Greek TV: Television at its worst

The other day I was raving about the “Lost” finale being television at its best. This evening, while browsing the Greek channel on Facebook there was a link to a page that had links to many Greek TV series that were uploaded to some video services (illegally). I clicked through some of the links to GoogleVideo, Veoh, DailyMotion etc simply because I felt the need to re-connect with my country and my compatriots, but I could not stand watching more than 3 minutes of each series (I gave a fair chance to most of them). It was the usual Greek shit-storm: actors shouting like lunatics at each other (do Greeks really find this funny?), bad scripting, terrible direction, cheap decor. These series my beloved readers, were copyrighted material unworthy of the bandwidth consumed or even worth pirating. Where is the superior culture that most Greeks are claiming to possess? And don’t get me started about the Greek TV magazines or reality shows which are even worse (truth is, the rest of the Mediterranean TV is not much better either).

Now, I know that this might enrage some of the Greek visitors who read my blog, possibly making them think something along the lines of “aei gamisou re tsokaro pou mas to paizeis amerikanaki“. No matter your feelings towards my blog post, the truth of the matter is that I know that I am right and so you do. And that was always my opinion about Greek popular art, even when I was still living in Greece.

The only TV series that I found watchable, was “Oi Treis Harites” back in 1990. This show became a classic and reran over and over again — because simply it was so much better than its competition. And why was it better? Because it strictly followed the US format of the “sitcom” series. Its writers were smart enough to base the series on a well-tested method. The stories, the script, even the camera movement, it all was a “US sitcom” in Greek clothes — and with a few sprinkles of theater setup. And guess what: It worked — even among people who don’t watch non-Greek-style series (e.g. my mother). I do also like some other older TV series (the one with the panel of judges, back in 1985) and some of the classic Greek movies of the ‘50-’60s, the golden era of the Greek cinema. Most of everything else is for the dogs, literally.

Dear Greek TV Channels, throw to the dogs most of your damn footage so the future generation of archaeologists doesn’t have to put up with that content. Do them a favor and at the same time avoid the humiliation in the eyes of the 22nd Century. Thank you.


Sugar wrote on May 26th, 2007 at 1:19 AM PST:

I almost never watch TV, but still I don’t think the level of greek TV shows is as bad as you think. Every year there are two or three greek TV series that are worth the trouble.

And don’t forget that there isn’t the possibility to spend so much money on just a series in greek TV (as opposed to Lost for example). It just won’t happen.

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Eugenia wrote on May 26th, 2007 at 7:55 AM PST:

Sugar, please visit that page and get me a link to a good series/episode. I challenge you. :)

Andreas wrote on May 26th, 2007 at 9:32 AM PST:

Eugenia, have you watched Sto para pente? Ok, it is not a masterpiece but it is quite good. I find the character of Theopoula very funny. It is probably one of the most sureal appereances on greek TV.

Generally, you are right. The majority of the greek TV series are full of sh*t.

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Eugenia wrote on May 26th, 2007 at 10:06 AM PST:

I just watched quickly 2 episodes (first and fifth I think). It seems to be a bit better than the majority of Greek TV series, although not amazing either. Especially the first episode was horrendous (the second one I watched was better). In the first episode, not only I am 99.9% sure they didn’t pay royalties for using the MacGyver music (in the scene with the tractor), but they also used narration. Narration is good only when used correctly. For example, in SciFi’s series “The Dresden Files” (which is also low-budget compared to other US series) narration is used so the hero can make philosophical or funny remarks on the plot, but NOT to carry the plot over. Narration should not be used as a substitute to lazy scripting. The way narration was used in the first episode of “Sto Para Pente” was in order to go quickly over the main character’s background, and that just shows *weakness* on how to tell a story. It just shows that the script writers suck beyond belief. This view is enforced by the fact that the narration was only used in the first episode and not on any subsequent ones. They just used the easy way out.

Anyways, the series is possibly watchable after 2 drinks or so.

stormrider wrote on May 26th, 2007 at 10:40 AM PST:

eygenia, I HATE greek tv/cinema and the main reason is that most greek shows are horrible imitations of other shows which air on foreign countries. we talk about ZERO inspiration!!!

I recently saw a greek movie (actually 10 minutes of it) which was considered to be a “cultured comedy”, and it was nothing more than a cheap imitation of “Malena” and the only “humor” (or what the producers thought to be humor) was 2 donkeys having sex.

chris wrote on May 27th, 2007 at 1:29 AM PST:

One guy wrote at a Greek forum that its very difficult to find Greek prostitutes these days. (the most of them are imported from Balkans)

He got this reply “They are working for the TV shows”

Sugar wrote on May 27th, 2007 at 1:17 AM PST:

I know you do. But you referred specifically to this page, challenging me to find a good series. :)

Sugar wrote on May 27th, 2007 at 10:28 AM PST:

Well, a page on the internets is hardly an analytical catalog of the good series of greek TV so far, I guess.

There are one or two good though. “Teleftea parastash”, a show by Alpha TV, was a good one. It was about life (and death) of Elli Lampeti, the famous actress. Solid direction and good actors.

If you’re into middle age madness, “50-50″ was a nice comedy too. It does have its screaming parts (it’s a characteristic of greeks, no?) but all in all, its actors are performing really well. Despite all the “Para Pente” craziness, “50-50″ was the show I kept on watching during its second year too.

“10i Entoli” is a nice series too, based on true criminal stories of everyday people.

Anyway, I guess it’s all about personal taste. My point is, there’s more to Greek TV than Annita Pania.

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Eugenia wrote on May 27th, 2007 at 10:40 AM PST:

>a page on the internets is hardly an analytical catalog of the good series

I lived in Greece you know — and I visit regularly. It was bad back then, and it’s even worse shit now. My opinion.

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Eugenia wrote on May 27th, 2007 at 8:41 AM PST:

I just watched on YouTube some of ALTER’s trash TV programmes. My God. Τι παρακμή είναι αυτή ρε παιδιά? People shouting like lunatics about crap, naked women on national television, crazy people talking about Atlantis and secret Mars stations, priests shouting about other crap, etc etc. CRAZINESS.

In USA there is no such kind of trash TV, and yet the Greeks are quick to point out online how “bad” the US TV is, even if they have never experienced it first hand. Even the shows that are kinda trashy (e.g. Jerry Springer), are masterpieces compared to the crap that ALTER is feeding the Greek viewers. In my opinion, the Greek TV requires regulation. Many Americans hate the US regulating group, the FCC, but after viewing ALTER on YouTube, I see no other choice for an equivalent regulating group.

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Eugenia wrote on May 27th, 2007 at 10:49 AM PST:

Theiko. Heck, even Peter Popoff is more intelligent than him when he is in front of a camera. I am inclined to believe that US’ trash TV, e.g. Springer, Paris Hilton, reality shows, are a bit more intelligent than this.

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