The British sitcom writing team of Andrew Norriss and Richard Fegen had something of a mini-career in the 1980s of subverting the sitcom genre. British sitcoms had been somewhat dominated by farce, with unlikely coincidences, social embarrassment and unwritten rules of social behaviour the cliches that filled the genre.
Although best known for The Brittas Empire, which took all these concerns to their logical (and sometimes illogical) conclusions while simultaneously subverting them, Norriss and Fegen began undermining sitcoms first in 1984 on the then-new TV network Channel 4 with Chance in a Million. The show's premise was simple: you know all those coincidences and bizarre events that happen in sitcoms and drive the plots? Now imagine a man cursed with such bad luck that that's what his life is actually like. What would he be like? How would he cope? What sort of experiences would he have? Would he have a girlfriend? And how would she deal with it?
Starring Simon Callow and Brenda Blethyn, then just beginning their TV careers, Chance in a Million paradoxically saw more romantic mix-ups, rugby teams stuck down sewers, wedding rings catapulted into fires, cases of mistaken identity, bank errors and drug traffickers than any sitcom before and since, and is fondly remembered by almost everyone who saw it. Here's a trailer:
So this is it? The first new show of the New Year and this is what ABC throws at us? That's kind of like saying "Merry Christmas!" to someone and having bubonic plague pustules rubbed in your face as a reward. In fact, ABC should probably have to pay people to watch this, in part to afford the shots they'll need, such is its mesmerising, terrifying, pus-ridden awfulness.
Now, as mentioned last year, one of the big trends of the Fall 2011 season was "sitcoms that deal with the (alleged) difficulty of being a man in the 21st century". We started on a relative high note with How To Be A Gentleman, before slowly moving down through the various circles of Hell that were Last Man Standing and Man Up!. Now, though, like Dante, we have made it through to the ninth circle and we are staring into the three treacherous faces of Satan.
We have reached Work It.
Work It sees a bunch of unemployed men theorise that women 'have it all' in the modern job market, so to get jobs, they dress up as women. And watching it is like being deprived of God's love for 30 minutes, although it will feel like eternity.
It's that time of the month again: another issue of Wonder Woman is out, as is Justice League (which features Wonder Woman, obviously), so it's time for a double-review. This month, we learn what happens when Hera gets some shocking news and we learn what happens when Wonder Woman gets some shocking news (clue: they act very differently, and one of them goes to a concert); meanwhile in Justice League, Aquaman turns up. Whoopdy doo.
About the blog
A UK media blog focusing on the best scripted TV from around the world, with daily news, views, exclusive reviews and good conversation. There's a bit of a bias towards the latest and greatest US TV, but we also cover Scandinavian, Canadian, European and Antipodean TV, as well as UK TV ranging from new Doctor Who to old Z Cars, and BBC4 to S4C.
Add in film, theatre, art, books, events, competitions and even weekly reviews of Wonder Woman comics, and you've (hopefully) got officially the fourth best blog on the web for media lovers. Oh yes, and there's The Barrometer, the ultimate guide to quality TV.
Praise for the blog Cision: fourth most important UK TV blog Blogging Edge: Blogger running Britain 2013
"For most of us watching the telly of an evening is a way to wind down and relax, but for Rob Buckley it’s his blogging bread and butter. With reviews of cult classics and up and coming US and Brit television shows, The Medium is Not Enough is fast becoming essential reading for TV buffs, with over 50,000 hits a month."
"The Medium Is Not Enough is a light-hearted look at TV, often from the US, but also from the UK. With varied, well-written content, the blog features healthy engagement and features well in search engines."
"Billing itself as 'officially the fourth most popular UK TV blog', there are several whimsical regulars here that could help it climb as high as number three…"
I'm Rob Buckley, a freelance journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of, although you might have heard me on Radio 5 Live's Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I've edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for trade magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider and the equally short-lived Death Ray and Filmstar magazines; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it "web site for urban hedonists" The Tribe. I'm freelance now and have contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network and TV Scoop.