January 14, 2008

No news news actually

It is quite easy to slip into a bit of a news and communication black-hole here in Crete.

We do try and watch the news in Greek on the main channels, but as one letter recently put it in the Athens News, TV is full of "bimbos, breasts, buttocks and bollocks". Most of the news shows here seem to spend a couple of minutes on the latest scandal to afflict the ND government, and then devote the rest of the bulletin to some daytime TV hottie nearly falling out of her dress, or putting on weight, or being caught on camera on the beach in her bikini.

The ΣΚΑΙ channel evening has bulletins from the BBC, but these are dubbed into Greek. We often watch them anyway, as at least you get a more international perspective on events around the world, you can sometimes pick up bits of the English, and seeing the moving images explains stories you might have only read online.

We were over-joyed at Christmas, when ΣΚΑΙ started running live BBC World news for an hour-and-a-half in the mornings. Claire would eagerly get up at 7am, make herself coffee, and then settle down for an hour of news in English. Sadly it seems that this was only a measure for during the holiday season, as it disappeared as soon as we got to the second week of January.

We've lost our source of local news as well. Every evening ΚΥΔΟΝ TV used to have 'Crete News and Life' with Sally Heard and Emma Perkins reading the local, national and international news in English. It wasn't always the most informative show - there are only so many stories about this local union threatening to strike over something you can take - but it was a valuable lifeline to what was going on locally. It went off air before Christmas, which we assumed was for a holiday break, but it is yet to re-appear.

Which leaves us with just the English language version of the ΕΡΤ site and the weekly Athens News in English to get our local news - neither of which have a great deal of coverage of Crete.

Well, unless we improve our Greek to beyond ordering coffee and beer, of course...

April 27, 2007

Uh-oh, Married With Children is coming

20070427_married Trailers on the Makedonia TV station have been filling us with dread this week - they are promising us that in the very near future we will have "Married With Children" on our screens, a programme both of us loathe.

Well, just ignore it, you say.

Of course, that's fine, but our fear is, what is it going to replace?

It might be America's Funniest Home Videos, or Reba, both of which act as English language moving wallpaper in our house of an evening, and we wouldn't be too distraught.

However, our big fear is that one of either The Simpsons or Seinfield will be vanishing from our screens.

The Athens News TV guide today will tell us which one is making way...

April 26, 2007

Only in America

We haven't started watching many home grown TV shows here in Greece. We've found one cooking programme we enjoy - "Each Bite Delivers" - which we like for the cheery slightly wacky 50-something presenter, even though we don't really understand what is going on. Then there is Kydon TV's "Crete News And Life" in English, and a bit of news on Star or Mega, and that's about it.

For the rest, we either watch movies, or U.S. produced shows in English with Greek subtitles.

Now don't get me wrong, we are very grateful for our imported American TV programmes. There are usually two blocks of them on a Saturday and Sunday including Friends, and during the week Mak TV has The Simpsons and Seinfield on, highlighting the best type of TV that America produces.

20070415_homevideos We are getting really bugged though by "America's Funniest Home Videos" which follows them at 9pm most nights.

It isn't just the content, although that is pretty jaw-dropping.

At the end of each episode the studio audience vote for their favourite (or should that be favorite?) clip, which then goes through to an end-of-series finale to win $100,000. In the series we've just finished watching, the prize was taken by a clip of a four year old boy in his pants taking part in a muscle man competition.

Now, in the UK of course, this kind of behaviour wouldn't be rewarded with a $100,000 bounty, but by a visit from social services, and a hounding from the tabloids to the point of suicide for the parents exposing their children in their underwear to the nation as entertainment.

More than that, though, it is the theme tune that irritates us.

Surely a programme showing what a bunch of buffoons will do in front of a camcorder, could only in America be preceded by a nagging earworm of a patriotic anthem with stars'n'stripes graphics:

"You're red, white and blue.
It's the funny things you do.
America. America.
This is you"

Imagine that in the UK.

It's like 'Beadles About' being introduced with a theme tune evoking the spirit of the blitz, or 'All New You've Been Framed' starting with a jaunty number in praise of Her Maj.


April 09, 2007

TV back to normal

Easter is taken rather more seriously on the whole here in Greece than it is back in the UK, where Christmas tends to be the bigger public festival. Thankfully, now that the holiday season is over, Greek TV has returned to normal.

During the run-up to Easter, programming mostly falls into three camps, with shows and films either for kids, of a religious nature, or actually of religious services.

At times during Passion week both ET1 and NET show the same religious ceremony, and all of the channels were prone to suddenly breaking into Easter religious observance.

The kids stuff was mostly unbearable tosh like Short Circuit 2 and some terrible, terrible adventure movie about a Loch Ness type monster called Orci with one of the cast of Dawson's Creek in it as a young boy.

20070409_tvjesus And the rest seemed to follow the basic pattern of if it has Jesus in it, we'll show it - hence "Jesus Of Nazareth" and "The Passion Of The Christ" being amongst several Jesus movie features being shown.

(I noted that Cretan Nikos Kazantzakis' "The Last Temptation" was conspicuous by its absence. I Wonder why?).

Then, if it didn't actually have Jesus in it, any old Bible based movie or mini-series would do.

And if it didn't have proper Biblical people in it, then bio-pics of other religious types would be OK - hence "Saint Francis of Assisi - The Movie" being on.

Finally, if a station had exhausted their supply of movies featuring Jesus, Moses, Joan of Arc etc etc, then basically anything with Romans in it would pass muster, hence "Ben Hur", "Cleopatra" and "Spartacus" all being shown last week.

A lemon tree of our own

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