Sunday, January 25, 2015

TV: And the award for best production ...

... Doesn't go to whoever directed last night's penalty shot contest as part of the three-ring circus known as the NHL All-Star Game Skills Competition.

There was a time that CBC farmed out both directors AND cameramen to other organizations wishing to broadcast hockey. Such was the quality of both skilled tradesman that CBC could get large rental fees. Deserved rental fees. John Shannon became a famous hired gun doing that.

Along the same time line, Fox became involved in broadcasting sports. Fox's entry was fashioned around selling pizazz rather than substance. The side dishes rather than the steak. Turns out, keeping a small black puck in focus is a TOUGH job. And having a director with a quick trigger finger AND a bunch of toys he was TOLD to play with, created a style of showmanship that lost me as a viewer.

I hated Fox, but I always had stolid old stalwart CBC to depend on. Put the camera on the fifty-yard line, at centre court and most especially at centre ice. Use the fancy new toys in replays. But never, never EVER miss action, never go for the starlet shot in the stands and remember that the fans at home are in the highest-priced seats in the house, paying MILLIONS of dollars for the privilege. Collectively.

So, with abject horror I watched an event that was timed to be over in less than ten minutes. Utterly unwatchable ten minutes. With little narrative and baffling live action shots that seldom matched. Shots of equipment on the ice. Replays while action was taking place at the other end of the ice. Shameful, shameful, shameful. It was like NBC and Sportsnet had had a meeting as to just how far beyond credible they could push the ten minutes for the event. And they discovered it was a very, very low barrier.

I would have rather have watched ten minutes of MMA assault, ten minutes of horses and well-dressed people pretending they were at an event they actually cared about, rather than just to be seen, or an auto race twenty minutes in on a fine sunny day.

I will resent the whole production crew who robbed me of ten minutes of life until I die, which isn't probably that far away. So, that ten minutes now is a measurable percentage of the remaining life I have to live.

CBC broadcast it, so it gets the scorn, hatred and this abuse. The rest of the people involved, from the conception of the event through the execution of it, all deserve non life-threatening diseases. I am being charitable.

When I tune into a sports event, I want the best seats in the house. I want super-slo-HD-3D replays when play comes to a stop (I'm looking at you, baseball and football). I don't want herky-jerky bird's eye view cameras no matter where they are situated. Quick tell me NOBODY's ever thought of the jockstrap camera for catchers in baseball!! There seems to be no crease, crevice or hole directors won't put cameras. Some we applaud. Most we hate. And the inventor of the moving camera in real-time play, a staple of NBC broadcasts? Please, please never procreate. At the very least, authorities should step in to prevent it happening.

Some idiots call it boring. Old fashioned. Takes too much attention. THESE are the people Cyril Kornbluth warned about when writing "The Marching Morons." The Ultimate distopia.

Gimme back my broadcast. After all, I've paid the price with years of benign support. And you young snots have done nothing to make life more bearable.

In case there's any doubt, I didn't like the broadcast Mr. Director. And yes, that's me you see when looking over your shoulder. Be afraid, very, very afraid.

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