I’ve been taking the high road on this issue. Not complaining overly-much publicly, and keeping a stiff upper lip. But the time for decency has passed, and this must be said.
BBC America sucks.
It used to be a great channel. Back when it first started, it was a very niche channel, with shows like How Clean is Your House?, Changing Rooms, Ground Force, Coupling, and various other BBC, shows, as well as some from other UK broadcasters. As time went on, they added edgier programing, like Skins and Law and Order: UK, and then really hit their stride with Top Gear, Orphan Black and Doctor Who. These days they tend to have lots of nature documentaries.
But do you know what 36 percent of BBC America’s programing for this week is? From today, October 5th, to Tuesday, October 11th, we see that 36 percent of their programming is that fantastic classic British show, Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Yes, really. 36% of the programming on BBC America is, this week, made up with TNG. That’s down from one week where I saw closer to 50%. There were entire twenty-four hour blocks where only four hours were not TNG.
This is not a joke. This is not something I have made up. This is a terrible state of affairs.
Now a certain amount of leeway could be granted, I suppose, if you squint hard enough. After all, the series is headed-up by a British actor, and has another one in a major supporting role. This is harder to justify when we get to shows like the original Star Trek, and very hard to justify with, and I can’t believe I’m typing this, CSI Miami.
Yes, CSI Miami is now broadcast on BBC America.
Now, look, I haven’t watched the show, so maybe it has some hidden, secret British connection that I’m unaware of. It’s possible. But it’s still pretty bad as far as programming choices go.
Now let’s be honest here: the cause of this is that they’re chasing ratings. That’s perfectly fine and reasonable, up to a point. Broadcasters have to make money from advertisers, after all, and the only way you’re going to get those advertisers is by showing that you have lots of viewers. So you have to program shows those viewers want to see.
I get that, but, frankly, I can go elsewhere for basically all of these non-British shows and movies (including Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which is about as British as I am), they’re broadcasting. Star Trek is available on two different over-the-air TV stations that I’m aware of, one of which has a several-hour long programing block with ever Trek series including the animated one. This means I can also get TNG that way.
Of course, not everyone uses an over-the-air antenna these days. No worries. You can also get all the Trek shows on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. Or you can buy the DVDs. Or the blu-rays. In a pinch, you might even find some old VHS copies.
So it baffles me that these things are pulling enough of an audience for BBC America to broadcast them when there’s so many other options for viewing them and so few options for viewing various British programs. I mean, clearly they wouldn’t be alienating their core audience if they weren’t getting the ratings.
Therefore it falls on us, the audience, to make them change. To lower the ratings so that they stop broadcasting all this crap and go back to showing only British programming.
This means an end to watching BBC America. Yes, stop entirely. Stop watching it “just for Doctor Who and Top Gear”. You can buy the episodes of those shows from Amazon, Vudu, and iTunes for a pittance the day after they’re broadcast.
This is the only way to get BBC America to go back to showing British TV shows again. You know, to make them live up to their original purpose. I know that’s what I want.