Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Sci-Fi is the new reality

According to an article in The Times today [click the headline above to see the piece for yourself], science fiction is the new reality TV. As is often the case, the premise put forward by the article's headline bears little resemblance to the thrust of the article. In its quest for a fresh spin on Doctor Who's strong ratings performance on Christmas Day, the paper has joined the dots and come up with a thesis that stretches credulity somewhat. The successful revival of Doctor Who in 2005 has jump-started some commissions - Primaeval on ITV being the prime example - but several others were already in the wind. To say the expensive genre of SF will replace the far cheaper reality TV is a leap of faith, to put it mildly.

However, Who's success is a great boost for the genre and for the likes of me who hope to one day write drama for TV. Over the last five years it seemed the only way into TV was via soaps, and that path then led only to cops and docs drama. Given the choice of those two, I'd rather write police drama - my favourite shows are things like CSI, The Shield and the classic Bochco entries such as Hill St Blues and NYPD Blue. House is cracking, but that's essentially the CSI of medical dramas - a Holmes detective whose quarry happens to be viruses, infections and elusive medical traumas.

So, hurrah for Doctor Who. Long may it reign, once again.

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