French TV - it's not all that bad is it?


(Johnny Summerton) #1

Perhaps I'm weird, but I really like French telly.

I know exactly what to expect and I'm rarely disappointed.



Plus I'm not difficult or proud, and that probably helps.



I'll watch just about anything and everything as I switch on the box, turn off the brain and relax (brandishing the remote of course).



"Secret Story" (proof I'm not proud), "L'amour est dans le pré" (ditto), "Joséphine, ange gardien" (or cultured), "Envoyé spéciale" ("Hey, something decent," I hear you shout), "La Matinale" or "Le Petit journal" on Canal+ (don't have a subscription so I can only watch programmes that aren't encrypted), "C dans l'air" on France 5 (Yves Calvi just has to be about the best political journalist this country has to offer), US imports, and so on and so forth.




Yves Calvi (screenshot from "C dans l'air") In a recent poll, French politicians named him as the country's best political journalist



Eclectic viewing, often not just bordering but completely and overwhelmingly slap bang in the middle of the inane

But there's one show I just don't "get" and this is going to shock many probably: "Danse avec les stars".






It's about to begin its second season on TF1. I didn't watch the first and whenever I talk to relatives and friends back home (or rather when they talk to me about the original "Strictly Come Dancing" - yawn) or those visiting from the States where the equivalent "Dancing with the stars" is apparently just as huge, they're aghast at my disinterest.



While they go into raptures about how exciting, challenging, fascinating or whatever it is, I quite honestly just don't get what all the fuss is about.



Am I missing something? Is there a gap in my less-than-dubious TV-viewing habits that needs to be filled? I don't think so. I've more than made clear my tastes are - er - "absurd".



The problem is I cannot shake off the image of "Come Dancing" in my dim and distant youth and that had as much sparkle and interest (to a then-teenager) as the proverbial paint drying.



So what (French) TV programmes do others not "get"? A show that leaves you cold and has you wondering whether you might just be from another planet because everyone else seems to "rave" about it?



And what shows (if any) do you really like on the box?


(Andrew Hearne) #2

All comes down to money in the end Johnny - look what Toulon managed to do by buying players hand over fist, including wilko, and I think that's the problem with Albi - not enough money, still better seeing them doing well in Pro D2 than struggling in the top 14!

They usually show all their programmes again + you can see most on the internet now so I'm sure you'll get to see it one day, not that you're far away for a visit ;-)


(Andrew Hearne) #3

Hi Johnny

Just thought I'd let you know you're not alone in your thoughts about come dancing/strictly come dancing/dancing with the stars or anything else you want to call it - avoid it like the plague ;-)

Great films but bad drama - well put Peter.


(Peter Shield) #4

Strictly Come Dancing/ Dancing with the Stars is the world's most popular live entertainment show, according to the Guinness Book of Records- BBC World Wide sell the formate to 35 different Broadcasters/Production companies- so you are not alone.

Calvi is great, looks like a rugby man- and good at the occasional hard tackle on a politico talking more sh*te than usual.

The only problem I have is the lack of good original French productions. So much of the prime time post evening news sections go to bought in US series- CBI , Mentalists and the like (Though I exclude Desperate Housewives from that list as it often has me spluttering out my tea) and like SCD/DWTS bought in formates or lower grade me toos.

Now ARTE- they are great but maybe a too little worthy for every week day, knackered from work watching.

The French make great movies, like Les Hommes Libre, but bad drama. The changes Sarko made to TV advertising laws to reward his mate, Martin Bouygues for his support, and the holiday on his yacht, means that so much of the commercial support is now concentrated on TF1 and France Television no longer can afford to support the creative production houses that use to try and do good original drama.


(Andrew Hearne) #5

Stéphane Bern made a right mess of what should have been a descent programme on the many architectural possibilities now available - some great houses, especially the passive ones or even energy positive ones but ruined by the chat and light weight aspect - no real detail.

But Des racines et les ailes is in Albi this eveing, one of my favourite local towns, shame the rugby club has dropped a bit since the days it was in the top 14, remember seeing them beat Bath in the H cup but that's another story... should be a good one to watch - enjoy!


(Natascha Guinet) #6

When I first arrived here in France way back in 1992 everyone was raving about the series FREINDS. I HATED it! Thought it was stupid, not funny, boring and geeky; till one day HALLALULIA someone lent me a dvd box set so that I could give it a chance in English; well; it was like a blind woman finding sight! wow! what a change! I now have the ultimate freinds box set and am a real fan.

The problem with dubbing is that you cant hear if any character has an accent either. I have a pretty good aussie accent radar and can spot one even if the actor is trying to cover it up, It took me a one episode in english with FBI porté disparue (without a trace) to see that at least two of the main characters were aussies!


(Ruth Deborah Rey) #7

Totally agree with you, Natascha (and Hi) where it concerns documentaries and would like to add 'nature' programs. The series I never watch (yes, always once and then run away). Strange, since France does have many super comedians.

French dubbing? Should be forbidden and even now that we alsmost all have NTL, they still go back to dubbed installments. Grrrrrrrrr!

Funny story:

Someone once told me that she HATED Clint Eastwood.

Oh, said I, but why?

I hate his voice, she answered.

Which one, I asked

Well, his voice ... his voice, the one with which he...

In French?

Yes, of course!

It took me about half an hour to explain that Eastwood's voice in French was not his own (only Jodie Foster dubs her own voice) but that of a french actor. Offered to let her hear his 'real' voice, but she wasn't interested, because 'she wouldn't be able to understand what he was saying'.


(Natascha Guinet) #8

ooo, I will have to listen for the shouting on M6, Ive never noticed. And actually i forgot one critique I have with M6's docs is the ones on late at night tend to be all about the same subject; S E X. Especially anything done by Bernard DeVilliers! LOL But hey, we are in France so that subject seems to be pretty big in all Latin countries anyway right? No big surprise there.

I should also mention that I love the fact that I have a wonderful little button my remote control that changes the language back to the original version for most US series which has saved my life!! Cant stand the french dubbing, its as bad as its series, all devoid of any emotion in the voice and over rehearsed. (sorry, as mentioned above I really hate french tv series!! LOL)


(Natascha Guinet) #9

I really enjoy 7 à 8 on TF1 Sunday evening. I wait Koh Lanta (french survivor) every end of summer. Envoyé Special is good, french documetary's in general are pretty good actually. The only thing I cant stand on tv are the french series; they only seem to be able to make tv series about the police or judges. They always look like they have been filmed with my granny's video camera, the dialogues are atrocious and the lines are delivered in a very over rehearsed way. I HATE THEM!!


(Andrew Hearne) #10

you have to see it to understand it and France a little better. I saw my first “live” in 97 when I started cycling with a local club and have seen it just about every year since. Twice this year but I’ve still to see it in the Alps or the Pyrénées… an absolute must!


(Andrew Hearne) #11

Like you Johnny, I watch french tv (don’t have anything else!) and have done for years (and radio in the car). there are some very good programmes - Capital, Envoyé spéciale, l’amour est dans le près (OH’s family are all farmers and one local farmer was in one series young bloke from the aveyron + it’s a real slice of life that we understand so well), C politiqe, Thalassa (soemtimes a waste of time sometimes excellent), rugby at 8h00 on a sunday morning, automoto (used to be better, not up to much now) turbo on M6 is better, France3 for the local and regional news - had two of the midi-pyrénées journalists as stagiaires a while back, and as a mad keen race cyclist the three weeks uninterupted coverage of the tour! and all the rugby in the winter (well at least in the SW, I know it’s always football elsewhere - another good reason to live in the SW!)was a fan of plus belle la vie for a few years but then it got all a bit bizarre and stupid.

But like all TV there’s also a whole load of absolute rubbish that I just can’t watch!