Last week, as you may or may not recall, I wrote that I was all excited about the BBC America show Dragons' Den. Last night, I was less excited. I'm not going to say “far less excited,” just less excited.
Good question, let's talk.
There were two main problems with last night's show. The first was that the voiceover led the story far too often. That was the small problem. The big one was that the ideas that the various entrepreneurs had were horrific.
So, this voiceover problem… I appreciate the fact that the producers are trying to piece together a really, really long meeting into a short little snippet. They have to condense what took place and yet keep it all clear. Hence, the use of an announcer. Sure, it totally makes sense, it's the standard thing to do. Heck, it's not even a bad idea. The problem is that all too often last night, the announcer informed us what was going to happen immediately before it did. Things like (and this is not a direct quote) “our foolish entrepreneur with his horrific idea just lost one dragon, and now another is going to drop out.”
The next thing that happens? A dragon looks at the foolish entrepreneur and says something like “I'm out.” Well, okay, I'd be out too if someone showed me a couple of bits of plastic on a key ring that steady wobbly tables and asked me to give him 87,000 pounds. The problem is that as a viewer, I don't need and I don't want the announcer to tell me what is going to happen and then to have to watch what's going to happen. It makes the show a wee bit repetitive and a wee bit boring. I'd ask them to stop doing it, but I'm sure that all the episodes already exist in their final form.
We just touched on it a little, but let's delve into problem number two, yes? That bit in the pretend quote above wasn't fake – a guy came to the dragons with a little ring of plastic tabs (kind of like mini-paint chips) and explained that he wanted to manufacture them and sell them to people to put under the legs of wobbly tables at a restaurant, or bar, or hotel. Yeah, he wanted 87,000 pounds for that because he was convinced with that money he could actually convince people that this was a worthwhile thing to purchase. Thank goodness one of the dragons was quite clear that cardboard coasters exist for exactly that reason.
Some of the other ideas were equally poor and some of the other entrepreneurs even more odd. One guy had this idea for this personal aircraft thing. He said that they could be sold, one assumes at a profit, for 75,000 pounds. They were this weird looking helicopter-airplane combo thing. He said that he'd applied for the patents, but he still refused to talk about the way the engines were built (if he'd applied for the patents he could discuss it without fear of it being stolen). He then refused to talk about why he refused to talk about it. There was something more than a little fishy about it and he scared all the investors away.
While that guy was weird, he was no match for the two guys who wanted to sell their web software idea when they didn't own the program code and didn't have anyone on their team that could write code. Sure, they had permission to use the software they needed, but surely they had to have someone on their team that could handle the software.
There were good bits of the show, too; some of the entrepreneurs weren't crazy and it's fun to watch the dragons try and get deals done, but they were overshadowed this week. Sigh. Maybe next week will go better.
And, yes, to answer your next question, I watched Burn Notice too, and that show I really enjoy. It's just good fun to watch. It seems to both honor and subvert the great spy movies. It's well-acted and Michael's voiceover just can't be beat (see, Dragons' Den, that's how you do good voiceover). Plus, it does a solid job of handling the single episode stories and the season long arc.
Maybe we'll discuss it more next week, because I feel your attention wavering. But you should definitely be watching, you won't regret it.