Is there anything on TV?
…nope! Nothing at all. Watching television in China is a tedious task of flipping through a satellite of over a hundred channels looking for that occasional program or channel that is broadcasting in English. Even then, it’s probably Chinese state television using a few foreign faces to advertise state media reports and whatever the government deems okay.
Over 100 channels of content usually lends itself to 70 of those channels having the same storylines. And there’s only two storylines to pick from:
1. China is at war with Japan
It’s the same program with the same context with the same state propaganda regarding Japan during WW2. Japanese soldiers invade, take over, minor Chinese rebels fight back — Chinese rebels win skirmishes; they’re heroes and everyone celebrates. This is how you boost nationalism (a.k.a. racism).
2. Ancient Chinese fantasy
The same storyline with magic, emperors and concubines set during the Song or Ming dynasties of China. Men who are caked in makeup and dressed in fine silk Chinese dress and women who are overexposed with lighting to make them look whiter. Oh, and all the lines spoken have been previously recorded.
With these two storylines, each program is just a rehash of the previous. One can literally flip through the channels and pick out each anti-Japanese and Chinese nationalistic program. If I’m faced with boredom, a remote and a TV in front of me, I’ll find myself flipping channels and muttering my disdain of Chinese television by pointing out the shows: “Japan… Japan… Japan… Chinese opera… Japan… Japan… Basketball… Japan…”
Simply put, Chinese television has nothing entertaining. There isn’t any creativity or something with original flair to watch. If something isn’t the previous two; news; basketball or Chinese opera; then it may very well be a copy of a Korean drama or an American entertainment show made to Chinese standards. These copies always come with overused cutesy graphics on screen and accompanying sound effects.
I’ll just go ahead and turn my VPN on and launch Arrested Development on Netflix.