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Another smorgasbord of boredom, courtesy of the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service

You know, sometimes I just cannot believe what the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service [RÚV] gets away with serving up for our television viewing pleasure. Nine times out of ten it will be absolute crap. If there’s a film on RÚV, particularly on Friday or Saturday nights, it’s pretty much guaranteed that it will be a B-movie. And for this we’re required – required – to pay ISK 3,000 [USD 34 / EUR 23] a month in broadcast licence fees.*

Let’s see what they’re presenting us with this evening. After news and Kastljós [current affairs programme] the schedule is as follows:

20.00 EVERWOOD. Soap-ish yarn about a doctor in Everwood, Colorado. Starring Treat Williams.

20.45 HEILABROT A swedish programme about various aspects of human thinking and behavior.

21.15 ÖLDIN Á RÖNGUNNI A programme about geniuses, pioneers and outstanding persons in Denmark in the 19th century, as well as art, love and adversity during times of change in the country. *YAWN*

22.00 NEWS AT TEN.

22.25 VINCENT II No further details given.

23.35 STUTTMYNDADAGAR 2007 The winning films from the Reykjavík short film festival 2007 will be shown and their directors introduced. [From 2007. Meanwhile the 2008 festival has just ended. Need I say more.]

00.25 KASTLJÓS current affairs programme. Rerun from earlier in the evening.

00.45 END OF PROGRAMMING. Dude. By this time everyone has expired from boredom anyway.

RAIN RAIN RAIN
Today we haz it. It came down in buckets about an hour ago but seems to have slowed a bit now. The wind has slowed considerably too, meaning that the weather is really excellent, because whenever there is no wind the weather in Iceland is superb. So put that in yer pipe and smoke it. Currently 8°C [46F – yikes!] with sunrise at 6:34 am and sunset at 8:13 pm.

* To be fair, that also covers radio stations, at least one of which is very good.

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  • Djaddi September 9, 2008, 5:52 pm

    Wait – isn’t that a yearly fee?

  • alda September 9, 2008, 6:02 pm

    Yearly? Ha – I wish!

  • Sonja September 9, 2008, 6:48 pm

    Aside from Everwood, it doesn’t sound too bad. Then again History Channel and Natural Geographic are my favorite channels and the only ones I watch anymore. The short films are too late for me though. But what should they be showing?

    I have to admit I’d probably rather watch a movie or something on Netflix than this program.

  • Dorothy Gale September 9, 2008, 7:39 pm

    How about now watching TV? I am guessing that the “geniuses, pioneers and outstanding persons in Denmark in the 19th century” didn’t have one, or they might not have become what they became.

  • Keera September 9, 2008, 8:10 pm

    I feel your pain. That programming reminds me of what NRK (Norway’s answer to government-owned/license-financed broadcasting) used to serve up (with Tuesdays sucking here, too). NRK got a lot more with it when they got a major competitor in the now 10-year-old commercial channel TV2.

  • Bluegrass Mama September 9, 2008, 8:59 pm

    Heck, we have 60 or 70 channels and there’s rarely anything on worth watching. I’d rather read a book or surf the Net.

  • Steve September 9, 2008, 9:00 pm

    “57 channels and nothin’ on TV” Dire Straits?

  • alda September 9, 2008, 9:24 pm

    Sonja – you sound like RÚV’s dream audience. As for what they could be showing, well original Icelandic programming, for starters, plus some of the programmes the Channel 2 cable station offers. Like The Simpsons, 60 Minutes, some good HBO serials, any decent movie that is less than 3 years old, hell even Friends reruns! – That said, they get points for showing The Sopranos when they still existed, and Sex and the City. Also the occasional good BBC documentary or costume drama – which I’d also be happy to see more of. Oh, and Parkinson.

    Dorothy Gale – actually it’s not about me wishing I could watch more TV – we have cable with around 100 stations that I rarely watch – it’s the fact that the only station I’m forced to pay for shows such crappo programmes.

    Keera – thank you! Actually, when I do find something good on (on those rare occasions when I’m looking) it’s very often on one of the Nordic stations. – We also have a commercial (cable) channel, but it costs an additional ISK 6,000 a month and as such isn’t worth it, to me.

    Cat – ditto. That is to say, I’m very selective about what I give my time to and don’t mind watching good programmes on TV. But like I said to DG above, mostly it’s the principle of the thing.

    Steve – I thought that was Bruce Springsteen?

  • Steve September 9, 2008, 11:45 pm

    Oops! Bruce Springsteen it is indeed!

  • Dankoozy September 10, 2008, 11:49 am

    Can’t you get a free to air DVB-S receiver? with a decent size dish you should be able to get the Beeb, some more british channels, 20 other substandard channels and about 500 channels of pure shite.

    bah i torrent all the stuff i want to watch 🙂

  • mary September 10, 2008, 1:55 pm

    Living in the middle of nowhere we are very dependent on tv , it doesn’t matter how many channels you have, it’s mostly rubbish.
    Responding to a previous post on books, I am reading ‘A Blessed Child’ by Linn Ullmann, it’s wonderful.

  • Lisa in Toronto September 11, 2008, 1:58 am

    I was wondering if you could get rid of your TV connection and avoid the fee, but not likely if the fee includes over the air TV and radio …
    Does the required licence fee mean that the national broadcaster does not have commercials? Wait, I could go look that up myself.
    As I once worked in broadcast regulation, I guess I am always going to be a regulations geek.
    I am a big fan of the BBC world service radio myself, over the internet.

  • alda September 11, 2008, 10:09 am

    Lisa – yes, you could get rid of your TV and escape the TV licence fees, but you would have to pay the radio fee, which is less than 1/3. As for the commercials – no, the national broadcaster is a full competitor on the advertising market, which is an ongoing dispute here. Understandably the private stations are not pleased about that – and I agree, it isn’t fair.

  • Lara Solnes September 15, 2008, 11:45 pm

    Hi Alda, you have no idea how I would like to terminate RÚV out of my life. The station sucks big time.
    Why they don’t eliminate the 10 pm news, the girls (telling whats on) and cut the Kastljós in half is beyond me. And why do an hour of Kastljós in the summer time when no one is watching. To painful!! I’m cost cutting of course.
    I almost watch nothing on RÚV but yet forced to pay every month. I hate it.

  • Rachael September 17, 2008, 3:21 pm

    That’s quite a lot of money to pay to watch TV – here in the UK I pay £11.61 a month for a TV licence (ostensibly for BBC TV and radio channels only, but you can’t own a TV without having a TV licence, so you can’t get away with not paying it by saying you only watch the commercial channels).

    Anyway, be careful what you wish for – the E4 channel here shows (at least) 4 episodes of Friends per day. Every day. And then when they get to the end of the whole run they start showing it again right from the start. I just don’t watch it anymore, not even out of desperation, because I’ve seen every episode so… many… times.