Sunday, January 26, 2014

Why is Japanese TV just rubbish? - The latest media question

In the classic 1980's movie Crocodile Dundee there is a moment when Dundee has just arrived in the Big City for the first time. In his hotel room he sees the TV set and remarks to himself "TV, I saw that once". Turning it on, there's an episode of "I love Lucy" playing. Switching it off again he comments "Yep, that was it". Come 2020, visitors to the Olympics who were here in 1964 may be about to have just such a deja vu moment.

Recently a debate has started in the Japanese media about the lamentable quality of TV here. The question raised is why programs cover either food, the eating of rather than the preparation which invariably lead to the presenter declaring it to be the most delicious dish they've ever tasted, or game shows involving the same talentos making the same tired old jokes. The debate examines why the massive increase in quality programming seen internationally (arguably following the creation of "Twin Peaks" over twenty years ago) has passed Japan by. Money is given as the straight answer but the discussion has yet to touch on creativity.

So the question is, will Japan up its game over the next few years or, come the 2020 Olympics, will there be a Crocodile Dundee moment all over again.


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