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Is USA tv far superior to BRITISH tv?????

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Showing 1-25 of 776 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Aug 2009 12:53:06 BDT
crazyhorse says:
I now believe that the standard of tv in America is better than the tv shows in Britian, Americans have superb drama/cops/thriller shows like CSI/Miami/New York, Dexter, The Wire, The Shield, Dexter, NCIS, good comedy shows like Two & Half Men, King Of Queens, Scrubs etc, we have The Street(superb), New Tricks(ok), this is programmes on this week, sruggle to think of anything else,and we struggle to make any good new comedy shows, I might be wrong we still make good costume series(Casulty 1909 superb), Cranford etc, would be interested in your views.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Aug 2009 13:14:00 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Aug 2009 13:16:44 BDT
No doubt about it: the us (and canada) generally produce better quality productions: Sopranos, Battlestar Galactica, Dollhouse, Chuck, Burn Notice, The 4400. At least the BBC stopped making Allo Allo a while ago - we have to be grateful for that. Apparitions was good, as are Doctor Who, Ashes To Ashes, Life On Mars, Robin Hood and Merlin. Cannot think of a good UK comedy since Rab C's string vest left the scene in a blaze of irn bru, buckfast and greasy chips.

Posted on 13 Aug 2009 13:21:00 BDT
J. Morris says:
Our drama's a bit lacking, IMO, but there's some pretty solid UK comedy from the likes of Psychoville, Nighty Night & the Morris/Iannucci stables.

Posted on 13 Aug 2009 13:36:17 BDT
victor says:
Depends what type of tv you watch i would say both countries produce the good and bad.

Posted on 13 Aug 2009 14:03:31 BDT
Y. Tilan says:
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Posted on 13 Aug 2009 15:36:10 BDT
Mr. R. Moore says:
Our TV is rubbish and it's because the BBC tax the nation instead of relying on people subscribing to them because they enjoy their programming. Those horrible bullies wouldn't stand a chance against the TV most of the nation spent £20 quid or more a month in order to enjoy, and constantly curse the BBC's and their scare tactics that force people to pay their ridiculously outdated tax.

Would you PAY for british TV if you had the choice to opt out of viewing and paying?

Posted on 13 Aug 2009 15:42:58 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Aug 2009 15:45:45 BDT
A. Linney says:
I have to disagree. I think British TV is far superior, mainly because the seasons aren't usually over 13 episodes but with usually the same budget as American dramas - hence a better quality production. Our Drama's are good (Skins and Spooks anybody?) but America does admittedly produce some fine shows. It may be because our brand of comedy is quite different from those across the pond but our satirical quizzes (Mock the Week, 8 out of 10 cats) and sitcoms and general larking about (The Inbetweeners, Flight of the Concords, the IT crowd, Blackadder, Fawlty Towers, Monty Python, Top Gear etc) are incredibly funny and popular with audiences. But we are, as a country, incredibly good at historical work, I challenge anybody to say that an American historical show can top one of ours especially in the Austen or Medieval era.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Aug 2009 18:58:34 BDT
crazyhorse says:
We are always going to have superior historical shows as we have greater historical work, as far as comedies are concerned I was talking about present comedies so you can't really count Blackadder, Fawlty Towers etc, I mean I could mention Cheers, Taxi, The Cosby Show, Frasier which are old US comedies which were superb, I just think that ITV are dumbing down there drama series because they can't afford to make them, even the good shows they make like Law & Order UK come from America, I think we make better documentraries with people like David Attenborough, David Dimbley, Who Do You Think You Are etc.

Posted on 13 Aug 2009 19:19:03 BDT
Wow, I'm American and I think MOST of our network tv is derivative, boring, over-whelmed by horrible reality tv, and anytime anything worth watching comes on, it's usually given 4 weeks to find an audience at best. We do have some decent drama, but when something is successful, it spawns 10 imitations. I watch BBC America, SyFy (SciFi), USA, HBO, PBS and Showtime; all are pay channels except PBS. And what I watch almost always comes from the UK or has UK involvement in production. Many of our actors are sadly wooden, chosen for looks instead of talent. The good ones almost always turn out to be British! And then let's talk censorship -- your dramas are allowed to be realistic while ours are subject to insane scrutiny.

Posted on 13 Aug 2009 22:03:14 BDT
David says:
In my opinion tv nowdays is not as good as it was in the 70's and 80's. I love sci fi, horror, sit coms and detective tv. In those days we had Thriller, Columbo, Tales Of The Unexpected, Blakes 7, Dad's Army and so many more. Nowdays most British tv seems to be reality tv like Big Brother and Come Dancing and soap operas like Eastenders. True we do get some gems like Doctor Who, Wire In The Blood, Torchwood and New Tricks but not alot else. There are alot more decent American shows like CSI (all 3 series), Dexter, Bones, Monk, Stargate (can't wait for the new spin off series) and many more which gives the U S the upper hand in my opinion. So what the BBC and ITV needs to do is stop making crappy reality tv and make more decent drama, crime and sci fi programmes. If this was to happen I would feel much more happy about having to pay my TV licence.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Aug 2009 22:33:42 BDT
crazyhorse says:
David I'm 48 and to me the 70's was the golden age of British tv, shows like The Sweeney, Minder, Upstairs Downstairs, UFO, The New Avengers, comedies like Porridge, Man About The House, On The Buses, Love Thy Neighbour, Variety shows with Morceambe & Wise, The Two Ronnies, Mike Yarwood, Les Dawson, Dick Emery, then you would have your chat shows with the likes of Michael Parkinson with the real big stars from Hollywood, and Russell Harty, to me the investment just doesn't seem to be there as other contributors have pointed out there is to much cheap telly with reality shows and soaps.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Aug 2009 04:41:58 BDT
Amyacchi says:
WOW, I think British television is far superior to American television. We Americans may have a huge variety of shows to watch however, quality is better that quanity, in my mind. What about Inspector Frost, Waking the Dead. Midsommer Murders, Silent Witness, Little Britain, etc.....

Posted on 14 Aug 2009 07:04:37 BDT
AnOldGoat says:
The US has produced a massive quantity of programming, but a lot of it is dross. Most US humour is badly produced, whereas a lot of the serious stuff - CSI, MASH, Hill Street Blues, Star Trek - is brilliant.
Now, you cannot compare the output of the UK to this, since we have much smaller budgets, considerably smaller audiences and with the BBC being the biggest broadcaster, big productions being done on shoestring budgets.
Having said that, we had a golden age of comedy, which the US has never challenged - the 1970s. Porridge, Fawlty Towers, Rising Damp, Steptoe and Son, Dad's Army, Yes Minister. Never equalled, even since in the UK - thus, most comedy from the last 20 years is embarrassingly bad (plenty of shows that are one-trick-ponies for their humour - same joke recycled every edition!)
We are also strong with costume dramas, but as the US lacks the depth of history, that's not really surprising.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Aug 2009 07:21:17 BDT
E. Synge says:
After many years of experience watching both ,whilst very professional the US TV does not begin to compare to our BEST.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Aug 2009 11:55:05 BDT
crazyhorse says:
How can you say that most US humour is badly produced, haven't you seen programmes like Cheers, Happy Days, Mork & Mindy, Frasier, Two & A Half Men, Taxi, Scrubs, King Of Queens, these programmes are fantastically funny with wonderfull scripts and production and direction, as you have rightly said the golden age of British comedy was middle 70's early 80's, apart from Only Fools and Vicar of Dibley most of the recent stuff as been rubbish.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Aug 2009 12:36:42 BDT
Pietro says:
These arguments don't take into account where you are watching. If your main television diet is America, becuase that is where you live, then there must be an awful lot of dross and the Brit programs they get to watch, in the main, are the ones they buy in which they select as the best ones. Similarly we Brits have to sit through some utter rubbish unless we switch the box off but do tend the get the very best of US shows. We can't possibly match the US for shows such as The Sopranos, The Wire, etc, our advertising revenues are just not big enough to finance them and, to be fair, the BBC would not dream of making such a program as it does not have that skill set. I think our current comedy shows, such as Have I Got News For You, are something the Americans could not do on their main networks, because they are overly censored by the self-righteous brigade but HBO and others make up for it with amazing dramas. Lets face it, there is no clear answer to this, both countries have their virtues and we should all count ourselves grateful we don't have to watch German or Italian television!

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Aug 2009 12:18:12 BDT
NewReview says:
In the last 20 years British TV has produced some excellant comedy shows. A Bit Of Fry And Laurie, French and Saunders, Waiting For God, One Foot In The Grave, Absolutely Fabulous, Keeping Up Appearances, The Fast Show, Men Behaving Badly, Alan Partridge, The Royale Family, As Time Goes By, Dinnerladies, Gimme Gimme Gimme, The League of Gentleman, Let Them Eat Cake, The Office, Nighty Night, Little Britain, Look Around You, The Mighty Boosh, The Smoking Room, Dead Ringers, and at present we have Psychoville and Jam and Jerusalem. We have had a variety of shows in which writers actors and performers have been able to use their talent to create increasingly more inventive and original comedy. This, I think, is what makes British TV superior - that it has the capacity to recognise new talent and allow it to make quirky, eccentric, progressive programmes that are not all derivative and naff and safe.

Posted on 19 Aug 2009 12:36:14 BDT
The advantage that we have is that all the so called 'rubbish' american TV just doesn't make it across here. In the same way, someone from the states who likes all the british shows that go across must think that the UK's TV line up is far superior.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Aug 2009 13:17:04 BDT
No good British comedy since Rab C. How about Father Ted, I.T. Crowd, Blackbooks, Phoenix Nights, Spaced and the Mighty Boosh. This is only naming a few. British comedy is much superior than US comedy as it involves the use of irony. The Americans dont seem to be able to deal with this concept which is why shows such as Arrested Development never took off. With regards Drama the US has a serious lead due to the vast sums of money they are able to spend. But the comedy is attrocious.

Posted on 19 Aug 2009 15:11:15 BDT
Last edited by the author on 19 Aug 2009 15:12:23 BDT
horrace says:
When I saw the title of this thread I was going to mention the differing population sizes so you couldn't do a direct comparison considering Britain gets the best of America and vice-versa. But of course I don't need to as many others have made this point - in fact it's telling that it's quite a few Americans that are making this point.

But the rant about the BBC licence fee needs to addressed - the body of work produced by the bbc speaks for itself and without the bbc we would just be left with tv with adverts every 10 min and everything produced in this country would be produced for the lowest common denominator.
The arguement that comercial tv in this country is suffering due to the recession and so some of the license fee should be diverted to them ignores the fact that it is not the bbc that the comercial companies like itv & channel 4 are competing with - it's actually sky and because they have a bigger cheque book they just use their money to bully everyone, ask yourself how often sky has used it's money to poach tv that other channels had first and then ask yourself who the real bully is.

Let's just rejoice in good tv whever it comes from be it Poirot or Dexter, an Attenburough or a Dickens.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Aug 2009 16:19:06 BDT
US TV is better than what we have generally but in terms of comedy, The Inbetweeners is the funniet show I've seen in ages. I feel that CSI however is getting a bit stale and of late I've been more into Criminal Minds. Supernatural is also awesome and I can't wait for the fifth and final season and then ther's the final season of Lost. But yeah, US TV better than British!

Posted on 19 Aug 2009 20:07:14 BDT
Adie Barrett says:
Is USA tv far superior to BRITISH tv?????

No. Neither is it the other way round. There are times when one or the other hits a purple patch before doing the themes to death. As stated above, each side only sees the best imports. Perceptively that means a lot of rubbish does not get transported across The Pond in either direction. Which means there is much dross on both sides. I, for one, am the first to admit Brit TV is not as good as it was. Eastenders as a quality drama? If I want to be serially depressed, maybe. Or perhaps watch a group of no-hopers in the belief I will feel better about myself. Good God.

The vast increase in channels compared with the 'golden days' has diluted my expectations, reduced the overall quality I can see, and strangled some of the creativity we used to see, nowadays seen as risky. Safe bets are all that's required, hence oft-repeated 'classics' where familiarity makes them welcome friends when bored with the remote and tunnel-vision variations on modern comedic themes where the world and his wife thinks they are all funny. And don't get me started on the effects of Political Correctness? It doesn't really exist, does it? Otherwise Frankie Boyle and Gene Hunt wouldn't get a look-in, poor souls.

How many times have I flipped through channels finding absolutely nothing? Strange as it seems, in days of yore with but three channels (in the UK) I actually found much of the output watchable and sometimes very interesting. People won't stop watching television, so just reduce the bloody channels, increase the residual quality across the board, reduce the need for repeats of the repeated broadcast of the reshowing and make new stuff people actually WANT to watch. On both sides.

Britain's/America's Got Talent. Somewhere, only it's not being found and looked after. Gone are the days when a programme like 'Minder' was allowed room to grow - and that was on ITV (long before it was renamed ITV1!), not normally noted for sympathetic nurturing when time was advertising money. Which is increasingly true today. Which is why successful strands that are seen to work do get repeated/remade ad infinitum, become boring and which stifle other creativity. I'll just have to enjoy the gems as they come, from whoever can produce a good 'un. Only I might have a bit if a wait, so back to my DVD collection....

Posted on 20 Aug 2009 11:49:00 BDT
Last edited by the author on 20 Aug 2009 16:39:37 BDT
romanticynic says:
Greetings from California, one of the countries adjoining America. I think that you Brits have a greater number of excellent sit coms. We've produced Laugh-In, but that's more of a variety show. Mystery Science Theater 3000 is a comedy and a series with the characters in a situation, but it's really mostly a movie with commentary. There's Will & Grace, The Addams Family, maybe MASH and that's about it. Maybe Eerie Indiana, if you call that a comedy. Other American sit coms tend to make me ashamed of my species, or at least of my country. You guys have given the world Last of the Summer Wine, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, Irish R.M., Waiting For God, Are You Being Served, Keeping Up Appearances, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Red Dwarf, Bless Me Father, Absolutely Fabulous, Good Neighbors, Jeeves and Wooster, Mulberry, Yes Minister, Yes Prime Minister, Dad's Army, 'Allo 'Allo, The Young Ones and doubtless others that I either have not yet seen or can't think of at the moment. As a general rule, British sit coms are funny while American sit coms are either boring or embarrassing. Well, sometimes disgusting. And it's not just sit coms. What have we got to compare with Shameless or Skins or I, Claudius? Nothing. We've got the West Wing, which is a nice show.It's not great and enthralling like I Claudius, or naughty and enthralling like Shameless or Skins. It's just nice. I hate every American cop show that I've ever seen with a purple passion, but I love A Touch of Frost, Midsommer Murders and New Tricks. You've got Lord Peter Wimsey, Sherlock Holmes, Cadfael and Miss Marple while we've got Murder She Wrote. You win. We've got Dark Shadows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, so I guess that we're ahead of you on vampire shows. You've got Torchwood and Doctor Who while we've got Firefly, Eureka, Warehouse 13 and Farscape, so we might be about even there except for Doctor Who's huge number of episodes. There's always Star Trek, but many people over here start jumping up and down, screaming, waving their arms around wildly and foaming at the mouth just from hearing the name. Ever see anyone scream and foam at the mouth at the same time? It gets kinda messy for anyone too near. I think any Star Trek-like show on tv that doesn't have a big part for Wil Wheaton is a waste of photons. But then, I think rain is wet, so what do I know? I have an old fashioned tv with a glass screen, so it doesn't hurt that I keep a loaded Nerf dart gun handy in case I accidently tune in Battlestar Galactica or Stargate while flipping through the channels. Now if you want to talk about cartoons, that's different. On your side there's Danger Mouse and hopefully some I haven't heard about. On our side there's Animaniacs, Tiny Toons, Bonkers, Freakazoid, The Tick, Roadrunner, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Aaagh!!! Real Monsters, Angry Beavers, Rocko, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, Daria, Yosemite Sam, Popeye the Sailor and Woody Woodpecker. There are also cartoons that are actually for kids, but I've never seen any of those. Except for cartoons and vampire shows, you British are way ahead on tv shows.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Aug 2009 14:11:51 BDT
horrace says:
Just going in to look up "Warehouse 13" - don't think we've had that here yet but going by your choices I'll have to find out !

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Aug 2009 15:21:46 BDT
Last edited by the author on 20 Aug 2009 16:59:06 BDT
romanticynic says:
Hey, horrace. Warehouse 13 is on the Sci Fi or Sy Fy channel here. Do you get that one? They'll be showing the 8th episode of 12 of the first season this Friday night, so it's not out on dvd yet. Have you seen Eureka? Seasons 1 & 2 dvds are for sale at a bargain price or for rent at Amazon UK under the name A Town Called Eureka. Both shows are quirky science fiction with more humor (or humour, if you insist) than almost any American tv comedy. Not that that's saying much. Have you seen The Dresden Files? It's about a good wizard versus evil magic with a bit less humor/humour, but just as much quirkiness and weirdness. If there are any new or old British sci fi or fantasy shows, hopefully with a touch of humour, that aren't mentioned in this discussion, I would appreciate it if you would name them for me. Thanks, horrace.
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