Question: which TV genre now prominently features the line, 'Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God?' Horror? Nope. Mystery? Nope. (Normally the character doesn't survive long enough to say 'Oh my God!' three times.) Comedy? Well, yes, but that's not quite the answer I am looking for.
Answer: home makeover shows.
A bit like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy minus the facial cream, wardrobe tips, food and culture, these programmes follow more or less the same format: a wife/husband/child/best friend/neighbour nominates the subject for a home makeover. While the subject is out, a huge TV production crew and a couple of DIY experts (who probably charge exorbitant fees just to hammer a few nails into the wall in 'real' real life) descend on their home, rip it apart and completely revamp the place in nanoseconds. At the end of the programme, the unsuspecting person returns home and screams, 'Oh
my God', 'I can't believe this' and various other phrases that have to be bleeped out.
Except, if my memory serves me right, once on BBC's Changing Rooms (a successful British show of the home makeover genre) host Carol Smillie was forced to comfort her subject, who broke down in tears after saying she absolutely hated what the DIY crew had done to her house. Such irony.
Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that I've been brainwashed by a number of these shows on Discovery's Travel and Living channel, such as While You Were Out and an addictive Australian show called The Block.
If you missed the latter on either Cable TV or Now Broadband TV, you can still catch it in the coming weeks (I think sometimes it's not a bad idea to recycle shows if they are good). It features four happy 'sexy' couples from Sydney and each team has to renovate an apartment unit within a given time; whoever does the best job wins. The Block and While You Were Out are strangely compelling viewing just like other reality shows: real-life drama acted out by real people. And since I tend to leave this channel on most of the day, I was unwittingly sucked into this mindless reality-show vortex.
But, frankly, if I left the AXN channel on all day, I would never get any work done. Having scooped TVB Pearl with the first series of Lost, it beats ATV World to CSI: New York, season one of which will be shown on the terrestrial channel later this year.
From Las Vegas to Miami and now the Big Apple, this series will feature a new CSI team headed by detective Mac Taylor (Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Gary Sinise) and workaholic partner Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes). They are supported by detectives Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo) and Aiden Burn (Vanessa Ferlito). The show is executive produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, who is behind not only the CSI franchise but also The Amazing Race.
Call me a wimp, but I just don't have the stomach for the CSI series. After having heard rave reviews about this show (the very first series of Crime Scene Investigation), I watched one that featured a cannibalistic doctor who gave liver powder a whole new meaning.
I never thought a TV programme could have the same nauseating effect on me as did The Untold Story, which is a gross movie about a serial killer, his victims and pork buns (yeah, go figure!).
Still, most people I know love this show and I am sure my gore-loving dad will be tuning in this Tuesday, too.
In the first episode (Tuesday, 10pm), one victim is left in a state so appalling she might as well be dead (your usual CSI fare) and detective Taylor soon deciphers the serial killer's thought process and bizarre methods of abduction. Not for the faint-hearted.