The new few weeks and months look a particularly barren period on British TV. Summer has long been the silly season, when warm weather attracted people outside and ratings tumbled. Schedulers traditionally filled our screens with repeats and make-weights, burning off shows that couldn't sustain an audience elsewhere in the year. That changed in the year 2000 when Big Brother hit the UK.
The reality TV show was a smash hit, aided and abetted by the absence of any worth watching on the other main channels. Big Brother's popularity grew each year, until other broadcasters felt obliged to launch spoilers, rival reality shows that might steal Channel 4's thunder. [Anyone remember Celebrity Love Island? Try not to, you'll be happier.] But Big Brother's popularity waned as it became a vehicle for wannabes hoping to become Z-list celebrities.
So the prospect of Big Brother 9 filling our screens this summer? Bleurgh. But there's more bad news. Euro 2008 is about to start, a football tournament that will dominate the primetime schedules on BBC1 and ITV for weeks to come. Unfortunately for both broadcasters, none of the home nations have qualified for Euro 2008. There's been attempts to goose audience interest but, frankly, who cares? Unless you love football, there's nothing at stake. Bleurgh.
What does that leave if you don't have cable or a Sky dish, and can't get Freeview where you live? DVDs. This summer I will mostly be watching DVD of TV shows. Just finished the first two seasons of the genius that is Friday Night Lights, and that was preceded by most of The West Wing. Got seasons three and four of The Wire to watch, along with most of Homocide: Life on the Street. But wouldn't mind something more upbeat to offset all the sturm and drang.
It's worth pointing out I'm skint, so spending a lot of money buying boxed sets isn't much of an option right now. But I could subscribe to a DVD rental service like LoveFilm, which offers TV series on DVD as well as films. So, I'm looking for suggestions of great viewing as a Summer 2008 alternative to football and Big Brother. Maybe a desert island DVD selection? Post your eight favourites in the comments section, if you feel the urge...