Tuesday, October 03, 2006

TV, RUSSIAN STYLE

THIS TIME I'm going to rant about TV from Russia.

I find Russian TV highly interesting. I have been able to see live streams of Russian television stations on the Internet for years, particularly RTR, CTC, and the old TB6 network which is now out of business. I also had access to the stream for "HTB" (NTV in our letters) and a few other stations. I'd say the programming is a lot better than most Westerners might expect it to be. They used to run stuff like Nash Bridges all the time, and they'd run shows like Charmed and Desperate Housewives and all these other series. It's generally much better than the junk that people in Asia and the Middle East have to watch. I'm of the opinion that Russians are very lucky to be living in a country with such good television- lots of Hollywood movies, plenty of American television series, and homegrown stuff including that old favorite, the news. Lots and lots of news.

The most recent trend I've noticed is that the Russians are producing their own full versions of rehashed American sitcoms. For instance, the CTC network has signed on to produce Russian-made episodes of Suddenly Susan, complete with Russian actors. They already signed deals to run Russian versions of Full House and Step-by-Step.

You ask, what's next, are they going to rehash Perfect Strangers, too?! Ahem. It turns out yes they are. The REN TV network is showing that series right now.

I have access to a stream which shows CTC programming and I noticed they were running a Russianized version of the old Fran Drescher hit The Nanny. The best way to describe CTC is that it's sort of the Russian version of the CW network. And this show basically looked exactly like The Nanny with a dead-ringer Russian actress playing the lead, and even the same opening titles and theme song as the American show. You know, if they want to do this sort of thing and do Russianized American sitcoms, and give Russian actors jobs, well, fine. It'll be good for the local entertainment industry to give Russians employment! Heck, the Americans have been ripping off European shows for years in serving up Survivor and Big Brother, and American Idol. It's about time the Europeans- Eastern Europeans, that is- did the same to the Americans.

I guess Russians are finally fed up watching the lousy dubbing of these sitcoms they import from the 'States. Russia, like so many emerging-market countries, is overrun with dubbed American TV shows and movies, and people have to be fed up watching them. Think of how it would be for Anglophones to watch dubbed French or Spanish shows all the time on their own TV screens, it would be pretty bad. That is why they are doing the homegrown versions of these shows for the Russian audiences.

I sure wish the Russians would come up with their own bright ideas for TV shows, though. It's kind of cheap and lazy to rely on the Americans for ideas. Just as it's sort of cheap for the Americans to rely on Colombia and Mexico for their own TV shows. My Network TV--- now that is bad.

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