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Baby TV is a television channel aimed at infants and toddlers. Squirrelled away in the dark recesses of digital, satellite and - heaven forbid - cable television, Baby TV exclusively shows programmes tailored for babies.
Its programming generally consists of simple yet pleasing images and sounds, designed to both stimulate and pacify those under the age of 18-months, as well as anyone else who happens to be in the room at the time. A typical show will involve surreal patterns, geometric shapes and flowing colours, all set to soothing classical music. On top of that, the whole thing is totally commercial-free and is broadcast 24 hours a day in 14 different languages around the world. As such, it has achieved a level of artistic profundity that mainstream TV can only dream of.
Shapes and Pretty Music
Things to See
Things to See presents the infant viewer with a collection of still photographs, often of wildlife or landscapes, or other assorted things deemed "interesting" by the mysterious producers of the show. Accompanied once again by soothing and ethnically-diverse music, the images are intended to inspire children and teach them to appreciate the inherent beauty in all things; whether it's a twilight lagoon in some exotic country or a lonely old man staring at the empty space in the bed beside him and wishing for death. Ten straight minutes of looking at this is enough to make anyone want to totally rethink their life choices.
Although simple, Things to See is deceptively clever. Its mission to find beauty in the mundane still images can be seen as a celebration of the oft-ignored artistry in our own world, and this can be likened to the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi or "beauty in simplicity". The show's incredibly long, unchanging takes can be quite challenging for the viewer, especially when compared to the 3-needless-cuts-per-second style of MTV. However, once the viewer has got over the initial shock, they will find these drawn out moments calming, contemplative, and even inspiring. Things to See is almost cinematic in its presentation, probably drawing influences from the works of Avant-garde Japanese filmmaker Hiroshi Teshigahara, or the reality-bending silent films of George Méliès. Others have compared it favourably to Spongebob Squarepants. In any case, it is a far cry from the drivel of prime time, which just seems to consist of characters in dramas arguing, banal quiz shows where the contestants don't even know what the capital of Australia is, and constant Friends reruns. As such, BabyTV is a refreshingly thought-provoking and dynamic alternative to the malaise of modern entertainment. And kids will find it really funny looking at the cute donkeys and stuff.
Moondance of the Night Garden Faeries
The Night Garden Faeries are the happiest and splodgiest of all the hogglehugs in the forest of Eepy Jeep. Every night at moontime they set off in their bubblecup aeroplane, powered by fizzyfish, to the magical night garden of fatkok. The garden is filled with all kinds of happy and splodgy things, who are all incredibly pleased to see the Night Garden Faeries. Some of them are so happy they plhurg all over the Faeries' faces!
For much of the show, the Night Garden Faeries play games, learn basic life lessons and spend long periods of time re-capping on the things they've done, then they have the famous moondance, which is the climax of the whole night.
Everybody loves the moondance! Pigglepigs come from miles around to goo-up in the bleak composite of their homogenous society. The hogglehugs and pigglepigs and moobs alike all have lots of fun at the moondance, joining in and usually getting it wrong the shits! But unfortunately, the Big Big Bigs always turn up at the end, trying to frighten the residents of the garden.
Fortunately, the mighty wizard Alan is always around to protect them with his powerful wand of meat, which sends the Big Big Bigs flying home in a creamy daze. After that, all the fairies are tired, so they all snuggle up in their single bed and dream of oble-oble-bumboes (the frogalicious kind!)
That show that's on at 2am that you're never sure whether it's real or a weird dream you're having
Not many people tend to watch this show, although those few who have seen it swear that there was a subliminal voice telling them to kill their loved ones. Another unusual thing about the show is its scheduling. Instead of running in a specific time slot, it tends to appear unexpectedly in the middle of the night when the viewer is alone and at their most vulnerable. It also has the power to continue playing long after the television set has been switched off, unplugged, and smashed to bits. In fact, the only known way to get it to stop is to try to show it to somebody else.
The show's most popular demographic is with mental patients, most of whom were committed after seeing the show and becoming convinced that they had embarked upon a million-light-year voyage to the dimension of light and shadows.
Popularity with adults
BabyTV is also notable for its popularity with non-babies, also known as adults, teenagers and household pets. Despite the immense effort on the part of the producers to appeal to the under-twos, the key demographic tend not to be as impressed by it as its adult critics are, and would probably just as happily stare out of a window or at a blank wall. Ironicaly, although designed for kids, the channel's highest audience by a significant margin is actually students, although it generally isn't watched at all before noon.
The creators are often quoted as saying that they are proud to have made something with such universal appeal and critical acclaim. The show has become a staple of many households, where it can regularly be found saved on their box, recorded and watched over and over because dad wanted to see the kaleidoscopic fish again, to see if it still looked that way when he hadn't been drinking. The writers and animators are now considered pioneers of surrealism, ranked among the all time greats like Dali, Magritte and Zappa.
TV Critics have found Baby TV impossible to write-up, although the reviews of it are generally positive. Noted television enthusiast Joe Frodo said of it: "turning it off is like waking from a dream; you're never quite sure if it was real, and all you can recall are indiscernible fragments." In another review, Guardian columnist Rosalind Dog simply wrote: "buh?"
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