Sunday 29 September 2019

TV TRIES TOO HARD!



The hamster on my roof can’t run fast enough to stream Netflix, so I sold my soul to Rupert Murdoch, for a Sky satellite dish.

Thanks to the wizardry of digital tele, I’m almost completely protected from ads, by recording everything and whizzing through.

Between 6 and 8 my TV world goes mental, as I record the BBC 6 o’clock, RTE 6.1 and Channel 4 News, fascinated to see how the Irish reports differ from the UK versions.

Relax: I’m not suggesting you become sad news nerds like myself. I’m just revelling in the wonders of modern viewing.

I know the tech I’m using is considered pure ancient these days, yet truly could not give a damn, as it meets my needs.

Also, thanks to my limited amount of channels, I’m not feeling crushed by the tyranny of choice, like many millennials.

As Apple and Disney move to join Amazon and Netflix in the world of flush  platforms, younger viewers are changing their habits.

Light years from water-cooler moments, their choice is so vast they can’t see the point of watching a show, in case nobody else is. 


Their chances of sharing their views and experience on social media is rapidly vanishing.

My age group are adopting the ways relinquished by those millennials. Last year the number of over-55s who regularly watched several episodes of a series in one night almost doubled.

I’m not surprised the viewing patterns of young ones have become scattered and splattered all over the shop. Given their attention spans, I felt deeply impressed by their binge watching capabilities.

After the invention of the TV remote control and the arrival of multi-channel TV, teenage attention spans shrank to under 3 minutes. 


Writers on soap operas started to insert viewer reminders and recaps into their scripts, to make allowances for an audience who had, in all likelihood, turned over and come back again.

As the model of an upstanding submissive citizen you know me to be, my behaviour has slotted neatly into what my age group is meant to do: I started binge watching, and now understand why it’s so beguiling.

Story arcs and writing rhythms are now designed to be best enjoyed in quick successive episodes. Waiting a week is totally last century.

Then, almost as bereft as when I finish a good book, my series is gone and I look to see what I’ve taped while I’ve been off in the world of Succession, Billions or The West Wing (natch!).

I used to like watching Bear Grylls’ Island series. There was something vaguely fascinating, on an almost anthropological level, about watching a bunch of Brits dumped into the wilderness. Class and bigotry always came to the fore, and it was all quite fun.

Yet evidently some genius thought the program lacked something, so now they've turned it into a bloody gameshow, with boxes of money stashed around the island.

Oh for God’s sake. 

How could survival not be enough?
 

No, can’t watch that. It’d be too kind to say “gilding the lily” because the original program wasn’t a lily, and it’s only grown worse.

What about that ‘High Society’ I taped from Channel 4? Bunch of people who’ve never smoked weed go to a café in Amsterdam to see if they like it.

Could be a giggle.

Indeed, it might have been, had the participants not been instructed to go one stage further. 


Rather than just seeing how marijuana might affect them in a safe and controlled environment, the program makers insisted they include a life-changing talk during their experience.

This lovely bloke from the Midlands is coughing up his guts, as he pulls on a pure grass joint.

He’s getting absolutely mashed for the first time in his life, completely unaware that his girlfriend is planning on having a heavy discussion with him, about their sex life and where their relationship is going, on national tele.

Oh no.
No no no.
Don’t do that.

The poor wee lad’s having a lovely time, paddling fast-flowing rivers of chocolate by blue meadows full of pink fluffy bunnies.

Why get him stoned and then force him to be serious?

Why isn’t the central premise enough? That might have been entertaining. Now it’s all back story and meaningful, the show’s just become dull.

More more more. Always they have to put on two layers of icing.

If TV tells too much, then ads say way too little. Despite my attempts to avoid them, they slip in through breaks in live sport, and even though I see so few of them, they still manage to drive me bananas.

Aer Lingus is advertising the price of a flight from Ireland to the USA. 


The voiceover says that this price is available only as part of a return flight, which means that fare doesn’t really exist; that their offer is a load of old hooey, and grrr…

Here’s an orange. You can have it for 50 cent, but that’s just the price of the peel. If you want the fruit inside, that’ll be another €1.00.

I turn off the tele to read the paper before I have a rupture.

Yet even my beloved Observer newspaper is guilty. Winning an interim DV Award for Disingenuous Bollocks it runs an ad that offers ‘Free Sports section!’ and ‘Free Review!’

That’s like saying you get a free newspaper when you buy a newspaper.
We’ve shows that offer to much truth and ads that offer too little.

Stuff the lot of ‘em.
I’m off for a walk.


©Charlie Adley
29.09.2019.

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