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TV or not TV

November 20, 2011

The first thing you notice about TV in the Philippines is that everything comes out of Manila.  That might be because I am on the island of Luzon, the same island as the capital city. It might be different on another island, but I don’t know.  I don’t recommend watching the Philippine channels because even if you manage to learn the language, the comedies are so lowbrow they make the Beverly Hillbillies seem to be on a level with Masterpiece Theatre. The nighttime soap operas can be pretty good or very bad, however they go on and on far after they should have ended. The variety shows are loaded with songs, dances, comedy, and quizzes to keep the audience entertained, but most have little appeal to me.  If you are like me and don’t feel any need to learn another language, you should get the cable or dish service. Mine gave me a ton of TV channels plus fast Internet for less than I was paying for the Smart Bros Internet alone. That was absolutely the worst Internet provider I ever had, bar none. When I first moved to the cable, I discovered several movie channels, world news and some US TV channels and I was on cloud nine. It wasn’t long before I found out that the movies were limited. They run 24 hours a day, but there is no set schedule. The movies begin when someone decides that they have put on enough promotional announcements to kill any viewer interest. Some channels have subtitles in English even though the movie is already in English. Others have Chinese subtitles and the movies are in English or German or even French. The incessant repetition and selection is astoundingly appalling.  Expect to see a De Niro movie called “Ronin” once a week. This week, “Robocop” was on at least once a day on one channel.  That is not an exaggeration. Action heroes abound and I think I now have seen every Jean-Claude Van Damme movie ever made plus all of the movies that Chuck Norris made with Asian villains. For some reason, Woody Harrelson movies are shown here. I’m not a fan of his and I don’t know why people want to see him.  Cinemax shows very low budget movies with totally unknown actors and a selection of 1930s horror flicks. HBO is the Asian version and they tend to appeal to a young audience. Star movies lean in the direction of big stars in big movies while the History Channel and National Geographic present 50% US made programming along with 50% Asian product in English. The shows on these two channels start at the top of the hour but they end around ten minutes before the hour. CNN is not from Atlanta and usually comes from Hong Kong or Singapore while Fox is real-time from New York, though the night programs are on in the morning Philippine time and vice versa. Fox deletes all US commercial announcements and fills the time with what they call Extras. The musical Extras are unbearable. The others repeat without end.  MSNBC is also on, but that is so leftist it is unwatchable. A few American network shows can be seen but only in reruns. After about a month this fare, I was bored to tears by the selection on the cable. I have now switched to pirated movies.

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