TV’s Best of the Best or missed opportunity?

imtI’m all for acknowledging great achievements in Aussie TV.

Lord knows we’ve had glorious, inglorious and inexplicable moments on the box, many of which we saw during our 50th year of TV. Nine, Seven and TEN have all put together some memorable clip shows at one stage or another.

But do we really need to go there again so soon, and if so, what are we going to do differently?

If history teaches us we are doomed to repeat our mistakes, then Nine is potentially making a big one with its look back on ‘ground breaking television.’

It’s rifled through its current stable of stars to have them remind us about all the great television this country used to make. Talk about showing us what we’re missing out on.

On Sunday, September 20 at 6.30pm you can expect to hear from Karl Stefanovic, Lisa Wilkinson, Shelley Craft, Jules Lund, Vince Colosimo, Lisa McCune, Tara Brown, Peter Overton, Eddie McGuire and Natalie Gruzlewski in TV’s Best of the Best.

Stefanovic and Wilkinson take an in-depth look at the actors and presenters, past and present. “People like Molly Meldrum, the music guru with the unique charisma, the outrageous trailblazer Graham Kennedy and his partner in crime Bert Newton,” says a Nine Press Release.

Craft and Lund will relive the programs that made us “laugh with phrases and characters that became ingrained in Australian society.”

Colosimo and McCune look at Australian drama while Brown and Overton look at news and current affairs including Four Corners, Foreign Correspondent and 60 Minutes (yes two great Nine titles there).

McGuire and Gruzlewski tackle entertainment programs including The Graham Kennedy Show and The Don Lane Show.

It sounds just like 20 to 1 (while we’re at it, Nine’s Entertainment Editor Richard Wilkins is nowhere on the list).

But what a missed opportunity this is already shaping up to be. Where are the people who were actually IN these shows? Or the people who helped produce them?

If we’re going to do a some sort of analysis of television across the years then go to the people who were there! Nine even has some has access to some of them including Bert Newton, Daryl Somers and Ray Martin.

Where are Denise Drysdale, Pete Smith, Tony Barber, Mike Walsh, Mike McColl Jones, Pam Barnes, Lorraine Bayly, Jana Wendt, Mike Willesee, Ernie Sigley, Brian Henderson, Gerald Stone., Sam Chisholm… oh that’s right. They’d have to pay them a fee.

And will this one have content from other commercial networks? And if so, what’s the balance? Can we expect to see Love My Way up there too, given the introduction of Subscription TV in this country is so significant? Will we be talking about how outsourcing is now so prevalent at the ABC? What about changes to SBS with a shift in foreign launguage content and the introduction of ads?

Nahhhhh we can just watch Graham Kennedy laughing at a dog peeing on the carpet again, right?

It seems what passes for television these days is to cut and paste a few nostaliga clips with the current ‘stable’ of stars passed off as talking heads. Why do I get the feeling this special will merely highlight the dearth of ideas and entertainment that so infests networks controlled by private equity firms and not people who genuinely love TV?

What a joke.

19 Comments:

  1. Totally agree with your comments. The Nine Network is doomed – they have become totally fixated on the 20 to 1 format, and this will yet be another example of poor television. It is time for the TV industry to create memories for the future. Because of the lame reality-based TV over the last decade or so, Nine has no choice but to reflect back on an era long past. Where is the entertainment in TV anymore? Certainly this uninspiring effort provides none. Nine, you are far far far from regaining your ‘Still the One” mantra.

  2. Nine Your Line Up is pretty crap.

    I mean apart from Getaway and the occassional Hi 5 or Humphrey Episode and Farmer wants a wife I don’t watch anything on them anymore.

    Those 2.5 men should only be shown over the summer.At this rate given the Success of the Charlie Sheen Marathon It could be sometime in the next decade that we get another game show that follows News and A Current Affair.

  3. I can just imagine what the “Best of the Best” special will look like in 20 years time. The 2030 crop of celebrities reminiscing about the great shows that were on at this time like 20 to1 and Two and a Half Men …………………………..hang on they’ll probably still be showing them.

  4. I’m a huge fan of classic australian tv and they could do a dozen of these things a year and I’d still watch and love every minute! Kennedy,Lane,Hoges,Bert bring it on!!

    I can understand how Seven fans would be so angry though considering 9s complete dominance over the vast majority of the last 50 years 🙂

  5. To me it will remind us of the past magic (selectively) and current doldrums.

    The 20 to 1 style format is crap. And who are these people talking about the classic shows? They have nothing to do with entertainment!

  6. All of this is just yet another twawl though the vast archives which it hardly uses to good effect.

    I’ve said elsewhere of the need to utalise the archives more effectively than putting on the same old clips used in every ‘Best of’ special made.

    In my opinion the golden age of TV ran from the late 50’s until about the late 80’s. From then on it has been more about ‘business’ than providing genuine entertainment. I realise TV has always been about making money but it seems more apparent these days.

    The commercial networks need to craft shows for the future than this constant look into the past…..I can’t imagine many of the current batch of shows popping up on Foxtel in the decades to come.

    As for not using the personalities depicted in the clips…that’s a pretty low especially given that some are still employed by the network. Plus there will be next to no chance of any clips from the various other commercial networks appearing in the special – it’ll be 9 clips all the way.

    The state of TV programmes today is deplorable – but it’s up to some brave network people to create and produce new ideas so that TV does indeed have a future.

  7. That’s a bit harsh there allan.. Knox is entitled to his opinion.. I would also agree that nine are looking a bit too far backward.. They should be looking forward.. I like the fact that TEN are trying to do this, by taking quite a bit of risk on their new shows.. Masterchef was widely thought to be a complete disaster, and turned out to be the greatest success since the new ratings system was put into place in 2002 or whenever it was.. Ok, so 7pm hasn’t worked out quite so well, i still prefer the fact that they’ve tried to do something new.

    It would be nice to see nine take a risk or two, rather than going straight back to a police drama or reunion..

  8. complete disagreement. sounds like it should be really interesting, its only one episode of 60 minutes, and will be far better than much of the crap on other channels primetimes at the moment (7’s 7.30 monday doco hour a good example). Easy, chilled out viewing. Who cares if its imbalanced. Any opportunity to watch some of the old classics is well worth it. Gees, take a sleeping pill Knox.

  9. Complete agreement. Rather than focusing upon what is past, why arn’t Nine creating some new memories for the future? Simply leaning on 60 Minutes & Underbelly simply isnt good enough anymore.

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