This week Sony Television launched its second channel on DStv. Sony Max is boldly marketed to a male audience between the ages of 35-49 “who enjoy compelling dramas, action films and edgy and sometime irreverent entertainment.”
I have to wonder just how irreverent Nacho Libre wrestling, which the channel offers, really is? This Mexican wrestling farce is about grown men in tights and masks pummelling each other – kind of like the World Wrestling Entertainment. So then our lawyers, doctors and businessmen share the same taste in viewing pleasure as seven-year-old boys?
There’s also the chauvinistic Call Me Fitz drama starring Jason Priestley from the original Beverly Hills 90210. He plays a used car salesman who treats women like they are expendable.
Takeshi’s Castle is another series which will air on the channel, a cult Japanese game show dating back to 1986 which involves humiliating challenges.
Somehow I don’t see Sony Max presenting a challenge to a channel such as Discovery Channel which offers intriguing conversation starter programming like Ultimate Survival and Mythbusters. And with BBC Knowledge offering up Derren Brown’s Tricks of the Mind as well as Jeremy Clarkson and his funny, adventurous entourage of James May, Richard Hammond and The Stig, one wonders which 35 to 49-year-old male is going to switch to the mind-numbing shows on Sony Max.
SuperSport is another obvious competitor?– all seven channels of it. It’s not all doom and gloom for the channel, however, and those who enjoy pay TV are always keen for a new channel. And while the initial programming on the channel seems a little juvenile, it will pick-up in the months to come, with Scare Tactics which is hosted by Shannen Doherty (Charmed and Beverly Hills 90210) and is described as Leon Schuster meets Alfred Hitchcock in Count Dracula’s Castle. Much like Ashton Kutcher’s Punked, the victims are set up by friends and family for pranks.
Other programming to look forward to includes I Dare You! which focuses on death-defying stunts people perform in order to smash world records.
As a woman, I must admit, none of this stuff really appeals to me. I don’t think shows like Takeshi’s Castle or something like the Video Game Awards – which will be aired in March – will keep me glued to the screen. Perhaps while the guys are laughing out loud at the slapstick humour of I Survived a Japanese Game Show, and trying to mimic what they see on Mexican wrestling, I will take solace in E! Entertainment, The Food Network and Style and will be thanking my lucky stars for Dual View and PVR.