We may not have reached this point yet – but it could be going that way. TV shows, box sets there’s too ‘god damn’ much stuff on at the moment and it makes it difficult to know what is worth watching. A month ago I was lucky enough to see Jeff Garlin (Larry’s manager from Curb Your Enthusiasm) perform at the Soho Theatre. He was brilliant and I couldn’t recommend him enough. But I digress. At this show, he asked the audience if any of them had seen his Netflix film (nobody had). I bravely raised my voice and proclaimed “Jeff, there’s too much on there” and he agreed with my observation, responding in typical Jeff style ‘THERE’S TOO MUCH !!!” This was a proud moment for myself (I mean its Jeff for god sake) but he also illustrated a problem we now have where TV has reached its zenith and it’s verging on saturation.
Take the case of Sky One’s latest show Brittania. This is a Sky original, with a big budget to boot. It’s obvious they tried to create their own version of Game of Thrones (try as they might). But, Jesus Christ they really had to shove this down our throats. Just going for a browse on Facebook opened me up to copious paid ads popping up about Brittania, not to mention all the billboards around London. And of course, not a moment went by when I had to see another advert for this supposed masterpiece.
Did it match the hype after all of the marketing?… not really.
I watched a few episodes and gave it a fair crack. The acting felt contrived and the sets looked okay certainly not Game of Thrones level. All in all, nothing special.
When a company heavily promotes its own show, and does it to death, it’s never a good sign. It’s so much better when the popularity of a show can grow organically.
The same is true of Mcmafia – the BBC’s new global crime thriller. There was so much marketing across every medium for a show that had not built up loyal viewership to justify the hype. Just an organisation (The BBC) that needed to promote its original content because it knows it’s getting crushed by Netflix.
I also found myself trying out few episodes, and felt quite bored if I am honest. I had been inundated with messages about how good this show was that I felt I couldn’t experience this myself. I mean it was supposedly already brilliant. It’s the show that everyone was talking about before anyone had talked about it – an oxymoron I know but you get the gist.
This leads me to think we are going into TV overload. The lists of originals of Netflix is growing at a ridiculous rate, and with Disney sure to start going into the streaming game after their Fox purchase, expect even more content overload and procrastination from viewers, who have far too many choices on offer.
So what stage are we at with television now? In my view it has never been so popular. In the past 10 years groundbreaking series like Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad and Netflix originals like Stranger Things and House of Cards have catapulted the medium to another level. Yet this has now meant that an excess amount of new series have been greenlit, which have been either semi-decent or just downright dreadful.
Quite frankly there is now too many to even know anymore.