Wednesday, 4 February 2004

Korean TV

Korean TV is surprisingly good. Ok, it's mostly the purest bollocks, but separate the chaff from the wheat and there's a fair amount of... chaff? wheat? I don't understand this metaphor.

There's about 60 channels, and of these there are about 5 of decent viewing. Evenings certainly usually have enough to preoccupy me if I want a passive evening's entertainment.

There's the American Forces Network - AFN. It's great. The commercials are all US military propaganda and feature great American war heroes, great American landscapes, adverts saying don't be horrible to your children, where to sit on pubic transport to minimise your chance of being hit by a terrorist, and many more. It also warns to be on your guard against spies, and - curiously - UFOs. Seriously, there's an advert featuring this very fake UFO flying about and these soldiers going "Hey!" and "What was that?!" and the message at the end tells to report anything suspicious to your superiors.

AFN also has good TV, like Seinfeld, 24, David Letterman and other bits and pieces. Ok, it's got the ghastly Oprah and genuinely unwatchable stuff like The Bachelorette, but overall it's a reasonable hit rate. I've also become partial to Judge Judy.

Then there's BBC World, an absolute godsend. Despite Hutton enquiries, it's thoroughly reliable news from a British perspective. I always know where I stand. Additionally it has programmes like The History of Britain and Top Gear.

There's a few movies channels, OCN being the best. Mostly action, but sometimes gems like Memento. The overall quality is good. Late night you get abysmal porn (Korean laws are strict, so you can show only breasts, and the Korean's skill in any form of film-making is very lacking). OCN also shows stuff like Sex And The City (I shamefully admit to watching a few episodes) and another channel also has The Nanny, a mid 90s American comedy which I've become fond of. I don't know if it was every shown in Britain, probably because the title theme features the line "What was she to do, she was out on her fanny", which has a much different meaning in America than it does in Britain.

Then there's Star Sports, which I have developed a love-hate relationship with. I hate it because it's rubbish. It's my only sports channel and instead of showing football or decent sports, it has a bewildering selection on offer. There's Asian woman's 10 pin bowling. There's pool championships from between 1994 to 2003 (I'm actually quite partial to this), featuring numerous snooker heroes. There's ancient tennis, Bjorn Borg a favourite, which seems to go on for hours. Golf sometimes goes on endlessly. And most bizarrely is the boxing from 1934. Flickering black and white pictures of black and white guys punching each other like gentlemen.

Then there's tons of shopping channels, a few cartoon channels, loads of dreary Korean soaps, a couple of channels for English teaching, a couple of channels mostly dedicated to boxing or wrestling, some very odd Korean comedies shows, a Christian TV channel in English, rubbish MTV Asia and the National Geographic channel which can be good when the voices are dubbed over in Korean. Additionally there's about three channels focussing purely on computer games. All you ever see are computer games being played. The Koreans love their computer games.

However, I was pissing about with my TV the other day, wondering if I could get a better picture, when something happened and I suddenly realised I'd wiped all but four of my channels. This was dreadful news, but I didn't despair and tried to sort it out.

And suddenly, all my channels were back - and more! It was like Christmas and birthday all rolled into one, albeit hardly classic Christmasses or birthdays.

I now have Super Action Movie channel, which is just like OCN. I have a few channels with American comedies or other vaguely watchable programmes. I have a fashion channel, and also a porn channel I think which has such a poor reception all I can see are the words "Erotic Island" at the top, lots of fuzz, and some grunting noises.

Best of all, I've now got two new sports channels, one of which already has shown a healthy amount of football. I'm optimistic that it may be the channel that shows live English and European football. Football is something I'm really missing, so if this channel lives up to its potential it will complete the unexpected goodness of Korean TV.

If I can just tune in Neighbours then my life will be complete...

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