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Trion
02-22-2006, 09:01 AM
Recently, my wife and I discovered that our local PBS station is showing a BBC police drama on Saturday nights called New Tricks (http://www.bbc.co.uk/drama/newtricks/). It's a good show and we've been enjoying it.

But it made me realise how little programming from other countries we get here in America. Mostly it's the Britcoms. And as much as I enjoy the Britcoms, I'm wondering what else is out there that I'm missing. Reading the thread about "Life on Mars" has me even more curious. We don't even get BBC America in our house. Aside from the occasional British drama (like "Cracker") or Canadian show that leaks across the boarder, I can't think of anything.

So, Dopers in other countries, what's good? What do you watch that's not American programming or British Sitcoms? It doesn't even have to be english language. I'd just like to know what's out there, and what's good.

LonesomePolecat
02-22-2006, 09:11 AM
Recently, my wife and I discovered that our local PBS station is showing a BBC police drama on Saturday nights called New Tricks (http://www.bbc.co.uk/drama/newtricks/). It's a good show and we've been enjoying it.

But it made me realise how little programming from other countries we get here in America. Mostly it's the Britcoms. And as much as I enjoy the Britcoms, I'm wondering what else is out there that I'm missing. Reading the thread about "Life on Mars" has me even more curious. We don't even get BBC America in our house. Aside from the occasional British drama (like "Cracker") or Canadian show that leaks across the boarder, I can't think of anything.

So, Dopers in other countries, what's good? What do you watch that's not American programming or British Sitcoms? It doesn't even have to be english language. I'd just like to know what's out there, and what's good.
Well, I'm a Yank, too, but I understand that American networks are going to experiment with telenovelas, i.e. limited run, soap opera-ish series aimed at both Anglo and Hispanic audiences.

A French, German or Indian police drama or sitcom might be interesting, I admit. There's currently a sitcom in India set in a calling center where a large part of the humor derives from the staff having to deal with rude and/or stupid Yanks and Brits on the phone.

tagos
02-22-2006, 09:19 AM
Well, there is the new Dr Who. Classic sci-fi by any standards. To be honest, I prefer good US TV. When it's good, it's great (and usually therefore, canned after one series). Most English drama series bore me. Life on Mars is an exception but I can live the rest of my life without seeing Dickens, Jane Austen or Elizabeth 1st on TV ever again.

Trion
02-22-2006, 09:24 AM
Well, there is the new Dr Who. Classic sci-fi by any standards.

Fortunately, we're getting that next month.

WotNot
02-22-2006, 10:20 AM
You should certainly check out MI5 (Spooks in the UK), and Hustle (if only to cheer up ronincyberpunk who keeps posting things like this. (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=358216) I understand that Bleak House is on PBS at the moment, too – there's a thread about it hereabouts.

I also heartily recommend Doctor Who if you have the SciFi channel.

GorillaMan
02-22-2006, 11:48 AM
Anything I'd suggest is probably in one of these threads already :) :

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=298115
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=298351
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=304391
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=342775
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=356146

SmackFu
02-22-2006, 12:00 PM
You should certainly check out MI5 (Spooks in the UK), and HustleIn particular, these two are on cable channels that aren't BBC America. MI5 is on A&E and Hustle is on AMC.

Trion
02-22-2006, 12:33 PM
I've heard of MI-5. I'm going to have to check out "Hustle". Never heard of that one. Fortunately MI-5 is out on DVD.

GorillaMan, most of those threads are about Britcoms, which we already get in abundance. And all of those threads are about British TV. I hear there are other countries out there. Even if there's no chance of me ever seeing it, I'm curious as to what's out there. What counts as quality television in the rest of the world.

ralph124c
02-22-2006, 12:47 PM
Brazilian TV is big on "Novellas" (Brazilian soap operas). They are very well done, and are filmed well. I hear that suitably dubbed, they might be coming to American TV. of course, i hope so-they usually feature gorgeous, scantily-clad young women-in styles unknown to American TV.
As for other countries: does Scandinavia produce anything interesting? Dutch TV is simply awful!; but the French do some interesting stuff

Trion
02-22-2006, 12:50 PM
...but the French do some interesting stuff

Cool. Like what? I know nothing about French TV.

Zsofia
02-22-2006, 01:56 PM
You know, maybe it's just a bad sample size, but whenever I turn on hotel room TVs in other countries the only native programming I can find is game shows, news, and talk shows. (And it seems I only find talk shows in Spanish speaking countries.) All the fictional programming seems to be American - there's always Star Trek and the X-Files.

kellner
02-22-2006, 02:15 PM
A French, German or Indian police drama or sitcom might be interesting, I admit.We have sitcoms but honestly I can't think of anything remarkable right now. On the other hand German police dramas seem to be popular exports. Probably the record holder is Derrick (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070981/) (1974-1998, 281 episodes) which was broadcast in 102 countries. The protagonist, Inspector Derrick and his assistant investigate murders in Munich.

Another important program is Tatort ("Crime scene"). It features a number (currently 15) of teams that investigate murders in different cities. In Germany there is a system of public state broadcasting corporations. These produce the episodes with "their" teams. This way you have many smaller series from different regions and with different protagonists under one label. Because there are few episodes per team and year, the production values are usually higher than for other series.

Polizeiruf 110 (named after the police emergency number) is a rare example of a surviving program from East Germany. Of course that doesn't make a real difference today, but in old reruns the socialist setting adds an interesting aspect.

A more homorous program is Der Bulle von Tölz with an officer in rural Bavaria . Actually it is on right now.

Of course those are only some examples, there are many other series with different premises.

SmackFu
02-22-2006, 02:16 PM
The worldwide TV scene is pretty depressing. Lost and Desparate Housewives are the big hits in most countries. The other big shows are local translations of Big Brother, American Idol, American Idol variants, etc. Not much money to pay for good dramas, but reality shows are cheap.

SmackFu
02-22-2006, 02:19 PM
(Although when I'm traveling I do appreciate that MTV Germany usually has Pimp My Ride on, with subtitles, so it's almost like a US channel.)

mbh
02-22-2006, 02:28 PM
Since the Olympics are still on this week, I heartily recommend Mexican sports broadcasting. The Mexican networks use the same satellite feeds as the U.S. networks. But while U.S. reporters spend most of their time talking at each other, the Mexican networks will actually cover the sporting events.

ninevah
02-22-2006, 03:50 PM
Current staples in our household are music quiz shows - there's a couple in Oz at the moment which are brilliant. One is Spicks and Specks (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0448300/) , the other is RocKwiz (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0445138/) . We also enjoy Beyond Tomorrow (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0470002/) which is a sciencey new-innovation type show. It contains small segments from Mythbusters (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0383126/) , and we often watch that too.

I also like Neighbours (http://www.neighbours.com/) too (my husband doesn't, but graciously puts up with it), an Australian soap set in Melbourne. It's really the most trashy program I watch, but it's my guilty pleasure!

medstar
02-22-2006, 08:49 PM
I'm not sure what the name of the channel is on my Comcast lineup, but on channel 24, I've seen several episodes of Water Rats, an Australian crime drama centered on the water. Also, on Sunday nights on this channel, I've seen a German crime drama called "Scene of the Crime". Of course, there are subtitles for this show. Once I got accustomed to the subtitles, it was very easy to follow the story.

PastAllReason
02-22-2006, 09:02 PM
The worldwide TV scene is pretty depressing. Lost and Desparate Housewives are the big hits in most countries. The other big shows are local translations of Big Brother, American Idol, American Idol variants, etc. Not much money to pay for good dramas, but reality shows are cheap.
Not quibbling necessarily, but the American versions of Big Brother and American Idol are the ones that were copies of other countries.

Rodgers01
02-22-2006, 09:48 PM
I started a thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=355560&highlight=English+Language) on this very topic not too long ago. There weren't many replies, but there were some interesting suggestions.

With all the hundreds of cable and satellite channels out there, I think it would be pretty cool to have one that picks the very best TV from around the world -- maybe a Finnish sitcom followed by some Argentinian slapstick followed by a Korean soap opera followed by some hard-hitting German investigative reporting, then a South African talk show host to round the evening off.

It's very easy to buy music and books and movies from around the world, and to read all sorts of international newspapers and magazines all over the world. But it's virtually impossible to find non Anglo (or Spanish) TV in most of the US, at least that I've seen. (Yes, there are channels that broadcast in Chinese and Korean and even Polish in Chicago, but none of these have English subtitles that I've seen.)

irishgirl
02-23-2006, 05:17 AM
SmackFu you may be horrified to know that the original Big Brother concept is British. The guy who came up with it is incredibly rich, since he sold it to most of Europe, the USA, Africa and Australia. Britain also has Celebrity Big Brother, which, this year featured Denis Rodman, amongst others, last year it featured Bridget Nielsen and her former mother-in-law, Jackie Stallone. Amazing what people will do when they think their home audience won't see them!

Survivor and Idol, were also originally British concepts.

I usually like things with Adam Hart-Davis (http://www.adam-hart-davis.org/), especially his "What the Romans did for us" series.

Braniac: Science Abuse is usually quite entertaining too.

Otto
02-23-2006, 06:03 AM
My cable system has something like a dozen Spanish-language channels which as near as I can tell feature programming originating in specific Latin-American countries. One channel per country. I don't speak Spanish so I don't watch any of the channels (although I did happen to catch some Spanish-language World Series of Poker coverage which was quite humorous). My Argentinian ex-boyfriend was devoted to some talent show from I think Peru, or maybe Argentina, called Rojo: Fama y Contrafama. It was the same format as American Idol and as near as I could figure out the grand prize was an apartment. Episodes lasted for, like, five hours at a time. It was excrutiating.

Fortunately, we're getting [the new Doctor Who] next month.
We are? Details!

Brazilian TV is big on "Novellas" (Brazilian soap operas). They are very well done, and are filmed well. I hear that suitably dubbed, they might be coming to American TV. of course, i hope so-they usually feature gorgeous, scantily-clad young women-in styles unknown to American TV.

Sorry to disappoint but everything I've heard about American telenovelas indicates that they are going to be original American productions which will conform to American broadcast standards.

Another important program is Tatort ("Crime scene"). It features a number (currently 15) of teams that investigate murders in different cities. In Germany there is a system of public state broadcasting corporations. These produce the episodes with "their" teams. This way you have many smaller series from different regions and with different protagonists under one label. Because there are few episodes per team and year, the production values are usually higher than for other series.
And people respond to teams from outside their home city or region? I'm trying to imagine how a show that switched main casts in their entirety every few episodes would fare here. Not well, I don't think. Americans would probably become very annoyed that their favorite cast members weren't on every week. I'd like it though, if for no other reason than every other show on the air wouldn't be a goddamn CSI franchise. All the CSIers could be on one show and thus become even easier to avoid.

Simes
02-23-2006, 06:42 AM
I wish I could mention some great Australian drama, however unfortunitly they stopped producing that when the networks here caught the "reality" bug, what is left I don't really rate.

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Little Britain ! ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/littlebritain/ ) A very funny show.

On the drama side of things, I've been a fan of The Bill for as long as I can remember, everytime I'm home when it's on, I have to watch it

www.thebill.com

Dead Ringers is a great Satire show, although some things are a little too british other things are universal like this http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/deadringers/clips/clip13.shtml

http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/deadringers/

A few others
Bromwell High

and from NZ
Six Periods With Mr Gownsby- a very very funny show (so funny it caused a stir in NZ)

Banquet Bear
02-23-2006, 06:54 AM
...New Zealand televison, burried in the depths of the imports and reality shows, are full of little gems.

My favourite at the moment is Outrageous (http://www.southpacificpictures.com/default,408.spp) Fortune (http://www.outrageousfortune.co.nz/), a surprisingly deep, comedy-drama about the crime family the West's, and Cheryl West's struggle to get her family to go straight. The series really captures aspects of the New Zealand way of life, particularly of the "Westie" (A resident of West Auckland, drives a beat up Ford, and looks like this guy. (http://www.ewengilmour.com/) ) Its funny, sexy, smart, and very Kiwi.

Siobhan Marshall is drop dead beautiful, and smart in a "blonde" kind of way (the way she gets her own back on an attempted date-rapist is brilliant!), Antonia Prebble is cute, but deadly with a plan in hand, Anthony Starr plays the dual role of Van and Jethro, two very different twins, and Robyn Malcom is the star of the show as the hard-as-nails Cheryl. Its on DVD folks (Region Four) so you might be able to see it if your lucky!
http://www.arovideo.co.nz/film.php?FilmID=10329
http://imdb.com/title/tt0461097/usercomments

(Just a side note, the theme music is "Gutter Black", by a New Zealand group called Hello Sailor. If some of you guys are interested in non-American music as well, the New Zealand music scene is full of fantastic stuff that you never would have heard of before... check out here (http://store.nzmusic.com/cd/32202?osCsid=lm7can2lhmq2vranoh05p8bgt7) for some samples from the ages: listen to the lot, but my favourites are "You oughta be in love", "Sensitive to a Smile", "Gutter Black" and "Can't Get Enough". )

Another favourite of mine broadcasts on the Maori Channel, (http://www.maoritelevision.com/index.htm) called Kai Time. (http://www.kaitime.co.nz/home.htm) (Kai is the Maori word for food.) Its a great little cooking programme that showcases fresh, traditional NZ recipies and food, with dishes like Kahawai Steaks, Kai Time Paua Schnitzels with Mozarella Tomato and Basil Salad, and showcasing ingredients such as horopito (NZ Bush pepper) and kumara. (Sweet Potato) Most of the programme is in English, but Maori is spoken as well, and an effort is made to help people learn both the language and the culture.

Otto
02-23-2006, 06:55 AM
(so funny it caused a stir in NZ)
Wow, it's like you write blurbs for video boxes!

Futile Gesture
02-23-2006, 07:02 AM
SmackFu you may be horrified to know that the original Big Brother concept is British. No it's not. It's Dutch. Blame them.

Maus Magill
02-23-2006, 07:15 AM
Yes - More Doctor Who details!

One show I was enjoying while it was being broadcast on Showtime Beyond was Strange with Richard Coyle (of Coupling). It was a good mystery/supernatural show. The Pilot sucked as it was full of clumsy exposition, but once the series was underway and the characters were established, it got pretty good. At least until the last ten minutes of the show. It got real cheesy once they showed the monster.

Ichbin Dubist
02-23-2006, 07:21 AM
1. Long ago I was in West Africa for about 2 months, but I didn't see very much television while I was there -- I stayed in low-end hotels and there just aren't very many TVs. But one day in a Accra, Ghana I was feeling under the weather and spent most of a day hanging around in the grubby penson. After breakfast the staff hung out on the porch and watched TV, so I spend some time with them. The local TV was pretty bad -- endless glurgy pro-government stuff, military parades, an hour of what seemed like a dimly lit high-school talent show that had been taped in the 70s and the cassettes kept in a box of saltwater, and then what I remember as an Omar Sharif swords-and-turbans-type movie. The high point for me was when someone burst into a wedding on a horse, grabbed the bride and threw her over the back of his saddle, and galloped off. One of the guys who worked in the hotel said, deadly serious, "That is how they do it in my village."

Now that I think of it, I also once saw part of a soccer game on TV in a bar in Senegal, and some videotaped live local music in a small restaurant in Mali. I guess cheap production values is the key.

2. I once lived in a rural area without cable, where one of the three TV stations that came in clearly via the antenna (look it up, kids) was a small UHF station (ditto) that seemed to split its airtime between Japanese and Korean programming. I don't understand either language a whit, but my outsider's impression of TV in these 2 countries is that it's all incredibly manic, and that it's fairly impossible to tell a children's show from an adult show. A scene in Lost in Translation sort of implies that Japanese television for adults is a little cartoony. I guess the only export we get in the States is that "funny" redubbed thing called Most Extreme Elimination Challenge or something like that, which is a few notches below being told the same knock-knock by a three-year-old over and over again.

3. Hi Xuxa!

Banquet Bear
02-23-2006, 07:23 AM
Wow, it's like you write blurbs for video boxes!
...well it really did. I only saw part of one episode, but what I saw had me in alternate states of shock, horror, and Rolling on the Floor Laughing. To put it simply, the series was not politically correct, and the scene in question had Mr Gormsby (played by David McPhail, a well known NZ comic) directing a bunch of Maori and Pacific Island students at a concert to a chorus of, well I can't really the words to the song they were singing. Lets just say follow the link to find out the name of the song...
http://www.abc.net.au/tv/guide/netw/200601/programs/ZY8024A006D4012006T220000.htm

...and welcome aboard Simes! You have good taste in TV, I love the Bill. You should post more often!

Trion
02-23-2006, 07:35 AM
I don't have a lot of time to comment right now, but thanks a lot guys. Keep 'em coming.

We are? Details!


Yes - More Doctor Who details!



The Science Fiction Channel has picked up the new Doctor Who. It's starting on March 17th at 9:00 pm after this season of Battlestar Galactica finishes up.

Here's the night's schedule. (http://www.scifi.com/schedulebot/index.php3?date=17-MAR-2006&feed_req)

ralph124c
02-23-2006, 07:38 AM
On my last trip to Brazil, a local TV station was showing an import show from somewhere called "WATER RATS"?? I think it was filemed in vancouver, canada-but curiuosly, the show was carried on an Australian network-anybody know about this? the show -it was pretty much like any american 70's style police-themed show. How it would up in Brazil is a mystery to me.

Banquet Bear
02-23-2006, 07:49 AM
On my last trip to Brazil, a local TV station was showing an import show from somewhere called "WATER RATS"?? I think it was filemed in vancouver, canada-but curiuosly, the show was carried on an Australian network-anybody know about this? the show -it was pretty much like any american 70's style police-themed show. How it would up in Brazil is a mystery to me.
:: points at post 17 ::
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115417/
...I would assume the show would go into syndication, like most American programmes-that's how it ended up on Brazillian TV.

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