Something, in my opinion, is wrong with Australia’s major free-to-air TV channels.
I’m not entirely sure, but the issue could maybe, just maybe, be due to the lack of any intelligent content filling prime-time slots. If I wanted to sit down in front of the television tonight, I’d be subjected to an over-the-top cooking show on ‘Seven’, a show about building a house on ‘Nine’, or if I’m really lucky, get another chance to bore myself to death watching the Sochi opening ceremony for a 4th time on ’10’s “sports” channel ‘One’.
This, of course, is an exaggeration of the situation, but it’s one I’m going to run with anyway.
Maybe after that I could indulge my inner drug-smuggler and take in the unbiased, completely factual and 100%-not-dramatised television spectacular that is ‘Schapelle”(aghh, I feel dirty just typing it). If I’m feeling happy or joyous, I can always trust another re-run of one of Channel Nine’s trusty token sitcoms to bring me back to a humourless TV reality. I swear, if I have to sit through another 22 minutes of forced jokes and unbelievable situations I might personally track down and permanently end Chuck Lorre.
To make things worse, any decent shows that air on Channel 9 are butchered to bits by what is somehow classed as advertising. Showing out-of-context clips of shirtless guys exercising and people with shocked expressions is NOT advertising. And the dramatic voice-over isn’t dramatic when he completely misdirects viewers as to the episode’s content (I’m looking at you, ‘Arrow’ ads). What makes this even more infuriating is when the episode’s story is better than whatever rubbish the voice-over is claiming about the plot. If you’re going to buy rights to a program, have faith in its ability to bring in audiences. Don’t try and mask it as something it’s not.
There are so many top-quality TV shows out there, surely our major networks can get their hands on something! Admittedly, there are decent shows out there. Despite not watching it myself, the Blacklist is supposedly very good, as was the Kerry Packer mini-series “Howzat”. But these diamonds in the ruff cannot keep me watching, and a lack of engaging content has turned me towards other methods of sourcing watchable TV… like dating a girl with Foxtel.
I’d love to be able to sit down one night, turn on the TV and be greeted with the newest episode of Sherlock, or Community, or even Arrow (one of the best non-cable shows I’ve seen, destroyed by a terrible advertising campaign), which was about one season behind The States last I saw.
I understand what I’m asking for is unrealistic. Everyone has their taste in television, and free-to-air needs to cater to the masses. If the masses enjoy dumbed-down, over-dramatic, generic rubbish, who am I to deny them?
There is no solution to this problem, at least not in the foreseeable future. But it is what’s unpredictable that excites me most. So go on, universe, surprise me.