As an Irish 21 year old, I have been watching the likes of RTE and TV3 since Ray Darcy had hair.
I still watch ‘The Late Late Show’ as a ritual and more times than I’d care to admit, find myself hypnotised by the onslaught of “morning shows” that go on until 2pm on TV3. As funny and as comfortingly Irish as these old faithfuls are, however, I would still wager that very little Irish produced television is watched by people my own age or younger these days.
One could argue that Netflix is the main cause of this, but I know I still enjoy the good old fashioned TV experience, ads and all, to remind me where I came from in this ‘on demand’ age.
Although I do watch RTE for the odd documentary or for news that isn’t Kardashian based, when it boils down to it, I will always choose a ‘Friends’ marathon on Comedy Central over ‘Fair City’ on RTE One.
As I grab the latest RTE Guide from the kitchen table, I breathe a sigh of relief that Miriam isn’t on the cover this time. But as I skim through the weekly schedule, I am less than excited.
Aside from the odd movie that has already been the ‘Big Big Movie’, or the Saturday night film, as it is now known, several times already, all I see is the news, soaps and a show about super gardens.
I look over to RTE2 and I see the reason I used to pull sickies from primary school, but beyond that, more soaps, of the Australian variety this time, and another wedding show. TV3 is filled with ‘Jeremy Kyle’ and ‘Judge Judy’ type shows with a few game shows thrown in for good measure.
Irish TV seems to have gotten to a point where if it doesn’t have the words ‘garden’, ‘wedding’, ‘house’ or ‘big fat gypsy’ in the title, then it isn’t worth making.
Probably the last time young people sat down watch RTE of their own will was when ‘Love Hate’ was on air. The whole country would sit down to catch the latest installment each week, young and old. It was a great time for Irish television.
However, these shows swiftly come to an end and it’s back to reruns of Dermot Bannon hacking away at someone’s house again. Whereas other networks and streaming sites are making shows like ‘Girls’, ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘This is Us’, Ireland is still stuck on mediocre reality TV and stale repetitive comedy.
Is it any wonder that all of our best exports are exactly that, exports? All of Ireland’s best actors and comedians have gone elsewhere for work or film here only to be broadcast somewhere else.
I myself am a film and TV production student and as much as I would like to think I’ll be working in RTE or TV3 when I leave, I’m also not holding my breath.
I would love make my way in my own country and work on the networks I grew up watching before the Sky box was purchased, but if these networks don’t broaden their horizons and change it up big time, I’ll have no choice but to leave. Ray Darcy was on RTE long before I was born and he’s still on RTE almost 30 years later!
I’m all about recycling but seriously, give someone new a chance! Surely there is someone within the Irish TV realm that has fresh ideas and wants to make more relevant and youth friendly content, preferably with a sense of humour that goes beyond making fun of the difference between north and south Dublin.