I seldom watch unscripted (read: reality) TV shows, but The Amazing Race is my one true guilty pleasure: Having watched 18 full seasons of the original US version, 3 seasons of the Asian version – and zero seasons of the wretched Israeli version, I may as well admit it: I’m a fan of The Race.
And so as tomorrow begins the first ever season of The Amazing Race: Australia, including one leg of the race in Israel – you better believe I’ll be watching, and so should you:
The Amazing Race: Australia 2011 #8 (Destinations) Promo
When it comes to television programming it seems that the pendulum is close to the edge. People have stopped watching TV, that is except for 14 year olds who are keen on buying whatever TV is selling. Whether the medium will die or correct itself in time, I guess we’ll find out sooner or later.
In this atmosphere of 57 channels and nothin’ on, the one thing that almost never disappoints is nostalgia. Israel Educational Television (IETV) has just announced that its programs, both classic and new, will be made available for online viewing on its new website. Established in 1965, IETV has produced shows that taught us English, math, and road safety, and gave us our very own sitcom in Hebrew.
Since many of these modern classics are already available on YouTube, I guess the folks at IETV figured if they can’t beat them, might as well join them and make the materials legally available for free.
Since the website will not be launched until next week, here are two teaser ads to tickle your taste buds:
Israel Educational Television Ad – 23tv.co.il – 2009
Israeli entertainer Dudu Topaz admitted today of assaulting three TV executives. It is only because of our primitive brains that we tend to confuse people we recognize with people we know. There are a million zingers to tell and loads of archive footage to rehash, but at the end of the day this is just a sad and tragic story about falling in love with a reflection in a pool.
Israelis who grew up in the 1970s might remember a Sesame Street puppet who hosted “Here Is Your Life”. In the original version the character’s name is Guy Smiley but when the local Hebrew version had to pick a name they went for Momo Talpaz, a play on Dudu Topaz’s name – the only real megastar that Israeli TV ever had. This is my farewell:
We are in the middle of a digital revolution:Twitter, YouTube, mobiles, LCD – the only sure thing about these new technologies is that we do not really know how they will affect our lives. Amidst this wonderful wave of transformation some disturbing trends have emerged. Following are a few examples from Israeli TV wherein new technologies facilitate in its change for the worse:
Distorted video proportions
Between 4:3 and 16:9, analog and HDTV, a mixture of formats that is indicative of a TV world that hasn’t decided on a new standard and has to make do. Until a universal standard is agreed upon and implemented, are we destined for years and years of stretched heads?
Left: That man is not this fat! Channel 10 News visually distorts an interview from UK’s Sky News.
Right: These people are not this thin! Channel 2‘s UK reporter submits a visually distorted news item.
Web quality footage when better is available
News desks get access to virtually every other news feed in the world and record most of it for future use, but lately it seems it became too much of a hassle for them to use the recorded footage. Searching for a video on YouTube is so easy and fast that even when doing a piece about an event that happened a day earlier, news channels slack off by broadcasting pixelated videos from the web, as opposed to broadcast-level footage.
Left: Channel 2 News features coverage by German ARD using a compressed YouTube video.
Right: Channel 2 News covers Bar Refaeli’s interview with Letterman on CBS using YouTube posted video.
Web videos as legitimate news items
The blurring of boundaries between news and entertainment is a serious issue, and part of it manifests in this trend of deeming web-content newsworthy. In this age of Context Collapse a private posting can be escalated into prime-time news:
Left: Channel 10 News covers a satirical YouTube video that miscaptions the Fuehrer so as to make him complain about parking spaces in Tel-Aviv.
Right: For that extra kick, channel 10′s reporter shows said video to a Holocaust survivor who had never seen it before. Sought emotional impact achieved.
Part 2 of this post will be published during the next few months.