Thursday, January 19, 2006

Michael Knight's TV Weak

When I was first co-opted into contributing to this site, it was hoped that I would deliver some insight into the NZ television industry, however the lives and loves and gossip of New Zealand's 'liberal media elite' is far more dull than you could imagine.

However what does excite me in 2006 is the emergence of the internet as the primary distribution method of television shows.
In fact, I'd go as far to say that when TVNZ finally gets around to screening the second series of 'Lost' - the most popular 'pirated' tv show on the net, ratings will be well below expectations (albeit still huge) mainly because of internet 'piracy'

But far better than being able to watch 'Lost' or 'Corrie' ten months in advance of NZ screenings is the ability to view the thousands of wonderful shows that will never see the light of day in this country.

Two of those shows 'Weeds" and the US version of 'The Office" were big winners at the Golden Globes on Tuesday.

'Weeds" is often portrayed as 'Desperate Housewives with drug dealing' but it's closer to the world of American Beauty/Six Feet Under than the soapy crap from Wisteria Lane. The Golden Globe win has secured a second series in the States and maybe even a late night run here at 11pm on TV One on a Sunday if we're lucky.

"The Office" was intially not well recieved by fans of the Ricky Gervais original, but now that the program has developed it's own characters and storylines instead of duplicating their British counterparts word for word, the show is quite fantastic and on occassion betters it's parent show. And of course Steve Carrell is a god.

Also this month, I enjoyed Bill O'Reilly getting his ass handed to him by Letterman recently
Letterman: "I think 60% of what you say is crap" although the next day on his own show O'Reilly proclaimed himself the winner of the interview.

Hopefully with Prime being purchased by Sky we will finally get a 24 hour feed of Fox News in this country because honestly we're missing out big time not being able to watch the comedic genius that is 'The O'Reilly Factor' - Yes, I know, 'The Factor' is not strictly satire, but really if you try to view it for what it is (the American equivalent of Leighton Smith on the highest rating cable news show in the US) it makes you feel kinda empty inside.

This week Bill is focusing all his energy on the U.S state of Vermont becuase the state will not sack a judge who made a decision O'Reilly didn't like, so O'Reilly is now calling on all Americans to boycott the state of Vermont. I'm not quite sure what you're meant to do if you actually live in Vemont but anyway, for those counting, O'Reilly boycotts now apply to Mexico, Canada, France and Vermont.

Still, it's not really bad news for Vermont - after the France boycott started imports of goods from France to the US rose - American goods exported to France fell. And of course Vermont can now advertise itself as a "100% Bill O'Reilly free zone".

On the satrical counterpoint to 'The Factor' - 'The Colbert Report' Stephen Colbert named the Associated Press the #1 threat facing America for not mentioning him in a story about 'truthiness' being named the word of 2005. was similar to the much-criticized weapons of mass destruction reporting leading up to the Iraq War. Except, he said, people got hurt this time.
The NZ television porgrammer who has the balls to bring the one hour block of 'The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" to Late Night NZ television will be a very smart woman indeed.

Unusually O'Reilly wasn't even the most outrageous thing I've watched this week, that distinction goes to 'The Root of all evil' a two part polemic from Richard Dawkins about the supposed evils of Abrahamic religions in the world, at one point he compares Moses to Hitler and Saddam Hussein. Dawkins does make a strong if rather arrogant argument for reason over faith, however while he goes around the world on a crusade to disprove the monothestic faiths he never actually offers evidence and proof that a god doesn't exist.

Actually, I was wrong about the Dawkins show being the most outrageous show, a rebuttal to 'The Root of all Evil' 'Dark Enlightenment' fronted by the seemingly insane Michael Burleigh argues that the Enlightenment was in fact a bad thing for humanity and that amongest other things the Nazi genocide inflicted on the Jewish peoples was caused by an absence of faith. As opposed to say centuries of Vatican endorsed Christian persercution of the Jewish people based on warped interpretations of the Bible.

After watching the Dawkins rants I was a little skeptical of his overwhelming self-assuredness about his faith in 'reason' but after seeing a supposedly renowned historian claiming the past two centuries of human progress are bad for humanity - Dawkins' arguments seem entirely reasonable, even moderate.

Considering TV3's C4 is apprehensive about screening an episode of South Park featuring a statue of the Virgin Mary with an anal bleed for fear of offending the Cathoclic Church, I wonder how the Church would feel about "The Root of All Evil' being shown here.

1 comment:

Uroskin said...

We got the McLaughlin Group ( on our local Auckland station with dependable Moonie wingnut Tony Blankley and paleo-con Pat Buchanan. Often quite spirited without getting dirty.