1. Earliest remembered television?
I don’t have a specific TV memory (my parents tried hard to make me remember the moon landing, but at 2, I was just too young). The memory I do have is that when I was about four, living in the US, my friend Jack from a neighbouring apartment had a colour television! I have no memory of actually watching it, though. Since we didn’t get a television in our own house until I was 8 or so, early TV memories come from quite an advanced age – my other early-ish TV memory is watching the final of the men’s 1500m swimming of the 1976 olympics live at school. The australian, Steve Holland, who was the reason we were all watching, came third. Australians have viewed that race as ours for a very long time.
2. TV series you would want on a desert island
Wanting a TV series on a desert island requires a bit more suspension of disbelief than a book – if I can watch it over and over, then I’m guessing that it’s a desert island with a few significantly good mod cons. Maybe even a coffee machine?
Anyway, I find it hard to think of any TV that I could really watch over and over. Probably The West Wing. Even though it’s fantasy, the writing is fantastic. Most of the US bloggers I read don’t like it, but I think that after Aaron Sorkin stopped writing it, it went down hill, and we’ve only just started getting those episodes in Australia.
Here in Australia the audience is serious political junkies only, and there are really not enough of them for any channel to get a good enough audience to show it properly, so it’s been consigned to the wasteland of 10.30 or later whenever Channel 9 felt like putting it on.
3. TV that made you laugh
TV that I remember making me laugh most out loud was the improv series Whose Line is it Anyway. Have I got News for You (particularly the British version) could be hilarious on its best nights. The Glasshouse, when it got really manic, and Rhys Muldoon was on, could also be pretty hilarious.
Some of the best comedy (at least according to the critics) is the embarassment type humour like Fawlty Towers, The Office, Kath and Kim. I can’t watch that. I have to go and make myself a cup of tea as soon as someone starts doing anything cringeworthy.
4. TV that made you cry
TV rarely makes me cry, although since I became a parent, I get close whenever a child dies on TV. But watching Falling Man – a documentary about 9/11 – made me cry. It was the story of trying to work out the name of a famous picture of someone falling from the World Trade Centre, and it was an incredibly effective way of humanising those who died.
5. TV crap that you enjoy
I religiously watch Survivor every season. It’s now only on at 10.30 pm, so I have to remember to tape it every week to watch it, but I still do it. Even though it’s pretty manufactured with the casting, and the way in which they change the rules around every season, it’s still watching real people interacting, and trying to outwit each other.
Knowing that there is zero chance that I would ever do it, it’s fascinating to watch people thinking maybe only one step, maybe four or five steps ahead into how to work out their alliances and strategies.
6. TV you’ll never forget.
Memorable TV for me is real life – watching September 11 as it happened (ironically in the middle of a West Wing episode), and then being glued to the television for the whole of September 12th (Australian time), watching Princess Diana’s funeral while we had friends over for dinner, being at a holiday house with a different group of friends as they finally pulled Stuart Diver out of the rubble at Thredbo. And memorable TV is also about sport in the middle of the night, for me – being glued to the television for the Australian matches of the recent soccer World Cup in the middle of the night, watching Steff Graf demolish Natalie Zvereva in a French Open nearly 20 years ago, being one of at least 20 watching Pat Cash win Wimbledon in our TV room at College.
7. Favourite TV adaptation.
Horatio Hornblower is probably my top pick. A superbly good-looking star, some good stories, and derring-do. I’ve never read the original, so I’m not sure if I’m qualified to pick it. From what I’ve read about the books, they sound like well-written boys own adventure. I think that proves my theory that good TV does not come from Literature with a capital L.
8. Favourite nerdish program
For me, this is definitely the Goodies. I went to watch them live when they were in Sydney this year, and looking around the audience just proved that this is nerdy TV at its best. Strangely, although I love reading science fiction, I’m not that into SF TV – Doctor Who (current incarnation) is the exception.
9. One TV program you are currently watching
Six Feet Under. We’ve just discovered BigPond Movies (which is the pale Australian shadow of Netflix) and have been working our way through it. We’re up to the middle of the second series now, and I’m really enjoying it.
Although, I should say that right now I’m half watching The Magic Schoolbus which is the most watchable program that my sons enjoy – I always try and push them in that direction. I really enjoy Pingu (about a penguin) which is probably how this blog got its name, but sadly my boys think they are too old for it now.
10. One TV show/series you have been meaning to watch
Deadwood. A new series that hasn’t made it to Australia yet, but I’ve heard it’s really good, so its on order from Bigpond Movies.
11. Now tag five people: I never both with this, as usually I do the meme last of the blogs I read anyway. But if anyone reading this hasn’t done it yet, feel free!