I’m not the first to ask this question but it’s still perplexing… Why is BBC2 showing The Wire every night of the week? And at 11.20pm? Who is it at the BBC that shoves every decent American import it gets its hands on into the graveyard slot?
The channel is so consistent in this behaviour I can only assume there’s been a single person responsible for shoving US imports into late-night slots over the years. Or is it a long-held tradition that’s passed down from master to apprentice scheduler as the generations pass?
Seinfeld, the most popular show in America, was shown in a post-Newsnight slot on, if I remember rightly, an increasingly erratic schedule. The Larry Sanders Show, Arrested Development and Curb Your Enthusiasm and have all followed and all have been slid virtually out of sight as if the BBC doesn’t really want anyone to see them. The current repeats of the latter on BBC Four (in a post-midnight slot of course) even skipped over season four entirely, for no apparent reason.
Maybe some of these would simply never get the audience an earlier and more regular slot would require (and the language ensures they’d never be seen pre-watershed) but still… I can’t help thinking that if Channel 4 had acquired the rights they’d have done something a bit more sensible with such potential hits. If Seinfeld had been shown in Channel 4’s Friday night comedy slot, couldn’t it have been a hit over here?
So maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that the BBC have scheduled The Wire post-11pm and stripped it across the week. As one friend put it “Are you nuts? It’s not a race!” It’s a jaw-dropping disappointment but not a surprise.
Maybe they figure that everyone who wants to see it has already bought it, downloaded it or seen it on FX (you never know). But then why buy the thing? Presumably you bought it because it’s the most critically acclaimed drama of recent years? In which case… what on Earth are you doing, hiding it away and rushing it out?
If you were generous you could say that schedules no longer matter as time-shifting is where it’s at these days. This is an argument that would hold more water if the show was scheduled to appear on iPlayer (it seems not). Sheeeeeeeeeeeeit! BBC, you just don’t deserve to get your hands on these shows.