The Problem With Sky+ / Ashes to Ashes

One of the biggest problems with Sky+ is that I watch TV programmes at least two days after they’ve been aired. So I can’t really comment on my blog, or chat at work about what’s been good on the telly. The big advantage though, is that I always have something to watch that I know I will enjoy.

I watch somewhere in the region of 5-10 hours of TV a week, but Sky+ means I can chop out adverts, which in some programs can cut down dramatically the running time. Take five‘s “Fifth Gear“: that’s got three advert breaks (at least), some crap bits (like where they advertise their website), and that increasingly-common trait of programs to add a “coming up soon” bit just before an ad break for those with an exceptionally-short attention span. We can therefore cut down a one hour program to about 35 minutes. Even “Match of the Day” is unnecessarily long and you can skip through Alan Hansen twittering on about “a good soild defence”, or She-ra fumbling for cliches while watching his black and white team plummeting through the league.

Bearing the above in mind, I needed to do a spot of ironing last night and wanted something on the TV while I worked. I am, however, known to do some really stupid things, so waving a heated plate around while concentrating on the telly isn’t a good idea: I need something I can visually dip in and out of. Here were my options:

  • The Great Escape – I didn’t even contemplate starting to watch this – maybe when I next get a week to myself? I recorded it at Christmas; I know people moan that it’s on every Christmas, but that’s because it’s a cracking film
  • Snakes on a Plane – Not yet seen this, but I wasn’t in the mood for something so silly
  • Life in Cold Blood – Attenborough may be a fine commentator on wildlife, but I want to be able to see the animals as well as hear about them
  • Mythbusters – again, a very visual program (plus the disadvantage that you need to skip through the adverts)
  • Ashes to Ashes – the “Life on Mars” spin-off, which won pretty-much by default

Now “Ashes to Ashes” is expectedly toss. Last night I watched episode two (of eight), which is reasonable grounds to decide on how the rest of the series will pan out. Lacking imagination in it’s conception and with some really shoddy-looking camerawork it misses benchmark of “Life on Mars” by quite a long way. For those who haven’t bothered, the structure is identical, just with some small amounts of window-dressing changed. There’s even the owner of the Italian restaurant they frequent after work (to replace the barman from the pub in the 70’s version).

I’ll still watch it though, because it’s entertainingly tongue-in-cheek.