Thanks, Google: Our Favorite Foreign TV Shows, Brought Closer

Category: Culture

TV remote controlMany expatriates and repatriated Americans find themselves watching their favorite TV show on their computer screen or phone simply because the show isn’t broadcast in the States. Do you love the wildly popular “East Enders” from the UK, “Slovakia’s Next Top Supermodel”, or Hong Kong’s “Super Trio Game Master”? More than likely you can’t watch them on your TV screen and have to resort to the shows’ website or YouTube videos.

Enter GoogleTV, which allows you to watch web content on your TV. While this may not seem revolutionary — going from your laptop or phone screen to your TV screen — just think about how the world just opened up to you on a big screen, from your couch. At a click of the remote, you can delve into the popular culture of nearly any country on the planet. (See demo.)

Want to brush up on a language and can’t afford language classes or a plane ticket? Sit on the couch and watch and listen to some programs in that language. Want to learn how to play cricket, yet live 100 miles from the closest cricket club (not to mention that you don’t readily have access to a crispy clean, all-white cricket uniform)? Turn on the TV and learn how to play from the best in the world.

For expats or repatriated Americans, the most exciting aspect of GoogleTV is being able to watch their favorite TV shows from another country actually on a TV. A quick chat with Acclaro employees revealed some shows that they look forward to watching on a large screen:

Laura: “¿Dónde estás, corazón?” From Spain, this “news” show is about Spanish celebrities. It only airs in the States on a local TV station in Miami.

Angela: “Top Gear” On the Britain’s venerable and eclectic BBC (also on BBC America, if you’re fortunate enough to get that via cable), “Top Gear” is “more than a car show” with stunts, celeb guests and adventures on four wheels.

Michael: “Les Guignols de l’Info” For the past 20 years, this news satire from France has irked politicians and put a sourire (smile) on viewers’ faces.

Ana: “Love Bugs” This Italian sitcom features the inane and very demonstrative dialogue of a modern couple (it doesn’t hurt that the main actress is George Clooney’s girlfriend).

Stephanie: “Des chiffres et des letters” A very quiet, non-glamorous, yet mesmerizing game show wherein contestants demonstrate their skill at math and French vocabulary. The Vanna White of the show, Arielle Boulin-Prat, doesn’t wear a sequenced ball gown while revealing letters; she wears sensible suits while looking up words in a huge dictionary.

Alessia: “Passaparola” Actually banned from Italian TV due to its blatant political criticism, this show is available on video via its website and YouTube. Now, it can be viewed finally on a real TV set.

What will happen if GoogleTV is launched overseas? America’s major TV export has been “Baywatch”, the most watched TV show in the world of all time, with over 1.1 billion viewers a week. This dominance might change if/when GoogleTV allows international audiences to hang on every word of “The Daily Show” on TV.

So, step aside, “Baywatch”. Jon Stewart is ready to give overseas viewers a lifesaving breath of American TV.