Reality bites

It's a long way from the classic Shminiyot Ba'avir, the popular kids' show with host Dalik and his dog Tulip, to Hahatzuya (The Split One), a HOT VOD-only about a high-school girl who's half human, half vampire (True Blood or Buffy: The Vampire Slayer anyone?), but that's the jump TV producer Danny Paran has made. But to Paran, while nostalgia is fine, children's TV needs to move on. "Things change, and you don't just lose old stuff, you also gain new stuff," he says. "Kids are still cute, smart, sweet, full of energy and imagination and joy, looking forward and acting without any responsibility, which is very good. Children are still children today. What they are playing with is different - new games, new gadgets. All these gadgets are not changing the nature of the kids; they're still kids. "We as producers have to take the nature of the kids and apply it to the new gadget or to the development, but still keep kids as kids. Even in Split we have a lot of mischief in it, even though we're talking about two worlds." He admits he's come a long way from his days at Channel 1. "I look more into the fun, entertainment, and not as much into what is educational or valuable. I myself admit this. To get to the top of popularity here, you can't be too heavy or even slightly heavy - you have to be professionally light," says Paran, pointing as an example to his Channel 2 series Avoda Aravit, which tackles the realities of Israeli-Palestinian relations with humor. That said, though, he adds: "As a father, and even a grandfather, and as a producer, you do see this audience, and you feel responsible for what you're putting on." Paran, who says Hahatzuya will come to one of HOT's regular channels in the coming months, adds: "Things have changed, but kids are kids, and we have to find the way to keep the right relationship between the changes and the kid's nature of things. Not to look for the easy way out - fun, fun, jump, jump. But to try to get some more content, more value to it. It's not hard. We have to have more respect for your own kid, your tradition, even your religion - it's no sin to have respect for yourself. "I'd like to see more of these kinds of shows. It has to be done very smart; it's not easy, and television has a thousand channels and a thousand ways of doing it... You can't go back 30 years; you have to go a certain number of years forward, and still keep in mind that you are dealing with kids."