Don’t say we’re never satisfied, but… while we fully appreciate what UK and US telly gets right and acknowledge there are some great shows to enjoy now and others to look forward to, there’s an awful lot that’s wrong about TV too. We all know this.
Still, rather than be pessimists, we’re taking a positive tact, with a few solid suggestions where improvements could be made and a little juggling of characters and concepts goes a long way.
Here are just a few ideas we’d pitch, if we had the power…
Snarkier Than My Partner
A prime example: among our samplings, we were happy to spot a return to telly by one of the geekiest females in the fibre optics, Sara Gilbert as Leslie Winkle, physicist and potential partner to Leonard.
Alas, their support of conflicting hypotheses on whether the fabric of the universe is stringy or loopy ended their spit swapping days. However, we think we have the perfect pairing…
If ever there was a match made in verbal cleavage heaven, it’s Leslie and David Mitchell’s Snarky Mark Corrigan. Granted, Mark already has a flatmate in Jeremy (Robert Webb), but if he managed to summon up the plum punnet to get rid of the freeloader, friend or no friend, and really give a girlfriend a go, then the Peep Show flat is the place for Leslie.
We suspect they’re remarkably evenly matched in the snark department. Just imagine the level of sarcastic debate and quick-witted tongue lashing possibilities. They’d vocally – and voice-overly – thrash each other! Great telly!
We miss Invader ZIM, the comic sci-fi censor-dodging and weaving creation of cartoonist, Jhonen Vasquez, but we’d be more than happy with a programme full of start to finish GIR.
The adventures of Invader Zim may have ended, but unless we learn otherwise, there are planets still occupied by invading SIR (Standard Information Retrieval unit) robots out there, and we think a spin-off show, with planetary invasion technique competitions between nearly literal petrol heads, would certainly be a step up from the standard fare on air.
GIR can present and judge the competitions, even adopting various zip-up-able cute costumes to observe the SIRs’ progress incognito, much like an anonymous restaurant critic.
There can be no host more instantly loveable than the pick-n-mix processing hardware and jumbled, rumble-y inner workings of the adorable GIR, and any excuse to see our favourite robot back is a good one.
Perhaps some Chuck-a-like sponsorship deal with a cupcake or taco company can make this dream come true? (That’s assuming, of course, Poop Cola’s not real.)
King Of The Grange Hill
It was with a heavy heart that we watched the final demise of Grange Hill a year or two back, as the axe swung long after the programme had died for many of us. It’d become a dumbed-down children’s programme by the time the gates closed for the last time, and a far cry from the days when Zammo should have said no and Mr Bronson should have been nicer to Danny Kendall.
Of course, any kind of revival would leave those glory days long behind. Or would it? What about bringing the old cast back in animated form, in the style of King Of The Hill? It’d matter not if the characters of Grange Hill were older or younger, and it shouldn’t be too tricky to round up most of the old cast for a quick voiceover session and some jars in the local next door. Let’s get it a post-watershed slot, too, so that it can really deal with some of the contemporary issues of the day.
And make sure Bullet Baxter is in there, too. We missed him.
Jesse, The Bounty Hunter
One of the highlights of the now defunct My Name Is Earl was the guest appearance of Juliette Lewis in 2006 (Season 1, Episode 21).
In her role as Jesse, former secretary for a bail bond company, she was done wrong by her man when Joy snatched Earl away only three weeks into what looked to be a great relationship for Jesse, Earl and Randy.
So, what’s a girl to do? Well, beef up, of course – Sarah Connor style. Then get her bounty hunter’s license and her legal revenge on Joy the instant some unpaid parking tickets help point her to her prey.
Unfortunately, the bimbo dynamo that is Joy whooped the stuffing (and gold teeth) out of Jesse in their showdown confrontation.
We think all her hard work shouldn’t go to waste. Jesse deserves a spin-off as she’ll inevitably want to toughen up even more and get the justice she’s been denied. (Note: These scenes, like her debut, must include Kung Fu Fighting playing over all bulking up Jesse and taking down sensei montages.)
With no children or spouse, there’d be no unnecessary filler of a wacky homelife and questionable parenting. It’s hunting and nothing but the hunting. As far as we know, Jesse’s not especially religious, either, so there’ll be no preaching going on while the cuffs do.
As an added bonus, Juliette & the Licks could do her own theme song for the show.
At the very least, it would take some of the rerun stress off of Dog. He’s looking noticeably shaggy these days, having padded around the Bravo block more times than any man’s best friend – or fan – can tolerate.
One of the best guest-starring performers on 30 Rock in 2008 was Steve Martin as Gavin Volure, (Season 3, Episode 4). A white collar criminal, Gavin is serving minimum security incarceration in, of all places, a very tastefully furnished mansion. He’s allowed guests, hosts dinner parties and plots his escape after falling for Liz by tricking Jack into inadvertently giving him time to leg it out a bathroom window unnoticed by his gentlemanly guards.
We wouldn’t mind more of these highly improbable, but equally entertaining scenarios and think it’s ripe for a spin-off.
The first half of each episode would feature the weekly dinner and bring in all sorts of interesting guests that Gavin could bounce his magical charm off and wit betwixt. There’s opportunity for cooking and serving tips (another trendy telly obsession) as well as a bit of music appreciation and intellectual repartee as Gavin tickles the ivories and tackles current events, impressively quipping with his guests.
Then the second half is his ingenious, but ultimately failed scheme to escape and his recapture and return to the mansion, just in time for next week’s menu planning, invitation approval and the wine selection order to be placed.
I’m A Telly Executive: Get Me Out Of Here
Our proposal: round up all those responsible for cancelling great shows like Firefly, Jericho and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and any of the sieve-for-brains brigade who had a hand in forcing Fringe into nearly impossible to find scheduling wastelands, inflicting memory lapses and causing arc confusion among even the most dedicated fans, and those guilty of relegating some of the best telly to BBC Three and not the bigger, smaller numbered channels where they belong (Being Human and Psychoville).
Let’s confine these swine together with their own kind and turn the TV tables on them!
After the bollocks we’ve been fed in the schedules, it’d serve them right to have to chow down on a literal translation of some of the pisstake and crap that’s been dished out to us lately. But we’re bigger than that. No testicles will be harmed in the making of our show.
Starving the contestants is not in the plan either. Denying them food, alcohol, cigarettes, and bug-free beds is, frankly, cruel and definitely boring by now. Let the punishment fit the crime, we say.
Wherever the captivity takes place, let them be surrounded on all sides by Imax-sized screens showing non-stop, looping reels of reality TV, make-over programs, modeling, cooking, singing, dancing, skating and various other fawning and pawing for attention competitions and celebrity anything, regurgitated around the clock. Big Brother, Date My Mom, Wife Swap, Help Me Anthea, I’m Infested, My Life As An Animal, Britain’s Worst Teeth, and on and on and on.
For the chance to earn even a brief break from the torture, viewers will phone in with challenges that include having to write acceptable conclusions to Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me, Dollhouse, Veronica Mars and countless other unpardonable disappointments due to threads left unraveled and dangling. Then detainees must act out their scripted scenes – in costume – to the satisfaction of the viewing audience.
If enough public votes are in favour of temporary reprieve, purgatorymates are treated to instalments of good telly with episodes of Dexter, Breaking Bad, Misfits and the like on the menu.
Unbeknownst to them, though, they will never be shown those all-important, pivotal concluding episodes and finales and will live out their confinement not knowing things as vitally important as Nathan’s power, what Walt did and what became of Rita.
Have your own idea for a spin-off, mash-up or totally new show? Let us know in the comments…