Posts Tagged ‘television’

I made myself a promise to blog here every Wednesday. Unfortunately I am a day late in posting this time but as I was fixing up some edits on a soon-to-be-released small book, I forgive myself.

It is hardly unusual for me to be l letting rip against Australian television. But this time I actually have some positive things to say in plugging a couple of programs.

30 Rock is a great little comedy. Created by Tina Fey and loosely reflecting her time writing for and then performing on the US comedic icon, Saturday Night Live, this is genuinely funny viewing. The characters in the show have been wonderfully cast in creating a diverse range of comedic conflicts and contrasts as it makes fun of television and big business. I had no idea how good a comic actor Alec Baldwin is in a role such as the one he has here and his casting was quite a gem. And how could you not like and appreciate Fey’s Liz Lemon?

This program should have excellent ratings but that is unlikely. Why? Because it is broadcast at a ridiculously hour on Australian television.

Parks and Recreation  features another graduate of SNL, Amy Poehler. Her depiction of a local-government-obsessed public servant in a mockumentary style of program is another little gem. And the diversity of the cast behind her is just as well put together as that of 30 Rock. And they have their Big Name in there as well with Rob Lowe playing a beaut, quirky role.

Just like 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation should be going gangbusters but sadly it is broadcast even later than 30 Rock in Australia.

Interestingly, Fey and Poehler are friends as well as co-performers together on SNL. This may be why there are some similarities between the two programs but more than enough differences to avoid any ‘me too’ comparisons, although Parks and Gardens has come under a little fire in the past for being too similar in technique to The Office.

These are genuinely funny television programs. So why on earth are they condemned to such late night slots? Not everyone has the flexibility of hours that I have these days and so can often afford to sit up that late to watch things that have been hidden away in the attic of late night viewing.

Hey television networks – do you have something against genuinely entertaining people? Why on earth are two of the most entertaining programs on Australian public television, condemned to the late shift without any real audience? And what are they losing out too in the programming stakes? So-called ‘reality’ garbage like The Shire, GC, the repacked-but-still-the-same-crap Big Brother?

Here’s another thought. Both of those programs feature a strong cast, good writing and the experience of two well-credentialed leads, all from North America. But we have some damned good writers and performers Down Under. So why on earth doesn’t Australian television make the most of some of them by encouraging and supporting local development of more than just ‘me too’ ‘reality’ garbage? As I have said before, that means jobs, economic production, creative opportunities, revenue streams and potential export dollars.

Wake up, Australia! Please!

Why did they bother?

Posted: April 14, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Am I the only one who watched tonight’s re-launch of Hey Hey It’s Saturday (now on Wednesdays) and wondered why they bothered?

OK, so their couple of reunion specials did well, but those were sort of retro looking back, remembering, blah blah. But ‘re-launching’ something only to do the same things they were doing 20 years ago? It just seemed tired. Sure, it was nice to see the lovely Lavinia Nixon again and I have to say that the young lady playing the violin in the new house band not only can play a real storm, she is absolutely dead-set gorgeous. But aside from that, Red Symons and Wilbur Wilde just did the same sort of gags they were doing way back when. Johnathon Blackman is even reading the same voice-over scripts from at least fifteen years ago. Daryl Somers still can’t tell a gag to save his life.

If we are going to just dig something up from the television graveyard, try and do something more than just the same old thing, otherwise, why not not just dig Graham Kennedy up from his hole in the ground and re-launch In Melbourne Tonight. Or perhaps resurrect Bob and Dolly Dyer with Pick A Box (Dear Lord that shows how old I am, even if I was just a wee tacker at the time)?

In an earlier post, I had a crack at Australian television program on the Australian Channel Nine network, A Current Affair, for putting ratings above justice. I commented that this was hardly an isolated incident.

Channel Nine and two of its staff are now being prosecuted for making illegal recordings. They received a tip-off that a former Mayor of Sydney was ordering a hit on another person. Rather than take this to the police, A Current Affair did their own sting, fitting out a car with listening devices and had someone pose as a hit man. It makes good viewing, but once more, in pursuit of ratings, Channel Nine has thrown the rules out the window. Once more we face the spectre of justice not being seen because any jury panel would have been compromised and thoroughly tainted.

When is something going to be down about these cheque-book journalists? How many more years are television networks going to be allowed to continue to abuse the law in the pursuit of cheap, nasty ratings? How many more criminals and dodgy characters are going to be able to duck proper punishment because due process has been hopelessly compromised?