, 4-OD, and the itvPlayer thrown into the mix, viewing habits have certainly changed beyond all recognition since I was a kid.
‘They don’t make telly like that anymore...’ I found myself saying as I watched some vintage drama on DVD the other day, and it’s true, they don’t. They can’t. Even the most popular series of the eighties and nineties wouldn’t get made now. Too slow. Too expensive. Not American enough. I mean, let’s be honest, British TV, to its detriment, has been desperately attempting to imitate the US imports such as CSI that clog up the schedules for some time now.
Stars must be young and cloned. Music must be loud and intrusive. Edits sharp and fast, and dialogue anodyne.
Ongoing series in the style of Minder, London’s Burning or even Spooks have become too big a burden on the purse strings of producing companies, who prefer one-off dramas or short-run series that may or may not be developed.
Even Doctor Who has been stripped of its signature cliff-hanger ending... but then who needs one when you can watch an entire series back to back, that week-long wait in anticipation a thing of the past. Oh, the nostalgia.
Thankfully the odd drama, like Whitechapel and RTE’s Love Hate have made it beyond that first series. Hopefully By Any Means might, too, but for every Downton Abbey, there is an Upstairs Downstairs.
This week my Twitter feed has be full of Breaking Bad. Never seen it. As the fifth and final series ends, however, I find myself tempted to play catch up via the box sets... or should that now be via Netflix or some such.