New China TV guidelines = Boring drama serials?

17 October 2012 / 4 years 1 week ago

Source: The New PaperAre you one of those couch potatoes who is always channel surfing?Spare a thought for those in China, who may have nothing interesting left to watch on TV.China's top broadcasting watchdog has issued new guidelines on genres of serials that can be shown on TV, the China Daily reported.Under The State Administration of Film, Radio and Television's guidelines, remakes of foreign serials and serials based on online games will not be allowed.Revolution-themed TV series must not have any shades of grey - friend and foe must be clearly distinguished.Historical dramas must not have fabrication and dramatisation, and there must also not be excessive displays of family conflicts for serials in modern settings.Serials adapted from online novels are also "not encouraged".The guidelines were released on a microblog published by Zhongguo Juben Wang (the China Script Website), which said that the news was announced at a national TV serial conference.An official, who wanted to remain anonymous, confirmed the changes to the Beijing News on Thursday, and said that they came into effect a few days ago.The issue has since become a hot topic among more than 900,000 bloggers on Weibo, China's most popular microblogging site."I am shocked by the guidelines. So will we still have interesting TV serials to watch in the future?" asked MsXu Kai, a loyal fan of historical dramas.Ms Xu said that dramatisation is necessary for historical dramas, or they would be too boring to watch.She added that such dramas are different from documentaries, and artistic licence is fine as long as they get the facts right.And Ms Xu felt that the requirement for clear protagonists and antagonists would result in stereotyping and make the shows uninteresting.Culture critic Tan Fei agreed.He said that the guidelines would prevent scriptwriters from fully applying their talent and creativity, and would pose a major challenge to the TV industry's "core values".Scriptwriters, who have also voiced their unhappiness on Weibo, are now panicking that they might be out of their jobs.However, not all believe that these changes would make ChineseTV boring.Veteran TV serial director Wang Huisheng said that only two genres of serials are strictly banned under the guidelines.Mr Wang felt that there is still room for negotiation and compromise."I don't think that it will have a huge influence. It doesn't mean we have all to give up our ongoing projects because they fit into the 'dangerous' genres. We may just have to slightly adjust them," he said.He added that there were plenty of "slipshod and illogical productions that blindly follow market trends" on Chinese TV right now, and the guidelines could "encourage original and better productions."Despite his optimism, Mr Wang said: "I hope the administration will point us in a clear direction, like what genres of TV serials are safe choices. We can't keep guessing what it is they want us to film.

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