Yet another not too sharp SABC3 show

The Star Early Edition - - LIFESTYLE VERVE - Roland Solomon

AFTER weeks of ad­vance fan­fare, SABC3’s new lo­cal re­al­ity show, Sharp­shoot­ers, has fi­nally hit the tube.

It was meant to high­light the skills of 15 promis­ing pho­tog­ra­phers – a mix of am­a­teur and pro­fes­sional snap­pers – in get­ting that stun­ning shot that takes your breath away.

What a let down! This was no ab­sorb­ing, ac­tion-packed re­al­ity show as promised. It might more ac­cu­rately have been called the Craig Ur­bani Show – he al­most never stopped talk­ing in the just on 90-minute plod­ding pro­gramme. He chose to de­lib­er­ately use a pon­der­ous voice, with many weighted pauses, ob­vi­ously try­ing to cre­ate ten­sion and in­tim­i­date the con­tes­tants. It didn’t work. Pe­riod.

The pro­gramme for­mat turned what could have been an imag­i­na­tive and orig­i­nal con­cept into yet another doc­cie.

Surely one of the se­crets of a suc­cess­ful re­al­ity show is to get some emo­tional re­ac­tion from the viewer, to in­volve them, to get them ar­gu­ing view­points.

What we got was a se­ries of fire drills – fire­men, set blazes, hosepipes, water and smoke – and sharp, con­fus­ing shots of con­tes­tants run­ning hither and thither, duck­ing and div­ing. These were in­ter­spersed with more talk­ing, this time by par­tic­i­pants reel­ing off their CVs. Again the doc­cie for­mat.

And all the time the viewer was wait­ing for some­thing to hap­pen, to grab his/her at­ten­tion. Alas, this was not to be.

We were not drawn into what lit­tle pho­to­graphic ac­tion was dis­cernible, too much time and kinky graph­ics were given up to mean­ing­less shots of teams choos­ing their best pic­tures – we never ac­tu­ally got a good look at their ef­forts; a dreary fi­nale show­ing the three judges weigh­ing up the en­tries, re­mark­ing on and re­fer­ring to shots that, again, we caught the mer­est glimpse of and so could not re­late to.

For heaven’s sake, what com­mis­sion­ing edi­tor worth their salt ac­cepted a prod­uct which lacked all the el­e­ments of a re­al­ity show, but was in fact a doc­cie and a blurb for the Joburg fire ser­vice?

How much did the SABC cough up for this abor­tion of a re­al­ity show? And what does it say about a spon­sor be­ing so eas­ily duped into throw­ing away good money on a sour lemon?

It is so tragic to see the once proud chan­nel drown­ing in a quag­mire of sew­er­age, caused by ill-con­sid­ered SABC pol­icy changes, poor judg­ment by sched­ulers, and bosses with the say.

A flood of talk shows, even more re­peats of pro­grammes ad nau­seam, DVDs by cer­tain en­ter­tain­ers like Shaun Ja­cobs played over and over, some­times back-to-back... This is the level it has sunk to.

What dis­tress­ingly high­lights the lack of pro­fes­sion­al­ism across all chan­nels is the de­plorable English sub­ti­tles put up on pro­duc­tion house, as well as in-house cor­po­ra­tion pro­grammes and even the news – gram­mat­i­cal er­rors, mis­spelling, in­ac­cu­ra­cies of fact, inac­cu­rate trans­la­tions, and wrong tenses.

Dis­tress­ing pri­mar­ily be­cause young view­ers, al­ready bat­tling with poor ed­u­ca­tion in state schools, are likely to in­ter­nalise what they see, and then won­der why they strug­gle to learn the lan­guage. Blair­gowrie, Rand­burg

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