I’m very excited, because tonight is finally the premiere of the new season of Dream Team on Fox Soccer Channel. Okay, it’s not really a “new” season, it’s three years old (link contains SPOILERS). But it’s new to me, and that’s what counts.
For those unfamiliar with it, Dream Team was a British soap opera on the Sky Network, which ran for ten seasons, and concerned itself with fictional Premiership side Harchester United. Unlike say Footballers’ Wives, which was only tangentially ever about sports, DT contains quite a bit of the sport. Because Sky also owned the rights to the Premiership, they used real game footage, colorized and spliced to work in the fictional characters. Although it’s also very much a soap — if any real life team had so many deaths associated with it, its “curse” would be quite the talking point. It’s hardly serious television (well, okay, I cried when Jamie Parker died) but it’s fun. And despite having the blessing of the league, they haven’t seemed to hold back excessively on controversial topics — drugs, infidelity, accusations of rape, drinking, gambling, cheating, and more murders than you can shake a stick at have all gotten a run out.
Which has got me to thinking — why doesn’t the NHL give its blessing to a hockey version of DT? Assuming the league sticks with Vs., they’ve got a TV partner with room on their schedule and which has shown an openness to additional hockey related programming. Why not team up with them to do something that’s “outside the box” and might give the league some attention?
ESPN tried their own (gridiron) football drama a couple years back with Playmakers, but that got sunk by disapproval from the paranoid control freaks at the NFL. CTV did have the hockey series Power Play a few years ago, which had its moments of quirky entertainment, but which wasn’t NHL licensed and as such had to make do with ersatz uniforms and team names.
So this would be fairly uncharted territory for a North American pro sports league…which, when you’re number four (or five, or six, or twenty-seven, depending on who you ask) isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Come on, NHL, take a risk…stop tampering with the game itself and give the world some silly, soapy entertainment with your imprimatur. Give us a hockey Dream Team!