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Congratulations TVNZ (I think)…

By June 1, 2010October 5th, 201112 Comments

50 years of broadcasting – no mean feat, I guess, but then, let’s take a moment to look at what we have been served up over those 5 decades:

  1. 1960s – Lassie, Bonanza, Mr Ed, Dr Who, Get Smart, The Avengers, Man from Uncle, Bewitched, Mission Impossible, Ironside
  2. 1970s – Dad’s Army, Monty Python, Two Ronnies, Alias Smith and Jones, M*A*S*H, Six Million Dollar Man, Kojak, Basil Brush, It’s in the Bag, Top Town, Starsky & Hutch, A Week of it, Are you being served, I Claudius, The Professionals, Happy Days, Soap
  3. 1980s – Mork & Mindy, Fawlty Towers, Minder, Dukes of Hazzard, Dallas, To the Manor Born, Benson, Billy T James, Gliding On, University Challenge, Hill Street Blues, Battlestar Galactica, Ready to Roll, After School with Olly Olsen, Brideshead Revisited Love Boat, Hogan’s Heroes, A Team, Night Rider, Blind Date,
  4. 1990s – Holmes, Sale of the Century, Frontline, On The Mat, Counterpoint, Eyewitness, Assigment, Ralston Live, Flying Doctors, LA Law, Cheers, Young Ones, The Bill, Simpsons, Married with Children, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Thunderbirds, Dastardly & Mutley, Family Ties, Magnum PI, Star Trek, Doogie Houser, Macguvyer, Cosby Show, Beverly Hills 90210, 21 Jump Street, Casualty, Roseanne, American Gladiators, Seinfeld, The Nanny, Friends, Ally McBeal
  5. 2000s – Brothers & Sisters, Go Girls, Shortland Street, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, The Apprentice, American Idol, Two & a half men, Unauthorised History of NZ, Eating Media Lunch, Big Brother                                                                          (list courtesy of  kiwiblog)
Hmmm.
Well, there has been David Mitchell’s “Elegant Shed”, and Douglas Lloyd Jenkin’s “At Home in NZ”, not to mention de Botton’s “Architecture of Happiness” – but aside from these shows, and the odd “Artsville” type guest appearance of architecture – what else have we been served up, in terms of architecture and/or urban design, in those fifty years.
Should we count the various ‘DIY/Real Estate’ derived shows like “Grand Designs”, “Mitre 10 ad nauseum”, “My Home My Castle”, and that one that the title escapes me, but which seems to feature little more than an annoying American shouting through a megaphone for the entire show (you know, “Move that Bus”)…

Is this the state of it, or have I missed some shows of significance…?

Entertainment is one thing, but it is my view that it is not the role of the State to be supplying it – a case could be made for State broadcasting as a public service but I’m not sure that is what we are getting with NZ On Air funding shows like “Dancing with the Stars” (more of a public disservice if you ask me). 50 years of state broadcasting seems like a good time to reappraise the continued involvement of tax-payer dollar funding of the “unmitigated shite” that we are routinely presented with…

What say you…?

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Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • Chris says:

    I hesitate to see Grand Designs in the same category as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition… it at least does promote good design, and the importance of employing the services of a decent architect. Sure, it’s not fine scholarship, but Kevin does have some useful things to say.

  • Frank says:

    …’dunno ’bout that – it’s all rather trite, this concentration on doing up houses – surely ‘architecture’ is bigger than swanky houses for rich people (or is it?).

  • Alan says:

    Who was it that coined the phrase: “Television is the Opiate of the Masses” ? I think you’ll find that it is a definite policy (as un-written as that of the Crusader’s selection policy), that television is as dumb and as stupid as possible to keep the great mass of dullards just entertained enough to stop them rioting over the boredom and humdrum-ness of their interminable daily lives.

  • m-d says:

    Alan – that almost puts you in the same conspiracy theory position as those that believe the WTC was brought down by the US Government…

    I do think that you give our Government/s too much credit – the somatic qualities of daily programming are entirely self-inflicted by the masses…

  • IS says:

    There were a bunch of movies from the 80s/90s that featured architects as the main protagonists – does that count?

    What about the Simpson’s episode with Gehry?

    And I’m sure “Fountainhead” must have been aired at least once…

  • Guy says:

    Well, whoever it was, they were paraphrasing Karl Marx, who said that “Religion was the Opium of the Masses”, way back in 1916 or so. (Television wasn’t invented for about another 10 years).

    I don’t think you could get the average Kiwi off their fat lazy arse to go out into the street to protest about something – unless perhaps, you disconnected them from the supply of television. Then we’d see rioting in the streets !

  • Guy says:

    You could also take a far broader look at the programmes, in their relation to architecture. Taking your list as an example:

    # 1960s – Lassie, Bonanza, Mr Ed, were all pretty poor architectural examples, but Dr Who, Get Smart, The Avengers, Man from Uncle, and Mission Impossible were all good examples of exploring new technologies (telephones in the palm of your hand – or foot – who’d have even thought that was possible!) while Ironside was a breaking example of equal opportunities and disabled-accessible design features. Elizabeth Montgomery in Bewitched was just cute, and worth watching just to see her nose wiggle.

    # 1970s – Dad’s Army, Monty Python, Two Ronnies, Alias Smith and Jones, M*A*S*H, Six Million Dollar Man, Kojak, Basil Brush, It’s in the Bag, Top Town, Starsky & Hutch, A Week of it, Are you being served, I Claudius, The Professionals, Happy Days, Soap – OK, you’ve got me there – they were all rather poor from an architectural point of view, except for Happy Days which featured the first nostalgia for the 50s. I Claudius had some excellent Roman scenes with lots of columns amongst the orgy participants. I’m sure I learnt a lot about Doric proportions from that programme.

    # 1980s – forget all the Mork & Mindy, Fawlty Towers, Minder, Dukes of Hazzard, To the Manor Born, Benson, Billy T James, Gliding On, University Challenge, Hill Street Blues, Battlestar Galactica, Ready to Roll, After School with Olly Olsen, Brideshead Revisited Love Boat, Hogan’s Heroes, A Team, Night Rider, Blind Date crap, and just focus on one show: Dallas. Everything you ever needed to know about mirror glass, massive hotel atria, southern ranch style mansions, and massive shoulderpads rolled into one. What more could you want?

    # 1990s – the list is all wrong – Thunderbirds wasn’t 1990s, in fact all there was in the 90s was endless showings of Seinfeld and Friends, with Ally McBeal rounding the decade off. And all those shows just featured the interiors of apartments, coffee houses, and Monica’s living room. Apparently there was nothing else.

    # 2000s – ditto for this miserable decade. Yes, the Unauthorised History of NZ, Eating Media Lunch, were good, but there was only one show about architecture, and that was Big Brother – although people mistakenly watched it just to get a glimpse of naked flesh. Tawdry, as was the house.

  • Robyn says:

    In 1983 there was a two-part series called “City and Suburb”, hosted by Hamish Keith. It looked at NZ suburbia and state housing. I don’t really know anything about it beyond this, but it sounds most interesting.

    I’ve requested that NZ On Screen put it online, and they are looking into it.

  • m-d says:

    Sounds interesting Robyn – please keep us up-to-date on that one… Does anyone remember it…?

    Guy and IS – I guess that is one benefit, you can see architecture almost anywhere (Bond movies are a good source too), but I was really thinking of something that engages more explicitly with a discipline that touches all of our lives…. but, I guess, it is Mitre 10 that touches our lives at the level of the ‘designed environment’ more so than organisations like the esteemed NZIA…

  • richard says:

    don’t forget that fabulous children’s programme with Count Homogenous (the Milk Dracula) in it – I think Max Fryer directed it, and the Bedknobs and Broomsticks film – flying beds must count for something architectural.
    The Tomorrow People was scarey and spatially disturbing

  • sally says:

    Yes Count Homogenised was very very cool – according to one webpage he was in two series one in 1978-79 “A Haunting We Will Go” and a second in 1982-83: “It is, Count Homogenised.”
    Without him on TV, no wonder milk consumption has gone down – I reckon Fonterra should revive him.