Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Greek television execs are lazy

Recently I've noticed a new show on Greek television called Ugly Maria, which just happens to be the exact same premise as America's Ugly Betty. Now I'm sure they got permission to use the premise for the show, because such a blatant disregard of intellectual property would be typical for Greeks unheard of here. I realize that it isn't uncommon for shows to cross countries and cultures (The Office being one of the most famous of late), but Greece has had a whole spate of copy shows, from a Sex and the City type thing (don't know how well it did, haven't seen it around in awhile) to a Friends type show. Since I am generally disillusioned with most original Greek shows (NET can't even make a decent show out of one of the most popular Greek movies of all time), I should be happy that from time to time they copy American formats, but somehow it just doesn't seem to work. Sure, these shows end up popular with Greeks, but I'd prefer to see shows that highlight Greek culture and idiosyncrasies, not to mention shows capitalizing on Greece's famous history. Some shows make attempts, but they all seem forced and soap opera like.

Am I expecting too much from Greek television? Probably. But I think there is a whole lot here that could make truly great T.V. instead of mediocre serials. Come on Greek television execs, come up with a show that dazzles!


Anonymous said...

You're aware that the original 'Ugly Betty' is actually Colombian, it goes by the name of 'Yo soy Betty, la fea' so really the American (Ugly Betty), the Greek (Ugly Maria), the Mexican (La Fea Más Bella), the German (Verliebt in Berlin) and the Indian (Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin) are all copies of the original Colombian format so I assume when a program maker comes up with a winning formula, it's sold world wide.

Yo soy Betty la fea was made in 1999. Copied by Mexico in 2000, by India and Israel in 2003, by Germany and Russia in 2005, again by Mexico in 2006 and in the same year by Spain, Netherlands, USA and Greece.

The same goes for quiz shows, how many countries had local versions of 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' and 'The Weakest Link'.

So I think the point I'm trying to make is this has been going on in TV land for a long time even (shock horror) in America.

Greek TV used to suck big time when our home grown programs pretty much consisted of Lampsi and Kalimera Zoi but they're gone now.

You should check out the line up on Mega, they have home grown shows such as 'Sto Para Pente', 'Singles', 'Pali apo tin arxi' and the new drama 'mazi sou' looks promising.

Ugly Maria hasn't grown on me, I've watched a couple of episodes but hey, you can't like everything.

melusina said...

Yea, I discovered that about Betty after I posted, although I'm not surprised. American T.V. is going the way of the unoriginal (formula shows, reality shows) although there are a couple of decent shows here and there (love, love, LOVE My Name is Earl).

I hate formulas in "art". I hate formula TV, I hate movie remakes from films from other countries (with the exception of Three Men and a Baby), and I hate, hate, HATE formula music. My issue is there are enough unique, singular aspects about every country to come up with their own type of television that is interesting, ground breaking, etc. Sto Para Pende is funny, but such a caricature, which works for that type of show, but I guess I am just looking for something different.

There are so many things about Greece that might make intelligent, good television. I just wish they would do it, instead of falling back on a formula taken from somewhere else.

Emily said...

I agree- why not be original? Though it would be interesting to watch Ugly Betty versions from different cultures and see how they interpret it.
I'll add that I hate formulaic movies too- and I hate formulaic novels like crazy. If I plop down in front of the TV for an hour or so I'm willing to accept something mindless- but if I'm going to spend my energy reading, I don't want to know what's going to happen next. (this has been on my mind lately- I read so many books for adolescents at work, and I often don't need to read more than a few pages to know what's going to happen.)

Anonymous said...

Trash in U.S., Mexico, Colombia or what have you...double trash in Greece.
You always have a choice...Do not watch!

Tracie B. said...

just wait 'til they make the greek "wife swap..."

Anonymous said...

Mmm... the Greek 'Wife Swap'

Sounds like a program that'd have to be shown after midnight on Filmnet ;-)

We're listening... LOL

melusina said...

Emily, yes, I forgot to mention formulaic novels, although I do a fairly good job of avoiding them.

Anonymous, exactly. I don't watch. It would just be nice to see something worthwhile come about now and then.

LOL, Tracie, apparently they do that already off season on the islands ;)

Don't be fooled EllasDevil, Wife Swap is SO not what it sounds like. Just another stupid reality show.


mary janes said...

Awesome show!!! Dramatization, but enough rings true to be a wonderful TV experience! Cath all eps Download Greek here..