Despite my country's record medal-grab, the significant presence of a Menno from The 'Peg, and undeniably fetching figure skaters, I had a difficult time whipping up interest in this year's Winter Olympics. Three things killed it for me: the time-zone shift (the day I wake up and want to watch television is the day I've been rightfully set out to pasture), the Canadian men's hockey team, and the commercials.
There's nothing you can do about the time-zone, so I'll move directly to Hockey. I think it was a big mistake to let the pros into Olympic hockey. I know the Eastern Block made a mess of things with their nettlesome "Socialist" definitions, but the Curtain is down, and I think we can all agree: when you're employed by the NHL, you're no longer an "amateur". The sort of "Dream Team" competition that erupted in the 90s is a bore no matter who wins gold, and I'd like to see Olympic hockey (and basketball, for that matter) return to its amateur status.
Alright: Commercials. Man, did PETA ever take a blow to the chin with those freakin' beavers from Bell. Leg-holds, piano-wire, boiling oil ... it's all too good those annoying rodents. And this lack of, shall I say, quality only made the brain-numbing quantity of commercials that much more difficult to endure.
I realize the Corp. relies on this deluge of free-market bucks to sustain what programming it can, so I'm almost willing to cut it some slack for the 3-to-2 ratio of commercial-to-event minutes (and no, I don't consider a McDonald's sponsored "Portrait of Courage" an "event"). Sports-loving viewers are subjected to this onslaught of ads, in aid of keeping "Canadian content" alive and well. Alas, "Canadian content" means another Ken Finkleman indulgence, while the truly entertaining stuff (specifically DaVinci's City Hall) gets deep-sixed.
Strangely enough, I'm truly saddened to see DaVinci get the axe. I say "strangely", because it's been years since I was a regular DaVinci watcher. My wife and I were DaVinci fans when it had its original Friday night slot. This suited us just fine: after a week of work we were too bagged to rent and watch a movie, but a one-hour episode was just right to keep us awake and entertained. Then CBC moved it, and lost us. I recently spotted it while channel-surfing, and found myself hooked in after several years absence. Why DaVinci isn't bigger than House, MD, I'll never know (and I say this with all due respect as a Black Adder/Frye & Laurie fan) -- DaVinci has better acting, directing and writing than Hugh Laurie's vechicle. I figure playing fast and loose with scheduling can't possibly help, but maybe I'm simple that way. Open letter to the CBC: why not take a page from the BBC strategy-guide, and give DaVinci more than one time slot. We've already got 24 hours of CSI -- what could it possibly hurt?