My wife and I were having an interesting discussion the other night, so I quickly turned on the TV and we both breathed a sigh of relief. After what seemed an age of the TV shouting at us and trying to sell us stuff A Current Affair finally went to a commercial break and the summer promos started.

After you've finished peeling those prawns you must tap-dance across to the cold room where you much then solve the murder of the person whose mutilated body is hanging on a meat hook…

One thing about summer programming is that it’s much less predictable than regular programming. You can easily stumble across a viewing of 1988’s Coming To America and not see it repeated until at least the following week.

Summer programming also involves lots of promos with slow motion and the word “DRAMA” appearing in bold graphics every so often to remind you not to laugh. As I was sitting there watching the word DRAMA slowly move toward me, I realised I’d seen pretty much all these shows before. Re-imagined, re-booted, re-told, re-whatever, they are all old shows that are now being sold as new. Channel 7 has even re-booted the tennis again.

It’s easy to pitch a new TV show. Ready? Sherlock Holmes but New York. See? Let’s try again. Law and Order but somewhere else. You just take an existing program and change it a little, but not too much so as to ruin the precious formula.

All the above TV shows actually exist and I like to imagine they were pitched to network executives exactly as I have just done. If a modern day Sherlock Holmes is possible then there’s no reason we can’t have Mulder and Scully but in Victorian-era London and Scully is a man. I call it X Files: London Victorian Era but Scully is a Man.

I’m not surprised at the lack of originality. Conservative business and television have long been associated with one another. I’m just worried that before long TV will become one big mash-up of previous successful shows, re-booted and re-imagined into one single show in which Matt Preston has to solve crimes using forensic science and an expert panel of superheroes.

Yet, there is still hope for original programming and with that in mind, if there are any television executives reading this I would like to pitch some ideas for what I think will be some of the most original and groundbreaking television ever made.

Underbelly: Misdemeanor

A family man refuses to pay a parking ticket and is issued with a $2500 fine. After claiming he lost the BPAY details he is forced to set up a payment plan on top of the infringement notice. This causes tension within the home.

The Joey Theory

Joey from Friends moves next door to two socially awkward physicists. Noticing that the physicists only ever hang out with their other two nerdy friends, mainly playing video games and reading comic books, Joey makes it his goal to show them how to pick up girls and take party drugs. In Season 2 Joey’s friend Chandler moves in.

So You Wanna Be Somebody Else?

A panel of judges consisting of Keith Urban, Paris Hilton and Pauly Shore oversee a series of auditions of some of the world’s most boring and untalented people in search of earth’s most worthless individual. The lucky winner will undergo extensive plastic surgery, a series of electric shock therapies, hormone replacement therapy, experimental medication and piano lessons that will change their life and who they are forever.


Set in East Berlin in the 1980’s, ex-professional football player and wisecrack Sam Mueller manages a bar in the city. It revolves around Sam’s on-again-off-again relationships with the waitresses and follows the lives of the regulars that drink at the bar, affectionately known as the place where everybody knows your name (because they are all KGB).

M*A*S*H #4078

Just like the original but Radar is a woman, Korea is Afghanistan.

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    • SAm says:

      05:48am | 08/01/13

      There is actually some good TV finally, however non of it is Australian. We just seem to want to churn out pathetic ‘reality’ contests and boring cop dramas.
      Cant see us doing anything like Game of Thrones (even if we had the budget)

    • subotic says:

      10:27am | 08/01/13

      Can’t wait for the new “Rat Bastards” on Mate.

      Even the promo is absolutely awesome -

      “Take that, y’sona m’bitch” ~ 3-toothed, overweight, bearded swamp hill-billy killing a 4 foot monster-fanged rat

    • colroe says:

      12:15pm | 08/01/13

      Also the boring cooking shows!!!  Who watches these?

    • yeah-no says:

      05:46pm | 08/01/13

      ABC is running a British comedy series ‘Rev’ on Sunday nights featuring a drinking, swearing vicar. One seen he,s in bed with his wife discussing her c—t muscles. No kidding. ‘Worth a look ’ as they say.

    • andy says:

      05:50am | 08/01/13

      I would watch The Joey Theory….

    • Ross says:

      01:23pm | 08/01/13

      I’ll Vote for the Joey Theory as well…

    • ramases says:

      06:09am | 08/01/13

      TV, the Valium of the masses with a plethora of shows designed to numb the brain and turn perfectly sane people into gibbering wrecks at the touch of a remote.
        Reality shows that are so awful and mind numbingly stupid they must plug them every five minutes until the brain is so conditioned that people automatically turn them on and sit there as their brain cells died at an alarming rate and all in the name of entertainment.
        And don’t even think about cable TV where the worst of the worst is actually paid for complete with the mindless adds that accompany them. Shows so awful and contrite that even viewing the promos has a tendency to make one’s eyes start to glaze and only swift action by turning the TV off will save a person from permanent brain damage.

    • Colin says:

      09:02am | 08/01/13

      @ ramases

      “...shows so awful and contrite…”

      Hey? Shows that have feelings of remorse or are affected by guilt..?

      I mean, sure, I would feel guilty about foisting some of that crud on the public if I was a producer, but I think you may well have a misunderstanding of the word, ‘Contrite’...

    • Michael says:

      11:17am | 08/01/13


    • Colin says:

      12:30pm | 08/01/13

      @ Michael


      Yes, that would fit. May even be the element that makes sense of ramarses try-too-hard-to-use-big-words-but-fail-miserably diatribe too. wink

    • JP says:

      01:34pm | 08/01/13

      @Colin, @Michael

      I think he meant ‘trite’ (?), as in overused and consequently lacking importance, originality or freshness.

    • Mouse says:

      06:33am | 08/01/13

      Seamus, your program suggestions actually sound better than what’s on TV now, so let’s hope the TV execs take note!!  LOL :o)

    • Fred says:

      06:47am | 08/01/13

      This article lost all cred when the author admitted watching a current affair.
      Even the single celled organisms that reside at taronga zoo know ACA and Tracey Rickshaw are complete shonks chasing ambulances for a living.

    • Cherry Gripe says:

      09:40am | 08/01/13

      You know, Fred, I believe that just might be what’s known as a comic device. You know, pretending you watch a horrible show just so you can make fun of it?

    • Economist says:

      07:02am | 08/01/13

      Solution! Put ..... a…... bird ..... on Put a bird on it! TV crime drama not doing so well, put a bird on it. ‘Panel TV show needs that extra personality, put a bird on it. Stop .... imagine Underbelly put a bird on it.

      Seriously though have you ever thought the problem is you! That your humour is too sophisticated, your appetite for drama more real than what is popular more broadly.  Because there is plenty of great TV , it’s just that the rest of the world is full of ignoramuses that prefer sexist, pointless violence. I give you two and half men, the Big Bang Theory every god damn CSI, NCIS or some other useless acronym. They rate well, whereas Portlandia on ABC no. Archer, ABC no. Great BBC documentaries on ABC no, no ratings for you.

      The best shows are the least popular show. QI, Community, Chuck, The Office US, American Horror Story, Sons of Anarchy, etc. You can also watch Star Trek re-runs.

      What I hate doing, but find I do it anyway, is watch a movie on TV that is in your DVD collection. Why?

      PS. Put a bird on it is not a sexist term, or misogynist? Though I do look intelligent good looking women on the giggle box.

    • Sickemrex says:

      06:24pm | 08/01/13

      Mmm, Star Trek re-runs…

    • Al says:

      07:30am | 08/01/13

      Free to Air TV.
      In my opinion the vast majority of these shows are designed to get your brain into a suggestible (or near comotose) state so that the advertsing can be more effective and the channel can charge more for their advertising.
      Free to Air TV = advertising delivery system with the occasional piece of non-product specific mind numbing rubbish.
      Fortunately I have a huge DVD/Blu-ray collection and a HDD recorder so if there is something on I think I might like I just record it while watching one of my discs and return later and skip through the ads (or simply delete it when I discover oh, another bad remake of XXXXXXX or similar rubbish).

    • Schmavo says:

      07:35am | 08/01/13

      Here’s another one for the pitch: “So You Think You Can Walk” Contestants vie to be the most annoying walker on the streets, in shopping centre’s, getting on and off public transport, supermarkets. Extra points are awarded for random walk rage and causing a massive hold up for no apparent reason. the more incosiderate to other walkers, the higher degree of difficulty.

    • Tubesteak says:

      07:40am | 08/01/13

      You can find plenty of shows to watch if you download them from the US and UK. But they’re mainly on cable TV over there.

      I didn’t know there were 6 new episodes of Red Dwarf released late last year. Just as hilarious as when they were at their best. 3 hours of some good chortling.

      Then there’s Dexter, The Walking Dead, True Blood, Breaking Bad, Supernatural, American Horror Story, Vampire Diaries (Shut up! Dobrey is a stunner!), Two and a Hlaf Men (yeah it’s not that good now that the legendary Charlie Harper is gone but you have to see how it ends even if it’s a slow painful death). I got something about trains that I noticed was on ABC2 last night so I’ll get into that, soon. There’s stuff I have never seen but I’m pretty sure is good, like Sons of Anarchy.

      Just avoid Australian commercial networks like the plague unless it’s 9 showing the cricket.

      The Joey Theory: I always thought The Big Bang Theory needed a Barney Stinson character to teach them how to man-up and live

    • Al says:

      07:56am | 08/01/13

      Tubesteak - re: Red Dwarf, you could actualy just go to your nearest ABC shop (or perhaps other shops carrying DVDs etc) and buy the new Red Dwarf episodes.
      A good addition to the collection, although there were some continuity issues with some of the storylines they are still good.

    • Tubesteak says:

      08:38am | 08/01/13

      I did not know they were for sale. Only knew they existed when I got my brother’s external HDD. Considering the last one aired in Decenber 2012 I would not have assumed they would be for sale here yet

    • Al says:

      09:29am | 08/01/13

      Tubesteak - yeah, I was alittle surprised they were released so soon as well.
      I only caught (recorded) the last one on TV and saw at the end being promoted as being available at ABC shops, went and had a look and added it to my collection.
      There are also some good extras that show some stuff not realy identifiable in the shows such as the different recording style of these shows, but don’t want to spoil any of it for you so I won’t give details.

    • Al says:

      09:38am | 08/01/13

      Tubesteak - nearly forgot, don’t get confused with it being called ‘series X’ despite only being the 9th series, the count the movie Red Dwarf: Back to Earth as series IX (despite it not being a series).
      I was a little confused about this untill I did some research (I thought I was missing a series!)

    • Troy Flynn says:

      09:42am | 08/01/13

      I just wish UK TV believed in creating a series that has more than 6 episodes a season in it.
      And yes, Red Dwarf X was awesome, a vast inprovement on the crappyness of Season 9. Loved the episode “Lemons”.

    • Wayne Kerr says:

      10:52am | 08/01/13

      “I just wish UK TV believed in creating a series that has more than 6 episodes a season in it.”

      @Troy, thats one of the things I love about UK shows. The small number of episodes give you more quality than the long drawn out US series which have more “filler than killer”, if you know what I mean.

    • Tubesteak says:

      11:05am | 08/01/13

      I didn’t know they showed it in Australia! That means it would had to have been fast-tracked. I completely missed them on FTA.
      I know they are season 9 but they are billing them as X. tells us what we need to know. The movie was pretty average. Only one good joke for each episode. But these ones were great. I like the one about Fathers and Suns

    • RH says:

      11:52am | 08/01/13

      Anyone pointing out continuity issues in the new Red Dwdarf has not really watched all of the old series properly.  The whole thing is a continuity issue.  But that was part of it’s charm.

    • Al says:

      12:21pm | 08/01/13

      RH - there were the planned continuity issues that fit the storyline, and then there are the unplanned ones that have nothing to do with the storyline.
      There is a big difference.
      I don’t realy expect it to have seamless continuity, but when a fact has been established previously and is then changed simply to fit a new episode with no incident to create or explain it that is simply bad storytelling.

    • Cobbler says:

      12:39pm | 08/01/13

      Tubesteak says “there’s Dexter, The Walking Dead, True Blood, Breaking Bad, Supernatural, American Horror Story, Vampire Diaries “

      While I agree these are great shows (well actually Supernatural is meh and I wouldn’t be caught dead watching Vampire diaries) one has to remember that they are not on all the time and you can almost quote the same lineup for the past 5 years.

      Others worth mentioning:

      - Game of Thrones
      - Sons of Anarchy
      - Falling Skies
      - Revolution
      - Archer
      - The Venture Brothers (I’d understand if most haven’t seen the last 2)

      However, almost all of these are exclusively on pay-tv and you need almost every package to cover them off.  No thanks.

    • Tubesteak says:

      01:32pm | 08/01/13

      Supernatural isn’t brilliant but worth watching.
      Vampire Diaries just has a bunch of hot chicks in it which makes it occasionally worth it. Story is a bit lame but I’d watch the hell out of Nina Dobrey
      Agree with your list, too. Annoyed that I missed GoT and Mad Men in my original list. Was recommended to ignore the cracked article about Revolution and give it a try.
      I download everything. Not paying for Foxtel.
      It’s a message I’m sending to US distribution companies and TV stations. There’s a market here if you’re willing to step out of the anachronistic business model. I’d pay $1 per episode if I could download it straight after it aired in the US from their website if they removed region bans etc.

    • Cry in my Gin says:

      02:15pm | 08/01/13

      Anyone for toast…...

    • Wayne Kerr says:

      02:23pm | 08/01/13

      I’ve tried watching Revolution and I think the show is quite lame so have stoppped watching it.  I agree with the majority of Tubesteak’s and Cobbler’s choices.

    • Spite says:

      07:43am | 08/01/13

      Breaking Bad. That’s all.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      08:22am | 08/01/13

      How true!
      Practically all Free-to-Air (FTA) TV programmes are & have been ever since all those new channels opened up & despite the bleating by the FTA people, are repeats of repeats of repeats and that includes ABC-TV that is when they slip a programme in between their continual self-promoting Advertisements. Doesn’t Aunty ABC realise that most of her viewers are of the rusted-on variety? If she is after New Viewers why doesn’t she do her Advertising on the real Commercial stations whom, we are told, are desperate for advertisers!

    • Al says:

      12:24pm | 08/01/13

      The ones that realy annoy me are those that are promoted as ‘new episodes’ when they are not, they are repeat episodes that were previously shown on another channel.

    • chuck says:

      08:26am | 08/01/13

      With so many coking shows you would think that Australians could cook. Obviously slow learners or had been put to sleep during the ingredient addition portion shown. Commercial Australian TV is appalling and the so called US comedy offerings are on a par with the cooking shows.
      I like the idea of nude weather presenters -preferably the Japanese variety. Sushi all round during the commercials.

    • Sundress In Sydney says:

      01:57pm | 08/01/13

      Do you think all the ‘coking’ shows has something to do with the increase of bikie wars?

    • sunny says:

      08:37am | 08/01/13

      Look out Taliban, we’re sending in Hot Lips Houlihan.

    • Gerry Ward says:

      08:39am | 08/01/13

      Commercial TV channels has excelled in killing TV which used to be for entertainment and relaxation. 50% advertising/promo’s, 35% repeats, 15% new programs of which 50% is fattie and cooking shows. Well done NOT 9 7 10 TV channels.

    • Klak says:

      08:44am | 08/01/13

      That new Sherlock theyre flogging is probably the most cringeworthy of the lot…
      Woah he’s in America! With a sleeve tattoo! And Watson’s a woman! Edgy!
      I like Robert Downey jnr and still won’t watch his Sherlock movies.

      Give up America, Cumberbatch is Sherlock.

    • Sundress in Sydney says:

      09:30am | 08/01/13

      @klak.  Why do they continue to do these stupid things?  It is like the Miss Marple stories by Agatha Christie.  Every movie from her books had to be “edgy” with lesbians or adultererous vicars or whatever.  Nothing at all like the books.  Why not just invent a new character?  Mind you the Poirot series was faithful.  But on topic again, I would never watch the new Sherlock tripe.  It is NOT Holmes, it is some pony-tailed PC wannabe’s wet dream.  Stick to DVD’s is my advice.  Mind you, I must admit to being partial to the Law and Order series, but we all have issues eh?

    • che says:

      11:16am | 08/01/13

      I love Robert Downey but those sherlock movies are shockingly bad. They have tried to turn him into some sort of turn of the century english high-kicking ninja. So crap.

    • egg says:

      09:13am | 08/01/13

      Breaking Bad, Dexter, Sons of Anarchy, The Newsroom, Community (sixseasonsandamovie)... there is awesome stuff out there, if you stop expecting it to be on Australian TV and find it yourself.

    • George says:

      09:19am | 08/01/13

      I look forward to the new “we’re a bunch of inner city hipsters who live in million dollar terraces playing some boring game whilst making lame vaguely political jokes” show on channel 2. They’ll call someone in the world a racist or a misogynist at least 1 in every 3 shows to give the impression their audience are really deep and original thinkers.

      Oh, that’s right, they’re bringing back Spicks and Specks I think.

    • Belinda says:

      09:45am | 08/01/13

      Thank you. You’ve made my day. I’d watch them all.

    • Rapscallion says:

      11:22am | 08/01/13

      Get yourself a VPN. Watch Hulu in the US. BBC,4OD in the UK. Problem solved.

    • Benevolent Rapscallion says:

      12:58pm | 08/01/13

      I finally got around to buying a set top box in January 2012. Don’t know why I bothered because instead of 5 stations full of crap I now have 16 stations full of crap. A friend advised that there is always plenty of crap at this time of year and when the ratings period begins the programming will improve. Sadly, I was unable to pinpoint when the ratings period began. I don’t think we had one in the first half of 2012. I haven’t bothered watching my tv since.

    • T says:

      01:13pm | 08/01/13

      You guys need to get into Anime, normal TV does the job for me too… But mainly US and UK TV… Aussie Tv is BOOOOORIIIIINNNNGGGG!

    • W J Craig (Mrs) says:

      01:26pm | 08/01/13

      Amongst it recent offerings & advertisements ABC-TV promoted these programmes as being “new”: “Midsomer Murders”, old, old series in which the single female & two male leads look about 20 years younger! The really new series we got just two episodes about two years ago.
      “New Tricks” is being re-promoted! Not the New Series but the old, old ones where again the participants look as if they are in their 40s not their 60s!
      “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” a couple of weeks ago Aunty promoted as being “New Series” but it is just a repeat of the original, fun, series.
      Sorry, Rapscallion, but we are just old farts so can you tell us, please, what “VPN” is & how & where can we get one??

    • Ally says:

      03:09pm | 08/01/13

      Was that the longer ABC promo for 2013 in drama? Because Miss Fisher at least has a new second series coming up sometime this year. No doubt the reshowing of the first series is an attempt to hook some viewers that missed it the first time.

    • Richie says:

      01:45pm | 08/01/13

      Jeeze I deduced all this 10 years ago. I haven’t watched telly since. The Internet is far more entertaining and informative.

    • NSS says:

      02:27pm | 08/01/13

      TV? What’s that? There are so many other ways to watch what you want on demand these days and avoid anything which offends your delicate sensibilities it’s hardly relevant.

      However, if recycled formats don’t interest you fine, however - yawn! Snob alert! They obviously appeal to the masses or they wouldn’t rate now, would they? Personally ,I’m rather looking forward to seeing Marco Pierre White put some pro chefs through hell.  That was the basis of the original English Masterchef and it should be rivetting. So, ya know, suck it up, dearie.

    • 104 degrees fahrenheit says:

      05:10pm | 08/01/13

      who watches television ? who reads newspapers? Who listens to the radio?
      We just bore ourselves crazy here at the internet.

    • St. Michael says:

      06:04pm | 08/01/13

      “If a modern day Sherlock Holmes is possible then there’s no reason we can’t have Mulder and Scully but in Victorian-era London and Scully is a man. I call it X Files: London Victorian Era but Scully is a Man.”

      Comics has that, it’s called the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.


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