Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Damn those hazy 'Summer Daze' (with Blackberry)

When John Logie Baird first managed to transmit an image through the air to a box, which could then reproduce the image, he must stood and wondered what possibilities his machine offered mankind. Maybe he foresaw the broadcast of the first moon landings; the advent of a television service where we can watch any event unfolding anywhere live; maybe he envisaged a world where television is so prevalent it holds pride of place in almost every room in the house. You can even get a television built into a bed. A frigging TellyBed! Could he have imagined that!? However; if he was half the visionary that he is remembered as, he would probably have predicted that in 87 years time, his invention would be used to broadcast T4's 'Summer Daze with Blackberry'.

Very 'Skins'

If you haven't heard of Summer Daze with Blackberry, I'll outline the premise briefly. A group of eminently shallow characters move from different festivals (mostly in the UK, but they pay a brief visit to 'Ibiza Rocks), with some vague semblance of 'plot' strained to cover up the fact that the program is simply a 30 minute infommercial for RIM's Blackberry line of phones. I use the term 'plot' sparingly however, as it is mostly just the different members of the cast sleeping with each other in varying combinations (of course, keeping in contact using the excellent and brilliant Blackberry Messenger Service, exclusive to Blackberrys and in no way comparable to a plethora of other apps available on other phones, say, Whatsapp). And for a program set in different 'music festivals', which are generally renown for containing live music, there is surprisingly, well, little music. The episode set at Latitude (unfortunately, I didn't see them there) featured all of 45 seconds of Metronomy's set; so 4 days of music condensed down into less than a minute. For a gang of people who are touring music festivals, they all seem too preoccupied with their Blackberry-brand smart phone, and couldn't really give a rhino's arse that they're missing the music, and more generally, the point.
Generic member of cast #1

Summer Daze with Blackberry is the culmination of two modern trends in television. The first is structured reality shows. This isn't necessarily a bad thing (I have a guilty enjoyment of Made In Chelsea), but it has a tendency to resort to the absolute base level of entertainment (think 'Geordie Shore'). You could simply stick a camera into any branch of Yate's on a Friday night and attain the same level of entertainment, for a fraction of the cost. The second development is the blatant product placement. It's now legal for product placement in British TV, so long as the viewer is informed before the show (by a voiceover and/or the 'MAGIC P' logo). But there's a line to be drawn between 'product placement' (e.g. Jamie Oliver using Heinz Ketchup prominently) and 'product programmes' (e.g. a programme about some yoofs travelling round festivals mostly flashing a certain phone about with the name of the phone in the title). Will more shows become extended adverts, punctuated by sex and bad acting by nobodies. Will anyone care?

John Logie Baird probably won't. We don't even use his TV's anymore.

To finish my blog, here's some photos of phones you can buy instead of Blackberrys. They're probably better than Blackberrys, and if you buy one, marketing executives at RIM will hopefully not help fund a second series of this dross.

Not a blackberry
Also not a blackberry
Again not a blackberry
None of these are blackberrys either.
May lack 'BBM', but makes up for it by not funding awful programmes.