Now I watch a lot of broadcast TV and you should too. It’s the best way to gather information about the world other than the dark web but you aren’t ready for that. Patience.
When I’m not watching the #1 rated drama on US network television, NCIS, or one of its clones, on Sunday nights I sometimes creep over to the so-called “Public” television outlets on my high speed digital network. Now today, in this 21st Century Comb-Over Era, perception and expectation are everything, and I expect to only perceive British accents over on what we will now call for brevity’s sake, the PBS television network.
On a Sunday evening I expect to relax to some BBC 19th century parlor drama on my local public television station. Some programs on Public Television are actually from other UK production outlets like the commercial ITV. This is fine by me as long as they get the accent right. I’m as free market as the next yob when it comes to high brow television. But what’s got me really upset now is that they are starting to screen inferior accented series from Australia and New Zealand on public television. As if we couldn’t tell the difference between a British accent and an Aussie accent. Some people may be fooled, but not me. When I see my Pride and Prejudice I don’t want anybody popping off to Outback Steakhouse during the sponsor breaks at pledge time.
Unlike the US, Australia and New Zealand are just down in the mouth British colonies that couldn’t make it on their own. Australia is just a shabby California. There’s nothing high brow or hoity-toity about these convict transportation camps that would interest the more advanced American viewers of TV like myself. It’s shameful to screen ersatz Brideshead Revisiteds next to genuine smart English television content. You can always perceive when someone is trying to make it on the cheap. Substitute margarine for butter. Made in Polynesia for made in the UK. A downturn in pledge dollars doesn’t have to mean a sacrifice in quality. How much could reruns of Good Neighbors or As Time Goes By cost? As in all British TV, economical production values are overcome by high brow accents and big words where smaller words would normally suffice on large budget US TV programs like NCIS. That’s what the literate public TV viewer expects. Not G’day or throw another kangaroo on the barbie. Public TV has lost its rudder.
Now we accept Irish, Scots, and Welsh or even Indian accents in our public television content because these are necessary for verisimilitude especially when properly accented English people are really in charge. This is only logical. Every country has its aboriginal peoples. Even America has Southern accents, but nobody is going to believe a documentary series about our founding fathers where people talk like they are from Atlanta or Sydney, people expect a British accent, and a low budget British production in some dreary castle would be even better. After all who is better suited to present past glories than the British? Nobody in America wants to see stories about small villages in the 1940s, or the 19th century in Australia or New Zealand and if public TV thinks they can foist this on American pledge givers as British programming just because cable network BBC America now gets the cream of British programming, along with the Star Trek franchise, well they need to wake up and smell the tea brewing. Pasty complexions, bad teeth and posh accents are what we expect on Sunday night.
Now with Brexit on the horizon the fear is that even more Oceania programming will make it onto the lucrative US public TV market. I say don’t stand for it. God Save the Queen! Vote with your pledge dollars. Sure you can expect lower production values in British television as a result but these can always be overcome with longer words and posher accents. More specials with dead 1950s and ’60s doo wop and pop groups are no substitute for high brow British mini series.
One yearns for the days when Alistair Cooke introduced Masterpiece with the proper Theater sup-pended to it. However, Alan Cummings, although with a Scots accent, is almost more an American staple than Cooke. Now if only the current content were as good.
I say put the Theater back in Masterpiece and take the Masterpiece out of Mystery. Don’t stand for inferior colonial programming. The next thing you know they’ll be putting programming from the ultimate failed colony, Canada, on public TV. The most patriotic thing you can do today is write to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting or your local PBS station to keep our American public television exclusively British.