Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Talking German TV

I noted in German entertainment news....there's a TV project working its way around on RTL (commercial network).  RTL tends to run through an odd group of themes.....mostly aimed at the fifteen-to-forty year old TV viewer.  Reality shows, crime action dramas, and bold-faced comedies usually prevail.

The newest attempt?  A women's prison series, done in the humorous sort of way.  They've signed up the cast and everyone thought this was on the fast track, and yesterday....RTL had to admit that they slowed down the project because they can't find a prison-like place to film the TV show.

You'd think.....with various prisons out there.....some accommodations might be reached with areas "rented".  But that's not the case.  

All of this brings me around to the topic of formulas that work on German TV, and those which don't.  About seven years ago....RTL got the urge to do a science-fiction series on the light side.  The idea was....this journalist had developed some ability to go back one hour in time.....so they could dig into the entire story and have a through story written for the newspaper.  No one says much over the piece these days except the package was developed, filmed, and delivered.  It was never shown.

Yep, the dozen-odd episodes simply went onto a shelf and sits there today.  From the idea creation period, to the point when the executives looked over the end-result.....it just wouldn't work with German consumers.

Science-fiction pieces just aren't developed for German TV.  It's true for both state-run and commercially-run networks.  Over the past forty-odd years, there's been one short-lived Star Trek-like show.  Creation ideas like "V", or Mork, or Stargate, or Twilight Zone, or Doctor Who, or Fallen Skies, or Warehouse 13?  It's impossible to work with the German public because they are mostly realistic in the views of the world.

In Germany, there aren't aliens, UFOs, Bigfoot, or Loch Ness Sea Monsters.  There's an occasional episode with crop circles.....but German's don't really buy into this kind of stuff.  German intellectuals scoff at anything like this, and it all fades quickly out of the picture.

So the TV production crowd is limited to cop shows, reality TV, lesbian prison theme, comedy shows on school teachers, game shows, political chat shows, and cooking shows.

The success of Arrow, Stargate, and Doctor Who on German TV?  I suspect the German TV management crowd would just grin and say that they don't have the enthusiasm or drive to write this type of material and gamble big bucks on some weird idea of a nutty alien who lands and refers to himself as Alf or Mork.  But they are willing to pay for the German rights to broadcast the successful US shows like these.

So, prepare yourself for the summer of 2015, when the German women's prison comedy series finally arrives.....if they can find the right landscape to film it.

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