All Mediterranean islands do not look alike

I perked up the other night while watching “Agents of SHIELD”. The villain of the episode chose our former home, Malta, as the location of his secret lair. A colleague observes:

Malta. You’re not stupid. Stunning beaches, beautiful tax laws… and a deep-seated hatred of outside forces telling them what to do.

The beaches are nice. The tax laws may be favourable. And the government does seem averse to listening to the European Union on bird hunting, too.

The TV episode wasn’t shot in Malta, of course, but southern California. Speaking generously, producers managed to find a few vaguely Maltese-looking settings. The show used the standard Bourne Identity convention of showing a panning shot of Malta with ‘Republic of Malta’ on-screen to transition to that location. Here’s a screenshot (click to enlarge):

Hilariously, though, that’s not Malta.

Any Maltese person would tell you that. And nearly any Greek person would recognize that as the caldera of Santorini, a popular tourism destination in the Aegean Sea. I recognized it, too, because I’ve been there, back in 2002. That’s the village of Imerovigli. You can see the blue dome and nearby clock tower in this Google Earth view, and here’s a photo looking up at them.

The difference isn’t subtle, because though Malta does have similar cliffs, it’s essentially a huge chunk of limestone with a flat top. You can see the difference in this photo I took of Dwejra Bay:

It’s an incredibly small, unimportant error, but it does seem a little lazy. The editor–one Joshua Charson–could have found some satisfactory stock footage of Malta.


  1. Darren

    Welcome back. I do like your new site. Did you implement it yourself or did you
    commission someone else to do it ?

    Well done in any case.


  2. Spanking-white buildings (vs honey limestone); stunning beaches (vs OK beaches, particularly the rocky ones that have minimal appeal to tourists); beautiful tax laws (vs OK tax laws but nothing to write home about if you’re a domiciled Maltese citizen); deep-seated hatred of outside forces telling us what to do (vs hundreds of years of post-colonial hang-ups): I guess the research budget wasn’t that deep on this production.

    Hope all is well with you guys. Seems like another planet when we had coffee at Cordina or round your little pool in Gozo.

  3. Darren

    I read elsewhere on your site that the current version of this site was built by Tzaddi Gordon, with help from Christine Rondeau and sixty4media.

    So my question on the site commissioning was answered.


  4. I see that a lot with tv shows that show some place and call it “India” and it’s a green screen or a studio lot in California, made up to look like a slum!

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