Qatar is a funny place. By association the Middle East, but by personality the Persian Gulf. A younger brother to Dubai, ‘ole Qatar is on a rickety see-saw between desperately wanting to be Western and retaining traditional Muslim beliefs. More amusing than the Dairy Queen in the Ramada parking lot is local TV, which is an amalgamation of stations from around the Gulf area and Asia (appropriate since very few people living in Qatar are actually from Qatar).
I digress. The media in this area is bizarre. And I’m kind of jealous. Normally I have to watch the Sci-Fi channel non-stop to see such unimpressive and untimely material. Here it’s like every channel is WGN on a Saturday afternoon. Except less Columbo.
I was flipping through the channels today and came across a Korean station broadcasting a Counter-Strike: Source match with English language play-by-play. On an opposite channel was an episode of the rightly short lived show “FREDDIE“, another had an episode of “THE O.C.” while the comedy channel was breaking the airwaves with a 16 month old episode of “ELLEN”. And this was primetime!
Then there are the movie channels. I’d say 85% of the selections are dated films from Hollywood’s back burner relegated in the states to the ancillary appendages of Cinemax and TMC (like THE NET 2.0, which is on as I type and blowing my mind). The other 15% are recognizable hits that seem to be arriving to the ‘premium’ movie channels in the proper time frame, though often at odd hours.
And then there are the DVDs sold in the PX on base…
First, a tiny primer. Camp As Sayliyah is an in-theater Army base established for pre-positioning of armor and soldiers, but it is also an R&R base for soldiers of all divisions rotating out from Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers aren’t allowed to leave the base, which means the only market place they have is the PX, which is an all purpose store for American wares. They do a pretty good job of stocking all the major stuff that’d be on a shelf come each Tuesday back home, but their horror section (they do actually have one; I smile at this, because believe me, this is not an expansive store) is saddening.
If you ever happened to read my “DVD Guides” and recall all the movies I say I’ve never heard of and if you ever happened to wonder where those movies end up and who is stuck watching them, I have an answer for you. They end up at Camp As Sayliyah just outside of Doha, Qatar and our troops are stuck with ’em.
Walking through the PX today, I counted no less than 4 films from the Maneater series (I can remember HYBRID and The Dawson staring EYE OF THE BEAST, though they didn’t have the awesome CROC), as well as THE SITTER, STEEL TRAP, BONEEATER, ASYLUM, VOICE, and THE WIG. Granted, they did have ROGUE and THE RUINS, but still, there were somewhere between 20-40 different titles in the horror section and the outlying majority were a lot closer to THE SITTER than to THE RUINS.
They get back from Baghdad and they’re stuck with 4th rate horror flicks. That’s just a bummer.