There’s a new series of ZingZillas started on Monday, and it uses the same shortened episode format as series 3.

The first couple of series of ZingZillas were more than tolerable. The 22-minute episodes followed the formula of:

  1. ZingZillas do some stuff.
  2. Coconut clock strikes one.
  3. ZingZillas try writing a song, but need more inspiration.
  4. Coconut clock strikes two.
  5. ZingZillas get inspiration from guest musician in the glade.
  6. Coconut clock strikes three.
  7. ZingZillas rehearse their song.
  8. “It’s the last coconut!”
  9. ZingZillas perform their song in the Big Zing.
  10. They discuss their performance and agree that it was the “best Big Zing ever!” (Each Big Zing is apparently better than all previous Big Zings. There is perhaps some reverse-nostalgia going on.)

… and the whole while along, there’s some plot line running through the episode as well.

The third series reduced the 22 minute format to just 11 minutes, but rather than dropping some of the formulaic stuff (coconut clock, etc), it actually added more formulaic stuff, including some narration from DJ Loose, and a ridiculous device where Todd tries (but fails) to provide the band with their inspiration using a machine that never works.

As you can imagine, in halving the episode times, something had to give. Turns out the plot line was deemed unnecessary – as a result no episode in series three appears to have a plot. (Apart from the one about sunflowers.)

Another casualty in series three is the well-intentioned but somewhat dim-witted island caretaker Todd. Despite being the best regular character in the  show (I’m excluding Aunty Dot here, as she’s only a recurring character, and is clearly just Todd in drag anyway), his appearances in the series have been reduced to just the “let’s ask the machine” device mentioned above.

Fortunately the series retained its good song writing. I don’t know how Banks & Wag manage it. Every week being told, “you’ve got to write a pop song based around an oboe” / “you’ve got to write a pop song based around a kazoo” / “you’ve got to write a pop song based around Gregorian chants”, and actually coming up with half-decent results. So however much the show suffered in series three, the music did not.

I was disappointed to find out that series four uses the same format as series three.

I’m sure I’ll still watch it.