Many, many years ago, when Australia had no more than four TV stations (7, 9, 0 and ABC), people lamented our third world status, as the US had something like 100 stations to choose from (including cable). However, whenever I spoke to anyone from the US and the topic of TV came up, they said something to the effect that yes, we have 100 channels, but nothing to watch and lots of repeats.

Gilligan's Island (Ginger looks different) - (source: NBC News)

Gilligan’s Island (Ginger looks different) – (source: NBC News)

To be quite honest, that’s pretty much the state of affairs today in Australia. We have far more channels available on free to air TV, no where near 100, but really no more to watch than when we had four channels. What passes for TV nowadays is ostensibly repeats of what was shown the night before, repeats of what was shown a week before, repeats of a movie shown the night or so before, and so on. We in fact have TV channels that are dedicated to showing nothing but ads (do they have ads in between?). How can you have an entire half hour program devoted to a vacuum cleaner and who would sit there and watch it?

Vacuum cleaner - (source: Google Images)

Vacuum cleaner – (source: Google Images)

Not only that, programs are constantly interrupted, quite randomly, with the same ads being played over and over again, destroying any desire to watch anything. Now broadcasters are not allowed to show more than a specified amount (time wise) of ads during a program; however, this does not apply to self-advertising ie advertising programs that are coming up etc. Foxtel is a classic example of having no ads, but more self-advertisements than actual programs. This is all due to the fact that TV stations don’t actually have much to show, especially new programs, so everything is a repeat and padded out with ads. Quite frankly, bush TV provides better shows, especially when it’s with good mates, some beer and wine. It’s an ever changing show that simply invites a good yarn and home truths, and lots of quizzes about old TV shows:

Bush TV in High Country Hut - Gippsland Victoria

Bush TV in High Country Hut – Gippsland Victoria

Or a few tales from the past:

Reality TV, yes, it's out there - High Country Victoria

Reality TV, yes, it’s out there – High Country Victoria

I don’t really know when the transition happened; maybe the move to the country affected my perception, maybe I’ve become even more cynical in my old age, but in the last few years it’s become quite evident that television has become utter rubbish. But then I guess that’s my view of the media world at large, while many others think that all is good and we live in an age of wonderful entertainment. I just can’t help think that we simply don’t/can’t make movies and TV shows like we did in the past.

North by Northwest - (source: WordPress)

North by Northwest – (source: WordPress)

And with the way that any new shows are made available (or not) and managed (if it doesn’t rate in the top three, off to the midnight special it goes), there’s very little incentive to even bother to start watching anything that does happen to filter down to Australia. Little wonder there’s so much piracy, for those desperate to see something new or to continue watching something they started to watch, but has been moved into the shopping channel hours. I’ve never seen one episode of Game of Thrones and, to be quite honest, I think I’d rather watch re-runs of Gilligan’s Island, as I wouldn’t worry about missing an episode along the way.

As a final point, I don’t think that the TV stations even care that they are serving up rubbish and are beyond pretending that they do. The traditional Sunday of watching family programs, for example, is now nothing more than repeats/rubbish and repeats of rubbish.

Update 1: And just to prove how bad things are on a Sunday night, here’s an example which just about proves that TV programmers believe everyone turns off their TV on a Sunday. Actually, they probably do, with rubbish like this on nearly all the time.

Sunday evening and night viewing - 10 Aug 2014 (source: Yahoo!7 TV)

Sunday evening and night viewing – 10 Aug 2014 (source: Yahoo!7 TV)

Update 2: Sunday again and two and a half hours of Home and Away, and four and a half hours of Million Dollar Minute!!! Seriously???

Sunday afternoon viewing - 17 Aug 2014 (source: Yahoo!7 TV)

Sunday afternoon viewing – 17 Aug 2014 (source: Yahoo!7 TV)

Update 3: And if this comes about, things in TV viewer land will only get worse.

As more Australians begin to look beyond the traditional broadcasters for their entertainment needs, you’d think the networks would be trying their best not to drive viewers away. Apparently that’s not the case. Instead it looks like Seven and Nine want to increase the number of ads they can show, according to the Media section of The Australian, boosting the limit from 15 minutes per hour to 20 minutes during prime time when they already have a habit of running shows late and screwing with the schedule. Other networks voted down the proposal, but you can be sure they’ll keep trying.

On another note. Does anyone know how often Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Willy Wonker has been repeated on TV? Combined, they must surely hold the world record of a repeated movie, ostensibly the same movie, in the world.