The Rules For How TV Annoys Us

It has long been established that TV networks treat us with contempt and viewers respond by hating their schedule-shifting guts and going elsewhere for our screen entertainment. The Age has a nifty summary of some of the most irritating habits TV has developed.

Picture via PopSugar

The full list is well worth checking out, but these ones particularly resonated for me:

  • The more you like a show, the less likely it is to start on time.
  • Networks ignore the internet at their peril.
  • Every week, television will be the source of a new outrage.
  • There must be a recap at the beginning and end of every segment in every Australian reality franchise.

I'd also add the following:

  • Only the ABC can be trusted to leave a series in a single timeslot for its duration.
  • Always add 20 minutes to the suggested recording times on your EPG.
  • Thank goodness for iView.

What additions would you make?

The rules of TV in 2012 [via TV Tonight]


    Filling their schedule with a mix of old and new episodes so that it becomes too confusing to remember when the new ones are on and getting totally disjointed with timelines otherwise.

    Huge annoyance is both the watermark (yes I still hate them) and the whole shrinking end credits to a minimal size so they can blast a preview of some other show... especially annoying when the credits (specifically the music) plays such a cathartic part of the end of a show (perhaps after a character dies etc) to then have that blasted away by an overly loud preview is offensive not just to the former show's flow but to all those who worked on it as the credits become unreadable.

      they mix old and new so they can boost the ratings of the old stuff and prolong the life of a series. diabolical.


      You're trying to find out who a particular actor was and the credits get sqashed to 1/4 of the screen size

      Or, you get up to go to the toilets and the promo gets played literally three times louder than the volume of the show / music over the credits. And the promos are ALWAYS for idiotic "reality" shows that they promo every five seconds anyway

      ie My Kitchen Sucks, suX-Factor, Australia's got no talent, Dancing with the c-grade stars

    I've been downloading the majority of my TV for almost a decade, and every time I turn on FTA TV, I'm reminded of why I do that.

    I'm just super impressed that the related stories for this story actually appear to be related...!

    Australian TV is the pits.


    Seems to be an increasing amount of single ads in the middle of a show instead of scheduled ad breaks. Or during MKR for example, it had "bonus extra" bits after an ad break, then 1 or 2 more ads (which weren't necessarily the normal 30 seconds), then the show returns. Makes it no doubt purposely difficult to forward the recording precisely using Media Centre's skip function. And, I question if this is getting around some broadcasting rule - ofcourse the bonus extras are just part of the show.

      I've noticed that too, i'm pretty sure that breaks some broadcasting rule with advertising. Either way, all those cooking/renovating shows are just infomercials with noobies doing the work.

      Sorry James - The words "broadcasting" and "rule" are 2 words you can't put together for Australian televsion...

    Scrolling information bars or program advertisements at the bottom of the screen. No matter what I am watching, as soon as they appear my hand automatically reaches for the remote and changes channels. If you are watching a news show I can understand, but watching a nice drama and suddenly this stupid advertisement opens up and takes the bottom 5th of the screen is just plain stupid.

    Endless promo ads for upcoming shows are another massive turnoff - and having to sit through 5 minutes of ads on 5 minute rotations and 80% of the ads are station self promotions has me turning off the tv altogether.

    Channel 9 I rarely, if ever watch as they make the programmes unwatchable with their incessant extraneous "noise".

    Using something like Windows Media Center to do all my series recording, I do watch a fair bit of free to air TV, but thankfully it's 99% recorded and taken care of itself using series name wildcarding. It picks up the EPGs over the air, and is very precise with timing, you don't have to set plus 5 or 10 mins, it can adjust the time mid-show. And ofcourse, the main purpose is so you never have to watch the ads. Very good.

      I few times Ive seen that happen while Im reading subtitles.

    There's a friggin' recap after every commercial break!

    my 2c
    1. Add volume is 80% louder than show's volume
    2. Advertising slots time and frequency increases exponentially through the duration of a show. Needless to say, the climax of a show sees 7 to 10 minute add break.
    3. Thinking the audience are complete idiots and need to rerun what just happened.
    4. Misrepresentation of what is going to happen in a show.
    5. Biggest pet hate. The guy and lady doing the voice over for series adds. Most irritating voices ever!

      Misrepresenting what is going to happen is probably my biggest gripe. They cut the footage to make it look like something massive is about to happen (secret revealed, main character about to die etc) but it turns out to be nothing like that at all. and the whole episode falls flat.

      "Merlin" made that an art form, to the point where when something important does actually happen you aren't sure if it was the just the lame promo or it actually happened in the show.

        I like the ones where they announce the 2nd movie to follow the movie you have just watched,
        and they show you a picture which supposedly has to do something with the movie, and then they
        show you a picture of a completely different movie :).
        Like when Gremlins was on TV a few weeks ago, I caught them showing a slide of Critters 2 lol

      'rerunning what just happened' isn't so much about thinking the audience is idiots, but padding content out. More padding == more episodes, more episodes == more cumulative view time == more advertising money. I worked out that 'the biggest loser' would be about 20-25 minutes per episode without all the recaps, lead-ins and advertising, and a pretty boring 20 minutes at that. That's not even counting the 'recap and behind-the-scenes' episodes they run a few times a week.

      3. Thinking the audience are complete idiots and need to rerun what just happened.
      - this is acutally padding. Which I hate.

    @miguel which is amusing/annoying when you watch an obvious ad intended program on the abc.

    Overlaying the ending/credits/cast at end of movie with ridiculous ads for next shows
    Now the NOW and NEXT show captions stopping "enjoyment"
    Taking shows off without explanation eg desparate housewives perhaps coming back after school hols?
    ENORMOUSLY LONG AD segments - they even repeat the same ads within the segments. How can these Ads have any purpose I just do something else.
    AND Not sticking to a schedule - I don't want to watch My Kitchen Rules, RBT etc over runs for 10 minutes or so I can to catch the show supposed to start at 830. So obviously one records but for how long.
    What wonders what they are thinking?

    - Television will always cater to the lowest common denominator as it is easier for smart people to dumb down that it is for dumb people to read a book every now and then.

    - When faced with public outrage and government intervention, create a "self regulating" body that has no power to do or change anything.

    - When the government points out that your "self regulating" standards group is toothless and pointless. Make up some nonsense about how the government would be worse

    - No matter what, always try and find a local angle. If a plane crashes, look for a member of your community in the wreckage. If such person does not exist say that "reports" suggest that one was anyway. People are incapable of caring about something unless they are personally invested after all

    - (This is a new rule) Sources are for university students and the sackless. Be first! even if you are First to be wrong.

    - Saturate the market if your opponent is successful. If they have a cooking show. You must develop 10 cooking shows! Flood the market until the next fad topic emerges and then cancel the shows you spent millions developing

    - Find out your advertiser is lying about something. Play it as often as possible before someone complains. This is ad revenue after all

    I'd like to add a big one which has annoyed me in every single country I've lived in, mainly:
    - Unnecessary Censorship or scene cutting of movies and series (yup it's happening to series too)

    We all like to watch certain movies 2 maybe 3 times, in some cases 80 times, if we like them.
    These movies come with a classification as to what may or may not be suitable for younger audiences.
    Most of these movies are pre-cut on a DVD or bluray anyway, depending on which classification it got.

    TV stations, when showing movies with ads every 10 mins, (sometimes it's convenient to watch them on tv when you don't have the DVD or download handy) go as far as cutting in shows and movies EVEN MORE than they already have on the discs. I am talking whole scenes with plot lines in them!
    And not just because the scene may contain some strong language or violence. O no.. It's just to fit
    the movie into the time slot so people can watch their reality shows! I admit, some reality shows are fun, but I am talking frcking Swamp People and Operation Repo here! The two fakest shows in human history!

    Can you remember when they had the Friday night horror movies on Go or Mate last year? Now that made watching TV on a Friday cool again. But even there, some of the all time favorites were completely destroyed beyond recognition!

    "There must be a recap at the beginning and end of every segment in every Australian reality franchise"
    This is an American thing, I find when you watch a US show, they usually do a lot of this, when you watch something from UK, its nothing like it, just watch kitchen nightmares and you'll see the difference. I have no idea why they think we want it, especially since the shows go overtime anyways... soon enough TV networks will be broke and going bust, cause the NBN out shun them for all they were worth. I wish good production company's in australia like Grundy were around making awesome shows, they would take the internet by storm, I remember being young and watching heaps of Grundy stuff... could have just been a nerdy younger me... ;P

    Every show not made in Australia has to have their beginning intros sped up - it's only minor, maybe buying the station a few seconds - so annoying!


    FTA tv is good for one thing: sport, and for some reason channel 9, 7 and SBS show it in awful standard def, whilst running standard def shows and repeats on their HD channels. ONEhd is the only one to defy this trend, and kudos to channel ten for that!

    cricket and aussie rules in HD: excellent.
    welcome back kotter/macgyver/infomercials DO NOT NEED HD

      Lachlan - The anti-siphoning rules that require certain sporting events to be available on FTA TV don't recognise the extra digital channels - the networks MUST make it available on their original analogue equivalent channels, so to broadcast in HD means showing it on two of their available channels.

      Not that I see a problem doing that, but I guess that's the reason.

    Another rule to add. If you normally repeat an earlier show again later in the day or in the early morning. On the day that daylight savings changes either to or from, don't repeat the show.

    All of the above is still worth putting up with purely for the sake of high quality audio and vision FOR FREE. Free-to-air TV is the one and only way I watch TV. If I download something or record it or buy it on DVD I will never, ever find time to watch it but if its on TV, I have to watch it or miss out, so I do. e.g. I gave up on Battlestar Galactica, because Ten kept screwing around with it, and bought the DVD box sets. It took me almost two years to find enough time to watch the last two seasons, and BS:G had very short seasons compared to most US shows.

    The ads are good because they allow me to get up and go to the dunny or get myself a drink or see what else is on. I actually prefer watching commercial TV to the ABC most of the time, for just that reason. e.g. On Friday night I have to sacrifice parts of Friday Night Crime on the ABC to keep abreast of the League scores, which is far more annoying than ads.

    My BIGGEST pet hate for FTE TV is the amount of times I've seen the SAME episode of 'Big Bang Theory' and before that.. 'Two and a Half Men'... I sware I've seen some of those same eposodes around 5-6 times.. Why put those repeats at the time your sitting down to watch TV at night and have tea? I often look for other things to entertain me because I cant stand watching the same thing for the 7th time.. Find something new TV Execs.. and DON'T REPEATE THE SAME OLD STUFF!

    and I agree with nearly everything everyone else has said too..

    Def the fact that they ignore their own guidelines regarding OTA guide information. They are constantly putting (NEW) at the end or (Includes sneak peek XXXX). For thos with any sort of HTPC it is a massive pain in the arse.

    Thank goodness for the PVR - just got to teach the wife to drive it!!!

    I remember when the first series of Spartacus was aired on Australian TV.
    An episode of Spartacus runs for an hour, but it was aired in a one hour time slot, so the station was cutting chunks out of each episode so they could cram 15-20 minutes of ads in.
    I had already watched the full episodes and wanted to see what would be cut. Expecting only minor graphic scenes to be cut I was dumb founded when entire scenes were being removed.
    Typically it didnt last more than a few episodes.

      Seriously.... How good is spartacus....

      Get your goblet of wine, hard cheese and bread and enjoy.

      "watch as I grab remote and set TV to purpose!!"

    Let's be honest here. ATV as we know it is stuffed. Some teem doing cut scene comedy in their bedroom gets higher views than a prime time show. So less money is going to go into shows, which means cheaper and cheaper crap. Which less people will watch

    And it spirals down from there.

    Add a sprinkle of torrent (getting slicker by the day), online gaming (for both men and women) and Internet browsing and I would be surprised if in ten years time we don't see some closures of some of our tv stations or the just become syndication shells.

    I clicked on this article because the picture made me think of my only issue with TV; (since I pretty much never watch it, thank the lord for torrents) rigged reality shows! I thought we'd nipped that in the bud after those issues with The Mole (funnily enough, The Mole was also on Channel 7) but it seems not and this time they didn't even try to hide it!

    Girls get a bit of criticism but get 10's, guys get told everything was perfect and get 8's and 9's....I wonder which of the two teams tested better with the public...

    How bout the fact that a lot of stuff is edited/chopped to pieces, usually without any indication that the show has been messed with so they can fit the additional adverts in, or shock horror, it has sex/violence/other bad stuff? I'm glad I didnt watch Spartacus for example on FTA, heard that one was especially ruined by extreme editing. Even shows like MASH when they were rerun to death on Channel 7 had a lot of the jokes/scenes removed, sometimes in mid sentence.

    I'll stick with Downloading thank you very much and screw you FTA, Bluray or DVD when the series come out overseas, way ahead of being aired or even released on here in stores months/ years later (Did anyone notice that the Lorax now playiing in cinemas is actually out on bluray/dvd in america now?, well done to the cinema's over here for being slow to pick stuff up also)

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