I’m not a big fan of television serials, as a general rule. There was a period of several years in which I never watched a single minute of sitcom. Not counting animated shows, anyway. Over the last few years the cartoons have been able to go where no live show dares. Which isn’t saying much.
As I write this I’m sitting in Pizzeria Roma, an old haunt of mine (the black hole by the oven is still working). They have a plasma TV now, showing network programming without sound. A crime drama just concluded, and it confirmed what I have come to suspect for a long time: There’s a lot of crap coming out of Los Angeles and New York, but the worst television in the world is made in Germany.
Maybe I should qualify the title a bit. This is about the world’s worst writing that people actually get paid for (regularly!). There’s plenty of truly awful writing published on the Web and in vanity press.
The Czechs have Ulice (rhymes with “street”), and old-school low-budget urban soap opera, and they have “Kriminalka: Anděl” (rhymes with “CSI: Prague neighborhood” – Anděl means angel which adds a nice nuance to the title). I am told that this show is actually pretty good if you’re into the whole CSI thing. It might just be national pride, but the locals tell me that the show makes up for a smaller budget with writing and acting. I know the one time I watched it without sound, I found it far less silly than the American franchise that inspired it.
Then there are the German shows. After a while they’re easy to spot. And when it comes to bad, they have taken sucking to a whole new level that American television can only dream of. I know that’s hard to believe, given the state of American TV, but the writing in the German shows is so bad it is a shining beacon of suck even with the sound turned off. (Worth noting here is that I’ve never seen a Chinese television serial. They might be worse.)
The other night I was laughing out loud at the action in a German detective drama featuring a dog. (There is another that features a helicopter, and so forth. In every case the show is constructed so we can say “yay dog!” or “yay helicopter!”) One of the many Toma