Thursday, March 6, 2008

Public access owns

It used to be that the thought of cable access shows garnered visions of shaky cameras, sewer commission meetings, school lunch menus, and that "Wayne's World" skit from "Saturday Night Live." We've always known the shows were there, we just didn't think they were good for much.

But in November, the Hollywood writers' union went on strike, and suddenly, there was a dearth of new material on our favorite commercial stations. So, resourceful couch potatoes that we are, we ventured into the vast world of community television. And lo and behold, we found entertainment.

Thousands of cable access programs are produced in Greater Boston each year. There are news shows, like Boston's "What's up in Trinidad and Tobago?"; how-to shows, like Watertown's "Drawing With Fred"; art review shows, like Cambridge's "Bitchin' About Movies"; and yes, hundreds of hours of droning talk shows that double as insomnia cures.

Here are a few of the local cable access shows that caught our eye. Some are educational, and some are just so silly that we couldn't stop watching. (Most shows are broadcast only in the town where they're created, but you can catch clips of some of them on the Web.)

"Fruit or Breast"

Somerville Cable Access Television (SCAT), Channel 3. Airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. Watch an episode at (content is adult-oriented).

If you're the type of person who giggles at the call letters "SCAT," then you'll probably love "Fruit or Breast."

Check out the rest of the best of local cable access. And check out TV15!

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