With some changes in Maltese TV headliners making the news recently, we’ve already discussed the specifics of certain shows that need to be cut. But it’s not fair that only one channel gets all the hate. A lot of TV formats are well past their prime, and here are just a few:
1. Breakfast shows (and afternoon shows too)
Infotainment that is always exactly the same, only different. The format changes according to the presenter whose turn it is to try and steal the limelight from the colleagues. It’s illegal to have subliminal advertising, so the sponsors use the airtime, and the presenters, they paid for as commercial vehicles.
During the weekend, these expand into variety shows – usually with a ‘punny’ name that uses the vernacular for Saturday and Sunday.
2. Cookery shows
Maltese cookery shows see all types of hosts appear. We gets chefs, and we get cook-ers. We get professionals with hair pulled back and short, neat fingernails – and we get those with flowing golden locks and jewellery worth a king’s ransom flashing in the studio lights.
Some have perfect diction, and others who spend the whole time on the show seemingly chewing khat leaves. This, of course, have a drastic effect on their diction and modus operandi.
3. News Programmes
Bastard offsprings of the news, these shows feature one, two, or even more people sit around a hideous set, riffling through newsprint and passing inane comments peppered with innuendo and what passes for sarcasm with them. Sometimes, this evolves into an even more morbid offering – a panel show interspersed with entertainment of sorts… oh, and free gifts for the audience.
4. ‘Reality’ TV
Ah! The joys of travel. Why not do it vicariously, and vote for the person you think is the most charming… or at least the zaniest. Unless, of course, this is a one-man show, in which case, you can only vote with your finger on the remote control. This docusoap may be unscripted, but is certainly not un-edited.
5. Religious Shows
In what is (probably offensively) called the God-slot, over-zealous presenters will offer us prayers, crystals, amulets, and even tarot readings – we only have to believe. To be fair, sometimes this genre morphs into edutainment, where we get a dedicated discussion by someone who actually knows what he is talking about. Sometimes.
6. Repeats, re-runs, telebejgħ and omnibuses
Iit’s not as much catching up as it is filling in air time, especially during hot summer months when nobody watches television anyway. This is the perfect opportunity for crawls, the television equivalent of ads that appear while you wait for a download, to catch the eye of viewers
7. Telenovela, soap opera, drama, sit-com, mini-series…
… call it what you will! The plethora of cos-play that assaults Maltese viewers nightly has to be seen to be believed – literally. A list of tropes is merrily ticked off by writers as they plough through them – estranged fathers, illegitimate children, various skeletons in the cupboard: substance abuse, questionable business deals, affairs, domestic violence, and of course, someone with a particularly obnoxious laugh or mannerism.
Just for the record, the chairs provided for those who take calls are uncomfortable – that is why they squirm so much. But the Maltese are a generous people – and it’s actually good for the soul to see “people’s favourites” donating their time to worthy causes.
Still, the cheap content and droll variety acts that fill the space between presenters shouting at the audience to donate more show just how tired this format really is.
Bonus: The News
OK, so the news as a concept is not an overused format, as it makes for rather essential viewing. Maltese news however is sometimes one or two days old, and therefore does not deserve to be called so.
There was a time when newscasters strutted their stuff in quasi-cocktail gowns (think Mary Grech) – these days, we get glimpses of boobs, almost-alien get-ups, and broadcasters botoxed up to the eyebrows, which, or course, they cannot move.