Friday, December 12, 2008

Summer Viewing Guide: Seven

This summer, seven has gone with some unexciting British dramas, failed American dramas as well as some new ones which weren't even tried out during the year with a sprinkling of some Australian documentaries.


Scrubs: Now in its 7th Season, this quirky comedy is looking very weary and is a shadow of its former self but there are at least a couple of good moments in each episode.

Kath and Kim: American Series- Yes, it is terrible... not just in comparison to the Aussie version, but just as a TV show. But it is like a car-crash... you know the rest... And it's fun to see how they copy some parts almost scene for scene.

Eli Stone: Slightly different US drama series in which the main character sees visions involving George Michael songs. On twice a week.

Dance Machine: Fairly OK show involving "everyday" people dancing shamelessly... all for $$$.
Serves as some light-entertainment of a Saturday night.

The Rich List: Hosted by Andrew O'Keefe, this show has been dragged out again after tanking in the Ratings season. Viewers grew sick of the drawn-out and repetitive process just to get to the "Rich List" stage... Oh, and those obscure lists... and the cross promotion lists such as Competitive Styles of Dance on Australia's Dancing with the Stars and Money Amounts in the Deal or No Deal cases.


Holby Blue, Seven Wonders of the Industrial World: The Brooklyn Bridge, A Touch of Frost, Bones,
Watch only if over 50 and/or have trouble getting to sleep.

Dirty Sexy Money, Ugly Betty, Las Vegas: Over the top and unneccesary dramas which are nowhere near as popular as they once were.

Prison Break: I know people who still like this show... but know of many who have given up.

The Amazing Race: I just get sick of seeing everyone rushing around while they get agitated at foreigners.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Summer Viewing Guide: Nine

Here are some recommendations for Channel Nine's Summer schedule.

As opposed to ten's repeats and some failed American dramas, Nine has a number of sitcoms, including Two and a Half Men, The New Adventures of Old Christine and The Big Bang Theory. It also has a raft of unaired Australian content including the final season of Mcleod's Daughters, Australian Geographic specials, Temptation, The Waiting Room, Emergency, 10 to One, Deadly Surf, Sudden Impact and You Are What You Eat.

It still has many US drama favourites such as CSI Miami, Cold Case, CSI (all repeats of course), new Fringe, ER, The Closer, Close to Home and Gossip Girl and of course US reality such as Wife Swap and Survivor: Micronesia


Big Bang Theory- Great new nerdy comedy series

Old Christine- Not a bad show for some light viewing. The show that unofficially broke the "Seinfeld curse" for Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

10 to One- Nothing really new or groundbreaking here but often it's a good for those "remember when..." moments.

You Are What You Eat- If you're feeling bad about yourself, watch this.

Mcleod's Daughters- It has well and truly descended into soap territory, but this rural drama, now in its eighth season could be a lot worse.

Temptation- This family friendly quiz show is a reliable and entertaining choice.... unfortunately it has been axed so don't get too attached.


The Waiting Room, Emergency, Deadly Surf, Sudden Impact

I don't know how anyone manages to tell these shows apart from each other, but there's obviously an audience for these types of reality docu-drama shows. Not for me.

Nine hasn't done too bad a job putting together a schedule for summer. There's pretty much something for most people there, and there's a fairly even balance between Australian and American content.

Summer Viewing Guide: Ten

Now that the "Silly Season" of TV in Australia is well underway, there's only a select group of shows which are worth watching. Amongst all of the channels, Network Ten has the least to offer, serving up viewers mostly repeats of shows seen earlier in the year.



The Office: Pushed way into the depths of a Sunday Night, this show was tried by Ten a couple of years ago and was removed due to poor ratings. But don't be fooled by the lack-lustre First Season, most of the episodes of the Second season and currently airing Third Season are absolute gold. It may take some getting used to, as it has no laugh track it is filmed in a mockumentary style, but it is just as good, if not better than the highly acclaimed UK version. The best thing on TV at the moment by a mile.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Global Edition: I only recently rediscovered this show and realised how sharp not only the writers are, but also Jon Stewart. It is a highlights package of Jon Stewart's show, so you only get the best bits, which are very good. Also on a Sunday night.


Don't Forget the Lyrics: American gameshow featuring Americans unafraid to embarass themselves on National TV.

Rush RPT.: Great Cop show with a difference, but they are repeats of episodes seen only months ago. Watch only if you missed it earlier.

America's Next Top Model: I can understand if you like this type of show but women encouraged to be naasty to each other (and be stick-thin) is not really my idea of entertainment.

The Simpsons RPT.: What's new?

The Bold and the Beautiful: Again, not really my thing but can be a guilty pleasure for some. Doing OK in its new 6:00 timeslot, hovering around 500k.

How to Look Good Naked: Hmm. A show solely aimed at women and making them feel better about their bodies, which is never a bad thing. If you enjoy seeing Carson Kressley poke at women's bodies... then I'm sure you'll love this show. Not rating too well.

Out of the Blue: Banished to a 10:30 PM timeslot without even given a chance at 6:00 or 7:00 this is really just your average Aussie soap with a hint of murder mixed in. I'm sure if you like Home and Away or Neighbours you'll like it... but I don't. Not rating too badly considering the timeslot, about the same as Bold, if not a touch less.

Friends RPT.: Replaying episodes from the sixth season. It wasn't bad watching repeats of the sixth seaosn when they were aired earlier this year, but who wants to watch repeats or repeats? Obviously 600,000 or so people.

Rules of Engagement RPT.: Mostly a rubbish sitcom, of the same ilk as Two and a Half Men. Stars David Spade and that guy who you recognise from some other show (Patrick Warburton who played David Puddy on Seinfeld).

NCIS RPT.: A show growing in popularity every week, but not for everyone, including me.

Law and Order CI, SVU RPT.: More of the same from Dick Wolf. Not rating as well as it once did.

Ice Road Truckers and Orange Roughies: Why would anyone bother to watch this show, let alone make it? Two of those shows that I didn't watch solely based on their titles.

Going off with a Bang

If you manage to turn on the TV and not see Charlie Sheen's grinning mug, you may just catch a sort-of new show called The Big Bang Theory. It premiered last summer but was taken off due to poor ratings. Now, Nine, keen to find another Sitcom hit, has brought it back.

It stars Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons as Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper respectively, who are two braniac physicits, who find themselves living across from a TOTALLY HOT lady, Penny, played by Kaley Cuoco (who you will recognise from "8 simple rules"). Of course, awkard situations and geeky banter ensue. Penny is portrayed as a simple, but strong-willed woman, in contrast to the intelligent, but incredibly annoying Sheldon. Of course, there's the unresolved sexual tension between Leonard and Penny... which is interesting to watch, if not a bit sad to see this "nerdy" guy drool over waitress Penny.
The secondary guys include an Indian stereotype called Rajesh, who mutters things about curry and Bollywood (ie. his naming of a planetary object, PlanetBollywood) and my favourite character, Howard Wolowitz, who fancies himself as a ladies man, but of course is anything but.

It doesn't matter that most of the cast is relatively unknown, as they portray their characters very well, and all of the characters are unique in their own way. Many people have mentioned the fact that you can see the jokes coming a mile away, which is true, but the jokes aren't too bad... well, at least not as bad as Two and a Half's juvenile humour.
Even though I don't understand half of the scientific babble coming out of their mounths half the time it is amusing to watch them interact with an often confused Penny.

The set is small and pathetic but you are forced to get used to it.

The latest ratings in Australia haven't been fantastic, but they have been OK, hovering around the 1m mark sometimes, which Nine should be reasonably happy with, considering it is summer, at it is an improvement on last summer. Here they are;


Wedesday- 983,000 (3rd in timeslot)
Wednesday- 1,008,000 (3rd in timeslot)
Sunday- 1,046,000 (2nd in timeslot)
Monday-970,000 (2nd in timeslot)
Sunday- 912,000 (1st in timeslot)
Monday- 816,000 (3rd in timeslot)

The Big Bang Theory can be seen on Nine at 8:00 on Sunday and Monday.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ten: What Went Wrong?

I can really only think of one medium threat ten has for 2009... So You Think You Can Dance. Yep. That's it. Of course, there are also other shows that do OK, like NCIS, Rove, Good News Week and Rush, but none of them are great, like some shows on other networks, ie. Packed to the Rafters, Underbelly, etc.

Ten has been infamous, of late, for shuffling programs around, axing them and taking them out of schedule, frustrating viewers to no end. To name a few, 90210 was recently brought back for one week, and now has vanished without a trace (even though they have a HD channel). The 7:00 timeslot has been shuffled from Taken Out to repeats of Friends to repeats of Will and Grace and back to Friends. The Bold and the Beautiful has been pushed into prime-time, frustrating some people who prefer it in the afternoon (AdelaideNow). Ten has to realise that this builds up resentment against the network, and cannot expect people to come back for new shows if they are not happy with the way they are treating old favourites... They especially do not need this resentment when they have lost their highest rating Australian show in a long time.

It can be argued that this resentment is beginning to show, with Ten's once most popular show House, severely weakened- all of its recent new episodes but one failed to crack the 1m mark. Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader was also weakened, as was Rove. Ten's attempts to revive the Sitcom failed in Back to You and Rules of Engagement. The embarrasing Download was axed as viewers realised that there's this new website that everyone's talking about called "YouTV or TubeMe or something".

All I have to say is that ten has a long way to go to claw itself back to where it was at the end of 2007.

They're Not Here Anymore

I don't blame Thank God You're Here, or Working Dog to be specific, for jumping ship.

Let's face it. When a large object is sinking... what is the best thing to do?
That large thing is Channel Ten... oooh sorry, Network Ten. Channel Seven apparently offered the "Dog" a million dollar deal to come to their network... and who wouldn't?
Especially in this financial crisis, who would rather have loyalty, integrity, blah blah blah, over a huge wad of cash?

Seven has just won its second consecutive ratings here. I won't bore you with statistics but Seven has well and truly snatched the crown from nine.
And Seven isn't afraid to splash a bit of cash around. Last year it poached Kash and Kim from the ABC, to great success. A year before that it still had Dicko, who it had tempted with another multi-million dollar deal... to not so great success- after a gig hosting the ill-suited My Restaurant Rules, he was shoved in lycra and dance to the Muppet Show theme on Dancing with the Stars, and in the next series he found himself judging for one week on the same show... the only non-proffesional dancer to sit on the panel.
Even though this was mostly a failure, it was during the years building up to seven's big win in 2007. However, the message is still clear, if you spend money, you make money.
Thank God You're Here is sure to be a success. All of the ingredients are there, Shane Bourne has already been at Seven for two years now, it would be no problem to get the supporting cast back- as two of them (Nicola Parry and Toby Truslove) are already on This is Your Laugh with Andrew O'Keefe, and it wouldn't be too much of a problem to get the rest back together, including the very cool Ed Kavalee.
The only problem I see is that of one H. Blake. He is arguably the stand-out performer on TGYH. His ability to think on his feet is exceptional and mirrors the idea of the show. Of course, I am not forgetting about Shaun Micallef, who could also be argued as being another stand-out. Anyway, I don't think Hamish would be allowed to appear on another commercial network just for a couple of appearances on TGYH, as he is contracted to Ten. Hamish and Andy have been rumoured to be in talks for their own show for quite a while, and I wouldn't think that he would leave Ten.
Nevertheless, with Working Dog still at the helm, I have no doubt that the show will be just as good, if not better, than before.

Stone Cold Success

Just when you think we've had enough legal dramas (Law and Order SVU, CI, Boston Legal, Ally Mcbeal, The Practice), along comes another one. In many ways, it is the same as most others, but it also has one major point of difference- George Michael.
Yes, George Michael in a legal drama. That is, if it is entirely a "drama" in the first place.

Jonny Lee Miller, a 36 year old English actor, plays the main role of big-time lawyer Eli Stone. This seems to be the trend of late in America; rope in British actors such as Hugh Laurie in House and that what's-his-name from Life, Damian Lewis. Anyway, he was apparently married to Angelina Jolie for a couple of years, not that it makes any difference to the show.

But what makes this lawyer so special, is that he has a brain aneurysm, which seems to cause him to have visions of people singing George Michael songs... and other TOTALLY RANDOM things like aeroplanes flying at him... BUT DON'T WORRY- It all means something, trust me.

It all links back to his father and the case he is working on at the time. He also goes to see this Chinese guy who tells him he is a prophet and mentors him.

Somehow though, it is addicting TV, with the musical sequences breaking the monotony of normally boring legal procedures. He also aims to represent less fortunate people such as immigrants and autistic children's parents... aaaawwwww. Yes, so there are messages, etc. in the show... so at times it does verge on sappiness.

But overall, it is well worth a try, just to try something different. Oh, and don't get too attached to it. It was axed in America halfway through its 2nd season. THe ratings in Australia haven't been too crash-hot either.

ELI STONE- Tuesdays and Thursdays 8:30 PM - Channel Seven

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Desperate Housewives

Remember when Desperate Housewives used to be huge? I mean, a couple of years ago, everyone was talking about it. Now, some people are still watching it but not as many as in its heyday. I think everyone agreed that its second season was crap, which turned everyone off.

Now in its fourth season, the storylines are just as soapy and "juicy". Many people have described it as a prime-time soap. I still watch it because, yes, it is slightly addictive even though it isn't that good for you- yes, if you want to, compare it to chocolate.

The main characters have the same personality traits as they did in the beginning, not much has changed... Don't worry, I won't go over them. This can get tiring because you have to wonder how the writers can keep reinvigorating the show and the storylines without adding new characters.

And after a while, the narrator's voice- Mary-Alice or whatever her name is- can begin to grate on you.

The recent season 4 ratings for Desperate Housewives haven't been too bad, (latest)-1.1m, 1.2m, 1.3m, 1.3m, etc. so while it hasn't done too badly for seven, it will never get back to its former glory- up around the 1.8m mark. But I'm sure it will be sticking around for a lot longer- but not for too long- there's only so much botox in the world (I'm thinking of three stars in particular).

Monday, March 31, 2008

Sunday Ratings

777,000. Yes, that is what Rove got on Sunday night. 777,000. I still can't believe it. I can't remember the last time they got such a low result. It is quite disappointing for Rove, given all the plugging, and given it was a series return. It came 4th after the heavyweights Grey's and CSI. It even lost to East of Everything. Not to say it isn't great news for this Aussie drama. 1m is fantastic for its debut. The ABC is probably hoping they have another Seachange on their hands.
Everyone seems to have fallen for the Gladiators too, with 1.8 million, but will this be another Bingo Night? Let's hope so. It's just another pointless, brain-dead show encouraging violence.
In other news, Earl returned strongly on 1.2m, even though the Cops episodes are rubbish.
60 minutes is recovering after a shaky start on 1.4m, Channel Nine's reality docu-dramas continue to not prove as popular as their identical counterparts previously aired on Channel Seven. Dance drops in popularity as viewers realise just how boring and drawn out it can be sometimes. People also continue to lap up the trash which is Police Files Unlocked and The Biggest Loser... no big suprise.
Thanks to

Really the only suprise here is Rove's result, but maybe we can see why with my Rove post.

Rove Review

In my opinion, Rove had a fantastic 2007. His move to Sundays proved a success, with the show regularly getting around the 1m mark. There were new segments and new faces and it put the show in a class above the previous Rove Live years. It was really funny and it seemed that they had achieved the right mix between written material and banter between Rove, "the gang" and the guests.

This is why when I found out that Rove would be making a few changes to this year's show, I was a bit suprised, but I was optimistic. Surely the show could only get bigger and better... but I was somewhat disappointed.

The first difference noticed were the opening credits. They were 10 times flashier and slicker than the last years. Mind, I had no problem with this, but I didn't see the necessity for them to be changed last year.

Rove's opening monologue was more or less the same- it was still quite funny, but this isn't what I had a problem with. Then it was time for "Carrie at the Newsdesk", also with flashier graphics. I don't know whether you were supposed to see Carrie sneak in from backstage or not but I suggest this should be cleaned up a tad, to match with everything else new and flashy, this looked messy in comparison. And whule the "News" was still funny, there was no banter between Carrie and Rove like there was last year. It used to relax things a bit and it could be quite funny. I don't know who decided that Carrie wasn't funny enough but I suggest they bring back the banter. Pete Helliar was funny as usual, not much different to his segment, which was good, Petespace is perfectly suited to him.

Ross Noble was funny and quirky as always and Rove's interview with Jodie Foster was OK, but those pre-recorded interviews are never as good as the live ones.

Hamish and Andy were also quite funny, but they deserve more time for their segment, and Hamish Blake needs more opportunity to do what he does best... be funny.

Dave Hughes' segment was quite good. It was better than last year's Hughesy loses it, which got quite tired- Hughesy probably did too. This was one of the only actual improvements to the show.

The main problem I had with the show was the amount of written material it now has. They have cut down the amount of banter to almost nothing to allow for more stuff like the Kevin Rudd sketch and I Love... at the end of the show. And while these segments were not exactly unfunny, it restricted the gang so much that they couldn't relax and Hamish or Pete couldn't come out with any spontaneous "winners".

The other problem I had was why they had to switch around the set. For a person like me, who had watched the show last year, the position of the couch which was switched to the other side, it seriously messed with my head. I don't know whether it was because Rove wanted the set to look more like Letterman's or not but it now does.

Nevertheless, Rove is still one of the funniest shows on TV and I hope that they realise that it thrives on spontaneous jokes and banter.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares

Just when everyone thought the biggest show of 08 would by So You Think You Can Dance, along came a man named Gordon Ramsay. His show has just exploded on the Aus TV scene. It is quite amazing in fact that it has become such a huge phenomenon. It started quitely in the Summer non- ratings period once a week, with very little fuss or promotion. It was a steady performer then, hovering around the 1m mark. Channel Nine just screened it to give viewers a
taste of what was to come with their massively promoted so-so Chopping Block.
In fact, all Nine did was show a slicker, grittier and funnier show before the not-as-good second show.
It also made The Chopping Block look like an weak imitation, and they wonder why it didn't work.
Anyway, Nine must be ecstatic that they have finally come across their first new show which is actually popular in the past couple of years. Really. Think about it. Nine hasn't had a truly popular new show like this for ages. They have always just relied on their older favourites like CSI, 60 minutes, etc. to prop up their collapsing network.
But now, this show, this man, could prove the turning point in Nine's fortunes.
But why has this show proven so popular? It is a cheap American reality show where a man comes into a crap restaurant, swears, abuses the staff and picks on the food. It is all because of Ramsay. Just like house, the show revolves around and supported solely by one grumpy man.
It has steadily increased in ratings and peaked at 1.5 million on a Thursday.
And now that Nine has unlocked the Ramsay juggernaut, they could also tap into his other shows he has made like Hell's Kitchen.
All I know is that the Ramsay phenomenon can only get bigger.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cranky Corner: Movies on repeat

Don't you hate it when a network comes across a movie which rates pretty well, then decides to repeat it again and again and again? I do. All of the commercial networks are guilty of this- Nine and Ten mostly. Of course you get the movies they play at least once every year such as classics like The Castle, the whole Star Wars saga, The Back to the Future trilogy.... of course there are many more but they you get the idea. Then you get the more recent ones (2000 onwards) getting a run once every 3-12 months, these are your Bridget Jones, About a Boy, etc.
Here is an example- About a Boy is on this Friday the 29th of February. The last time it was on was the 4th of November 2007. This is just over 3 months between the two screenings! And the sad thing is is that people continue to watch these movies, which just encourages the networks.

TV08: The Start

Let's face it, the start of 2008 hasn't really been that exciting. Apart from a couple of shows such as SYTCYDTYDC or whatever it is and Underbelly, there haven't been any great breakthrough original shows. The networks have brought back the whole truckload of old American favourites. Let me remind you of all these shows that are hanging around.

The CSIs

The Law and Orders

All of the American shows like Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy and House.

And Apart from Underbelly and Dance, none of the new shows have failed to set the ratings alight such as Samantha Who, Burn Notice, Out of the Question, Terminator, Dirty Sexy Money and Monster House.

Seven has brought back its herd of cheap shows. They must be relieved that viewers are creeping back to them after a lack-lustre first week. I started to finally think that people had tired of all of Seven's rubbish but they have come crawling back.
Yes, all of those shows- RSPCA Animal Rescue, The Real Seachange, It Takes Two, The Force, Border Security, The Zoo and Bush Doctors are all making a comeback. Aren't we all tired of these shows yet? Obviously not.

The only hope is to look ahead. The next few days holds Newstopia, the only new Australian comedy at the moment. The next few weeks hold Rove, which should be good. And who knows when Steve Jacob's new show (anyone for another quiz show?) is coming.

This post wasn't meant to be a pessimistic rant, it was purely to tell the networks that they can do better. Everyone is itching for some fresh talent in some quality Australian shows. If you look back at the Chaser, even though they weren't exactly new talent, they were new to most people and look how well they went. Networks need to take some more risks- even though all these shows are still popular, they will not be able to prop up the networks forever. If Seven keeps flogging their docu-dramas and It Takes Two, viewers will tire of them (and they have already started to). If networks take risks, sure, 80% of the time they will fail, already with Monster House and Out of the Question but for the 20% which are succesful such as Dance, the said show can almost win entire nights for the network and can be milked for at least a couple of years.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Nine off to a flyer

Yes, that's right. Nine has won the first week. I don't really see how, but I am glad all the same. I cannot express how happy I am that Channel Seven lost the first week. It is the only network to not have a new Aussie show (and I don't include those cheap reality-docu-dramas as shows).
At least Nine and Ten were brave enough to take some risks and launch some new shows. So what if Nine's Chopping Block and Monster House didn't perform as well as hoped, at least Nine is showing that it is willing to try new Aussie shows. And of course we all know how well Ten's new show has paid off. But I bet that Ten is grateful that it decided to take the risk but at the same time dreading what will happen when the show ends. I mean, I don't want to look too far ahead but they haven't really got much, or any new Aussie shows up their sleeves. Big Brother and Australian Idol are the only two shows that they have. They will be hoping that they can change them enough again so that they can fool viewers that they are watching a different show. But I highly doubt any of those two will regain its Season 1/2 freshness and ratings.
Well back to the present and I hope Nine continues to win. We all went through that phase over the last three years when we loved the fact that Nine was losing and we cheered on Seven to thrash Nine with its new glossy American shows like Lost, Desperate Housewives, etc. But that was just because we had all got sick of Nine with its "old-fashioned" shows and tired personalities. But now we have started to come back to the familiarity of Nine with its gritty Aussie dramas and other new shows. I admit, it was good for a while with Channel Seven and its Dancing, singing and docu-dramas galore, but this week viewers showed they are starting to tire of the barrage of Border, Force, RSPCA, the Real Seachange and who knows what else. And to my delight, we are also tiring of It Takes Two, my least favourite show at the moment. Nine only won about two official weeks last year, so hopefully Nine winning the first week is a sign of good things to come.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Ratings Wrap

Well, Out of the Question continues to slide further, now to the 800 000s. Not good news for seven, but it is hardly surprising. I wonder how many more weeks it has got left in it. If it drops to 700 000 next week it could be its second last week. If it hovers around the 800 000s, it might have 1 or 2 weeks after that. At least another Aussie comedy, Good News Week was a bit funnier than Out of the Question but it didn't rate anywhere near Question's 1.3m debut.
The Chopping Block also improved its ratings a bit, which is good, because it is growing into an OK show. Hopefully Channel Nine is patient and leaves it to simmer for a bit.
And there was the whole Underbelly kerfuffle. If you ask me, Nine should have held off on Underbelly for all of the states not just Victoria. At least they have would eliminated downloading, etc. They also could have scored themselves the one of the first real big figures over the 2m mark for 2008. But it still rated OK I suppose. I'm suprised The Frasier and Debra show (or Back to You) rated so well because a) they gave away free DVDs with the episode in the paper and b) It was OK, but not really funny. Ramsay continues to perform. Saving Babies or Kids or Damien Leith continues to get average results. Lost isn't getting the 1m it deserves, only 800k seem to be still interested. And can I just say that I agree with David Knox of that Two and a Half Men needs to be given the boot and Temptation needs to be brought back. Two and a half men is truly one of the worst American sitcoms I have ever seen. Womens Murder Club did well with 1.2m. I think that women will prefer that over the new Sex and the City Clones. Maybe because it looks a bit more intelligent and doesn't obsess over looks, etc. Like with Sex and the City #2 (Cashmere Mafia) and its tagline- "they're not desperate, they're fabulous!" Come on Channel Nine, that's shocking. Monster House got the bad number it deserved- around 700k. It had some OK ideas but some of the laughter was forced and unnatural. Terminator's 1m will only get worse. I have said before that it will be this year's Bionic Women- both remakes with tough female leads. It doesn't appeal to anyone- blokes don't watch it because of the female lead and women probably won't like it because of all of the action and sci-fi nonsense. Desperate Housewives and Dirty Sexy Money did OK too but overall, the only show which has been a real fresh, new hit has been So You Think You Can Dance. And thank god we have at least one great Australian show. Well, at least I can be happy that It Takes Who? has finally got a lower number- 1.3m. It is a stale show and I think we all have to realise that the bottom of the D-Grade Aus Celeb barrel has been not only scraped, but removed and thrown away and we are now down to the concrete underneath the barrel. I challenge the average TV viewer to name one show that at least 3 It Takes Who people are in. I only knew about three or four. Turn off your TVs at 7:30 to whatever time they stretch this drivel out to and we can finally tell Channel Seven to give us something new. A Year with the Royal Family I think will slide further below the current 1m. It is boring with a capital Z. On to next week.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Nine's first dud.

Nine's first official dud for 2008 has surfaced. And it was its first new show.
The Chopping Block premiered on Wenesday, a new reality/My Restaurant Rules/Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmare type show. It got about 700k viewers. Which is terrible, especially for a show which is a premiere and has been advertised to death. It is also Nine's first new show with its new old look.
But in saying all of this, my opinion of this show is that it was a poor version of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. The good points about it were that... Matt Moran was pretty good as the chef. He didn't need to go over the top like Ramsay to get his message across, but this was probably part of the problem. The only reason why people watch Ramsay's is for the conflicts and for Ramsay swearing his head off while criticising the chefs.
Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares got great ratings on Thursday night- 1m. This is great for a 9:30 show. Don't be surprised if Nine shifts it to 8:30. But back to The Chopping Block; the bad points(and there were many); the starting introduction dragged on for way too long, the restaurant critic was pushed to be too harsh on the restaurant owners and waiters- making fun of some waiter's appearance was not on, the fact that the show has tried to combine the reforming the restaurant with the competition aspect was a mistake. Also, Catriona Rowntree was not needed. Don't get me wrong, she is a good host of Getaway but a voice over would have been much better. Just look at Ramsay's- it doesn't have a host and it does just fine. Nine would have been better off making an Australian version of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and have Moran as the chef... just a thought. Well, don't expect this one to hang around for long. Channel Nine might give it a couple more weeks in this timeslot then replace it with Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.

Seven's first dud

Well, Out of the Question's ratings on Thursday night were pretty terrible... but had to be expected. Last week it got 1.3m which isn't too bad but this weeks result of 997,000 is pretty bad.

The show was not that flash either. Probably because the producers made the mistake of keeping Fifi and getting rid of Ed Kavalee. They started off the show by re-using the same joke as last week (the complimenting Glenn for points joke). I lost interest after Fifi Box began to sing "I'm blue...". Anyway, it will eventually be axed... but it would be good if Seven could keep it longer, just to give it a chance... but I know that is a bit unreasonable, especially for a commercial network.
If they want a ratings boost, ditch the current panel and bring back Ed and they need someone like Hamish Blake or Julia Zemiro.
But I have named Out of the Question Seven's and 2008's first dud.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Progress Report

Well, I know its only early in the year but it the unofficial ratings season has just started and I would like to compare how each of the commercial networks have started off.

Channel Seven- Not a bad start… some of their shows that they have been promoting non-stop over summer have finally premiered. These include the Zoo (haven’t they already got an animal docu-drama?), Bush Doctors, Samantha Who and Out of the Question.
I am sick of talking about Out of the Question (my other posts have my opinions on this show) and we all know that its audience could have been better but we won’t dwell on that.
Bush Doctors did OK also with 1.2m, which appeared to be a cross between 7’s Medical Emergency and 9’s Royal Flying Doctor Service.
And the Zoo got off to a pretty good start with 1.3m.
Samantha Who got 1.3, which is good, but nothing like what Ugly Betty got this time last year (this mentioned in my other post).
Of course these aren’t huge numbers but against Ten’s biggest gun, So You Think You Can Dance, they did pretty well and Seven should be pretty happy with their start.

Channel Nine- Kicked off their batch of new shows with a A Year with the Royal Family. It came second in its timeslot to Dance and this was probably to be expected. It got better ratings than I thought it would- did Cate Blanchett’s voice-over make this show more popular than it could have been?... I doubt that it would have made a difference if someone else was doing it. I can’t really see viewers sticking around for a long time- I don’t think it will take long for people to get sick of watching the Queen and co.
Of course their C.S.I.s did well also, even though one was a repeat.

Channel (Network… sorry) Ten- Well, probably the best network of the three. It also has launched the two most talked about shows over the past couple of weeks. Dance and the Biggest Loser have done very well for Ten on Sunday and Monday.
Ten will be very happy that they finally have some hit shows, especially with their upcoming US shows in doubt. Dance got 1.8m then 1.6m… very good figures, and The Biggest Loser has kicked off with a strong start.
But is this a case of Ten putting its best two shows forward to cover up possible duds? We shall find out…

Monday, February 4, 2008

Samantha Who

Yes, I did have a look at Samantha Who, only because I wanted to see if there was anything there.
And it was everything I thought it would be- slightly predictable with a clumsy, ditsy lead character. It had a few funny lines and it is OK for a bit of light viewing but nothing which looks to be too memorable. It got around 1.2 million, which isn't that good, given it is the first new glossy American show. And remember Ugly Betty got about 2 million this time last year. And this show looks to become the next Ugly Betty, Seven promoted the hell out of it and it will eventually slip to the 1 million to 1.1 million mark when 60 minutes comes back. It is a fairly good idea for a show but how far can they stretch it?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

TV08:Australian Drama

2007 was also the year of the Australian drama revival. After years of networks plodding around trying to find a decent drama, there were two new dramas which stood up and got people's attention- Sea Patrol and City Homicide.
And in 2008, the only logical thing to do would be to produce more. So now we all know about Underbelly, which looks good and "gritty". If it succeeds it will be phenomenal and propel the Australian drama scene even further, but if it doesn't, which would suprise many, it would be made a laughing stock and be called Australia's bad attempt at the Sopranos.
There is also Packed to the Rafters, a dramedy which is probably going to be good family viewing, with Rebecca Gibney a well known face.
Sea Patrol is also back with a new name- Sea Patrol 2: The Coup and new faces- Alan Dale. It looks as if there wasn't enough explosions in the last series so Nine have decided to amp up the flashy factor and make it look more and more American. Either way, it will be costing them a fortune again so it better be worth it.
City Homicide is also back- not my cup of tea (not because I don't like the show, but because I dislike all cop-based dramas... except maybe Monk) but I know that lots of people like it. It should continue to thrive, given its ratings last season.
East of Everything is an ABC drama, I don't know much about it yet but hopefully it isn't too complicated and it builds up a following, then ABC can actually have a good Australian drama to be proud of.
Canal Road is a Nine drama which might have a harder time fitting in, given that it combines medicine and law, and viewers lately seem to prefer the simple formats but who knows, it could do good things for Australian drama by expanding the typical medical/cop/law genres.
And Channel Nine have stuck to the same sort of genres with Young Doctors. I don't know how they are going to compete with All Saints, now that it has found itself a little niche with dramatic "bomb" storylines. If Nine can steer in the complete opposite direction to All Saints, it could get a good audience.
And Ten, playing it safe once again has copped out with The Informant, a telemovie which it says may turn into a series if it performs well, which Ten will be hoping for, while its American drama pool will be drying up as the year progresses (if the strike isn't resolved).
And McLeods Daughters will return for its final season. Channel Nine decided to stop it after a lacklustre Season 7. Nine haven't treated it very well over the past couple of years, with an attempt to "sex" up McLeods, with those racy promos, and with Nine interrupting the season with other shows. And they still don't seem to care that much about it- the McLeods website is under the other "Other Shows" menu on the Nine website and they have't updated the McLeods website to the new logo and design which all the other new shows have.
Anyway, what's your opinion?

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Last year was the big game-show revival. We remember the over-hyped 1 vs 100 and Andrew O'Keefe's the Rich List. And there was even the so-so Contest... remember? Then there were the continuing ones- Bert's Family Feud, Deal or no Deal, Temptation, Who wants to be a Millionaire, National Bingo Night, Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader and The Singing Bee. Out of these only 3 are confirmed to air in 2008.
This means we will have to brace ourselves for another onslaught of flashy new game-shows.
Now, the biggest one is probably The Power of Ten hosted by Steve Jacobs. Steve is a pretty funny guy and the success of this show depends on whether or not it is too similar to Family Feud. Nine will probably try and place more influence on the comedy and less on the game-show itself, which is understandable, because the Nine thinks that we are all sick of your traditional Question-Answer shows. But I think that this show will do OK.
Of course there is Out of the Question, which I have talked about enough already.
The Moment of Truth is another attempt by Nine to obtain a fresh, successful game-show which hopefully generates a bit of controversy- as the American version did. It will be interesting to see who hosts this, because I think most people would be turned off by another Eddie McGuire show. How about some new talent... anyone?
Nine has also snapped up Hole in the Wall- based on a Japanese gameshow- my tip (and hope) is that Nine will come to its senses and scrap this idea before they become a laughing stock.
And that's all for the new game-shows. Of the returning ones, I think the Rich List and Deal or No Deal will continue along well, just as long as Andrew O'Keefe doesn't become too over-exposed and become a turn-off to viewers.
Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader will continue to do OK and hover around the 1m mark like it did last year.
Hopefully Temptation comes back, as it is a good show with no fancy frills or gimmicks like most of these other shows, and if you want to win, you have to have good general knowledge, not have to know what percentage of Australians drink milk from the carton.

The Top 5:People Who Deserve Bigger Roles

This is a list made up of the people I believe deserve bigger roles on TV. Some of these people already have a small role and some don't have a role at all but they are all great talents and deserve better.

#5. Wil Anderson deserves to have his own Glass-house type of show back again.
#4. Sonia Kruger deserves to be the host on DWTS- which I'm sure many people would agree on.
#3. Tony Martin deserves some sort of role on Aussie TV, whether it be as a writer, or even appearances on Spicks and Specks.
#2. Hamish and Andy deserve another crack at their own show... you only have to listen to their radio show to see how good it could be.
#1. Ed Kavalee also deserves his own Tonight show, but I have already mentioned this in my Out of The Question: Review post.

And some people I didn't mention do better in their smaller roles, such as Frank Woodley and Colin Lane in their appearances on Spicks and Specks, and Julia Zemiro is great as host of RocKwiz and we all saw what happened when she ventured to the dark side (commercial TV) last year. Who's in your Top 5?

Summer TV Awards

Well, this is pretty self-explanatory (and pretty pointless, because we all know that Summer TV was on the whole pretty bad), but anyway, here I go.

Best TV Show- 30 Rock- Great original new show which should have been given an earlier timeslot but I think is now returning in the ratings season.

Worst TV Show(s)- Too many to mention but all of the cheap reality shows such as Police
Ten 7, Borderline, Deadly Surf which are all imitations of their more successful counter-parts. Also all of those British shows such as Heart-Beat. And not forgetting Don't Forget the Lyrics, couldn't Network Ten rustle up any other drama or comedy?

Worst Decision by a network- Network Ten deciding to be different and be the only network to show an old show in the 7pm slot. Sure, Friends is not a terrible show but haven't we all seen the episodes before. At least Channel Nine showed new shows... even though they were both terrible.

Best Network- SBS wins this award for showing new episodes of all its best shows. They also showed new shows during the non-ratings season. To name a few of its shows- Top Gear, Mythbusters, Skins, Who Do You Think You Are, RocKwiz, East West 101 and Food Safari.
I may not be a fan of these shows but SBS has still done many people a favour by providing mostly Australian alternatives to other rubbish on commercial TV.

Most disliked Networks- Channel Nine and Channel Ten- for shifting around shows and yanking them off air at different times. I am mostly talking about The Big Bang Theory, The New Adventures of Old Christine and The Office. Channel Nine have to understand that if they want to build up viewer loyalty, they shouldn't take a show off the air four weeks into a season just because it is getting one or two hundred thousand less viewers than they would like. And if they really didn't want to show it in primetime then at least shove it in a 10:30 slot like Channel Seven. And Channel Ten really should know better.

What do you think?

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Top 5: Summer TV Shows

Now that the mostly terrible Summer TV is almost over, I have decided to name my Top 5 favourite shows from the Summer TV Season.

#5. Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares
#4. The Worst Christmas of My Life
#3. The Big Bang Theory
#2. Top Gear
#1. 30 Rock

The Top 5

This will be a regular feature on my blog. It will include the Top 5....... on Australian TV. For example- The Top 5 new '08 shows. These are of course my opinions but you can post yours.
#5. Pushing Daisies
#4. Reaper
#3.The Chopping Block
#2. So You Think You Can Dance
#1. Underbelly

Thursday:Ratings View

It is quite disappointing to see the ratings which the premiere of Out of the Question got. I mean, 1.17 million is not a terrible result but it isn't fantastic, given that it is a premiere. But it is a Thursday and it is out of ratings season. It also won its timeslot... which is quite good considering it was up against RPA. But Seven wouldn't be too happy given the large amount of advertising put into it.

If it can sustain this audience during the ratings season, I'd say Seven would keep it.

Meanwhile Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares continues to grow in popularity, which Channel Nine would be happy about, given that The Chopping Block is coming up. And The Chopping Block seems to be a very similar show to Ramsay's.

And not as many people want to watch Family Guy or "The Family Guy" as Glenn Robbins says.
This is probably due to a combination of the fact that most people have already watched the episodes on the internet and the fact that it is not as kid-friendly as the Simpsons. And what's with Channel Seven calling it "medium-tracked". Obviously now when it is not screened directly (or a week) after the US sees it is medium-tracked. But really, is it Seven trying to be funny, or trying to confuse us?

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Out of the Question: Review

Well, there was Australia's first new show of 2008. Out of the Question. Well... what did you think? I thought that the show is a pretty original idea, current affairs/quiz show/comedy/panel. It draws a lot of its ideas from shows such as The Panel and Spicks and Specks. The first show starred Tony Moclair, Fifi Box and Ed Kavalee. I will try not to analyse it too much because I don't want to judge it purely on one show and only 22 or so minutes, but I will give you my first impressions. It got off to a cheesy start with all of the guests complimenting Glenn Robbins about his various characters, shows and so forth, just to get points, but that was to be expected I suppose. None of the stars on the show have really been used to the roles they were put in. It was Glenn's first time as host, Ed's first time in a more prominent role on TV, etc.
But when the show first got underway there were a few funny lines... mostly from Ed Kavalee.
The current-affairs discussion/quiz is quite good as viewers may be able to discuss and answer questions at home. The show may have looked a bit messy but it is understandable. I think if it is given enough time to develop, it could become a good show, but I wonder if this type of show would have been more at home at the ABC...
The half-hour running time doesn't allow much time to breathe, but some people may enjoy its fast pace and some people may have preferred an hour-long more Panel-like show.
And at the end of the show, Ed Kavalee was the person who stood out the most. If this show were to continue and Ed were to become popular, he could quite easily host his own interview show. Surely we all remember him playing a tonight-show host on Thank God You're Here?
Anyway, hopefully enough people will have given this show a chance- anything over 1.3 million would be good news I'd say.
Once again, what did you think?

Unofficial Ratings Season Begins

As of Thursday the 31st of January, I have decided that the unofficial ratings period has begun.
This is due to the first new show which has been advertised non-stop- Out of the Question- having its premiere. Channel Seven has begun the unofficial ratings period by trying to get in first with its new show... about a week and a bit before the official ratings period starts.
It will be the first new Aussie show of 2008 so it has a lot to live up to. If it fails, it may well put people off up-coming Aussie comedies such as Good News Week or Monster House.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Shows Nearing the End

While there are a whole bunch of new shows coming on to TV this year, it is time for a couple of shows to receive major overhauls.

The shows that stand out are mostly Channel Ten's, with Australian Idol and Big Brother all waning in popularity in 2007. Dancing with the Stars, while not doing too badly, is starting to look a bit repetative.

Australian Idol has already undergone one overhaul, which brought it back to life in Series 4 after sagging Series 3 ratings. It introduced instruments and allowed more of the singers to sing their own songs. This re-invigorated people's interest in the show and introduced a couple of unique artists. Series 5 was quite dissappointing, with controversy littered throughout the Series. I won't go over them all again because most of them were really quite minor and Channel Ten blew one of them out of proportion just for publicity. It also re-introduced Dicko, which interested people at the start but the novelty soon faded. In the end the show recieved its worst final-show audience. There is still more left in the Idol tank and I think it could return to it's former Guy-Shannon glory.

Big Brother is the most obvious show in need of an overhaul and Channel Ten obviously saw this too so they brought in Kyle and Jackie O and kicked out Gretel. Gretel was very professional and a good presenter so it was a shame to see her go but Channel Ten obviously thought otherwise.
Kyle and Jackie O will liven up the show and there is bound to be controversy with Kyle co-hosting... which Ten obviously wants.

Dancing with the Stars is always good light-entertainment and it hasn't really had a major overhaul since it began... probably because it hasn't needed it. But last season, viewers started to slightly tire of it and not as many watched, so to avoid a further slide, it needs slight tweaking.
And Channel Seven have so far done all the right things by only allowing one season instead of two. The departure of Daryl Somers was a surprise, so it will be interesting to see if it was Daryl who was keeping the show afloat. A new host probably won't make it more popular than before, unless Channel Seven changes the whole look of Dancing. And the new host could be the key to its ongoing success. If another host is chosen and it works, the show will probably continue for many a year, but if it doesn't, Channel Seven will be regretting that Daryl left as it would show that he was the key to its success and its ratings will slide further.

Are there any other shows that you feel are in need of a make-over that aren't reality shows? Or do you disagree with my opinions? Leave a comment if so.

Monday, January 28, 2008

TV08:US Gloss

This is a post high-lighting the Glossy new US shows coming to our screens in February. Since Lost and Desperate Housewives drew massive ratings three years ago, the networks have been offering up shiny new shows from the USA. Of course Seven has received the pick of the best US shows and appears to be the network which promotes its new US shows the most.

This year they have some more shows from America to serve up.

Dirty Sexy Money has a moderately star-studded cast with Donald Sutherland and William Baldwin. It could appeal to some people because everyone loves shows about cash, scandals and sex. But there is something about this show which doesn't appeal to me. Perhaps it is all the talk of scandals and families which look perfect but underneath there is controversy and intrigue... I feel like I have seen all this before in shows like Desperate Housewives.

Samantha Who is a piece of comedy fluff which is fronted by Christina Applegate, who has bobbed around and popped up in different things before this show. I might watch this show once just to see if it is entertaining but I don't really like the look of it. In the ads Applegate's Samantha is being portrayed as another ditzy, clumsy female, just like Ugly Betty.

Pushing Daisies looks like a pretty unique show, just by the fact that it looks pretty original. For this reason I might have a look but I hope it's not too quirky and doesn't go too much into the sci-fi realm, given that the guy can bring things back to life with his touch.

Private Practice, Cashmere Mafia and Lipstick Jungle are all in the same catergory for me, basically because I will not watch any of them. To me they seem like clones of Grey's Anatomy, Sex and the City and Sex and the City respectively. I didn't like either of those shows either so why should I watch their re-incarnations. Is it a female thing?

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: This show shouldn't last very long for one main reason. There's no Arnie and they call it Terminator. I was never a big fan of the movies and I don't think I will watch this show. The last show like this Bionic Woman failed so I don't see how this is much different.

Women's Murder Club isn't this just Sex and the City crossed with Law and Order? I don't know. Either way it doesn't interest me.

Well, is it just me who isn't that interested in these shiny new shows? I will stick with the older US shows like Lost, Desperate Housewives and maybe House. Now is the perfect time for Australian content to flourish. If you have seen any of these shows and I am wrong in any of my assumptions, please let me know.