March 7 2011

BBC America is Forgetting its Roots

BBC America, once a bastion of British programming, seems to have completely lost track of its original intended purpose.

Last year I complained when it was announced that BBC America was going to start showing Star Trek: The Next Generation.  While I could somewhat grasp the concept as Patrick Stewart is a well respected British actor, but could someone explain to me why they are now also showing The X-Files in the afternoons?  Is there some British connection there that I’m unaware of?  (answer: “No.”)

Then lets take a look at some of the movies they’ve been airing as of late.  Apparently so long as a movie has a British (or Scottish) actor in it, it qualifies for airing on the channel.  The Untouchables?  The story of Elliot Ness that just happens to have Sean Connery in it?  The Hunt for Red October?  Same connection.  It’s getting a bit silly at this point when you consider how many British productions exist that they’ve never aired and yet we’re saddled with American productions you can see just about anywhere on a channel they aren’t made for.

This has become a problem not just limited to BBC America, however.  Could someone explain to me why the SyFy Channel now has a cooking show, Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen?  Don’t forget they also have WWE Smackdown on Friday nights.

I understand that channels may find their original formulas don’t work quite as well as they first thought they might, and then they need to retool, but to go this far afield of their intended purposes just seems wrong.  SyFy is a bit more forgivable than BBC America’s programming choices, but neither of them make a whole lot of sense to me.

And in case you are curious, yes, I have actually e-mailed BBC America to voice my displeasure instead of just venting here.  This used to be my favorite cable channel, but now I find myself turning to it  a lot less as I have no burning desire to watch American shows on a channel dedicated to British television.

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