Wednesday, January 05, 2005

A long delayed entry for number 5

... and it's Oz, probably the finest TV show ever made, certainly the best drama. It make's it into the best of 2004 mainly because I bought it on R1 DVD in Febuary. Oh Channel 4 sneaked it onto TV a couple of weeks ago, but that doesn't count. After recieving excellent reviews, and pretty decent rating IIRC, Channal 4 in it's ultimate wisdom started showing later series at later times and didn't even bother advertising that the 2nd series was even coming on. This terrible treatment denegerated to the point the series 5 was shown at 3 in the morning in December and Channel 4 even forgot to advertise that 3 episodes were running back to back to back, so viewers who set their VCR's for 2 episodes (like us) actually missed a middle episode of the series. After looking at the TV guide Rebecca and I realised that an episode was missing but could find no sign of it on Teletext. On Channel 4's forum they apparently offer a very half hearted apology. Still, instead of attacking Channel 4 for appalling scheduling, failing to promote a great show and squeezing an entire series into a week at some Godforsaken time of the morning, I shall tell you a little about the show. Oz is short for Oswald Maximum Penitentiary and follows the day to day lives of the inmates. This is not a worthy show, this is a hard hitting, blackly funny, shockingly violent unflinching soap opera of a ride. Any show that features one of the characters getting head from another guy and then breaking the neck when he comes is worth a look as far as I'm concerned. But it's not all naked men, rape, grisly death and violence, Oz is so compelling because it never lets you forget that these men are not very nice (everyone is OZ is guilty, even the one's who really don't deserve to be there) and yet still makes you care for them. You may hate a character but when he meets his end (and there's a seriously high mortality rate in OZ) it'll be so horrible that you'll wonder if he really deserved what he got. One of the other great things about OZ is that it changes, and that's why it reminds me of a soap. Most dramas feature characters that slowly develop with occassional serious changes if something drastic happens to them. In Oz, by it's very nature, people go through radical changes because something drastic is happening to them every 5 minutes. So like a soap characters can go through some absurd changes but because it makes sense in OZ you get all the fun of seeing a character go through all sorts of amazing changes without it seeming inconsistant or effecting the logic of the story. Oz is finished now after winning lots of awards and viewres in America, shame Channel 4 were too gutless to give it the respect it deserved over here in the UK.


Danny said...

Channel 4, frankly, lost their teeth a long time ago. Their weeknight scheduling is now basically ITV with A-Levels... Either that or they butcher a decent show cos it's not suitable for the Dawson's Creek slotthen flog it to Five.

Good call on Oz, though. Thanks to Ch4 I've not seen as much as I'd like to of it. To be honest I started watching to see just how nasty it was, and I was very very surprised to see that it's genuinely a brilliant and innovative drama series. Pretty much the best of the HBO series (although Carnivale looks intriguing - no sign of it on terrestrial yet...)

Danny said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.