Bizarre TV

I finally got around to watching Grizzly Man on the Discovery Channel and if you want to see a nature film unlike any that Marlin Perkins ever put together on the old Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, then you need to see this. As a former outdoor show host and having grown up on a farm, I have some idea of what to expect from wild animals and despite the fact that people find some cute and cuddly, they are still wild animals.
Timothy Treadwell who videotaped his time with grizzly bears in the wilderness of Alaska treated theses creatures like family pets, giving them cute names like Tabitha and Mr. Chocolate. In the end, he and his female companion became the main course for one of these brutes. The two and a half hour video shows Treadwell descending into his own little world and near madness where the bears are the good guys and the rest of the world is made up of the bad guys. For the most part, Treadwell is doing the one-man-band thing, and at times is within inches of the bears. In this part of the world the bears are at the top of the food chain. There are some interesting moments in the documentary, which was pieced together from 100 hours of video shot over the course of 13 years. Some foxes follow him around like puppies and allow him to pet them and the overall scenery is breathtaking.
But IMHO, the director took about an hours worth of material and stretched it to two and a half hours which was then followed by a half hour of commentary. If you like nature films, this might be worth your while but while you don’t see anything gory, I wouldn’t recommend children seeing this. Thank goodness for TIVO to zip through commercials.

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5 Comments on “Bizarre TV”

  1. Joan Carr Says:

    I saw Grizzly Man on the Discovery Channel too, and I can’t stop thinking about it. Watching Timothy Treadwell do stand-ups within arm’s length of grizzlies was bizarre to say the least. At times he seems delusional and ranting about how animals and nature are his life; at other times he’s as self-involved as a Hollywood star(“How’s the hair?”).
    While risking his life he shot some amazing video and still pictures, but you’ve got to wonder if it was worth it, since his death (and that of his companion) seems to have only harmed the bears’ image and their sanctuary in Alaska.
    It really makes you wonder if the trend toward up close and personal nature programs like “Crocodile Hunter” are doing more harm than good. There’s something to be said for respecting wild animals and keeping your distance.
    I also wonder if the National Park Service could have gotten some kind of court order to stop Treadwell from doing what he was doing. I know this is a free country, but the guy often seemed a little mentally imbalanced in his self-shot videos. You could argue he wasn’t in his right mind and that someone should have stopped him, just like the police try to stop people from jumping from bridges.

  2. Average Guy Says:

    “Thank goodness for TIVO to zip through commercials.”
    Joe, do you ever want to work in commercial television again? Are you nuts? If it were not for the commercials, the station would have no money to pay its staff much less the talent. Please rethink your comment.

    The GM

  3. Joe Larkins Says:

    I know, I know, the bills get paid with commercials. But I have to say that some of the so-called “second tier” channels,(Discovery, History) run breaks about every five to six minutes and I have timed commercial breaks that run five minutes in length and longer (WE). Some of the same commercials ran twice in one break on some movie we tried to watch on one network. I don’t begrudge operations trying to make money, but they shouldn’t try to do it all in one show.
    While commercials pay the bills, I get just as annoyed as anyone else when it comes to having to wade through them. Are you suggesting that YOU watch these breaks because you are a GM. If you use the time to go to the kitchen to grab a snack and don’t watch the commercials, what would be the difference between me not watching them because of TIVO and somebody else not watching them because they muted the TV or left the room. Not watching is not watching. I didn’t invent TIVO (I wished I had) but I will agree it has changed my viewing habits. I just expect to see more commercial sponsors imbedding their products and promotions so the program can’t be skipped.

  4. Average Guy Says:

    Thanks for responding. You have summed up the problem with our industry. We have one revenue model — commercial pods — and technology is lowering the value of that model. As broadcast stations we have to develop new revenue streams whether it is pay for carriage from cable and satellite; product placement; charge for video on demand or using our digital multi-cast channels for targeted programming to niche audiences. We either find a way to do it or we’ll all be Tivoed in the end.

    The GM

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