US television sucks

In order to try to move a rant I started at the transportation section to a more appropriate location:


Why do all of the good UK shows have to be changed to a US version. Are we really that xenophobic? Is everyone in the US really that stupid.

Since I have returned from living abroad I really can’t stand how closed off my own country is from the world. (sorry for the rant, but this hit a real sore spot)

BBC America is also complete trash.


I remember reading an article where some scientists had American, British and Japanese viewers watch the British version of the Office and they observed how long they could stand the “awkward silences” before becoming noticeably uncomfortable, and the Americans’ times were significantly lower than their British and Japanese counterparts.

I don’t recall if they tried to offer any explanations for this but my pseudo-social scientist take on it, is that Americans, relative to many other cultures, have lived very cushy, privileged, comfy lives, and we resent things that take us out of our comfort zone, more than maybe we should. That’s why dull laugh track comedies pull in the most viewers, and a 2011 car with vinyl wood siding doesn’t incite a riot amongst the general population.

I think American intelligence rivals that of any culture, I think we’ve been the “top dog” for so long that we’ve grown lazy and complacent in a lot of ways.

I will also add that after being back for one year I find the US to be the most amazing self censored information people on the planet. At least the Chinese and Burmese know they are being censored. Unsure about the North Koreans, I think they might have us beat.

Totally agree Tim, its strange how people in outside of America know all of the US TV from the last 10 years, while I’ve never heard of most of the classic British shows - not to mention shows from the rest of Europe. There’s have been some good one’s to have come and gone while we were totally unaware

So for starters, you yanks should check out “the Peep Show” :wink: It’s hilarious!

Another strange thing is not being able to access many US YouTube videos, Hulu, and sometimes even video news clips from outside the country

I love writing a long response only to have my cookie time out and tell me I need to log in. F&@**@ :blush:


The UK version of Top Gear is still available online and their Xmas special is supposed to air tonight which looks awesome. (Travel across the US including NYC and then to the middle east)

Before I moved in with my gf, I didn’t have cable for a year.

The only thing that I really want to watch is a few car races a year. I would rather listen to music and read in the evening.

I’m getting my news from “The Daily Show” these days :wink:

I watch 30 Rock and The Office on HULU and Daily Show on Comedey but other than that, very little TV these days. Other things to do.

Very scary. Not to specifically pick on yo but I often hear that people get their news from The Daily Show. While I like it for entertainment it is not news. It is talking heads taken to a new level. I realize all we see in the US is talking heads but that is not news. It is book selling.

I have downloaded LiveStation and have a computer hooked up to my TV. Now I can watch Al Jazeera English, CCTV9, Russia Today and a ton of other international news stations. I know all news is skewed but if you watch the the same story from multiple sources you start to figure out where the truth lives. Plus not much coverage of movie/TV stars and their effed up lives, which is a nice bonus :slight_smile:

one TV oddity that does not exist in the US, but does in the UK is the TV tax… if you have a TV watching device in your house, the local council wants you to pay a couple hundred a year. They even come and check your house! We don’t have a TV, so we don’t pay it, but I think it pays for the BBC and it’s commercial free shows

I hear you on the benefits of going without… it frees up a lot of time for more interesting things

Cool, let’s make generalizations about the people living in every country.

As an aside, I think TV is just becoming defunct as a medium. No one I know of actively watches TV (unless it’s The Walking Dead because zombies are awesome) or owns one for the matter. Internet is god.

And I’m pretty sure everyone who watches the Daily Show and the Colbert Report realize that they are primarily entertainment shows (you know, considering they’re on Comedy Central and all). Nevertheless they shouldn’t be written off as completely mindless because they’ve proven to be a strong voice of social commentary and humorous Op/Ed.

You also don’t have 1000 stations in the UK.

In the US you have broadcast TV, cable, satellite, and all the fringe networks that fall inbetween. I’m sure you could consolidate down a lot of it if there were fewer networks but American’s love their TV so it seems to work. I just don’t know how many more dancing reality shows I can handle.

I get my news from the News Hour podcast, BBC website, Guardian website, CBC radio 1 and the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times. Sometimes NPR.

Oh, and I would support a TV tax if it meant commercial free high quality television. CBC has commercials:/

I just find the more I fill my head up with all that, the more it leads to mental paralysis. I’d rather laugh about it with Jon Stewart. At least there there is no pretense about it being fair, thorough, or all that informational.

I think there is a myth that UK TV (esp. BBC) is “better”. In Australia the ABC (BBC equivalent) would show the absolute cream of English TV, while the commercial stations would show dross, usually North American and cheap. So you’d get the idea that everything out of the UK was brillant and everything out of the US was terrible i.e “Fawlty Towers” vs. “Growing Pains”.

After living in the UK I realised that my expectations of UK television were based on seeing the best of the best, and the vast majority, like everywhere else, was crap.

There is so much fantastic American TV, especially from HBO etc. (thankyou BitTorrent). If your only exposure to American TV was “30 Rock”, “Deadwood” and “The Walking Dead” you’d think all US TV was this good.

One of the reasons UK shows (or shows from anywhere) get remade is that is part of the deal when they get sold. Top Gear was shown here as the original UK version and the channel that showed it (SBS) made their own version. Another channel (Nine) bought the rights to the UK version, started showing that as well as making their own version again. The idea is that if the local version is a hit (like "Australian Idol’, “So you Think you can Dance Australia”, “The Amazing Race Australia”) they get money for nothing.

I think there is a little bit of the attitude that American audiences won’t understand foreign accents or unfamilar words, but I think this comes from TV executives trying to maximise profits, rather than a lazy, stupid or racist attitude.

Interesting list List of American television series based on British television series - Wikipedia

Wow! Three’s Company? I never knew.

If the only shows I saw were 30 Rock, Sopranos, Mad Men and Arrested Development I’d think the US had amazing TV.

If there’s important news, I’ll learn about it on Twitter (seriously) or Facebook (also serious).

In terms of TV… Hulu and Sidereel keep me happy. The Office (US version because I can’t understand what the UK version says… thick accents you know), House (halloween costume, with cane that I now use to pace around the studio while thinking), Community (awesome possum)… Heroes was also great. I think there’s some okay TV… although probably not as good as they used to be (true for all series listed above).

TV is dead.

Well, almost.

Like most I watched a lot of TV as a teen in the 80ies. But when Germany switched to sattelite TV with 50+ stations, somehow I just gave up on it. There was no more peer pressure like " u surely watched xy yesterday, did you" With so many stations every taste is catered for but there are no real “TV - events” that draw a crowd any more.

In the early nineties I tried to stay on top of the news like TimF says, but I soon discovered, that I wasn’t capable to digest everything I saw. So with the arrival of the net I started to browse through a fixed set of newspapers every morning: local, Spiegel, Bild, Detnews, even may flip some pages in spanish or french if I find a hint in the german papers that lacks depth on the topic.

With the TV landscape fragmented like it is today I always find something worthwile watching, but it moved to
being a background noise, mostly. Within the last week I can only remember to have seen 3 things in full:
“Grand Designs Abroad”, “TV Coverage about toy manufacture in China vs. Germany”, “Adam’s Rib” with Spencer Tracy
and Catherine Hepburn.

As far as Top Gear is concerned. There was a German version for 2 Seasons, which wasn’t even called TG, but they
switched from immitation to broadcasting the original. Being the dumbf***s, they are, there are no subtitles but
lame dubbing. So I still watch it on Youtube as soon as a new episode is out…

Which brings me to another subject: MTV

Hasn’t MTV gone totally bizarre? I used to run it all day, but it has become an absolute nightmare. Today it is a weakly
disguised “p*rn” chanel for the braindead 15 year old, who is to dumb to find hardcore.
“Next”, “Date my Mom” → That’s all disgusting.

John Lennon once said TV was “Mind candy.” Well, today there is also " Mind Crack".


P.S: MTV will switch to being a pay Channel here in 2011. Will drop like stone, I tell you.

I watch Telemundo and Univision for the soap operas. They are awesome.

BTW, I don’t speak Spanish.

This thread started with:

Why do all of the good UK shows have to be changed to a US version. Are we really that xenophobic? Is everyone in the US really that stupid.

and then this:

I can’t understand what the UK version says… thick accents you know

Are you serious? You can’t understand this?

I don’t know. I agree that if you were to only watch the “good” shows, the US has actually pretty great programming.
Both the obvious HBO and SHO have good shows, most notably lately Boardwalk Empire, Bored to Death and Eastbound Down.

But then there is also AMC, with just amazing shows like Mad Men and my personal favorite Breaking Bad. They even started taking risks with the remake of the Prisoner, which actually was great but I am sure totally tanked in the ratings. Gutsy for a cable network.
I go to TV for entertainment, for news I stick to the fasted medium: interwebs and the nicest medium: the newspaper.

I have lived in quite a few countries but I have to say that I thought the German programming was by far the worst. Cheap, gossipy and with ridiculous unnecessary dubbing.

Oh also, I love the American Office but I heard Carrell is quitting?!

Tim, How’s HongKong TV when you lived there?

about the original question, it’s interesting that my wife is Canadian and has seen almost all the old British TV… probably a lot of the old French ones too. Less censorship or does Canada not want to pay for US licensing?