The inter-season TV season is getting longer and longer, with more two- and three-hour specials to tide viewers over until the next batch of hastily assembled drama series start. Presenting something that gets people’s attention becomes a challenge.
This week’s “Kasupe” (“Tuesday Special”; Fuji TV, 7 p.m.) should, pardon the pun, do the trick, with explanations of magic tricks, a premise that contradicts everything the institution of magic stands for. Maybe the magic authorities think a peek behind the curtain will make their business more popular. In any case, the show will pit some world-famous magicians against a bunch of big-shot celebrities and offer viewers some simple tricks they can perform at parties.
“Kitchen ga Hashiru” (“The Running Kitchen”; NHK-G, Fri., 8 p.m.) features TV personality Taiyo Sugiura, who travels the length and breadth of Japan in a motor home equipped with a full kitchen and accompanied by a professional chef. They sample regional produce and learn how natives prepare local cuisine. The chefs then make up something on the spot using these ingredients.
This week the show goes to Setagaya, making it the first time Sugiura has visited one of the 23 wards of Tokyo. Setagaya was once the capital’s breadbasket, growing almost all the produce consumed there. Since the 1960s, the area of land dedicated to agriculture has decreased to a tenth of what it once was. Consequently, Setagaya produce isn’t sold at markets but by the farmers to their neighbors. The guest chef is Masahiro Kasahara, who specializes in traditional Japanese food.
CM of the week
Suntory Premium Malt’s: The standard TV commercial running time is 15 seconds. Anything more almost feels like an infomercial, so what to make of Suntory’s new ad for its high-end Premium Malt’s line of beer, which is a full minute and a half?
SMAP’s Takuya Kimura and Shingo Katori walk through re-creations of Japan from days gone by, talking about the joys of “real beer,” as opposed to the cheaper and more popular malt liquors. Scenes from old movies featuring well-known actors serving and drinking beer flash through the CM, presenting it as a familiar social ritual — the point being that when you really want a beer, you shouldn’t compromise.