The Truth about Goats
In what was supposed to be a glorious return to Channel 4, the 1990s archaeological programme has left viewers unimpressed by rummaging in the New Mexico desert in search of a hidden cache of video games. To appeal to a younger audience, TV Executives have chosen to abandon the predictability of finding a Bronze Age wall and embrace the hidden delights of rediscovering gaming monstrosities such as Smurf Rescue, Toilet Tycoon and Shaquille O’Neal’s kung-fu epic – Shaq Fu.
It was hoped that the mythology surrounding one million dumped cartridges of ‘E.T.’ might inspire a new generation of archaeologists. Sadly E.T.’s game play – ‘monotonously levitating a pixelated blob out of a hole’ – was considered to be in bad taste given the ill-judged attempt to dig up the remains of Mick Aston in the last series of Time Team. As one gamer complained: ‘This is not the lost Ark of the Covenant, dude. This s@&t was buried for a reason!’
Some elements of the original show will be retained; much to their annoyance, the team of specialists will continue to be interrupted by an over-excited Tony Robinson trampling over the artefacts. In one episode he will explain in ‘layman’s terms’ why the game ‘Custer’s Revenge’ features a naked General slaking his lust upon an equally naked but reluctant Native American. In fact, many are saying this new dig is reminiscent of an anti-climatic 1998 episode in which Francis Pryor spent three days rummaging for loose change down the back of sofa.
As Atari only sold 40% of their stock and filed for bankruptcy in 1984, it is not clear how a finding a Palaeolithic Pimania is going to improve The Time Team format. The decision to re- commission will be based on the spurious demand for ‘digging up stuff we don’t want’. Planned episodes such as ‘Asbestos’, ‘Plague pit’ and ‘Your Pet Cat’ may only have a narrow appeal. With ‘more excitement’ planned with discarded Tescos’ trolleys, it may be that Producers are struggling to tell the difference between landfill and history.