Andrew Frame's blog

Andrew Frame

Growing up in 1980's New Zealand we were spoilt for choice when it came to quality television - especially locally made content.
So what the hell happened?!

For the last few years we have been flooded with the pros of the up-coming digital TV revolution.

From next year our regular analogue form of broadcasting will start shutting down and we will all have to switch over (or off) whether we like it or not. For those of us who won’t, or can’t, pay for the likes of Sky or TiVo (is TiVo even still going in NZ? It went very quiet VERY fast) Freeview is, apparently, the answer to our prayers.

When Freeview started out I would have loved to have been able to get it. All those new channels: TVNZ 6 & 7, C4 and TV3 Plus One all looked to provide a large range of informative, fun programming with some good, old-school NZ TV repeats thrown in for good measure.

But now Freeview, or at least the TVNZ side of it, has utterly lost me. TVNZ 7 is being scrapped and sold off to become who knows what – Infomercials, Home Shopping,  a 24hour a day episode of ‘Good Morning’? (Shiver!)

TVNZ 6 – gone too. Replaced by Kidzone and “U” – The programming for “U” would appear to make MTV look highly educated and the simple lessons taught on Kidzone look like nothing short of astro-physics.

Someone please tell me C4 is at least still a decent music channel.

So here is my question: Why bother? If viewers have to spend up on a new set-top box or new TV to receive our free to air viewing in ‘better quality’ digital transmission next year, shouldn’t the product we receive be something of equal quality to appreciate? Because at the current rate the formerly ‘good old TVNZ’ is running its business, channels and schedules Freeview will no longer be delivering much quality programming by the time it (or whatever alternative people choose) becomes compulsory in 2012.

Mrs Fozzy (and Melenie Parkes on Yahoo NZ) noted the other day the demise of the much fanfared “Dancing with the Stars US” on New Zealand TV. I was quite surprised Throng didn’t pick up on this sooner.

After all the slap, dash and flash of the promo’s amidst one of the most tumultuous times in recent NZ TV history (you remember – when Coro Street’s timeslot changed for a couple of weeks…?) It was given prime time billing, loads of gaudy adverts and hoopla and it had such well known stars as… um… Chaz Bono (you know, Cher’s son who used to be her daughter), (its hosted by) the guy from America’s Funniest Home videos and…… um….. did I mention Chaz Bono?

Now here we are a week or two later and where is it on TV1’s schedule? Midday, Saturday!

Wow! Yet another awesome strategic move by TVNZ!

Just how much public or commercial money did they waste on this wee piece of memeism?  How much research was put into how many people would watch the show for its entire length (or have the foggiest clue just who the hell any of these pirouetting people were)?

Did they even care to flick over to the competition and watch that other bastion of paparazzi-esque “celebrity” drivel “ET” to be able to tell who had already won it (and if anyone over there cared either)?

I realise TVNZ’s charter has been executed and the bill for the bullet sent to the NZ taxpayer, but this is the twenty first century. We no longer go to the coliseum to watch slaves fight to the death or be ripped apart by lions. We certainly do not deserve to be continuously served up this type of programme on our screens in 2011. New Zealand’s tastes are so much better than this. It is little wonder regular TV viewing figures (or whatever magical calculation they conjure up to tell us, allegedly, no one watches anything but TV1) are plummeting and online, on-demand content is fast growing in popularity when standard television in New Zealand has become the dumping ground for the content version of toxic waste.

Spend your (OUR!) money more wisely, TVNZ! This year’s “Tangiwai”, “The Almighty Johnsons”, “Rage” and the like have proved that, when pushed, you can screen good kiwi shows IN PRIME TIME. You are, after all, titled “Television NEW ZEALAND”, so please start acting like it.  

You can view Melenie’s full article here:

http://nz.entertainment.yahoo.com/tv/opinions/show/2631562/are-we-tiring-of-overseas-content/

 

 

Has anybody else been without C4 this weekend? We live in Napier, have a vhf/uhf ariel and haven’t had a signal since Friday- C4 is just a black screen with the odd freckle of static. Yet the inlaws have (satelite) sky and they can pick it up fine.

Can anyone tell me what’s up? 

Why are tv one not showing the James Bond movies in order?

There have been 22 to date, of which TV1 are showing 20 and which one do they start with? The first ‘Dr No’ with Sean Connery? No, they start with Goldeneye – Pierce Brosnan’s debut, number 17. Isn’t that like starting a book 3/4 of the way through?

On Breakfast this morning:

“Anti-abortion campaigners are taking to the streets of Wellington on Friday afternoon in protest against the Family Planning Association’s application for an abortion licence for its Hamilton Clinic.  Breakfast speaks to the campaigners about the reason for their protest.  Family Planning declined to be interviewed.”

Family Planning declined to be interviewed. You could hardly blame them. As it turned out the ‘campaigner’ Pippa interviewed was a boy who looked no more than 17. What a joke. Who better to tell grown (and growing) women what they should do with their bodies than a teenaged christian fundamentalist?

I use the term ‘interviewed’ very loosely too. The most probing question Pippa could pose was along the lines of “From where have you got this information / formed this opinion?” The reply: his family and Family Planning press releases. A huge amount of research is obviously behind his stand.

You think TVNZ could have found at least some form of “pro choice” advocate to counter the boy’s opinion in place of Family Planning, but alas, there was none.

For years we have seen small right wing religious groups in the United States hiding behind monikers referring to the family, morals etc. attempting to dictate how the masses and media should act and think. Now we have to put up with it during our breakfast. A sad morning.

A new season of “The Big Bang Theory”, Sci-fi esque “Flashforward” (Including an appearance by
“Family Guy” creator Seth McFarlane (that gives the show a big thumbs up in my books) and few of JJ Abrams’ favourite recurring actors and then the final season premiere of LOST, does it get any better than this? I think not.

What did you think?

Spot the difference. One of these is Shortland Street’s first blonde bombshell and the face that launched a thousand tea-trolleys. The other is current SS “everywhere-girl” Sophie.

Is there some sort of regression going on here? Are current characters and storylines getting too out of the ordinary, so they have to clone the past, or have we passed through some sort of wormhole in the space-time continum and its 1994 again, just no one has told us?

I was cruising TVNZ’s website the other day and thought I was having a nasty turn.

On the Shortland Street site there was a face I hadn’t seen in years. It wasn’t Rachel, it wasn’t Chris, it wasn’t even Nic (though with the way they’re ressurecting all the old characters, you never know).

It was former SS receptionist, wife of the beloved Lionel and the face that launched a thousand tea-trolleys Kirsty (aka the gorgeous Angela Dotchin) sultrly striding towards the camera in a cocktail dress.

Only it wasn’t Kirsty. It was Sophie (Kimberly Crossman).

We’ve seen her as the ‘every-girl’, the Cheerleader (sorry, but Hayden Panettiere got there first) and, probably coming up, the ‘in love with the bad guy preagnant teenager girl’. So what next? Taking on the persona of Shorty’s first blonde bombshell?

To paraphrase the rather crazy looking, mascarra-running guy from Youtube a few years back: “Leave Kirsty Alone!”

 

While recovering from the regular Christmas feast, nana nap, heat stroke and Boxing Day bushwalk that Mrs. Bear & I did, we sat down and watched C4’s “Top One Hundred Songs of the Decade” yesterday afternoon and into the night. We happened upon it when the countdown was already in the 80’s, but it was still fun to reminisce to a few of the songs and go “I thought that was a nineties one” to a few others. I felt it would have helped to have a release year with the song details just for memory sake.

Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed with the top ten and felt that a few in the twenties / thirties deserved lower placings. Green Day, The Foo Fighters and Pink, for instance have been synonymous with the “noughties” but were all in the teens.

So here are C4’s “Top ten songs of the decade” with my un-humble opinions:

10/ “Last Night” by The Strokes (2001)

Not bad, I guess, but not fantastic. Deserved somewhere in the thirties. One of those “indie” bands that end up sounding like The Stones “the early years”. They are to rock and roll what Emos are to 90’s Grungers. A bit too late and nowhere near the soul

 

9/ “My House” by Kids of ’88 (2009)

Speaking of Emo. Just kidding. This song sticks in your head something chronic. Not bad for a couple of, judging by their name, 21 year old kiwi boys. Can’t stand the oversized glasses though. Catchy as chirpy as hell, it was helped by C4 using it in their promos earlier this year. I’m always a bit skeptical about songs released in the last year of the decade making it to the top of a 100 countdown, but well done none the less. I guess the video certainly helped it up the ranks, especially amongst the male 13-30 demographic.

8/ “Can’t get you out of my Head” by Kylie (Minogue) (2001)

I guess she had to be there somewhere, though, as I said, I was expecting Pink to be in the top ten instead. Can’t stand the song, personally, but Kylie has become a bit of a legend ever since Neighbours and “The Locomotion” so well done!

7/ “Sex on Fire” by Kings of Leon (2008)

One of my favourite bands of the past couple years, KOL have cemented their place in noughties music history. Not such a huge fan of SoF, thought possibly their breakout “On Call” might have been better.

6/ “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce (2003)

I can’t stand Beyonce. I think she is one of the most the most over-rated divas in the industry recently. Singing, dancing, acting? No, no, no. A top ten place was sadly inevitable, however, due to her popularity and media saturation over the noughties.

5/ “Stan” by Eminem (2000)

It was also inevitable that the most popular white rapper since Vanilla Ice (Ooh, too soon?) would feature, as he had a huge decade and this was quite undoubtedly one of his biggest hits. Well deserved!

4/ “Yellow” by Coldplay (2000)

Classic song and so funny to see a gangly, teenaged (?) Chris Martin before he became a mega-star, married a movie star and started naming his children after fruit. Love the clanging, clashing chords. Well-deserved top ten, could have even been lower.

3/ “Not Many – The Remix” by Scribe (2003)

A kiwi rapper who doesn’t try to sound like he’s from the East LA ‘hood’ and use filthy, disrespectful words (though I fail to understand why NZ hiphop has to “stand the @#$% up”, but I digress.). Good on ya mate!

 

2/ “Umbrella ella-ella a a a” by Rihanna (2007)

The second most over-rated female artist of the decade and one of my top five most annoying songs of the decade. I’m almost convinced for most of the shots of legs in ballet shoes, those aren’t Rihanna’s legs. As you either see her legs or her top in the shot. Only a couple of times do you see her ‘full-length”. And don’t even get me started on the tunefulness or elongation of the title word. Ergh! There must be a lot of people with all their taste in their mouth out there. Oh well, oh dear.

1/ “Hey-ya” by OutKast (2003)

Three letters: WTF? Way better songs than this one out there. I demand a recount! If this was really number one, I consider Green Day’s “American Idiot” or any number of the Foo Fighter’s songs to have been robbed. I switched over to watch “Armageddon” for the zillionth time before the song was even a bar in. Boo! Stink!

Last of all, I have to give a “big ups” (nope, I’m too old to pull that saying off successfully) to New Zealand Music over the past decade. Without NZ on Air, the quota system and other schemes, the top 100 would have looked very, very different (and almost certainly not in a good way) and it was very inspiring and pride-enducing to see so many kiwi bands in the top 50.

Please let me know what you think

 

I was relaxing on the couch the other weekend, watching C4, when the music video for Cobra Starship’s “Good Girls Go Bad” came on. You may have already seen it, but heres the low-down on the vid from Wikipedia: “The concept of the video is that Gabe Saporta runs an underground speakeasy, complete with shelves of booze, gambling tables and a dance floor. The band is in charge of the above-ground deli that acts as a front operation to hide the debauchery within. To gain access to the illegal club, patrons must order the correct sandwich and proceed down a staircase.”

“Now just hang on a gosh-darn minute!” Says I out loud, drawing a strange look from Mrs Fozzy. “The’ve flogged that video idea from our very own Fat Freddy’s Drop!!”

“Wandering Eye” got so much air and screen time back in 2005 when the song and video came out that it had been burned onto my memory. Funnily enough the album (& video?) was not released in the US until this year. But I digress.

As you may remember (Once again from wiki): “The accompanying video clip for “Wandering Eye” is set in a local Fish and chips store, where the band provides the locals with a meal. While they are serving the customers (and giving tickets to a gig they are holding below the shop via a stairwell) and cooking the meals they are singing the song. Later on, when it is time to close, the band go downstairs to perform a concert for the customers. The video features John Campbell and Carol Hirschfeld and is directed and created by Fat Freddy’s Drop‘s long time friend Mark ‘Slave’ Williams.”

There’s just a few too many similarities here for me. Fish & Chip Shop / Deli, both with tickets being handed out with orders for a special sandwich / “Wandering Eye”, both with secret gigs going on below the otherwise regular exterior and even some of the shots practically identical.

What gives? Is there a copyright lawyer, member of Freddy’s, or even John Campbell who can help rectify this seemingly blatant rip-off of a good kiwi band and video producers work? 

 

I first noticed this story on Teletext some months ago, and today read the following on www.stuff.co.nz:

“A New Zealand entertainer has pleaded guilty to a criminal charge at the Auckland District Court today. However, the media remains gagged and the identity of the entertainer cannot be reported because of a court-ordered suppression. Judge David Harvey said that, if the entertainer’s identity was to be made public, “it may have considerable impact on his future and future prospects”. The situation would be reassessed at the man’s sentencing on October 28. “At that time, the full story can be told rather than released drip by drip,” Judge Harvey said. The nature of the charge the man has pleaded guilty to is also suppressed. A second charge was withdrawn by police this afternoon.”

It would appear this “entertainer” (they worded it so we don’t know if they do TV, radio, or sing at kids parties I guess) is potentially quite high profile, so any identification would harm their career. But surely, if they have pleaded guilty then they have accepted what they did was wrong and are prepared to accept the consequences.

Having your identity revealed to the public in relation to such charges and the reaction that follows are two of those consequences.

Today it was revealed that Outrageous Fortune star Tammy Davis (Munter) was charged with a D.U.I.  – Once again from www.stuff.co.nz :

“At today’s defended hearing, Davis’ lawyer, Steven Mitchell, requested name suppression for his client saying he was a well-known actor and it would be “acutely embarrassing for him for his identity to be made public”. “

This next line is the kicker for me:

Judge Hole declined his request, saying it went against the basic principle of open justice. “The public are entitled to know what goes on in court and who the offenders are.”

Tammy pleaded not guilty, but was convicted and identified, as a result, in the media and he’s on one of New Zealand’s most watched TV shows. Doubtlessly, aside from losing his licence, this “may have considerable impact on his future and future prospects” especially when you consider the stigma attached to drink-driving and the how it has become a publicly vilified action.

Now, I do not want anyone saying “Oh, yeah, I know who that is, its….” because that gets some highly paid legal people annoyed and when that happens things can get very expensive. And these are the decisions of two separate judges. But it does beg the questions: “How bad do public figures have to be before they get protection?” and “If they are prepared to acknowledge their wrongdoing, why aren’t they prepared to accept the consequences?”