Modia Minotaur

Trawling the airwaves to spare you the agony!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Australian TV: In A State of Arrested Development

On a lighter note (in case you are reading, Malcolm Farr, this is for you - and I hope you do read my blog, because I read your column and thoroughly enjoy it) - how'd we all go on the Cup? Since you all asked, I came second in the office sweep. Will the windfall be worth a year's worth of 2GB's Chris Smith gloating over picking an outside chance as a placegetter for the second year in a row? Only time will tell ...

Anyway, on to other matters. I've recently mentioned the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance's campaign to draw attention to the Federal government's budgetary review of the ABC, Our ABC: The Eyes And Ears Of Australia. As part of the campaign, the MEAA has noted that production of local drama at the ABC dropped from 83 hours to three (yes, three) in the past year. As we face loosening of cross media ownership laws, the situation is not going to improve.

Now, let me unload the particular barrow I have to push tonight. I know it is very fashionable amongst us political types to bemoan Channel 9's lousy treatment of The West Wing (and it's true, it's been shithouse), but I'd like to know exactly what Channel 7 plans to do with Arrested Development, the best damn television series in years. It's saying something about a show when the abominable Mandy Rogers (aka Portia de Rossi) does well in it. Yet to Channel 7, it may well be toilet paper. When you've got a gap to fill, you scrunch up a bit and shove it in there. Otherwise, you just wipe your ass with it. It comes. It goes. Do they give a damn about the viewer? Continuity? Anything, other than whether an adequate proportion think that idiotic bouncing TV logo in the corner is funny? NUH-UH.

And don't even get me started on their treatment of Scrubs, another brilliant TV show. Take it off - mid season - put ONE episode on - then replace it with repeats of Desperate Housewives !!!! GAHHHH !!!!! *head in hands*.

In the same way that government seems increasingly like a co-ordination agency for a series of private consortia, television seems nothing more than a show-reel for corporations to advertise their crap, plugged with diversions as brief and unchallenging as possible. What can be done?

For Melbournian readers, the Friends of the ABC will be holding a forum on the implications of changes in cross media ownership laws on 16 November at 7.00pm, at Melbourne City Conference Centre (333 Swanston St), with guests including Phillip Adams, Robert Manne, Crikey's Eric Beecher, and The Chaser's Julian Morrow.

(For everyone else, I'm fresh out of ideas. Why not blog?)

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