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March 09, 2006


Today I was musing about the recent TV series, "Lost," which was produced in America and shown on Channel 4. I was slightly irked by the adverts on Lost, which were always placed in silly places. Each episode would start with a summary of previous ones, and the broadcaster would often follow this up with adverts, even though the programme had only started two minutes before, and the opening credits hadn't yet appeared.

The amusing thing is that Lost is an American drama. It's designed for adverts. When watching it, you could pick up where the adverts were meant to go. Routinely the tension would build up, then it would all fade to black, before fading back in at more or less the same point.

This also reminded me of watching Star Trek on the BBC. It came as a shock to realise that episodes were an hour long on Sky, instead of the usual 45 minutes. But all the telltale signs were there, each little moment of building music, before the plot stopped and went somewhere else.

I think this is quite a good feature of your average TV programme. You get bite-sized chunks of action, with the tension building up repeatedly. It also unwinds rather naturally. I'm not endorsing adverts at all, but am saying that perhaps programmes designed for adverts are a little easier on the mind to watch. Everything falls in bite-sized chunks.

I might even go so far as to point out the recent success of American drama over here, and suggest a correlation.


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