TV Review: Glastonbury, Skins and Ugly Betty
For many it is the biggest music event of the year and the highlight of the festival calendar – a weekend of music and debauchery, which provides the perfect escape from their mundane lives. For the rest it is an excuse to enjoy three nights of fantastic music from some of the worlds most established artists.
So it’s hardly surprising that the BBC’s coverage of Glastonbury came under fire this week. Whilst the cost of sending in excess of four hundred staff and freelancers to cover the three-day music festival is an excessive questionable expense, it is even more perplexing how, despite sending so many staff, how appalling the coverage actually was.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, the Tax Payers Alliance described the event as “an annual jamboree for BBC employees” – and that is exactly how it appeared on screen.
There was no consistency, the coverage fleeted between minor snippets of artists sets and was regularly duplicated, with BBC Two and BBC Three at times showing the same performances – it appeared as if the BBC were struggling to find content to broadcast – surprisingly.
The presenting was egotistical and shambolic, and alienating to the viewer. The presenters regularly tried to introduce acts with no comprehension of when they were due to start, it looked like they were on a jolly weekend rather than work.
Whilst the music was excellent it would have been nice to see far more of it, sparring the viewer endless spats of mindless twaddle rather than regular spouts of music.
The other big talked about event of the last week, was the return of Ugly Betty. However despite bundles of media coverage, the big question is do we actually care? The simple answer is no.
Whilst I will freely admit I have never been an avid Ugly Betty viewer, the show, now in its third season, should have progressed far more than it has. Betty starts of the season stating that she is not going to engage in anymore romantic entanglements, throw herself into her work and search for her own apartment – hardly cutting edge television, least of all for the opening to a third season. Furthermore it is cause for concern when a show starts treading over old ground, like throwing Betty into a sexy photo-shoot – something the audience witnessed back in season one.
Changing the format and tone of a show can be a costly and dangerous move. Sometimes it works, other times it fails miserably. The term usually referred too as ‘Jumping the Shark’ has never been more apt than in the case of Skins, which received its Channel 4 premier last night (01/06/09).
The gamble of ditching the original cast was a risky move. Whilst in some ways it has worked, the show continues to perform well in the ratings (regularly pulling in 700k during its original run on E4 earlier this year) – creatively it is not what it was.
Whilst still holding on to a large degree of realism through its presentation of youth culture, it has become to fantastical. Now it relies heavily on using violence, sex and swearing too fluidly without any genuine purpose other than to create a glamorised product to sell to the youth market, many of whom find such methods unappealing, due to the way in which they are forced upon them.
If the show is to continue beyond it’s already commissioned fourth season, the producers need to capture the charm and magic of the first two seasons, which is it made it so groundbreaking and original. Although fundamentally we need a cast of characters we can care about and plots more exciting than a dull love triangle, which takes an entire season to reach no real conclusion with a load of swearing, violence and sex in between.
Thankfully all is not lost because E4’s homegrown comedy The Inbetweeners also received its Channel 4 premier this week which is a far engaging offering than Skins, which claims to funny but in fact is just an embarrassment.