I quite enjoy the BBC’s seasons, where they focus in on one particular subject across a majority of their platforms. But the latest one, called Sitcom Season, has me scratching my head. I love a good sitcom, new or old, but part of these plans involve bringing back a whole host of classic comedies and revitalising them for the new generation.
For example: “Porridge, the classic prison sitcom, returns nearly 40 years after Norman Stanley Fletcher served his time. The legendary Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, who created the 1970s series, will write the one-off special episode, which sees Fletch’s grandson, also known as Fletch, imprisoned for a series of cyber-crimes.”
It feels such a shame to bring back these classics like this. There’s a reason these sitcoms have such a beloved status, and that’s because of the nostalgia attached to them. Many of them are of their time, get away with things you probably couldn’t nowadays, and were original, fresh and inspiring.
The BBC already tried this with Still Open All Hours, and whilst they keep making series’ which means the viewers must be there, the quality certainly isn’t. I watched the one off special and thought it was okay, a nice little idea but certainly not one to be repeated. Sadly, twelve full episodes followed and they haven’t lived up to the expectations.
I don’t like to add to the voices that wail “Are there no new ideas in the world?” because as we’ve established long ago, everything is a remix. But it does feel like the sitcom season could focus more on introducing new ideas, running fresh pilots, even giving other previously aired comedies a chance where they have been canned too soon.
Celebrating the sitcom is welcome, always, but rehashing the same old content is something that should have a serious question mark after it.