DISAPPOINTED WITH THE NEW HELIUM CABLE NETWORK
I was eating lunch at La Tête de Chat on Little Santa Monica Blvd just outside of Beverly Hills when I first learned about the new Helium cable network. I was just about to dig into my usual filet de cheval when I eavesdropped on two high-powered entertainment law attorneys discussing Helium’s pending debut. I was both intrigued and excited by what I overheard. Helium seemed like a real opportunity for innovative television programming.
Helium began broadcasting last night, and I was right there from the beginning to watch this new and exciting form of television entertainment. I wanted to be among the first to watch classic television programs reengineered electronically so that all of the characters say their lines in high, squeaky voices.
And it worked. I cannot tell you how much funnier Gomer Pyle and The Golden Girls are when everyone talks like they just inhaled helium.
But the concept just didn’t work when it came to more serious shows like Mannix, Marcus Welby, M.D. and Bonanza. It felt weird and even irritating to hear Dan Blocker say “Little Joe got himself shot, Pa” in a high, squeaky voice.
Although I give Helium an “A” for effort, I am forced by pragmatic necessity to give them a “D” for dismal programming.