Atlantis is no more, much to the dismay of its fans; a small but hardy cross-section of viewers that included mythology buffs and those who like buff mythological figures.
It hasn’t quite sunk without a trace – the final seven episodes of Season 2 will air on BBC One this Spring and will no doubt be a bittersweet experience – but many will already be wondering what could fill that gap in the schedules and prevent Saturday night from becoming a wasteland of game shows, lottery balls and amateur warblers.
What could fill that slot? Let’s have a look at a frankly mad wish-list of possibilities…
A Doctor Who spin-off
Doctor Who seems to be the only show that can survive what is otherwise a death zone for entertainment on a Saturday night (well, he’s got form with Death Zones, hasn’t he?). Not just survive, but thrive, so it stands to reason that anything Who-related would also have a good chance.
It’s highly unlikely Moffat would allow it – he seems to keep the show’s mythology more contained than RTD – but, with a 52-year-old Whoniverse, there’s a lot of potential.
The Paternoster Gang are an obvious choice, although you do wonder if their repeat appearances on the show mean their novelty has already been exhausted.
Perhaps more appealing, and with greater scope would be a UNIT Adventures, which could be a tea-time Torchwood for all ages, and be a good way to explore the in-show universe without ever needing to hear the ‘Vworp -Vworp’ of a time engine.
Personally, I hope someone at the BBC picks up my entirely serious idea for ‘The Potentially Lethal Adventures of Clara Oswald’. A good vehicle for when lovely Jenna eventually leaves the show, each week would see a different version of the time-split Clara (remember than plot?) in a different era/on a different planet, solving a mystery, fighting an alien, cooking a soufflé, and then dying in increasingly far-fetched ways at the end.
Just imagine 1930s Clara getting caught up in an adventure with Amelia Earhart and an evil Jaggaroth air-traffic controller. This stuff writes itself.
A US import
With our expectations slightly relaxed at the weekend, Due South and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman were great Saturday night viewing. When was the last time BBC One had a US show on at beans-on-toast o’clock?
While Beebs Two, Three and Four love to gobble up an import, BBC One has been resistant to the act of spending our licence fee on anything foreign, preferring instead to show its own home-made produce (and often cancel it just when it gets going). You can see the logic in creating original content, but give me Agent Carter or Galavant over another tiresome episode of Pointless Celebrities or a clip show about magic.
The BBC shouldn’t be averse to shipping in shows from across the pond and putting them in a primetime slot. It’s not a misuse of licence fee payer’s money to buy a show that will entertain them. Channel 4, Sky1 and Channel 5 have all had great family-friendly success with the likes of Agents of Shield, Once Upon a Time, Arrow and The Flash.
A literary adaptation
No one serialises a book like Auntie, and it doesn’t always have to be something dusted off the A-level syllabus.
Back at the end of the 1980s the BBC adapted four of C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia books for Sunday afternoons. They were so thoughtfully made that watching them today evokes a Box of Delights-style sense of wonder. Why the BBC haven’t repeated it is a mystery, because that puppet of Aslan the lion is a masterpiece. Go watch it on YouTube and enjoy that lion.
There’s a great chance to appeal to the same crowd that watch Doctor Who, and their mums and dads, by serialising YA fiction for the small screen. Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy failed to get off the ground on the big screen, but could be astounding television (and would have to be for the money it would cost).
Likewise Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider series would be more suited to an episodic adaptation than it was for the big screen.
Sky did a good job on three of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels, Going Postal, Hogfather and The Colour of Magic, but haven’t made any since 2010. Time then for BBC to pick up where they left off in 1996 with Johnny and the Bomb, and realise some of Pratchett’s unparalleled imagination. Ankh-Morpork is ripe for exploration.
More on Page 2…