As a proud Sky TV subscriber for 15 months and counting, I thought it was time to revisit Italian TV .
Now, I’m not necessarily one to channel surf to “see what’s on TV.” That being said, I appreciate TV as a story telling medium. So when I do watch TV, it’s usually to catch a specific show, play something on my DVR (the most likely) or watch a show/movie demand. My first few weeks with Sky were an exception to my no-channel-surfing as I was in search of some great Italian TV shows to improve my Italian language skills.
However, I soon learned there are not a lot of solid Italian TV shows. In fact, the majority of the shows are dubbed Americans sitcoms and dramas. I know I previously thought that dubbing wasn’t a big deal and that I should just watch the show as a language learning exercise, but I can’t watch Modern Family dubbed. I just can’t. And watching Friends dubbed got really old really fast
I came across Camera Cafe which I really enjoyed. Super cute concept! The entire show takes place in front of an office water cooler and one camera records the various conversations among colleagues. Then I learned that the concept was originally a French hit that was adapted for Italy. There are shows like The Voice and MasterChef and while I have nothing against them, but they’re of course not original Italian concepts, and they’re more competition based than story telling.
I added Sky Box Sets to my subscription and of the dozens of shows on offer, only two are Italian. The first is the Italian version of In Treament (the HBO version that starred Gabriel Byrne) however, the other is completely Italian: Gammora. It’s based on Roberto Saviano’s groundbreaking book that eventually became an Oscar-nominated movie, telling the story of the street work done by members of Naples organized group, the Cammora. The first season, which I’ve been making my way through, premiered in 2014 and was a sensation. In fact, the rights were purchased in more than 150 countries. The second season premiered a couple of months ago; I’m not 100% caught up yet, but I’m getting there.
It’s thrilling of course to have found a stellar Italian TV show that I can enjoy, but there is one caveat: the show is in Neapolitan dialect. I can’t understand a word, and neither can many of my Italian friends. So, I have to watch it with Italian subtitles to understand what’s happening. Well it’s better than nohting.