Any poet could have told the ABC that with a name like Vulture its new arts program was bound to get negative feedback. A vulture is an ugly, disgusting creature whose presence lets you know your death is imminent.This may be why one blogger, having watched the first episode, said it made him lose the will to live. It’s all over for the year now, and it wasn’t that bad really. But Vulture did get eviscerated early on after attracting savage responses to its comedy sketches – the very thing that was supposed to make the show new and different. This left it with the panel-of-experts format, but expertise doesn’t necessarily translate into good screen presence, as anyone who’s seen the movie Broadcast News should know.
Good arts TV is more likely to feature artists producing art than talking heads discussing it, hence the inclusion on the ABC’s Sunday Arts of artists’ workshops and poets in residence. Even The Movie Show’s David Stratton and Margaret Pomeranz are essentially performers, acting out the personae they have developed over the years and delivering set-pieces to camera. They break up the chat with clips and interviews, and they don’t talk at or over the top of each other to the apparent exclusion of the viewer.
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