One Day: What a Great Idea

Well, I can’t wait for Monday’s viewings.

I was thoroughly impressed with One Day for an abundance of reasons, but I think the reason I found it so enjoyable was because I was trying to figure out how it was all connected. I like a show that makes me think, and One Day, whether it was trying to or not, certainly made me do that. I wonder when the show was being released if everyone knew the premise behind the show and how each episode would eventually be connected?

I think that the day-to-day-ness of the episode we watched is what made it so appealing. While I found myself annoying with Ted the character, I also found myself able to relate to him. I felt his reactions were realistic to the kids from the estates getting under his skin, I also felt like the show created a show that really feels like we’re jumping into the characters lives. I can imagine the normal lives of Ted and his wife and how they dealt with their neighbors on a daily basis. I also feel like the normalcy of their lives adds to the tension within the episode. It seemed like whenever something mundane was going on, in the back of my mind I knew that something was eventually going to happen.

I think that this kind of miniseries is something we need more of. The story is simple, as least from where we stand now, seems well done, and the overall concept creates buzz. I haven’t heard of this being done on television before. The only time I’ve heard of a concept which tells the same story from multiple different people was a few years ago when there was talk of JJ Abrams shooting a Cloverfield sequel. The rumored concept of the film sequel was to have the exact same event shot from a different characters point of view. The project seemed to be nothing more than rumor, but having seen the execution in a television format instead of a film format, I think that it works best as a short television series.

I would like to see a return of the miniseries on American television, because I think it offers up the opportunity for a different kind of story telling than a full 20+ episode season. I also think that it offers something different than a shorter, British series of 6 episodes because when you have a 4 episode series like One Day, that is shown on consecutive nights, it creates its own spectacle and, as I said before, it’s own buzz around that would keep people interested for the necessary short period of time. I’d love to see an American broadcast network take a chance and schedule a miniseries for a Monday-Thursday run like One Day. Even if it failed, the attempt would hopefully spark a return to this format of shows which seem to be immensely entertaining.


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4 Responses to One Day: What a Great Idea

  1. Brenna says:

    I think you bring up some really good points. I think the recent Titanic miniseries was shot from different perspectives in each episode, so apparently British audiences really responded well to the format too. I also enjoyed connecting the pieces the way you do with a movie like “Memento” or following the connections between characters in “Love, Actually.” I also can’t think of an American series that has done something like this, and I agree that we’re overdue.

  2. elizabeth graham says:

    As I am sure the better half of our class agrees, I too loved One Day and cannot wait to watch the next two episodes on Monday. Mostly you brought up two points that I left class Wednesday thinking about: the character of Ted and the apparent lack of an American made mini-series. First, Ted. In the middle of his climactic freak out, I found myself so annoyed with him. I was engaged in the show but when he came on screen his panic in everything that happened to him made me feel queazy. However, I am waiting to see how this character plays out in the rest of the series from other perspectives. What will he look like to Rochelle and the young boy? My interest in the show far outweighs the slight annoyance I had with Ted’s behavior. Now, with drama this intense and thought provoking, I cannot imagine a show similar to this flopping completely on US TV. Sure, it would be a risk, we are not use to short running shows, yet Downton Abbey (while not technically a mini-series but a series with less than 13 episodes in a season) has been a hit amongst a somewhat niche audience. I guess at this point we can only hope that at some point in the near future of American television, an executive somewhere takes a chance on a quality mini-series to spark the interest of viewers and mix-up the monotony of the standard episode-number seasons.

  3. Sam says:

    I too really enjoyed “One Day,” and I certainly think from a creative standpoint it would be a great idea for American television outlets to up the production of mini-series or single run series. I think it allows for liberated storytelling, and gives more room for the writer or writers to explore their story in the way they envision it. Additionally, writers work without the constraints of trying to reach a certain point in the narrative by a certain number of episodes, stretch a story too thin, or create plot lines that aren’t organic to the series as a whole. As the writer of “One Day” seemed to put it, he was free to create the series as it should have been created (at least in his mind, but it is his story after all. How could viewers NOT want better stories, better developed characters, and just better television overall?

    The problem, I think, is the television business model — and it even seemed to be evident in the way “One Day” was broadcast at a strange hour, four consecutive nights (the latter of which seemed to be okay with the writer.) Americans either like to get into a television watching groove, or they will just watch their TV somewhere else — online, Netflix, DVD, etc. I remember my freshman year, Wednesday nights were “LOST” nights — the one night a week my friends and I put down everything and just enjoyed a TV show communally. That is a little harder to justify when it is a sporadically broadcast miniseries that will only be on for a short time — unless it is marketed as “event television,” which I assume “Roots” was. I could envision Americans catching up in other ways — I myself have “Planet Earth” back home on DVD — but TV networks seem to be looking for series with a big broadcast draw, not something everyone is going to view on Netflix. While it is nice to envision a world where networks are ALWAYS looking for ways to deliver quality television, the fact of the matters, TV is a business, and viewers are crucial — and I get the sense it probably is harder to draw in casual viewers to a miniseries than an ordinary program.

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