Why aren’t documentaries good any more?

The Youtube thing on my XBox thing went wrong, so instead of watching funny cat videos while I ironed, I loaded up the BBC iPlayer thing and looked for some documentaries. Against my better judgement, I went back to BBC veteran series “Horizon”, and a programme titled “How small is the Universe”? But sadly, it was business as usual.

I remember the good old days (uh oh) when as a nerdy teen/pre-teen I watched all sorts of documentaries, usually about space, and they were GOOD. Maybe science is the problem. Back then, cutting edge science was satellites to Jupiter, or asteroids, or some crap about DNA. It was simple enough to visualise so they could just cut straight to the learning stuff.

These days that’s a bit old hat, and they want to seem as smart as possible, but there are two drawbacks. One, smart stuff is hard, and there are more stupid people watching TV than smart people. Two, the smartest stuff is all theory and difficult to visualise, forcing the producers to bring it alive with enthusiastic scientists making condescendingly simplistic analogies to describe these ideas.

“How small is the universe” was all about the smallest particles known to science: quarks, muons, gluons, Higgs bosons etc. Cue a tiring array of visualisations of how small things are in terms of numbers so incomprehensibly big/small that they are rendered useless. The commentator didn’t have much to add, and tried to ham things up as much as possible, and unhelpfully hammered home the idea that at the sub-atomic level things get “very strange”.

I endured licence-fee-gobbling trips all around the world, including to Switzerland (ok fair enough, CERN is there) to DROP A CLOCK OFF A TOWER to describe proton collisions. It just makes me so annoyed. BBC Four is better, nobody watches that so they can make whatever they like.

Just don’t even start with award-winning stoner Brian Cox, just don’t even START. Travelling to the Arctic to see the Northern Lights, he got that boring bit about cosmic radiation hitting the ionosphere out of the way, so he could describe it as looking like “spirits going up to heaven”. AWFUL!

I’m going to go and read a book out of protest. Or play Angry Birds, whatever.

God I hate this show. How many scientific principles does he need to explain with a stick and some sand?



Filed under Talking rubbish again

13 responses to “Why aren’t documentaries good any more?

  1. The inclusion of Professor Brian Cocksucker to any TV programme precludes me from watching it. *gazes wistfully into the distance* That man doesn’t have an ounce of charisma and I find his tone incredibly patronising. The masses don’t want to know about string theory and those of us that do have done enough research on the subject not to need patronising little analogies about baked bean tins and double-decker buses.

  2. Dinlo

    There are some great documentaries about, but Brian ‘face of hate’ Cox doesn’t present any of them. I’m not a fan of space and physics and stuff, but history is right up my street. The WONDERFUL Mary Beard’s series Meet the Romans was great, as was Bettany Hughes’ Divine Women. Basically, anything with a QoL talking about old stuff.

  3. joeblue

    Erm.. Talking about bbc and crap docs’ what do u think of their feeble new comedy attemps? Any views anybody?

    • Ack… any in mind? I stick to the panel shows mainly (QI, HIGNFY, Mock the week)

      I think the ten years of My Family were a bit of a red flag for me

      • Nothing wrong with the panel shows you mentioned,hignfy is brill, i was thinking of some lame sitcoms type things, will have to get back to you on their names. Also is top gear past its sell by date?

      • Must say I had steered clear. Did try to watch Miranda a few weeks ago but just did NOT get it. Sitcoms can work, but I think at the moment we either have sickly family sitcoms or really off-the-wall comedies.

        The Americans do it better on that front I think. I loved Friends, and these days 30 Rock is one of my favourite shows.

        I wasn’t ever really into cars, but I’ve had to sit through a lot of Top Gear. Too blokey for me, but I can at least see why people like it.

        Good luck with your fledgling blog by the way!

      • Dinlo

        Mrs Brown’s Boys actually BEGGARS BELIEF. Just Google it.

  4. Yeah my first blog should be about unwatchable tv! Was thinking of miranda as an example, now its on primetime!! I tried it last night and wanted to boot my tv in! Dire. My vote goes to bad education a very poor copy of teachers from chan4 i think. Brill stuff i like includes friends, the inbetweeners,greenwing(remember that?). Family guy from america is unmissable. How do they get away with it?

    • Oh haven’t seen Bad Education, can’t say the advert looked too good! Need to get that Teachers box set, every time I watched it I felt like I wanted to be a teacher. What a terrible reason to train to teach 😀

      Never really like Green Wing but in fairness I didn’t give it much of a chance. Gone off Family Guy a bit, but haven’t seen the recent stuff so maybe I’d like it again! I do love Futurama, but I think that’s lost its way a bit.

  5. Reply on my new blog: trying to do it via mobile and i aint supersavvy on the new tech so i’m struggling a bit at the moment. Thanks for all your comments and reply’s.

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