The other day we had a discussion (?) regarding reality shows. For the most part I pretty much feel the same way about a lot of them as most people. However there are a couple I find interesting. One is the show that talks about some treasure on some piece of land called Oak Island. The other is Alaska: The Last Frontier. I have strong doubts about the guys finding much treasure on Oak Island. If it's there, they still have a lot working against them. The other show though is about a family who's ancestors homesteaded in Alaska and simply follows their day to day activities as they attempt to raise cattle and farm in a pretty tough environment. In so many ways it reminds me of some of the ways we had to do things while growing up in Northern Minnesota. About the only really good equipment they've got are their 4-wheelers, rifles and chainsaws. But they're a tough bunch and seem to make it through in spite of the hardships.
So-called reality shows don't have to be as bad as most of them are. In 1994 Britain's Channel 4 aired 1900 House, in which a family of four lived in a Victorian house as the Victorians did. They found some of it pretty hard to take. Later an American series was set in Plimouth Plantation, with the residents living like the Pilgrims. My favorite of the bunch was Frontier House, with modern folks becoming 1880's pioneers. One of the guys lost so much weight he was terrified. He was sure he was wasting away from some dreadful disease. A doc examined him and told him he was in the best shape of his life because of the physical exercise of frontier life. At the other end of the reality show scale was a heavily promoted one on Fox in which a hunky guy was presented falsely as a millionaire, and three money hungry females competed in trying to get him to marry one of them. I thought it might be an entertaining trash wallow, but I gave it up after watching about twenty minutes of it because the people involved weren't just stupid and trashy, they were stupid, trashy, and boring.
There is enough drama and funny people in my life so I don't have to watch stupid people being stupid on TV.
Mike, I too find the oak island series interesting. I read about it when I was a kid and have sort of kept track over the years. KGB
I find oak barrels more interesting...more important is what is aging inside those oak barrels
My favorite reality show was "Alone in the Wilderness", showing the real story of Dick Proenneke's solo existence in the Alaska wilderness of Twin Lakes:
Not into reality shows. I doubt the authenticity of most of them. Besides, I really kinda wonder about the sanity of people who want camera crews following them around all the time. Camera crews can follow me around, but most of the time they would be shooting boring footage...or have to edit out a bunch of bad words on occasion.
Mike...I'm with on O.Island and the Alaska shows...there's two or three....I enjoy the scenery of places I otherwise will never be able to enjoy in person, and with todays HD signal, wow, it's like being right there. Spectacular detail of spectacular scenery. And I even learn a few things now and then, although I can never remember them for long!
Oak Island: I watch this with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek. I don't know why these guys are so convinced about treasure especially in the money pit itself. Much like the UFO crash at Roswell the unvarnished truth reads far differently than the legends. Nothing claimed to be found in the pit such as the chain and the stone have been seen since the 1860's and are lost. If they ever existed. The island is riddled with sink holes all with stones and trees that have fallen in them creating what an active imagination sees as paving and platforms. I suppose there could be pirate booty buried there but it's a wild goose chase to be sure. The $ from the show must be covering expenses. The only reality show that I feel holds any creedence at all is Survivor Man but Les does have a cell phone in case it gets really dicey. I don't hold that against him though.
Oak Island is a tourism pitch. These guys own land there and benefit from the curiosity of the myths. I think that they must have also been the guys who sold the grilled cheese sandwich with the image of the Virgin Mary on T bay.
Frontier house, Colonial House and Texas Ranch House were all patterned after the BBC 1900s house. It was interesting that in all three US versions, the weakest link was always the family from California.
In the case of Frontier House, the Californian did not do the work needed to survive, but used his children and their friends to gather berries to put in his illegal still.
In the case of Texas Ranch house, the californian was put in charge of the ranch, they grew a very large garden, but would not allow the cook to use any of the vegetables as the workers went hungry, and then he cheated them at settle up.
But the worst was the Californian preacher and his wife on Colonial House, the first thing he did that was outrageous was to make a university with him in charge and take workers to be his students. He taught them ancient Greek and excused them from labor. They were growing corn to sell, and he decided to harvest the corn with out any knowledge of agricultural facts and had all the corn picked before it was mature, resulting in a yield that would have been about 10% of a mature crop.
I am sure these shows were scripted, and the writers were anti californian, but then when you look at how california is run, it might be representative.
Reality shows exist to cater to a segment of the population upon which spending good money on well-written programming is wasted because such viewers can be induced to watch the commercials of a much cheaper-to-produce show. -This is a part of the "dumbing down" of America. -I'm profoundly disappointed that people I know will go out of their way to keep appointments with the contrived violence of The Jerry Springer Show (Heaven help us), the endless parade of DNA paternity tests of Maury, etc. -That people watch such garbage really staggers the mind.
Slightly less offensive, but still catering to the grade-school drop-out type, were Jersey Shore and whatever spun-off form of Keeping Up with the Kardashians is still infecting the airwaves.
One rung up the ladder from that is Pawn Stars, which, because the show's walk-ins attempt to sell off family heirlooms, is aired as historical programming by none other than The History Channel.
Up the next rung, you'll find shows like American Hot Rod and American Choppers, which at least require a certain level of actual skill and creativity on the part of the "actors." -The incessant bickering bogs those down to a juvenile level.
I don't know whether my prejudice for antique cars is what, in my own mind, elevates shows like Chasing Classic Cars and Restoration Garage to a higher level, but at least, between the price-haggling of one and bickering of the other, one can learn something about restoring and buying and selling antique cars.
The best of the bunch, in my humble opinion, is What's My Car Worth?, which involves no stupid bickering, power struggles or personality conflicts. -It's purely about the cars. -This one is more documentary than it is reality-TV.
Somewhere in between is Fantom Works, which talks a lot about the process of restoring classic cars, but, regrettably, still inflicts upon the viewer uncomfortable-to-watch chewings-out of restoration craftsmen.
About two years ago, I had a nice telephone conversation with the producer-to-be of a documentary which would have televised the re-enacted trans-continental trek of Alice Ramsey, who made history with her Brass Maxwell and a couple of friends.
A "new" 1909 Maxwell was restored/reproduced and the restorer's daughter, Emily Anderson, made the drive in 2009.
The historic re-enactment was filmed, but the documentary was never produced because the folks at The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, etc., were no longer interested in producing shows of such high caliber.
And so, we're blessed with such intellectually stimulating programs as Hard Core Pawn.
Such are the viewpoints of a retired daytime-television viewer who really should get a life.
One of my favorite reality show stories is about one that never went on the air. CBS announced a show about a New Mexico ghost town that would be populated only by kids. The howls of outrage from folks with their heads full of Lord of the Flies caused the network to reconsider. As if the director, lighting crew, sound crew, and all the other people behind the cameras wouldn't really be there to keep an eye on things.
I have not watched TV in over 10 years, except as I come through the house and my wife has it on - TV junkie.
Occasionally I will sit with her to watch an interesting documentary, or laugh my ass off at the dirtbags they arrest on COPS.
Other than that, who has time to watch that bullsh!t ? I have 40 different large scale projects that refuse to complete themselves and I am forced to do all the work !
I like "Alaskan Railroad". There's a lot of pretty scenery shown in it.
I'm with Burger. I have a TV but only use it to watch DVD's like my latest aquisition which is 7 seasons of Foyle's War. Great series, probably in part because it was not created in Hollywood.
I haven't watched TV in 2 years. I turned it off on election night 2012 and haven't turned it on since.
We do have Netflix to watch movies though.
.... and besides, if I were to seriously watch The Real Housewives (pronounced "arrogant b!tches) of _________,
I'm afraid I'd feel compelled to become a serial killer of uppity new money McMansion trash. And in spite of
doing such great service to humanity as a whole, such actions might be frowned upon by the local constabulary,
resulting in incarceration, .... and this would impinge upon my Model T time. Best just to not go there.
If there really was / is pirate booty in the money pit on Oak Island, I believe it would have been found and removed. I just can't convince my self that a Ships pirate captain would have spent that much time to secure his chest of gold.
Entertaining, probably but in the end the only one who will end up with the geld, is the man who owns the so-called money pit. He gets paid every time somebody comes along and digs with a shovel.
Check out on YouTube the BBC series called Coal House 1927. It's about modern Welsh family's trying to be coal miners back then. My wife was born and raised in Wales, the accents and the spoken Welsh language are worth every minute of watching it.
You guys need to put cable TV in the garage so you can watch reality shows while working on your Ts.
My son ran a cable to the garage for the internet (before wireless) so he could get online.
When the cable guy came to work on a problem he almost lost his mind trying to figure out if my neighbor was stealing the cable signal. He called me at work and abruptly told me that he was going to find our secret. I gave him 1 minute to get out of the house and called his boss. That was the last I heard from them except for the normal monthly bill.
I really didn't believe that anyone outside of eastern Canada would watch the Oak Island show. I will admit the show ticks me off with their conjecture and wild speculation. Pure mule fritters !
The Osbournes was the best in reality TV.