The brilliant new drama show Homeland starts tomorrow on M-Net (Wednesday, 20:30), but I'm wondering about, what is to me, some very odd scheduling on M-Net's side. The South African pay TV broadcaster is going to show extremely graphic "t-ts & -ss" to viewers way earlier than usual - and there is some on-air M-Net promo oddities I've noticed as well.
While this terrific drama on the Showtime channel was shown at 10pm in America, M-Net is bringing the extremely graphic content of Homeland to 8:30pm - the same primetime timeslot in which M-Net subscribers on other evenings usually see family dramas and forensic crime shows such as The Good Wife, CSI: Miami, Blue Bloods and The Lying Game.
Homeland has the audible "f*ck" word twice in the opening theme of every episode. It's part of the show but seems inappropriate for the 8:30pm timeslot. Have you ever heard "f*ck" at 8:30pm on South African television before? I was wondering if M-Net is going to bleep it out or not.
Homeland contains graphic nudity in the form of for instance breasts and butts but oddly the on-air promos of 16VLS on M-Net carries no N warning for nudity. Viewers who watch the show from Wednesday, based on the indicated classification M-Net is selling it, could be in for a shock.
M-Net plans to show Homeland which is intended for a mature audience and contains sex scenes and masturbation, way earlier than similar TV dramas such as Californication and Game of Thrones which it more corresponds to in terms of its visual presentation.
I've also heard from upset viewers regarding the Homeland promo on M-Net which contains the bit "look at his hands; he's signaling someone". The one promo I saw clearly shows part of the scene where the forensic agents zoom in on the TV footage at the end. It's basically the premise of what the show is built around: is the marine returning to America now a secret double agent? By including this "spoiler" the Homeland promo reveals that in fact he is.
I asked M-Net about all of these questions I have around Homeland 's scheduling which as a TV critic and writer I finds out of kilter given M-Net's overall primetime schedule and the content of the show.
Here is M-Net's response.
Will M-Net be bleeping and remove the "f-", "f-" word in the Homeland opening sequence or keep it?
Controlling the language on their decoders is the responsibility of our viewers. They can tune into the Family Soundtrack, which will block offensive words, or listen to the Original Soundtrack.
The promos for Homeland on M-Net runs promoting the show with the age restriction of 16SVL (no N). Why does M-Net deem Homeland not to contain scenes of nudity? Does M-Net consider Homeland's first episode to not contain nudity that viewers shouldn't need to know about?
A preliminary rating is often used for promos, but each episode of our series is viewed by our programming acceptance team and the actual episodes could carry a different rating, based on the team's recommendation. The Homeland episodes in question will have an age restriction of 16SNVL, thus including nudity.
The 8:30pm timeslot for Homeland seems inappropriate from a scheduling point of view, since similar shows such as Californication and Game of Thrones, has a starting time of much later. This will be the first time ever that M-Net will have such as show with such strong graphic content on a weekly basis in the 8:30pm timeslot. Why did M-Net decide to schedule Homeland so early and push boundaries?
The watershed time for South Africa is 8pm and this is not the first time a series with such a rating is scheduled at 8pm on M-Net. By scheduling these programmes at 8:30pm, later than the watershed, we acknowledge its mature content while informing viewers of the age restriction on air at the same time. Californication and Game of Thrones are more risque in terms of theme and visual material and are rated R18VSNL.
Regarding the language profanity and sex scenes it will be the first time that viewers in the 8:30pm timeslot on M-Net will be regularly hearing and seeing some graphic content which M-Net, in terms of regular series, has always broadcast later. Why is M-Net bring the "F"-word to 8:30pm?
The first three episodes contain scenes of nudity and sexual content, but it's not the case in all the episodes and not a theme in the series. Viewers can control the language option, as previously mentioned.
I've heard from upset viewers regarding the Homeland promo on M-Net which includes the scene right at the end of the first episode which is the big reveal ("look at his hands, he's secretly signaling someone"). What is M-Net's current policy regarding possible spoilers and promos?
Our promos are designed to have an intriguing end or cliffhanger in order to entice viewers to watch the episode. We believe the inclusion of this line (not accompanied by visuals) in the promo is such a cliffhanger. There is a difference between a cliffhanger and a spoiler.
Is there anything regarding the context and scheduling and age classification of Homeland as seen on M-Net that M-Net wants to say or give context to.
All M-Net's programmes are viewed by a team of progamming acceptance experts, who have clear guidelines in terms of the way age restrictions are decided upon.
As I've said, Homeland is a great show narrative wise, I just don't think the timeslot of 20:30 is appropriate for what the broadcaster is trying to do with it. I've placed a few screengrabs from the first episode below if you want to judge for yourself whether the graphic content of Homeland is appropriate for the time.
The nature of the scenes and content continues in further episodes.
(If you click on READ MORE below, its because you chose to.)