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  #1  
Old December 27th, 2018, 12:30 AM
Total Noob Total Noob is offline
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Christmas specials on the tube?

I am noticing that lots of UK tv shows have out-of-season one or two off Christmas specials that air between Dec 25 and Jan1. These episodes may or may not bear on the regular season-long episodes, and may or may not reference Christmas itself.

As an example, Doc Martin dropped a Dec 25 2006 made-for-tv movie between its second and third series. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...artin_episodes

By contrast, US networks are typically rerunning older programs that time of year, and it would be rare for any new episode of any program to show up around the holidays, much less a separate stand-alone episode competing with holiday theme programs and movies that are not parts of series. As an example, NBC shows the 1946 movie "It's a Wonderful Life" on Christmas Eve every year, and someone shows the 1956 film "The Ten Commandments" every year on Easter or Easter Saturday, though it really the story of Passover and has nothing to do with Jesus.

Part of that is that no body watches tv too much during the holidays, and good movies also tend to show up around then because there is a Dec 31 deadline to get a picture into the theaters if you want to compete for an Oscar, and typically the producers want it to be fresh in the nominating committee members's minds when they vote on the list of competitors sometime in January.

Is there an explanation why UK shows are so tempted to run Christmas timed specials?
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  #2  
Old December 27th, 2018, 12:59 AM
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renegade600 renegade600 is offline
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it is easier to do christmas specials when the series is half of what it is in the US. maybe it is to keep the viewers from forgetting about the show. gotta remember, a lot of shows in the US still have their christmas episodes they just don't make a special out of it.
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  #3  
Old December 27th, 2018, 05:35 AM
Ned Seagoon Ned Seagoon is offline
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We receive these Christmas specials here in Australia.

Most British TV serials are produced in a group of episodes typically 7 or 13 episodes per series, with successive series being written and produced only when viewer numbers warrant it. Usually there is a Christmas special produced as a totally separate show, often of longer duration and sometimes incorporating characters who have dropped out of the mainstream series. The story line in the Christmas special is often light-hearted and sometimes takes a different tack to the mainstream series.

The typical British series is written and filmed in entirety before any episodes are shown on TV.

There have been a few British serials which are produced in the same way as American serials, being written and filmed at the same time as episodes are being shown. The Bill, Taggart, Coronation Street etc. being examples of this.

Problems can occur with this type of production when an actor leaves or dies.

I have found it disconcerting when an episode has a different actor playing a part that was previously played by someone else. Or a character who died in the series, comes back as someone else.
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Old December 31st, 2018, 03:24 PM
Total Noob Total Noob is offline
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FWIW to those who don't know, much of American tv doesn't follow the old rules of 22 episodes spread throughout the October to May cycle. Many networks and other outlets are using the Brit model or an adaptation of it.

Cable networks with high quality shows like HBO, Showtime, TBS, USA and AMC are closest to the Brit model, dropping big bunches of shows at non-standard times. The Walking Dead will have two sets of eight episodes a year, fall and winter, with some weeks off in between.

Over the air networks typically use the old model but some of the series are as few as 10 or 13 episodes, and only run at one point in the year. Trial and Error is an NBC sitcom with about 12 ep a year and it runs in the spring.

The Netflix and Amazon model is to drop all the episodes for the season at once, though there are some exceptions. Some of the timing issues have do do with eligibility for Emmy awards.

Some second tier networks like CW and WGN will have shows that appear almost randomly on the calendar. I suppose that is about what else they have to show, if anything.

What is really unusual is the Brit model of having shows that pop up irregularly and perhaps after long hiatuses of years or more. We liked Foyle's War; it would go a couple of years before the next batch aired. A significant number of American shows have had comebacks that are not reboots; Arrested Development comes to mind. I'm putting that into a different category than shows that show up once in a while.

What has not changed is that the seasons remain longer than the Brit seasons, which could be two or three episodes. An American show is going to have a usual min of 10 ep; occasionally 8 or 7.

>>>>I have found it disconcerting when an episode has a different actor playing a part that was previously played by someone else.

You must have hated Bewitched (new Darren) and Dr. Who. I feel your pain.
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  #5  
Old January 1st, 2019, 01:21 PM
Ned Seagoon Ned Seagoon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Total Noob View Post
much of American tv doesn't follow the old rules of 22 episodes spread throughout the October to May cycle. Many networks and other outlets are using the Brit model or an adaptation of it.
Thanks for that, here in Australia many of the American shows we see are quite old, following the former pattern, good to hear that eventually we may get to see some made to a better pattern.
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  #6  
Old January 2nd, 2019, 08:37 PM
Total Noob Total Noob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ned Seagoon View Post
Thanks for that, here in Australia many of the American shows we see are quite old, following the former pattern, good to hear that eventually we may get to see some made to a better pattern.
What are you getting that is old? Are you speaking of programs from many years ago that are only airing now for the first time ever in Australia, reruns of stuff that has been on before, or something in between ie filler programs on third and fourth tier networks that are merely trying to avoid showing a test pattern all day?

FWIW, I know some American shows air with some amount of delay in foreign markets, and some don't air at all because they may not make sense everywhere, but I can't see something popular like all the NCIS programs or The Big Bank Theory waiting for years and months to be seen outside the country.
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  #7  
Old January 2nd, 2019, 08:39 PM
Total Noob Total Noob is offline
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What are you getting that is old? Are you speaking of programs from many years ago that are only airing now for the first time ever in Australia, reruns of stuff that has been on before, or something in between ie filler programs on third and fourth tier networks that are merely trying to avoid showing a test pattern all day?

FWIW, I know some American shows air with some amount of delay in foreign markets, and some don't air at all because they may not make sense everywhere, but I can't see something popular like all the NCIS programs or The Big Bang Theory waiting for years and months to be seen outside our country.
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  #8  
Old January 2nd, 2019, 09:27 PM
Ned Seagoon Ned Seagoon is offline
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Originally Posted by Total Noob View Post
What are you getting that is old? Are you speaking of programs from many years ago that are only airing now for the first time ever in Australia, reruns of stuff that has been on before,
Most of the American programs on Australian TV are on the commercial stations that have advertisements included. Afraid I can't stand advertisements so only watch a few and those I usually watch on delay via my PVR so I can skip over the ads.

The old programs I was referring to are reruns, Mash, Hogans Heroes, Get Smart etc. Programs that I watched years ago as new releases were Dallas etc.

I watch mainly ABC TV (Australian Broadcasting Commission) government funded TV and Advertisement free, as well as SBS TV also partly government funded but with some ads (I also watch delayed so as to omit the ads).

ABC has British and locally produced shows with a smattering of US and Canadian programs. SBS has a few locally produced programs but many imported programs some in foreign languages with English sub-titles. Many are from European countries with some from Asia, as well as North and South America.

For your interest here is today's program guide for this area. (hope it's not geo blocked for you)
https://www.ourguide.com.au/tv_guide...d=03012019&t=6
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  #9  
Old January 3rd, 2019, 04:14 PM
Total Noob Total Noob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ned Seagoon View Post

The old programs I was referring to are reruns, Mash, Hogans Heroes, Get Smart etc.

* * * * *

For your interest here is today's program guide for this area. (hope it's not geo blocked for you)
https://www.ourguide.com.au/tv_guide...d=03012019&t=6
Are you saying that MASH etc have not previously played in Australia? If so, then by all means watch MASH and Get Smart but I don't find Nazis fun and entertaining and I say no to Hogan's Heroes.

These remain popular in the US but I claim they run solely to avoid networks running test patterns. If the show is from the 1990's or earlier, that is what it is and those type of shows tend to populate networks that have only that. I think I like to throw up in my mouth if I come across anything from Norman Lear, like All in the Family and the Jeffersons, or miscellaneous other stuff like Growing Pains, the Brady Bunch, Bonanza, The Love Boat and so on.

The good news is that there are literally dozens of networks coming out with new general and specialty programs that are really quite good. I am addicted to the Science Channel (Mythbusters, What on Earth?) and the Travel Channel (Mysteries at the Museum). The History Channel is OK, though now it is mostly about antiques rather than the wars and politics of the past.

Many have decent phone apps and run some portion of their programming on demand on line, assuming distribution has not been limited by country. On line versions have fewer commercials in the breaks, and obviously there may be ways to download them without any breaks.

But for the discriminating viewer, TV is not the wasteland it was when Americans only had about 3 or 4 networks to live with.

Last edited by Total Noob; January 3rd, 2019 at 04:17 PM.
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  #10  
Old January 6th, 2019, 03:18 AM
Ned Seagoon Ned Seagoon is offline
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Originally Posted by Total Noob View Post
Are you saying that MASH etc have not previously played in Australia?
No, all episodes have been played adinfinitum. (ad being the figurative word)

I once worked as a control room technician for a Commercial TV channel, I ended up leaving, the ads drove me crazy
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  #11  
Old January 7th, 2019, 03:53 PM
Total Noob Total Noob is offline
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Originally Posted by Ned Seagoon View Post
...the ads drove me crazy
I agree most of the time, but a number of shows like Walking Dead and Breaking Bad are too intense to watch without a break, and not all of the sets in our home are hooked up to recording devices so as to permit pausing, so getting a bathroom break is a blessing. The program we are binging now, Mr. Robot, comes in that category, in part because it takes place in our city and is filmed here, and for those who know it, what is shown is sometimes a clue to what is going on.

Also, I am starting to discover that recording shows is not always the answer even when it is available. The Science Channel, among others, is sloppy with timekeeping, and extending the recording time may cause havoc with other simultaneous recordings. HBO's Last Week Tonight and the FX show Atlanta don't constrain themselves to the allotted time, and the respective networks seem unable to reprogram the video guides in time to let home recording devices know to run long.

Sports contests routinely run past. I expect this is more of an issue in the US with a very large percentage of the play being domestic leagues with games in prime time as opposed to countries where lots of international cups in sports like soccer and cricket are played at odd hours and are more significant.

For those around the world, I mentioned the FX show Atlanta. It is fabulous show, but hard to describe as it is not always funny and not always serious, and it does not always stick to its basic format. In one famous instance, none of the main characters appeared at all and the episode had a Twilight Zone quality because of that. It may not play too well outside the US because the City of Atlanta is a kind of unique part of the universe. As I have been there several times, the show works great for me, but may be difficult for those who have not been. Still, I am recommending it to anyone who wants to know more about Americans than they thought they wanted to know.
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