Imagine, if you will, a fifth series of Blakes 7 with, for once, a beautifully scripted arc. The writers are Terry Nation, Chris Boucher, Tanith Lee, Robert Holmes, Andrew Smith, and Barbara Clegg, plus some guy you haven't heard of to do the finale. David Maloney's back as producer, the stories are a revelation to watch. Because of recent work as jewel-thieves on the side the budget is five times that of Star Wars per story. One episode features location work on the moon, just because they can.
The stories make you weep in joy at the sheer brilliance of them, the arc is not intrusive, but still keeps you on the edge of your seat. Servalan finally fucking dies, in a manner much akin to Blue Womp from Double The Fist. Dayna is given some more characterisation and Soolin takes her clothes off. What's more, it all builds up to a spectacular finale!
But wait... the final episode is ... everyone is out of character. There's an in-story reason for Vila to be recast as a bald midget with Tourette's syndrome wearing nothing but a red loincloth. Soolin is killed off before the story even begins. Everyone seems to carry the Idiot Ball for the episode, nobody can shoot straight and characters are killed off for no reason at all. Travis comes back from the dead! Orac catches a virus that makes him rap all of his dialogue to David Bowie backing tracks! Avon is revealed to have powers of superhuman strength that he's never used until now! There are aliens who look like giant cocks, and Tarrant communicates with them by controlled licking of their flesh! It has NOTHING to do with the arc AT ALL! Who the fuck is Joe Medina and why the hell did he get to write the most important story??!?
Ah, but he was the one who found about Maloney's jewel-thievery and blackmailed the production team to give him his first ever professional writing credit - in THE MOST IMPORTANT STORY so he could REEEEALLY show off. And no script editing, because he didn't need any. And he'd handle the design himself. And his mate Chip would get to play Travis.
The result is the complete opposite of Terminal - when the head of drama happens to glance at the TV set and vomits in rage, cancelling the show immediately and sentencing David Maloney to life imprisonment with the emergency powers vested in him by the UK's new Standards for Appalling Television Shows. Incidentally Eric Saward flees the country.
What I'm trying to do here is to illustrate how ridiculously over-the-top any TV show failure has to be to come near to emulating the complete soul-crushing horror of sports. Anyone who read my predictions will see how very, very wrong I was about the Ashes decider. Indeed, that B7 metaphor up there is a far more accurate retelling.
We lost the Ashes.
We lost the Ashes.
We lost the Ashes.
We lost the Ashes!
WE FUCKING LOST THE ASHES!
At the moment I envy so greatly people entirely ignorant of cricket, who cannot grasp the enormity of this spiritual shitpile choking and enveloping my very soul. The worst thing is I know that, ultimately, this isn't important at all - it's a contest over a replica antique perfume bottle with some burnt twigs in it for fuck's sake! - but I've been so caught up in the drama and excitement, looked forward to this for so long... everything that seemed sensible has been snatched away from me with the maximum possible snatch.
Even looking back, it makes little sense. We made 6 centuries to their 2. We had the top wicket-takers for nearly the entire competition. We had a better spinner. We were the number one team in the world.
Sadly, we were outcaptained and outselected. You will note that my predictions say that it was a near certainty that Nathan Hauritz would play at the Oval. Notably, everyone else said that as well. But... he didn't. I forgot that Ponting likes to stick with a winning team, like it's some sort of talisman. So Stuey Clark, a bowler I love in any other circumstance, was on the field. And Marcus North, our back-up spinner, took 4 wickets. The blatantly inferior shower-forsaking freak Graeme Swann took as many in each innings. Seeing as they both bowl the same style, I am going out on a limb and saying that if Haury had bowled he'd have taken 10 from the match and topped the fucking wicket-taking chart. Of course, I can't say that now because we'll never know.
We were also outmanoeuvred by some very negative tactis, which I won't go into because it's the sort of thing that the Poms lable as empty whinging no matter how legitimate it is. At the same time, there is a deal of sense to it, as I might be as snake-like as Strauss if I had such a band of no-hopers to lead to victory. (Seriously... the surfeit of talent in the English team is what makes this SO HARD to accept!)
We were the victim of critically unfair umpiring. North hit the ball with an edge you could hear from China from outside off before it ducked back into his pads and was given LB off an appeal that never should have happened. Before then, as usual, he had looked the Rock of Gibraltar and so had Simon Katich, the pair looking set for a 150-partnership that could have saved the series. Next innings rolls around, and all of a sudden Asad Rauf is mister fucking eagle-eye, seeing air between Jonathan Trott's bat and the ball which nobody else can. The commentators called this a 'good decision' endlessly, despite nothing to say there WASN'T an edge, based off a snick from the ball hitting Trott's pockets, which presumably contained some maracas. Okay, he mightn't have been out, but what right did Rauf have NOT to give that out? There was a sound, there was no gap between bat and ball, it was caught and you gave a terrible one to the other side. Tell that fucker not to wax his bat some much and throw him off the fucking field.
Incidentally, that fucker ended up scoring England's second century ever and is now worshipped as some sort of God, in spite of the fact that for most of the morning he was a shakey as a constipated junkie in a cold outhouse.
We were also victims of a pitch from hell. Oh, if Ponting had won that toss how different things would be. On Day One it was playable. On Day Two it was wearing away and became a spinner's paradise. Day Three, it deteriorated even more and was flat. But by then it was too late.
I can't go into the 2nd Australia innings because I didn't even watch it. I have developed a sixth sense for when there's no point watching any more. I had a bucketload of hope after Katich and Watson smashed 80 off their first 20 overs, that the two of them would get the tons they craved and wear away at the poms' confidence until they were quivering wrecks. I switched over to SBS for about 20 seconds after Stephen Fry, and I knew it was all over - "Perfect start for England, both openers out" - *CLICK*.
I knew that was it. We wouldn't survive that night. I don't know why exactly, I just did, and lo and behold when I log onto Cricinfo I see I've called with agonising accuracy on that occassion.
Australia is no longer the world's number one cricketing nation. We are no longer the world's number two cricketing nation. We don't even get a bronze turkey. We are FOURTH. Just edging ahead of the Blind Hedgehog XI whom we shall be challenging at Bag Interior Oval and the outlook isn't promising. Soon even Bangladesh will be challenging us.
My dad's analysis - "Everyone in Cricket Australia needs to be sacked. From the bloke who opens the door up."
Not sure I'd go quite so far, but if nothing else there's proof that letting David Boon and Merv Hughes, chairpersons of the Moustachioed Pisshead Gentlemen League, control the selection panel is a very bad idea. Ponting should probably lose the captaincy, too, as he's proven time and time again that he can't select a team nor set a field with any degree of intelligence.
Sorry this isn't funnier. My heart is bleeding tears right now..