Lebanon To Get Its First HD TV Channel Tonight With LBC



I was recently invited to a meeting with LBC officials who discussed with us their future plans for Lebanon’s leading TV station. One of those plans was an ambitious undertaking that involved flipping the switch on one aspect of Lebanese TV that is, as of now, completely obscure to almost all of us: HD TV.

Even though most of our TV sets are now equipped with the ability to handle such standards, none of our TV stations offered them. This will change tonight with LBC offering an HD TV channel for its viewers, which will be accessible through the following frequencies via LBC Blogs:

Digitek HD & SD formats: Frequency 12420 – Symbol rate 28175 – Polarization = vertical.

Econet HD & SD formats: Frequency 12480 – Symbol rate 31250 – Polarization = horizontal.

Perhaps it’s a shame that we’re just getting around to this technology in 2013 when it’s been around for a long time in most countries we look up to. However, I still maintain that when it comes to media, Lebanon is a pioneer in the region. And we have set the bar for our media pretty high so anything less than optimal reporting gets immediately bashed (link). Despite some gaffs here and there, I still believe what many of our outlets have to offer regional offerings in quality, though that’s not saying much since standards around here are pretty low. Hopefully other TV stations – or just the ones I watch when I have time – follow suit soon.

I’d have liked to have such a channel launch happen in a week where LBC didn’t mess up with their most recent Kalam Ennas episode (link) but I can’t be too picky. The channel will launch tonight following the start of Star Academy’s new season. Blast from the past anyone?

Five TV Series You Should Start Watching

It may be hard to believe given this blog’s content but I actually watch more series than movies. I always try to start new ones although with the frequency that new shows start in the U.S. that isn’t as easy as it sounds.

So I figured I’d compile a list of five relatively new TV shows that I’m enjoying the most and that you should start downloading as soon as possible. The TV shows that are not eligible on this list are, but not exclusive to, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Dexter, The Vampire Diaries, The Good Wife, Once Upon a Time, etc…

This list is in order.

Revenge TV Show seriess poster

5 – Revenge

The show chronicles the story of Emily Clarke as she seeks out revenge on the people who framed her father and threw him in jail for terrorist charges. The show has its ups and downs but its ups being very exciting. This isn’t a story about forgiveness, the show opens up, this is a story about revenge. And such sweet revenge it is. Revenge is currently airing its second season.

Nashville TV SHow series poster

4 – Nashville

You don’t need to like country music to enjoy Nashville because the show isn’t about the music only. It’s about the music business in Nashville, about women trying to make it in a patriarchal music genre. It’s also about politics and family dynamics. All in all, the show encompasses a lot of elements and is always enjoyable. It has many characters so you are bound to relate to one of them. I also highly enjoy the music it offers every week so Nashville entertains my ears as well. Nashville is currently airing its first season.

Scandal TV Show series poster

3 – Scandal

An average first season of only 7 episodes gave way to an absolutely brilliant (so far) second season. Scandal is an absolutely gripping show about things that go on behind closed doors in Washington up from the White House down to more irrelevant people. Conspiracy theorist-lovers will absolutely dig this. I think it’s a great TV show because of the way it manages to weave many things together and make it look absolutely normal. Scandal is currently airing its second season.

Suits USA TV SHow series poster

2 – Suits

You’ve probably seen many legal dramas over the years. But Suits is probably the most interesting of the bunch. It has the coolest bromance on TV amid a highly competitive atmosphere of lawyers. While the legal aspect of the show is prominent and highly interesting, it is the interactions between its different characters that will keep you hooked. Suits has spawned the viral catchphrase: what would Harvey do? You’ll start wondering this as you watch it. Suits will reprise its second season next Thursday, January 17th.

American Horror Story Asylum TV Show series

1 – American Horror Story: Asylum

Where do I start? After a not-so-shabby first season, I didn’t think I’d even start the second season of American Horror Story which has nothing to do with the first one. So you can start this without worries. But how mistaken was I in thinking that. Using a lot of the same actors of the first season, the show brings it episode for episode. Great direction, extremely thrilling story and characters that you either love or love to hate – all of them will keep you transfixed, as well as some absolutely brilliant acting performances by the likes of Jessica Lange who has won a Golden Globe and Emmy for her performance in the first season. There’s probably few other TV shows airing right now that can rival American Horror Story: Asylum in intensity. I don’t find it scary but it definitely keeps you at the edge of your seat. Hollywood should take notes. This is how you do horror. AHS is currently airing its second season.

Al Manar & The Lebanese Forces Israeli Agent

He’s a “known” Israeli agent. He’s roaming the streets of Beirut. He has pictures with Israeli soldiers in the background. His name is Pierre Nammour. And he’s “threatening” with murder in Downtown Beirut.

They focus on his neck. He’s wearing a Lebanese Forces Cross. Because it’s common knowledge that the LF are known for being Israel-loving, non-Lebanese Lebanese. Showing that Cross, with its split base and the delta, will definitely add credibility to the report, they thought.

Throw in an interview there and you’ve got a scoop. Al Manar just unveiled an “Israeli agent” who wants to start war in Lebanon. There’s even a video.

A few comments though.

1) Assuming the pictures are real and not photoshopped which they may clearly be (Al Manar are sure pros at forgery), I’m sure I can find many, many pictures of Lebanese with Israeli soldiers in the background. It’s a byproduct of them occupying part of the country for approximately 20 years. If you go and take pictures at the Lebanese border now, odds are you will have an Israeli soldier in your picture’s background. It’s not enough for me to call them traitors but apparently it is for Al Manar. A Hezbollah militant decides to smile for the camera with an Israeli soldier in the background… Automatic traitor. Or not.

2) If Pierre Nammour is such a known traitor and those pictures are real and he has served in the Israeli army and he has killed Lebanese, etc., then why isn’t he in jail? I’m certain his political affiliation cannot pull enough strings to keep him out as Al Manar’s party did with “others.” Because even when it comes to treason, Lebanon has various degrees. There are some which don’t serve you politically and there are some which do.

3) How this shows that Israel is behind the assassination of Al Hassan is beyond me. And that was Al Manar’s conclusion apparently.

4) Al Manar has certainly made a splash out of the man saying that he’s willing to kill those who threaten him if the need arises. I wonder though, how many of the militants that Al Manar loves and cherishes would say the exact same thing and have probably done it more than once before and not only against Israelis?

5) What’s probably the best testament to the bullshit in Al Manar’s report is the fact that it’s one minute long. I would assume exposing an Israeli spy who’s threatening civil war would warrant more airtime.

Pierre Nammour is definitely an instinct-driven man, like many other Lebanese, who thinks with his beretta first and foremost. That’s definitely not acceptable but he’s not the only one in the country who thinks that way. Should he be turned into a news item? How about we turn the million or so Lebanese who think like him into news pieces too?

No one should expect anything remotely acceptable from a TV station like Al Manar, known for the absolute and utter crap they air day in day out. But it is a sad day when treason becomes a passe-par-tout accusation.

Till when should the Lebanese airwaves be littered with “n’importe quoi” news just because their target audience likes them?

MTV Lebanon Won’t Damage Lebanon’s “Reputation” Anymore – LOL?

I read the post over on Gino’s Blog but had no idea what he was referring to until I saw the video on Blog Baladi.

It seems that MTV Lebanon has decided that:

“For Lebanon to remain beautiful, we cannot burn tires whenever sh*t hits the fan. So MTV Lebanon has decided to stop covering all incidents that distort Lebanon’s image for the world and we’ll be there for you when you protest in a civilized manner. You can get your voice across at any time you want, instead of your smoke. Your demands are righteous but the situation cannot remain tense. This is our message and we hope everyone follows it.”

Let alone the fact that a TV station is required to cover these things which are crucial to the livelihood of citizens since MTV is one of the country’s leading networks but I have to ask the simple question: what Lebanon do they live in exactly? Because I really want to live there as well. Do they really think the tire-burning incidents are so un-Lebanese that they do not deserve coverage?

Denial is not just a river in Egypt. It seems to run straight through Naccache as well. Let’s stop pretending that the Lebanese are so above burning tires and distorting the image of their country. They’ve been doing it for years. They won’t stop now.

Dear Lebanon, Who The Hell Is Ruby?

Perhaps it’s Medical School life finally catching up with me and keeping me out of many loops but there’s something I don’t get – why is everyone fascinated by someone/something called Ruby?

A few days ago, I was home while my mom and a few of her friends were having coffee. I was unconsciously listening in on the conversation when they started to discuss a woman named Ruby and how “not good” she was. I suppose using the word they used would be inappropriate here. But you get the drift.

I figured Ruby must be someone from my hometown. That’s enough to get me not interested. I’m not big on gossiping especially when it’s about people I don’t know as is the case with almost everyone in Ebrine.

Then I went to Beirut to visit some people who had nothing to do with my hometown. They were also talking about Ruby, using the exact same terminology I had heard before. It couldn’t be a coincidence. No – I refused to be ignorant anymore.

So I did some asking.

It turns out Ruby is a TV show. Yes, a TV show that people are obsessing about en masse. I decided to shrug it off as another Lebanese “it” thing that will soon wear off. How bad could Ruby-mania be? Then I found out my brother, who never – ever – watches such things, is actually tuning in every day to watch Ruby. Perhaps it’s because a good friend of his, Cynthia Khalife, has a role in the series as the Lebanese sister of a Syrian doctor. It could also be that my brother is tuning in to stare at Cyrine Abdel Nour. Who wouldn’t?

When it comes to me, I think the biggest problem Lebanese TV shows and series have is their script and to a lesser extent the acting with the former influencing the latter greatly. In Ruby’s case, the script has been imported from Mexico and translated into a Lebanese-Egyptian-Syrian version.

Is the series any good? Perhaps so. But have we gotten so unoriginal that we can’t come up with our own ideas? What’s next? Will they import Desperate Housewives now that it ended? How about we start our own medical drama à la Grey’s Anatomy while we’re at it?

Either way, I got a glimpse of Cyrine Abdel Nour’s – umm – behind? in Ruby today…. I now understand what the fuss is about.