TV Preview: 10 O’Clock Live

Broadcast live on Channel 4, Wednesday 8th February at 10pm

Tonight in the UK, Channel 4 oversees the launch of the second series of 10 O’clock Live, bringing back comedians David Mitchell, Jimmy Carr, Charlie Brooker and Lauren Laverne to analyse and more importantly ridicule the big political and social stories of the week. Spiralling off from the success of Channel 4’s Alternative Election Night that was broadcast during the eve of a particularly feverish Parliamentary election in 2010, a series was commissioned and debuted amid a wealth of heavy advertisement the following year.

What surfaced from the anticipation-inducing adverts was a show that was decent but not unshakeable, insofar as it felt really unsure of itself. The show introduced itself with a style deeply reminiscent of its similar American peers, with the tone and mix of the serious and the comic having been directly inspired by such shows as The Colbert Report and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. However, the show from the start didn’t quite seem to click.

A major stumbling block for the show in its early instalments was its catering to the ‘cool’ market. The presentation attempted to be slick, yet the live nature of the show ultimately undermined this as mistakes will often be made in this atmosphere and cues will be inevitably missed at times. Furthermore, the decision to broadcast live to the nation was a careful choice to evoke a resonance in the audience that resembled a sense of revolutionary unpredictability, yet the content of the numerous, unfocused debates didn’t exactly maintain this thrilling aspect of the show, with the emphasis on admittedly important issues within British society unfortunately not setting the world alight in terms of excitement. While the aim of the show is undoubtedly to make an inattentive youth culture interested in the political issues that directly affect them, it is difficult to achieve when the nature of the beast that is live television means you have to lurch from one issue to the next at rapid-fire pace.

This attempt to cover a broad cross-section of British cultures and issues was thereby rather unfocused, a phenomenon perpetuated by the hosts of the show. While I mentioned The Colbert Report and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, part of what made them so successful was the presence of one clear, distinct voice of reason to transmit the overall message the show meant to convey. In this sense, the cocktail of having four hosts in Mitchell, Laverne, Carr and Brooker further distorts the continuity of the show. While all four are exceptionally talented and perform their roles well (even Carr, who seems like an odd fit for such a show), the lack of focus that sharing the camera has for the presenters establishes an angle of the show which needs to be refined.

So what’s to expect for tonight’s broadcast? Hopefully, the show more or less sticks to its guns, tackling important issues in an attempt to make them cool for a youthful audience. Moreover, perhaps the learning curve that the first series provided will mean that the show has found its footing after an initially decent start mired in its own uncertainty of what it wanted to be. I am cautiously optimistic for its second series premiere as I have faith in the talents involved to pull off a really satisfying show, but even if the only truly excellent part is the Charlie Brooker monologue like last series, it’ll be more than worth tuning in.       


~ by jrhett on February 8, 2012.

One Response to “TV Preview: 10 O’Clock Live”

  1. […] TV Preview: 10 O’Clock Live ( 0.000000 0.000000 Rate this: Share this:DiggShare on Tumblr Pin ItLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Comedy, Politics, Telly, TV and tagged Channel 4, Daily Show, David Mitchell, Jon Stewart, Stephen Fry, Zeppotron. Bookmark the permalink. […]

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