Hey TV, slowwwwww down

I can’t keep up.

How can any viewer keep up? Young or old.

The speed at which so many television programmes are delivered now is mind boggling.

Last night I was watching 72 Dangerous Places to Live, a programme which was presenting those 72 places in an order which had me baffled. Why was a high number followed by a low number then a high number again? Was 19 more dangerous than 35? Hard to say from the video content. But I digress.

Whether or not the aim is to convey a sense of Danger, 72 Dangerous Places to Live goes at breakneck speed.

Here’s the trailor. It will give you an idea of what I’m talking about.

Sure, trailors are expected to present the action in a dynamic and exciting way. That’s how they grab our atention and leave us wanting more. But I can assure you that the content of the programme itself is also fired at us as if by machine gun.

What is it with the cameraman? Is he under strict instructions to zoom in and out at leisure upon a still subject for whom no zooming is necessary, and indeed clearly distracting for the powerless viewer? Oh, and let’s blur the subject while we’re at it shall we, even though there’s no purpose to that at all.

Meanwhile, is it a novice or a seasoned pro on the editing software? Employing all options available with total abandon, there’s no stopping the animator from considering that maybe, just once in a while, the viewer would like to enjoy a teenzy piece of action without the ‘bells and whistles’ of Adobe Pro going off in all directions.

Anyway, here’s the thing about all of this. What’s the point? What do I gain as a viewer from all this fuzzing and fading and fast paced scene changing, interspersed only with sound bites from interviewees who have lived through the danger. I might well be disposed to paying these people great attention, given that they live in places far more dangerous than I, and have consequently experienced all kinds of tricky life situations. But no, I get sound bites because there’s no time to pause for thought before we’re shot away to Dangerous Place number 42.

Just don’t ask me to remember where DP 42 was. In fact, don’t ask me to remember anything. My mind’s a blur.


Jim Porter is one of the creators of Speekee – Spanish for Kids. On video. It goes slowwwwwly so kids have time to absorb what they see, to contemplate and learn.

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