Cable television (or satellite, but for convenience’s sake I’ll be referring to any alternate delivery system as “cable” herein) is a good thing. The plethora of channels that exist allow for an incredible amount niche programming, and an incredible amount of good (if poorly sampled) television.
Take, for example, the case of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace. “Completely absurd” doesn’t begin to describe the show, although “absolutely hysterical” does. For those of you that haven’t seen it, the premise is that this series was filmed back in the early ‘80s and that the British government pulled the plug. But, in a desperate attempt to salvage British television as a whole it will now be aired. The production values for the series are incredibly low, but allegedly purposely so. The numerous jump cuts, awkward angles, cheap special effects, and bad dialogue are, allegedly purposeful. Of course, if you’re going for making bad television (and they are), any mistake you can pretend was a purposeful error. It’s actually genius.
Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace actually aired in 2004 in England, and has finally made it to American television now. Thank goodness for a myriad of cable channels looking to fill holes in their schedule (though this is on Sci Fi, which is going quite strongly now), otherwise this sort of show might never have hopped across the pond.
As an aside, it strikes me that I have commented a lot on various science fiction programming. I would like to be clear that this is not the only sort of show that I watch, it’s just what happens to be on during the summer. Well, there are also American Idol wannabe shows strewn across every network, but as I have trouble watching an episode of the original I just can’t bring myself to watch some poor knockoff. So, between that and my television addiction I find myself looking for original programming and it just so happens the Eureka, The 4400 and Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace all fit that bill. Hell’s Kitchen and Treasure Hunters are still on my scope (as are Monk and Psych). But recently it’s been these other shows that have made me go “hmmmmm….”