Liverpool might not win the title, but an Emmy is in the bag
I’m not sure why exactly, but the best TV shows seem to be the ones that repeat the same formula week after week. Just take the American medical mystery drama House MD, which remains utterly compelling despite every episode having essentially the same plot.
Amid the snappy dialogue and cynical one-liners from Hugh Laurie (“Everybody lies”), what happens is this: a patient comes in with odd symptoms (“It’s autoimmune!”, “No, it must be an infection!”) gets given the wrong treatment by the baffled doctors (“Start the patient on broad-spectrum antibiotics!”), and comes close to snuffing it before a last-gasp epiphany from diagnostic genius Dr House, or sometimes one of his cohorts, saves the day. Phew!
Watching Liverpool this season is essentially like watching House — cracking entertainment, with the same crowd-pleasing plot recurring most weeks.
They start every match in the Premier League looking utterly baffled as to how to crack the case. Nothing they try in attack does any good and more often than not they suffer an avoidable setback, either in the first act (think Manchesters United and City) or perilously close to the end (Middlesbrough).
It then either takes the inspiration of Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres or occasionally a secondary character like Ryan Babel or Dirk Kuyt to rescue the situation with a dramatic late intervention. Occasionally, there’s no resolution at all (Stoke, Aston Villa) as the team runs out of ideas.
On Sunday, the case was an away game with Manchester City and (as usual!) it was all a bit much for them until Torres got the patient off the criticial list, helped at the last gasp by Kuyt.
I don’t know if Liverpool are serious title contenders this year but for sheer drama there is no one to touch them. And if the storyline is the same going right through to the end of the season, the fans won’t mind a bit. Never change a winning formula, after all.
The problem is that in this golden age of American television drama, they have a lot of rivals for the title:
Dirty Sexy Money — Chelsea (or possibly Manchester City)
Grey’s Anatomy — Arsenal (hot young starlets mess it up one moment, show clinical genius the next)
30 Rock — Manchester United (sparks fly between maverick boss “Sir” Alec Baldwin and a talented ensemble cast)
And that’s without getting into Mad Men (any suggestions?), Friday Night Lights, The Office, Prison Break or Battlestar Galactica…
PHOTO: Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel (C) receives attention from medical staff during their English Premier League match away to Manchester City in, October 5, 2008. REUTERS/Phil Noble