Out with the old and in with the err...old
It's the last night of 2004 and Channel 4 has a night of looking back on three of the most popular shows it has broadcast in the last few years - Frasier, Friends and Sex in the City. It's that mixture of documentaries which feature the cast slapping each other on the back, telling each other how much they love each other and doing that "Do you remember when....?" thing. And the documentaries are interspersed with some of Channel 4's favourite episodes. So from 7.15pm till 2.50am (yes, twenty to three in the morning) you can relive what made these shows great and also remember how let down you felt when you watched the last episodes.
Maybe it's just me but each one of these series had built up such expectations that the final episodes simply couldn't live up to them. You got the cast of Friends awkwardly standing around an empty apartment and hugging each other. The sad awkwardness of Frasier and his family in their apartment, again not knowing quite how to say goodbye. At least Sex in the City ended with a good bonk, which provided a raucous end to another lacklustre last show.
Possibly all three series had outstayed their welcome and unlike classic British TV comedies/sit coms, the characters went when they simply had no where else to go. The last episode of The Office could not have been more perfect. We'll all be wondering whether Dawn and Tim will stay together. We'll all be secretly hoping that David Brent and his "girlfriend" will have little Brents. Fawlty Towers ended on a high after only twelve totally surreal and outstanding episodes - no navel gazing "What made Fawlty Towers Great - Inside the Reception with Basil and Cybil" there. With both Fawlty Towers and The Office we can create our own future for the characters who were still "growing". With Friends, Frasier and Sex in The City we've seen too much, we know too much about the actors' private lives, we know their shoe size, their bra size and what they have for breakfast each morning.
If you can't face wall to wall US sitcoms tonight, there's always the highly reliable Jools Holland's Hootenanny (BBC2 11.10pm) who'll be seeing out the old year with some of 2004's best new stars Franz Ferdinand, Jamie Cullum, Amy Winehouse and Natasha Bedingfield and ending with an old rocker in the shape of Eric Clapton.
What I'll be watching in 2005 - Little Britain (re-edited for BBC1), Desparate Housewives (coming to Channel 4 in January), American Idol (so much better than Pop Idol - Americans really, really can't stand Simon Cowell telling them that they're shit - watch out for it on ITV2 in February) and the return of the orange one (Kat Moon) to EastEnders in May - we've missed ya Kat.