Tuesday, November 13, 2012

TV5, 4, 3, 2, 1!

Daddy and Griffin in front of the television
For the first time since 1998, I am living in a home with cable television.  We watch so little television that it didn't make sense to pay for dozens of channels that would never be seen; what with Netflix' streaming service (so I can finally see why my friends have adored "United States of Tara" and "The Big Bang Theory" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") and downloading "Top Chef" from iTunes (totally worth it, even at ~$30 per season) and borrowing movies from the library and RedBoxes, we were set.

Until football season this fall, that is.  Since we don't have cable, even our network channels come in fuzzy, and now the station that broadcasts the Denver Broncos' games doesn't come in clearly.  My husband finally got fed up enough to break down and have cable television installed.

Yes, that man loves his Broncos, and is doing his part to indoctrinate his son:

"Are the Broncos the good guys or the bad guys, Daddy?  What color are they wearing?  Was that a touchdown?  Why not?  Is that a pass?  Why is it a pass?  Why are they passing?  What are they passing?  How many yards?  What's a yard?  What's a foul?  What's the name of that thing?  Who's that?  Oh, that's a commercial!  What's a commercial?  That's my favorite commercial...."
but is less successful with his daughter:

Anyway, we paid extra for access to TV5 Monde, a channel offering French shows round-the-clock in the USA!  Now, though, I'm overwhelmed just looking at their programming guide: so much to see (and no clue what a lot of it is).

So I'm hoping someone(s) out there can help me figure out what is worth watching.  I can already watch the news in French on my iPad, and I can get films in French from Netflix and the library, and I'm not interested in sports.  What does that leave?  Game shows, talk shows, documentaries, music, programs for children*?  Where to start?!

Please share your recommendations!  I'm most interested in: 
  • shorter, lighter shows that will help me practice my listening comprehension** and teach me about modern French culture (in other words, not dense, heavy, complex, esoteric movies or "Law and Order" and "Friends" dubbed in French)
  • programs about (or taking place in) other countries where French is spoken
  • shows that a nearly-five-year-old will be eager to see more of
*TV5 Monde has a little brother, TiVi5, a children's channel all in French, but you have to have a satellite dish to receive it.  Maybe if my husband gets disillusioned with the cable system....

**TV5 Monde also helpfully offers pedagogical materials for teachers of French--I should take a look at those too.


  1. If Griffin plays one day soccer, TV5 Monde can be a good way for him to either see soccer games in French, or maybe see Real Madrid or FC Barcelona in Spanish (even better...)

  2. Hi Sarah,

    I've been reading your blog for quite a while and I find it very interesting and, although my son goes to a German kindergarten, I have found numerous ideas in your posts to help him with German. I am a teacher myself (of English) and a lover of French language and of TV5. So, here's what I watch>
    1.Envoye special (my very favourite), which deals with all kinds of more or less sensitive topics (the last one I watched was about how private creches do business in France)
    2. Plus belle la vie - a daytime series taking place in Mareseille
    3. les Bleus - a detective series about beginner officers (not the laws and order kind, funny)
    4. For Griffin - they broadcast TiVi5 cartoons on weekend mornings here in Europe, I don't know if they have the same lineup for the USA.

    I hope this was helpful!Enjoy!


    1. Guten Tag, Delia! Now I'm curious...where do you live that you have been able to find a German school for your son? Do you speak German at home with him?

      I know what you mean about how well these activities transfer from one language to another--English versions of some of the activities and techniques from here (and other parents' and teachers' blogs) often end up in my library reading enrichment program in English! (And vice versa.)

      And in fact, one reason I love my job at the library after teaching college ESL and French is that a lot of what works when teaching adults to read in another language is just as applicable to helping little kids read in their first one.

      Thanks so much for your suggestions (and for saying hello--I hope you'll comment again)!

  3. We live in New York and enjoy watching TV5. We watch the following:

    Question pour un Champion in the evening. (my 6 years old daughter ask to watch it all the time)

    Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday night movies ( I have noticed that many are not on Netflix)

    They have many documentaries on other weeknights

    Tivi5 everyday at 4 PM and on weekends at 8 AM (the beginning of the program is target to a younger audience, and the end to a much older audience)

    Vivement Dimanche on Sunday afternoon. ( a variety show)

    Les annees bonheur on Saturday evening (a variety shows, some nudity at the beginning of the show with the show girls, but geared toward a general audience)

    On n’est pas couché on late Thursday evening. A talk show that can be serious and very light and funny also.

    Metronome is new, I have not seen yet.

    Kaamelot, a comedy about King Arthur. It is short but very funny.

    Un village Francais, world war 2 theme, every season of the program constitute 1 year of the war. I saw the first 3, it was quite riveting.

    They have some interesting lifestyle programs in the morning.

    This is just the basic, They have an array of programs, as you noticed, that suit a varied public.

    They also have tivi5mondeplus.com. Because of certain restrictions, it may not be available to US audience. So, I contacted TV5, and they added my IP to their list. You may have to do it constantly, because the ip address changes, if you have a dynamic rather than a static ip address. I am not sure, but thru my inquiry, giving one’s IP address is not a security breach.

    tv5mondeplus.com is a on-demand streaming web site for tv5

    I hope this is helpful


  4. Liavek, Franck, Delia, and Geraldine--mille fois merci! I didn't know where to start--what a wonderful set of recommendations. It sounds like I could watch hours a day and still find programs that capture my interest! I'll let you all know what we like best.

    Maybe what I should do is just record lots and lots of shows, so that we'll have them to watch even when we no longer have cable!