Vlog 2: The Review

Vlog's new logo: It's all about pastels

Vlog's new logo: It's all about the pastels

A little over a year ago, Dominic Arpin left the TVA newsroom to start work on a new television project. Called “Vlog”, it would be a weekly half-hour show that talks about (and plays) the hottest videos on the Internet.

The show launched in September 2007, and I had a review, and another review, and another, and another. They were pretty harsh, especially for a new show, but the goal was to be constructive.

Unfortunately, in December 2007 the show was cancelled after disappointing ratings which probably had more to do with the fact that it never started on time (Occupation Double, which preceded it, would always go long) than the quality of the show. Everyone (even Arpin) assumed that would be it, despite some vague suggestions of an online-only show or some revamped version for TV.

But then TVA decided to bring the show back, with some significant changes. Gone are co-host Geneviève Borne and the all-white studio, replaced with a fake home setup and webcam-style shots of Arpin.

Specifically, here’s what’s changed, for better or for worse:

  • Its timeslot is solid instead of moving back and forth (and losing audience). Thursdays at 9:30pm.
  • With Borne gone, Arpin isn’t making lame jokes with his co-host but talking directly to the audience, a big improvement
  • The set, which in the first season was an all-white room with big flat-screen TVs, is now a nondescript but very clean condo (nobody lives there, it’s just used as a set for the show)
  • The show seems more focused on true web sensations (instead of, say, SNL clips that were uploaded to YouTube) — though showing a Guitar Hero commercial hints to the old ways
  • No more Occupation Double tie-ins
  • Videos are shown in a box, which also shows where the video came from, what it was titled and who the author is. There’s also more voiceover from Arpin explaining the video’s history. Clips are still short, partly because of the limits of television and party because of copyright concerns.
  • Where applicable, an explanation that a video is fake and why it was faked
  • No user-generated content from TVA viewers

The biggest problem with the show remains its website, which has an overly long URL (http://tva.canoe.ca/emissions/vlog/) and most importantly doesn’t let you see the show except Thursdays at 9:30, simultaneously with the TV broadcast. Sadly, neither of these things are under Arpin’s control but are based on odd TVA policies about web broadcasts of its programs. The website does, however, link to all the videos used in the show so you can see the original versions (on the websites they came from).

In general, Vlog v.2 is an improvement. And if you accept that a TV show of this format makes sense (showing clips of web videos with voice overs explaining them), then it’s probably as good as it’ll get. Arpin is more than enough of a personality on his own and he’s a welcoming host for such a TV show.

Vlog airs on TVA Thursdays at 9:30pm. Subscribers of Videotron’s Illico digital cable can also watch archived episodes for free using its video-on-demand service (Channel 900, under “Variety”).

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