For those amongst the acronym challenged - BBC stands for the British Broadcasting Company. The public television since whenever.
SOP is Standard Operating Procedure. For instance, the standard operating procedure for politics is lie, cheat, and rack off with a golden parachute.
FEFO is new. It's something Beloved and I coined after absorbing a couple of episodes of a new thing from the BBC. It stands for this:
Four Episodes, Fuck Off
We've seen a lot of this with high-quality BBC products. Sherlock for instance. They call them Mini Seasons and I can understand the economic strategy. When your money is limited, your choices are as follows:
- Do more quantity with less
- Do more quality with less
- Do less overall
- Talking heads until you plotz
More quantity with less is doing cheap shows with cheaper special effects and more plot and character driven stuff because good writing is cheaper than Name Actors [See: I, Claudius, the old-school Doctor Who, Sapphire and Steel and so on]
More quality with less is doing very nice, high quality shows with excellent production values, but less episodes are the natural consequence. Sure, you can get Hollywood levels of production, which is fantastic and gets you an audience, but there's less episodes there.
Doing less overall is just circling the drain. Cutting costs everywhere. Also known as economic suicide.
Talking heads are just that. Talk shows. Get authors on to yatter on about their latest book. Get bands in to entertain the audiences. Get some experts to talk about whatever. As you may guess, you don't get a lot of international attention with talking heads.
So if you want to maximise your profit off of a low budget, you do fewer episodes with higher production values, and put a lot of money into something high-concept and loaded with What-The-Fuck. To get the most out of this, you get Mini Seasons. Or, as Beloved and I call it, Four Episodes (then) Fuck Off.
Now what I believe is going on, is that the writing crews have poured their total energies into four episodes of world-building and dangling loose ends. They spend the intervening year watching the fandom bandy about explanations, epileptic trees, theories, and pseudoscience and then pick the best ones for the next four seasons.
Crowd-sourcing excellent ideas for the next year, as it were.
Nice strategy if it is what they're doing. And it kind of explains some of the EXTREME left turns the stories take. So far out in left field that it whacks you up the right side of the head.
Or they could just spitball wild shit whilst drunk and run with that.