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June 08 2006

BBC America show 'Hex' billed as a "British Buffy". The show follows a teenage girl at her boarding school who sees premonitions of the past. The New York Daily News says similarities are obvious.

Yes, the NY Times has the same take, in a much briefer description today:

At last, Buffy for Anglophiles, complete with snobby girl group, fallen angel and lesbian best friend. In this dark British Cult series new to American television, a teenage outcast (Christina Cole) at a remote boarding school discovers she is cursed with unique powers that have a terrifying link to the past.
It's wonderful rubbish, truly awful dialogue and characters that chew scenery like no one's business. Makes early Charmed and Smallville look like Renoir masterpieces.

a) cancelled
b) deservedly so

It looks pretty in places as the director had a clue, but it had literally nowhere near the budget it needed. The writers just had no idea what they were doing. Like, at all. They couldn't actually write emotionally involving, believable or interesting episodes.

Sorry if that sounds harsh, and apologies if the writers happen to see this online. But, you know, I actually saw some of this and it made me think I didn't get along with the world.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-06-08 22:28 ]
Cults must be getting smaller!

When it first aired it was getting called the new Buffy or something along those lines. I gave it a chance, I really wanted to like it, but I didn't. And comparing it's self to something like Buffy does it no favours.

I don't know about characters chewing scenery but there's a ghost that eats junk food.
Good lord, Simon, anything that can make Charmed or Smallville look sophisticated is almost unimaginable.

Was probably not going to watch, anyway, and now that's a certainty.
Hex did have some good things going for it. Thelma was a great character and wouldn't have been out of place on any Joss show. I reckon her dialogue was inspired but the writing on the whole was awful.
I'm watching it tonight, and after I do, I'll send along my review on this thread.
And in terms of plot arcs, characters and dialogue, the only British show that could be seem to be worthy of the title "British Buffy" would be Doctor Who.

I'm still recovering from Hex series 2 finale btw.
Ah, the series 2 finale, I never made it that far. Gave up 3 or 4 episodes in. Just couldn't do it.
Dear god Hex was awful!

How they had the cheek to call it the 'british Buffy' I'll never know.

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2006-06-09 00:47 ]
eh..I have in on TIVO season pass...the alternative is "So You Think You Can Dance" on (ETA, duh) thursday...

[ edited by Charmuse on 2006-06-09 01:11 ]
Hmmm. I listened to Simon a while back about two shows new to me, and I'm glad I did! (BSG and Dr. Who).

Seems like I might want to listen again, though I'm not sure if the phrase "wonderful rubbish" indicates a possible "It's so bad that it's GOOD!" kind of guilty pleasure show.
Buffy was one of Sky TVs biggest shows here so when it ended they comissioned Hex. I think the producers, told to make a Buffy clone, watched a couple of episodes of Buffy, fast forwasrding through the "boring" bits and thought "Got it. That shouldn't be hard to copy"

It's just bad on so many levels.
There's another review of 'Hex'. It's in today's Seattle P.I..
Hey, just because it has a ghost nobody else can see except the title(ish) character.. the ghost who happens to use crisp machines in front of everybody... Doesn't make it bad. It makes it very bad.

The reason this one went into development, as zz9 rightly points out, *is* because of Buffy. When Buffy The Vampire Slayer finished on Sky One in the UK, the channel lost something like 25% of it's audience (Buffy was it's highest rating show, by far). So, they comissioned this show with the sole intention to fill the shoes of Buffy - the director of the channel at the time even said so at a press conference.

So, they had a Slayer character (except she wasn't actually, you know, empowered or empowering - she just slept with men), a lesbian, an Angel (by which I mean an actual Angel, who was Evil)...

Oh, happy days.

They even had a character like Cordy. But with bad bad hair.

By the way, did anybody see (thanks Caroline!) that the producers of Doctor Who spin off Torchwood (due this year) have compared it to 'Serenity'? Happy boy, I am.
This show was truly terrible and, as Simon has previously said, actually made Charmed seem almost watchable.

The comments made so far should hopefully be enough to put anyone off watching but just in case there is still anybody out there thinking that everyone here might be being unfair and the show may be worth a viewing ... they aren't and it isn't. Trust us, this is bad television. Bad!
So I shouldn't watch it? Maybe I should, just because it's so awful and lampoon it?
Browncoat, there are occasional shows that manage to reach that golden 'so bad they are great' status. First Wave and Andromeda are two examples that spring to mind.

Sadly, Hex only ever managed to reach the 'so bad' status. Watch only at the risk of seriously regretting the loss of precious hours of your life. ;)
Oh dear. And here I just Tivo-ed it. I guess I'll have a good laugh tonight.

By the way, am I the only one who thinks that Doctor Who is really, really bad? I watched the entire first season, assuming it would get better, but there were only two episodes that I liked.
Well watch the trailer at the BBC America site. The page takes ages to load and then click on videos (Brits will be no doubt giggling at the American voiceover for the show).

Oh I did a recap for the first episode back when it aired on Sky One.
The executive producer of Hex, Dean Hargrove, was quoted in the June, 09, 2006 edition of Entertainment Weekly as saying: "Buffy was a send-up of the genre. Hex takes itself seriously". Huh? Buffy a send-up? What an amazingly inaccurate and self serving insult. Buffy is about the metaphor of a teenage girl becoming a woman and realizing that the adult world can be scary. The monsters are her view of adults...and the vampires, an allegory for sex, seduction, temptation, abusive relationships, STDs (vampirism, a communicable disease), forbidden relationships (an underaged girl dating a much older man, i.e. Buffy & Angel) and date rape (the town's various female teens victimized by vampires=their boyfriends, male acquaintances, and strangers).

Buffy, although it frequently has satirical points and a large heap of clever sarcasm on occasion, is shaped in pathos and other serious subtexts that only a true intellectual mind can decipher beyond the cover of its face. That said...the producer of an idiot!
I didn't expect much after the PBS Dr Who series. I watched though, and by the time it got to Father's Day, Empty Child and The Doctor Dances I was hooked. They are uneven, but the acting is good and the writing is sometimes just amazing!
I'll try Hex tonight on BBCA
Just no make it clear to everyone. Hex is just bad. It's not "so bad it's good", it's not "so bad you can make fun of it". It's just bad due to the total lack of good. Once in a while the general badness is sparkled with some poofs of stupidity, but never the kind of stupidity you can laugh at. It just bores you, or possibly annoys you at best. Not even Mystery Science Theatre could salvage this.

In a related note, I really agree that Andromeda had that "so bad it was good" thing going for it (I loved Trance), but only the first two seasons. Then it really turned into "Hercules in space" and I decided I couldn't be bothered with it anymore.
Samantha, nope, I can't stand Doctor Who either. Hated it as a kid (even then I though the quality of the show was terrible ... and I was about twelve!) and I really haven't enjoyed any of the new series either, although I will admit that Tennant makes the show a little more tolerable.

I realise that the budgets are not even remotely comparable but shows like Lost, Battlestar Galactica and 24 just make Doctor Who look ludicrously poor, both production and acting quality wise. Until the BBC has the appropriate budget to do decent science fiction I'd suggest that they stick to doing what they do best ... whatever that happens to be.
accio angel, yes, I thought Father's Day was OK, and Empty Child and The Doctor Dances were the two episodes that I liked. I realized though, that even when I enjoyed an episode, it was in spite of the fact that I found all of the effects ridiculously terrible, the writing lazy (not including EC and TDD), and the Doctor's acting over-the-top. I don't think I'll be giving season 2 a chance, even though I'm fond of Rose.
Well, to put Doctor Who perspective, I believe these last two series will have had a fraction of the budget of the Firefly pilot episode alone.

Ultimately, I just had to seperate UK TV entirely from US TV, as we just don't have anywhere near the budget of US shows in the UK. Firefly had something like 40 times the budget. That said, Doctor Who averages about 2 to 3 times the viewers Firefly got week to week.
I'm so glad Browncoat found a way to post this story so we can comment on it. When I saw the commercials come on Bravo last night (Last Comic Standing, Josh Blue represent, yo! :-D), I almost started choking. After seeing the threads here from our UK posters detailing what shite this series is, I thought, "Why is BBC America wasting their time putting this on the air?" *shakes head*
Until the BBC has the appropriate budget to do decent science fiction I'd suggest that they stick to doing what they do best ... whatever that happens to be.

That would be numerous detective dramas, Eastenders (the show to which all other British shows are compared to) and documentaries made by the holy trinity of Alan Titchmarsh, Bill Oddie and David Attenborough. Great viewing, each of them...

And Hex was uniquely bad, as everyone else has said.
I'm guessing I shouldn't even bother?
I like Doctor Who 9.0, and can hardly wait for 10.0. Chris Eccleston can turn from goofy to serious on a dime, even during "Empty Child and "Doctor Dances". But the only time it was Buffy-like was the Tom Baker era. If you have a copy of "Creature in the Pit", that would be a prime example.
THAT is what BBC America should be showing.
gossi, that is exactly the reason that UK television should avoid even trying to do science fiction or fantasy television. Ultimately it will always be compared to the US imports and pretty much always fail to meet the standards set.

UK TV does great drama, we all know this. Crime drama, period drama, in fact anything where the concept doesn't massively exceed the budget available. Unfortunately, that is where UK TV falls short with anything that requires a decent amount of money for special effects and unusual props. They just cannot compete.

To be fair, I will admit that the Beeb has excelled itself with the current Doctor Who series. The TARDIS interior alone must have used up half of the BBC drama budget that year. I'm certainly not going to knock them for trying. That said, I still can't sit through an episode of Doctor Who without feeling like I'm watching something on Childrens BBC. The effects are basic at best and the creatures and aliens still seem at a similar level to what Sylvester McCoy was facing back in the eighties.

It's all very well to state that they just don't have the budget that a US show has but personally I stand by the belief that if you can't do something properly then don't bother at all. The money used for Doctor Who could have financed another twelve series of Strictly Come Dancing ... actually, forget I said that. I'd rather watch a whole series of Doctor Who than a single episode of that awful dancing series. ;)

Jackal, I'm glad that you seem to be getting your fair share of entertainment out of the BBC channels, I gave up on them ages ago. I don't doubt that they produce some quality shows and documentaries but none of them interest me at all. The only reason I don't resent paying the license fee is due to the exceptional Radio 1 lineup. As for television, I'll stick to Sky One, E4, Sci Fi and the rest of the US import channels for my viewing pleasure.
Rob, I was joking - I detest the BBC with a fiery passion and although I don't pay the TV licence yet I have no doubt that when the time comes I won't be happy about it.
Well they are using the same hock here in Canada on the "Space " Channel.
It's only saving grace is it's a UK cable/sat Channel show, so it has lots of T&A, fetish and lesbian makeout scenes... WoW...sorry!

Humm who produces it ?.... Sky.
Who owns Sky?....News Corp. What do they own?....have a guess. Here is a hint .. they sells Whedon TV series DVD's.
So nobody is going to say to much about the Buffy usage in the PR.... I'am just saying.

[ edited by demon magnet on 2006-06-09 03:19 ]
If we could calm the fiery passions just a bit on this thread, it would be appreciated. Sometimes even the "I statements only" rule can get out of hand :)
It's all very well to state that they just don't have the budget that a US show has but personally I stand by the belief that if you can't do something properly then don't bother at all.

I agree. You just end up looking amateur. Honestly, I tried to get over the poor visual quality (even Buffy had some cheesy effects), and I probably could have if I felt the writing and characters made up for it. But I don't.
Jackal, my bad. It's late, I'm tired and my sarcasometer (TM) is running on low power, hehe.

Believe me, when you do start paying for your own license and all you get for it is a single decent radio station (which I could technically get even without paying for the license), and then on top of that end up having to pay for other channels just so that you have something to watch on the exact same television that the Beeb is screwing you out of your hard earned cash just to have in your home, you really, really won't be happy about it! ;)
Just caught a glimpse and my first thought was this: who the heck was in charge of casting this show? How is anyone supposed to believe that she or her roomate are in boarding school?
However bad this show is, it gets credit for all the laughs I just had reading people's comments on it.
I half want to sign up for bbc america so i can see this "worse than charmed " Hex... lol.
and, it surprises me that no one mentions that much of Doctor Who's fan base is there precisely because it's low budget. I'm sure that wasn't the BBC's original intent. But c'mon, the sight of the Daleks alone is funny! There's a level of cheese we -- damn, i outed myself -- are looking for there. Its a different attraction than what started me watching, say, Firefly or Angel. not even in the same category.
If we could calm the fiery passions just a bit on this thread, it would be appreciated. Sometimes even the "I statements only" rule can get out of hand :)

That's strange how Hex-bashing does not provoke this kind of moderation, whereas Doctor Who-bashing does...
Le Comité, as should know by know, if you have problems with our moderating, you drop us a line about it and not post it here.

That said, maybe we can all tone it down with the trashing, remember there's always somebody out there who loves what you don't.

Blue Gloves, we don't really enjoy '... is an idiot'-type statements here. As Simon put it earlier this week, play the ball, not the man.

And for the record, I enjoyed bits and pieces of Hex. I don't particularly remember which bits or pieces, but there was enjoyment of sorts.

As for low budget and low production values, I think the current Dr Who series looks smashing and even if it didn't, I don't think you need expensive sets or anything glitzy to make something come alive. All you need is actors and a good writing. All they had in 'Dogville' was a couple of lines on the floor. That worked for me.
Actually, what I enjoy about Doctor Who is the cheesiness of the attempted effects. It reminds me of a film I loved when I was little, Beetlejuice. Cheese-ey, but fun. :-)
a.) wow, y'all were not joking about how crappy Hex was. What threw me the worst was how seriously the show took its melodrama, and how silly said melodrama was. Please! If that was the point of this quote, "Buffy was a send-up of the genre. Hex takes itself seriously", then I'd rather have the "send-up" (with concommit emotional realism and gracefulness) over straight-faced melodrama anyday.

b.) I'd take good writing over mediocre effects any day of the week as well, and I like Dr. Who much better than Battlestar Galactica. But I think British TV does comedy best. (i.e. Blackadder rox.)
Le Comité, as should know by know, if you have problems with our moderating, you drop us a line about it and not post it here.

In fact, I had already, by the past, sent some emails asking for precision on some moderating, and never had an answer... anyhow, my intervention was not so much to emphasize on the moderation rather than the bashing; I wanted to show that we (as a group, not only the moderators) accept some bashings and reject other. My statement was, in other words, what you say here:

That said, maybe we can all tone it down with the trashing, remember there's always somebody out there who loves what you don't.

Because I also enjoyed some bits of Hex myself; not the writing, but the mood at some points, and the general idea of doom and people trying sometimes to cope with. This is not a good show, but I don't think it deserves the bashing (less than Smallville or Charmed, at least: these show never "tried" anything, they are mainstream teenage stuff - which means a lot -; Hex, at least, tried another thing).
We Brits can make engaging Sci-fi/fantasy type shows however... Anyone remember the, relatively low budget, "Ultraviolet" or "Last Train"?

I enjoyed both of those - I wish we made more of that sort of television.
Now, Ultraviolet was a great little show. Probably one of my all time favourite Brit shows as a matter of fact. What made it so great was that it never tried to go beyond the means of it's budget though. The creators were clearly aware that they could never try to do anything along the lines of US vampire series and so chose to almost avoid trying altogether, even so far as avoiding the use of the very word "vampire", if I remember correctly.

Because of that, Ultraviolet almost became a non-fantasy fantasy show. Many non-genre fans actually managed to watch the entire show without ever realising it has supernatural roots, thanks to the way that the vampiric affliction was almost treated like a disease in the series. My point being that although Ultraviolet was a great show, it managed to do that by accepting what it could never be and focusing on writing and drama, rather than visual effect.

Something I maybe should have said before concerning Doctor Who, I actually don't think the writing is very good either, if I'm to be honest. In fact some episodes that I have sat through have been downright poor. I blamed the fact that I have never been much of a Chris Eccleston fan on the cliched scripts in season one of the new series but knowing that Tennant is a brilliant actor left me with the only remaining conclusion that not even he can carry off some of the lines given to him. His first proper episode at the start of the current series (the hospital zombies one) had some of the most awful dialogue that I have ever had to suffer through, especially the cheesy "humanity is so damn fanastic" crap towards the end. And this is coming from somebody who has seen all the very worst episodes of the original series of Star Trek.

So it isn't just the lack of high quality special effects that turns me off Doctor Who. I honestly do think that it is an overall poor quality show, writing included, saved only by the quality acting of it's current lead. And even he can't make much of it work for me.
I am also finding the frequency and the nature of the bashing to be overall a bit troubling. Obviously not only restricted to this thread. There are trends that have happened other places online that I do not want to allow to happen to our W, mainly the rise of the overly critical style of posting where if the poster does not like something it is unequivocal trash. Please beware of falling into this style, it effects the entire community, not just the current discussion.
herb and (earlier in the thread) Caroline, I'm not sure that I'm seeing what you are worried about, at least not in this thread anyway.

I'm not going to try and defend my earlier comments on Hex. Whilst I'm sure that some out there may have enjoyed it, I don't think that it would be unfair to say that it is largely seen as a huge failure, with very little to save it from the 'TV trash' label that so many have given it. Ultimately, whilst I absolutely agree that show bashing is largely inappropriate, especially for a forum such as Whedonesque, there are some shows that are just so terrible that you cannot help but try to warn others away. Hex is, in the opinion of many, many people, that level of bad and should at least be accompanied by a 'quality control' warning for all those still debating whether or not to watch.

Of course, Doctor Who is not at all the same thing. Regardless of whether I personally like it or not I'm more than happy to admit that it has been a huge success and that it has many fans, some of my own family and friends amongst them. With that in mind, I don't view any of my above comments about the Doctor as bashing. All I have done is offer my own personal views on the show and pointed out exactly what it is that I don't enjoy about it. As far as I'm aware, that is all most people have done in this whole thread, regarding either Hex or Doctor Who.

Unfair television show bashing is an absolute no-no. I could not agree more on that. However, when that finally leads to not being able to comment on anything at all negative about a given show then I think it has gone too far. Personally, I don't think that any of the above comments have been far wrong or unfair, given the quality of the shows discussed. Nobody here is being mean for the sake of being mean or just trying to piss anyone else off by slating their favourite show. Only offering opinion, both positive and negative, on the series in question.

By the way, having read this back I hope it's clear that this is a comment regarding the subject of bashing, rather than that of moderation here at Whedonesque. Don't want to step on any toes. ;)
Whilst I liked Ultraviolet (the series) overall, I did think moments in the scripts lacked - uhm - humour. I find shows without humour very difficult to watch.

Good special effects do not equal a good series, of course. Bad special effects are jarring, however - let's be honest - Doctor Who is the longest running genre show worldwide ever made. The special effects have always been appauling. The reason it's currently the UK's #1 genre show -- probably of all time in terms of ratings -- _is_ because it's campy, family fun.

I thought a majority of the writing on 'Who' has been good, although slightly uneven. The show is certainly not for everybody.
Caroline...You have become a prisoner to PC rules!!! Dean Hargrove ripped off Buffy and then bashed something that he has implied contempted for? Seems to me that he is slandering not only Buffy, but its creator, its cast, crew and fans. It is Dean Hargrove who has played the Man, The Cast, The Crew and The Fans...and that is where your argument should be. Assailing the messager, in this case, me...and not the wrong doer who authored an ill twist of logic...for that, in essence, is truly missing the ball.
I'd definately give Hex a chance... but the first season is TRUELY awful.

You can say its like Buffy, if the lesbian sidekick had both Xanders humour and heart, and Buffys sense.

the "Heroine" in the first season is little more than a flighty tramp, but roll on the second series! Ella kicks ass!
Blue Gloves: It really is you who have missed the ball. That was unacceptable. Goodbye.
Straight question, isn't it possible that we use terms like "campy, family fun" simply to avoid using phrases like "the best they could manage, give 'em a break".

Again, I'm not trying to bash Doctor Who but all I ever seem to read when people defend it's quality are words like 'camp' and 'cheesy', which are not exactly the best terms to attract me into watching the show. It just seems like people are making excuses for low quality, simply because they realise it's the best that the Beeb can manage, which leads back to my earlier comment about if you can't do something right then don't do it at all.

Just a thought, why couldn't the Beeb have come to some arrangement with a US network (or better yet, the Sci Fi Channel where the series is currently airing over there) and produced the new show as a joint venture? The basic idea of Doctor Who is actually a very good one and, with the right amount of money and the correct writers involved, could be made into a fantastic show, far surpassing the version we see on a Saturday evening at the moment.

I'd be the first to watch a US revamp of Doctor Who, along the lines of the current Battlestar Galactica series, taking the basic idea and removing all the lower quality aspects of the original, but simply making a 21st century version of the same old second rate Beeb science fiction standard hasn't worked for me at all.
'Hex' was poor in many places (especially writing) but I thought it was very well produced and looked great. I didn't like it enough to watch any of the second season but I guess I could understand if it floated some folk's boats (Hargrove's right that it takes itself seriously, sadly way too seriously).

If we take Thelma's touching/eating as an example, those are the kinds of liberties that Joss takes all the time (Firefly features instantaneous communication across untold distances, Buffy's Vampire's clothes just dust for purely pragmatic reasons etc.) and are routinely fan-wanked around by us. They're not necessarily show killers by themselves.

Rob Macleod et al, for my money the BBC still has one of the most reliable news services anywhere in the world. Even if I didn't enjoy Doctor Who (which I do, despite some uneven writing and acting - apart from Billie Piper, bizarrely enough, who I think has been uniformly brilliant - since the effects are so utterly not what it's about, IMO) the news and documentaries would easily make it worth the £10 or so a month we pay for the licence (which gets us 4 + TV channels, 5 + radio channels and access to thousands of hours of archived material on everything from game theory to fine arts - all without adverts). 'March of the Penguins' for instance left a lot of my mates somewhat confused as to what the fuss was about - I haven't seen it so can't comment - since we get that standard of nature documentary on a weekly basis on the Beeb (David Attenborough is a national treasure if you ask me ;). Then there're the dramas like 'Edge of Darkness', 'Boys from the Blackstuff', 'Life on Mars', 'Dalziel and Pascoe', 'Waking the Dead', 'Spooks', comedies like 'Monty Python's Flying Circus', 'Porridge', 'The Office', 'Coupling', the list goes on and on.

Regarding British sci-fi, to me it's still well worth doing even if the effects have to be 'looked past' a bit. I don't think 'Ultraviolet' was good drama because C4 didn't have the money for huge explosions, it was good drama anyway, smaller in scope, more human and maybe a little edgier than the kind of thing that (for instance) US networks feel comfortable broadcasting. Which is what Brit sci-fi has traditionally been like (hell, even Blake's 7 had a kind of grittiness despite wobbly sets and dodgy props - I can remember watching Blue Peter make one of their 'phasers' and thinking 'That's better than on the programme') and is, to me, a worthwhile perspective. For every optimistic Star Trek you need a cynical, sarcastic Blake's 7, it's, like, cosmic or something (we're kind of the Arthur to America's Zaphod ;) even if Blake's ship looks naff and Avon's gun is clearly spray-painted curling tongs with a phone cord coming out the handle.
cicatrixtwigs! I saw you on my TV again the other day!

Straight question, isn't it possible that we use terms like "campy, family fun" simply to avoid using phrases like "the best they could manage, give 'em a break".

No, that's not my intention with those words at all. Campy family fun is not a bad thing. It's the nature of the show, and like I say - not everybody will like that styling.

The BBC aren't trying to make a slick American series. It has aliens which fart in it. That's the series they _want_ to make.

The BBC did try to make an American, stylised Doctor Who ten years ago. It was a joint venture with NBC, and it aired in the US and the UK. It was very swish.

However, it was almost universally hailed as awful. It never got picked up.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-06-09 12:28 ]
Some of the people who call Hex the British Buffy clearly have never seen an episode of Buffy. Or Hex.
Saje, I appreciate your attempt to prove the worth of the Beeb but frankly nothing you listed above (with the single exception of Monty Python) even remotely interests me. There is very little point in having 4 + TV channels, 5 + radio channels, etc when only one of the radio channels provides me with any entertainment whatsoever (again, a radio station that I could listen to even if I wasn't paying for the license). As for the news service, Sky provides a service of equal standard, in my opinion, as well as the numerous US news channel available.

Basically, the BBC is exactly the same as any other form of entertainment in that it will only suit certain people. It's great that you get so much quality from the Beeb and so feel like you are getting value for your money. However, many people, such as myself, do not share your tastes and yet are still being forced to pay for services they neither watch nor require. When the BBC finally starts showing a good number of US imports again, then I'll feel that I'm getting my value for money. Until then I'm paying £10 a month to listen to Zane Lowe, Chris Moyles and the rest of the Radio 1 crew.

gossi, fair enough. If that is truly the kind of show that the Beeb choose to make then I'm glad that they have so many people who enjoy it. Not my taste at all though.

Regarding the US/UK joint version I proposed, I'll admit that I saw that Doctor Who telemovie you mentioned and also thought it was awful. However, that was still tied to the original show, for the most part. I'm talking about a true reinvention of the concept. A whole new start.
I'm talking about a true reinvention of the concept. A whole new start.

They did that already and called it "Sliders" ;-)

Seriously though - one only needs to look as far as Red Dwarf to find a British Sci-Fi that is both crap and utterly fanstastic. A series that one watched very much inspite of the effects.

But then, for every Red Dwarf there is a Hyperdrive...
For what it's worth, I think Dr Who is a wonderful show. I have been a fan for just about all of my life and for me the revival has been an outstanding success, creatively as well as commercially. I do not consider it in terms of campy fun, although clearly that is part of the appeal. I think it is superbly written (possibly my huge admiration of Russell T Davies makes me biased), the acting of the main cast is uniformly high and the production values are excellent. I do not subscribe to the view that British sci-fi is intrinsically of inferior quality.

Having said that, I certainly would not try to persuade those who do not like (or have some reservations about) the show otherwise. Each to their own.

As for the BBC, I did put in a good word for it once before (even though most of its programming doesn't suit my personal tastes), but it does seem to be an emotive subject.

I can't offer any opinion about 'Hex', having never seen it.
For me, Red Dwarf is a different matter. Whilst being technically science fiction themed it was, first and foremost, comedy. In that sense it actually made use of the fact that it had a low budget and turned the poor quality of it's effects into genuinely funny moments.

Now, Sliders. That was another of those 'so bad, they were great' shows. Okay, we can all choose to forget the mess that was the fifth season, when all but one of the original cast had jumped ship, but up until then it was a really enjoyable show to watch.

I heard about Hyperdrive but I've never seen it. In fact I wasn't even aware that it had aired. BBC3, I assume?
Yeah, that's a fair point Rob M, I can understand resenting paying for a service that you genuinely have no use for. Personally, i'd have no problems with the BBC encrypting their transmissions so that not everyone has to pay (though that'd probably contravene their charter as it currently stands) so long as we can keep the licence fee and avoid adverts and the resulting commercial pressure (my pet peeve with Sky, apart from the number of repeats, is the 15+ minutes of ads in every hour of TV. I actually record most of the non-terrestrial shows I follow, even if i'm in, so that I can fast-forward through the breaks. Which kind of defeats the object of digital quality TV ;).

Regarding taste, you're a hard man to please (I thought i'd picked a fairly wide range of shows) but variety is the proverbial whatdjamacallit so that's cool (except for not liking 'Porridge'. That's just bonkers. Not sure where you send your passport back to when you relinquish British citizenship but I bet you can find it on the web somewhere ;-).

FWIW, I actually quite enjoyed the US/BBC Who from '96. Maybe a bit overblown but I liked the kind of 'eldritch forces' aspect to the TARDIS' presentation and the ending where she performs open-'heart' surgery on the old bucket as the millenium counts down was suspenseful. I know a lot of people didn't like him using the gun but if you have to have a gun in it I think their solution was a very Doctor Who-ish one (since he'd never hold it to anyone else's head). And the effects were good ;).

ETA: MobileHQ, re: 'Hyperdrive'. Ssshh, we're not meant to tell the rest of the world it exists, remember ? ;)

[ edited by Saje on 2006-06-09 13:30 ]
LOL, Saje. Yeah, my television tastes are quite limited, I'll admit. The fact of the matter is that I watch very little television in the first place and what I do watch tends to be US science fiction/fantasy type stuff, simply because that is my personal preference and because I don't have a lot of spare time to watch anything just for the sake of it. Much of the stuff you previously mentioned, whilst no doubt of high quality in it's own way, is not high on my list of importance when I'm looking for something to watch in the one or two hours a day I can spare for television. I've seen pretty much every show you mentioned but none of them ever made me want to go back for more. Again, with the exception of Python. I'm picky, not insane! ;)

But don't mistake my love of US import TV for lack of love for the country. I'm proud to be British, I just think we make sucky television, hehe.

By the way, I've started recording everything so that I can fast forward through the ads too. Okay, another reason is that I can't easily schedule my day around when a tv show might be on but missing out the ads is a big bonus as well. ;)
Rob MacLeod, just wanted to say I reread my above post and it's sounds slightly like a wanky lecture - sorry, it wasn't meant to be. (But then communism wasn't meant to be bad).

Really, as I think we all know, it all comes down to taste. I think Britian produces some quality television, and BBC News? Not a bad thing at all. I mean, the BBC is reducing spending on reality shows and plowing it back into dramas at the moment - I don't think Fox is doing that.

That said -- and this will make people laugh -- I don't have a TV license. So whilst I support the BBC in principle, I don't walk the talk in that respect.

Also - Sky+? Best thing ever.
gossi, no need to apologise. I'd taken your post as a fair comment, nothing more than that, so whilst I do appreciate the thought of the apology it really wasn't necessary at all. :)
The new Who has, allegedly, a budget of around $1.5m-$2m per episode, which isn't a million miles from Buffy or Firefly's budgets. I personally don't think the money's on the screen, but the BBC has a reputation for being a money pit, due to it's huge infastructure.
I've seen figures between £800,000 to £1 million ($1.5m - $1.9m) quoted in the media, but I believe these have been denied by Russell T Davies as wild exaggerations and questioned by other media "experts" as being highly dubious.

The BBC has not released details of the budget for the show. Certainly, all indications are that it is quite high, although I cannot imagine it approaches anything near the budget for a show like 'Lost'. I actually think the budget is apparent on the screen, although I know from comments here and elsewhere that a lot of people would disagree with me about this.

As for 'Buffy', 'Angel' and 'Firefly', do we actually know the budget for these shows? Although I have come across all sorts of weird and wonderful figures over the years I was under the impression that this information was not readily available - although I could well be wrong about this (I usually am!)
I feel as if I have to break this out of the "66 posts" in "2006" rut :-P

All comments aside, I read more reviews and decided to catch it another time, possibly when I am not feeling so snarky...
Can I add my two cents?
I am Swedish who currently live in the US. Growing up in Sweden you get quite nice mixture of US, Swedish, UK and even Australian TV. We never had Dr. Who tough and I never made any attempt at seeing it when I went to school in London.

As mush as I enjoy American TV, it is VERY nice to have some UK shows too. I did not know what to expect when I sarted watching teh new Dr. Who i Sci-Fi but I really like it. So what if the effects are not allways as good as one think they should be. It almost has a "Punk-do it your self" attitude. (Not-wealthy suburban pop-Punk a la Good Charlotte, etc).

I wish I had BBC America so I could form my own opinion. What about "Life on Mars"??? What I have heard sounds good or is it just CSI or Inspector Lynley Mysteries (I love the what, call me boring)with side-burns and bell bottoms????
What an interesting thread...we've seen friendly chatter, harsh criticism, people tossed (and I have to say, in a very Buffyesque fashion---“goodbye.” If he were a vamp, he’d be dust by now!) and the repeated use of the word, "whilst" to boot. (I'm particularly excited about the whilst usage)
It reminds me of a film I loved when I was little, Beetlejuice. Cheese-ey, but fun. :-)

Sheesh, billz - now I feel really old!
Wow, so many comments on Hex!

I tried to give it a chance when it was on, but it just made me angry. And embarassed to be british!
I DVRed it last night. I've been waiting for it to be shown in America. Can't wait to check it out!
Sorry, m'cookies. I'm still a teenager -- I make everybody feel old! ;-)
The new Who has, allegedly, a budget of around $1.5m-$2m per episode, which isn't a million miles from Buffy or Firefly's budgets. I personally don't think the money's on the screen, but the BBC has a reputation for being a money pit, due to it's huge infastructure.

I'd tend to disagree with this figure - not sure where it's come from! I believe the special effect budget for the entire of the last season was something like £1m at best.

But then, I'm drunk, so I could be wrong.

The financial accounts for Buffy, Angel and Firefly were never, of course, known -- however, producers did comment on figures and such. The budget for the Firefly pilot was about $12m from what I recall, with about $2m an episode, which is substantially more than Doctor Who.

And I'm not complaining. Firefly looked _fantastic_. Special effects blended seamlessly into the show's vision of the future - Zoic were years ahead of their time.
Wait a minute, I thought 'A drunk man always speaks the truth' ? Were none of my Dad's pearls of wisdom factually accurate ? It's like that time he told me the Hydrant markers on pavements were where they buried water-board workers all over again.

I'd be pretty amazed if Doctor Who was $1.5 million per ep. (and as dashboardprophet mentions R T Davies has categorically denied that they had anywhere near that much). Personally, I reckon about $600,000 or £350,000 - £400,000 sounds closer to the mark.
I watched the premier ep of Hex. It was most definitely not Buffy at all. I get the comparisons to Charmed though.

On *ahem* Doctor Who: I've been watching the latest version and like it quite a bit. It's fun.
I'm one of those that don't care so much about the quality of the effects as long as I like the story. I might wish the effects were better, but I can look past bad effects.... unless the story sucks. Then I want my time back!
I actually hated the show when I saw it on PBS when I was a kid. I hated the way the Doctor spoke to whatever sidekick he had at the time. He treated her like she was a flake and it just irked me, and I was only 7! Maybe I missed his appreciation of humanity and all, but I just remember thinking he was talking down to her and I stopped watching. (I watched the Tomorrow People instead, so.... I don't know if that even means anything.)

My verdict: I will give Hex another try. It wasn't great, but it didn't totally suck. (Man, are my standards really that low now? I'll watch because 'it didn't suck?' Must. Get. Hobby.)
I thought Hex was a fine piece of television, of course, I have seen the whole series (Bit-torrent) and find it nothing like Buffy. It's different from Buffy in terms pacing and story-arcs. But it is a good story. No monster of the week, and less out and out violence but many more head-games. Buffy was a pretty dark place but HEX is gothic, the Good aren't nice and the Evil's idea of winning isn't to kill you but much more worse. Joss is known for never letting you relax with the main characters, same here and that's about the only similarity

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