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March 20, 2014
[tv] 27 Reasons Why You’re Still Watching “The West Wing”‘R.I.P Dolores Landringham. You were just the best.’
March 10, 2014
[columbo] The Case For Making Columbo America’s Doctor Who … a reminder of how great Columbo was … ‘Columbo says things like “Watch my hand, it’s full of grease. This is my dinner. Would you like a piece of chicken?” to suspects. He is deliberate. He moves at the pace of justice. Unflagging, unwearying, unrelenting; he is the Anton Chigurh of goodness. The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards Columbo. It is his fundamental goodness, as much as his native intelligence, that make him a good detective. He is not a remote genius; he is not a refined gentleman; he is a good man, and it is this that makes him not just a good detective but my detective. He is America’s detective. A good and a quiet man who brings his own lunch and will not go away until order is restored.’
March 6, 2014
[tv] TV palate-cleansers: after Breaking Bad, viewers need Cake Boss‘There is only so much of, say, Borgen that one can take before it all gets too much. You find yourself either shuffling around with your brow furrowed as you wrestle with the weighty thematic issues of whatever you’re binge-watching, or trapped in a desperate cycle of increasingly hyperbolic praise for a show that you only really like because a broadsheet newspaper said you should. When this happens, you need crap. You need a palate-cleanser. You know the sort of shows I’m talking about. Cake Boss, for example, is the perfect antidote to Game of Thrones. Sometimes, when you’ve watched 350 different but identically named characters from 200 barely distinguishable regions shout frilly exposition at each other for four straight hours, you just want to watch a man make a cake. Possibly a cake shaped like a Transformer. Possibly while doing all he can to push the limits of New Jersey’s workplace harassment laws.’
February 25, 2014
[tv] Twin Peaks: How Laura Palmer’s death marked the rebirth of TV drama … Looking back at Twin Peaks after twenty years … ‘It would be wrong to attribute all that’s since taken place to the creative impact of Twin Peaks but Lynch’s legacy can nonetheless be seen in dramas in a whole range of recent TV shows. For a start, Lynch helped make television attractive to film stars. Kyle MacLachlan, who played the other-worldly Special Agent Dale Cooper, had been the lead in Blue Velvet. The message was that television was no longer a Hollywood ghetto. Without Agent Cooper perhaps there would have been no Jack Bauer. Similarly, it’s hard to imagine that JJ Abrams’s high-concept genre-mashing with Lost would have happened if Lynch hadn’t pioneered the way. And in David Chase’s casting in The Sopranos it’s possible to see the influence of Lynch, who used almost forgotten character actors like Richard Beymer.’
February 22, 2014
[tv] What happens at Netflix when House of Cards goes live‘Edberg said the last time House of Cards launched, the engineers figured out that the entire season was about 13 hours. “And we looked to [see] if anybody was finishing in that amount of time,” Edberg said. “And there was one person who finished with just three minutes longer than there is content. So basically, three total minutes of break in roughly 13 hours.”‘
February 1, 2014
[stories] Periodic Table of Storytelling … an attempt at distilling TV Tropes down into a table of classic story elements.
January 24, 2014
[tv] How should Homeland ‘reset’ for season four? … Stuart Heritage’s ideas for Season four of Homeland … ‘The absolute worst thing that Homeland could do this year is keep Dana around to snarl up a third of every episode by accidentally running over a nun on a Segway or Snapchatting a picture of her pubes to the Queen or whatever.’
January 9, 2014
[tv] 14 Ways Nathan Barley Predicted The Future’1. Camera phones with MP3 decks.’
January 5, 2014
[tv] Homeland – box set review… Why you should be watching Homeland … ‘Season one, aired in 2011, hinges on the question: has Gulf war hero Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), held in an Afghan hole for eight years, been “turned” by al-Qaida? Lewis won an Emmy for his portrayal of the traumatised marine; Danes won two for her role – hunter to Brody’s hunted. As a bipolar intelligence agent Carrie joins a clutch of intense, idiosyncratic female leads in current TV drama (Spiral, The Killing, The Bridge, The Fall). Her judgments are brilliantly unhinged: her CIA mentor, Saul Berenson, calls her “the smartest and the dumbest fucking person I’ve ever known”.’
December 23, 2013
[tv] Has the internet killed Have I Got News For You? … Stuart Heritage on the long, slow death of HIGNFY … ‘Back in the show’s heyday, you could rely on it to deliver the definitive satirical reaction to the news. But now it’s competing with The Daily Show, humour sites such as The Poke and millions of would-be wags on Twitter who fall over themselves to mine every last microLOL from every single news story a nanosecond after it breaks in a rabid bid for retweets. By the time Friday night rolls around, all Have I Got News For You has left to work with is the chaff.’
December 16, 2013
[funny] 55 Sensational TV Screenshots … … ‘Man With Bizarre Name Arrested: Beezow Doo-doo Zopittybop-bop-bop.’
October 21, 2013
[tv] Breaking Bad accuracy: The show’s biggest errors and mistakes, from “blue meth” and Spanish accents to Osama bin Laden.’5. Hydrofluoric acid would not eat through a bathtub.’
October 7, 2013
[comics] Quincy, M.E. … great spoof comic cover by Michael Kupperman

Quincy M.E. Comic Cover

August 5, 2013
[people] Steve Coogan: ‘There is an overlap between me and Alan Partridge’ … fascinating profile of Steve Coogan / Alan Partridge …

I follow Coogan’s fast-moving white Dunlops up the cliff and back to the hotel. “It started out not being like me at all. It’s probably got more like me,” puffs Coogan, as the wind buffets his impeccable Partridge hairpiece. “It’s recognising your own vanities and insecurities and turning the volume up on them. Anyone who is creative puts something of themselves in what they do, and I’ve put lots in, but it’s the warped, prejudicial side of myself. It’s not just a mocking caricature. It has to have some degree of humanity. On one level, Alan is very likable because he makes mistakes and vocalises a lot of the insecurities that people feel. He’s also a contemptuous Little Englander, the kind of person who I see as my life to rail against. Part of him is everything I hate about Britain. It’s a bit complicated.”

July 18, 2013
[tv] The Forty-Year Itch … is there a forty year cycle of nostalgia influencing pop culture? … ‘Though pop culture is most often performed by the young, the directors and programmers and gatekeepers—the suits who control and create its conditions, who make the calls and choose the players—are, and always have been, largely forty-somethings, and the four-decade interval brings us to a period just before the forty-something was born. Forty years past is the potently fascinating time just as we arrived, when our parents were youthful and in love, the Edenic period preceding the fallen state recorded in our actual memories.’
June 24, 2013
[tv] Clive James on The Sopranos‘The abiding complexity of Tony’s character lies in the way he must bring into balance two different considerations. Outside the house, his powers are unlimited. Inside it, he can affect the behaviour of others only to a certain extent, because they know he won’t kill them. Vivid as it is, this is a real conflict, genuinely subtle and complicated, continually surprising. Tony’s wife, Carmela, and his children A. J. and Meadow, are for ever cutting down to size the very man who would take a long knife to them if they were not his property.’
June 21, 2013
[people] James Gandolfini, 1961-2013 … David Remnick remembers James Gandolfini …

Gandolfini was the focal point of “The Sopranos,” the incendiary, sybaritic neurotic who must play the Godfather at home and at the Bada Bing but knows that everything—his family, his racket, his way of life—is collapsing all around him.

As the seasons passed, Gandolfini gained weight at an alarming pace. His death, at the age of fifty-one, in Italy, does not come entirely as a shock. But that makes it no less a loss. Gandolfini was not a fantastically varied actor. He played within a certain range. Like Jackie Gleason, he’ll be remembered for a particular role, and a particular kind of role, but there is no underestimating his devotion to the part of a lifetime that was given to him. In the dozens of hours he had on the screen, he made Tony Soprano—lovable, repulsive, cunning, ignorant, brutal—more ruthlessly alive than any character we’ve ever encountered in television.

May 2, 2013
[tv] Law & Order’s Fakest Websites … great supercut of all the fake websites used on Law and Order … ‘Laffy Time Kids Club – a magical land of fun, games and sexual assault.’
April 9, 2013
[life] What remains of Noel Edmonds’ ‘Blobbyland’ … An urban explorer photographs the ruins of a Mr Blobby themepark that closed in 1999.
April 2, 2013
[funny] Dalek Relaxation Tape … according to Peter Serafinowicz the Dalek’s have recently released a new-age relaxation tape … ‘YOUR TENSION HAS BEEN EXTERMINATED! EXTERMINATED!’ [via Feeling Listless]
March 11, 2013
[life] The Godzilla Threshold: ‘Things are at the point where even summoning Godzilla, king of monsters and patron saint of collateral damage, could not possibly make the crisis any worse. The situation has crossed the Godzilla Threshold. Once the Threshold is crossed, ANY plan, with even the smallest possibility of success, no matter how ludicrous, impossible, dangerous or abhorrent, suddenly becomes a valid option.’ [via YMFY]
January 31, 2013
[tv] Looking Beneath The Waves … another Adam Curtis interview … ‘The great wonder of our time is also a disease of our time: the desire to experience things for ourselves. It’s just the thing at the moment, what we don’t want is to be told stuff. We don’t like elites any longer because we’re all like each other. We want to know it ourselves, we want to feel it. It’s partly due to the rise of individualism. But what we get to is what I call the “duchess paradox”, where everyone is now a duchess in society. The real problem with that is that if you’re all duchesses then what’s the point of being a duchess? Everyone’s a celebrity now. Everyone wants to be a celebrity, they want to be treated like celebrities. They want to go to spas, they want to get married in big, posh houses. People will pay for VIP tickets to concerts. It’s extraordinary. Everyone is desperately searching for where it’s at. The point is there is nowhere it’s at – “it” simply just doesn’t exist. It’s the great tragedy for that generation: they just want to experience something.’
January 24, 2013
[tv] How Unrealistic Is Murder On Television?‘In a paper printed in the British Medical Journal, Tim Crayford, Richard Hooper and Sarah Evans reported that the mortality rate for characters in the television soap operas Coronation Street and EastEnders exceeded those of bomb disposal experts and racing drivers. Deaths were generally violent, and recently introduced characters had a five-year survival rate.’
December 6, 2012
[tv] New Season Of ‘Downton Abbey’ Jumps Forward To Year 2121

“Downton fans around the world will be thrilled with what we have in store for the Crawley offspring and their service drones as they navigate life in the 22nd century,” Fellowes said of the new season, which features eight new episodes and a film-length Christmas special set on a distant vacation crater. “Robert, Earl of Grantham, once saved Downton by marrying the American heiress Cora. Now, new and old worlds collide again as their progeny vie for territory against a proud lineage of space clones who have forcibly invaded the family’s colony.”

November 8, 2012
[sorkin] Sorkinisms – A Supercut … a fascinating edit of Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue recycling on TV and movies over the years ….

October 5, 2012
[tv] Jimmy Savile: The birth of a paedophile hoax on “Have I Got News For You” … the origins of a hoax transcript supposedly from HIGNFY outtakes in which Paul Merton has a mini-breakdown on air and repeatedly insults Jimmy Savile and all but accuses him of being a paedophile …

Co-hoaxer Mike Scott says: “I was annoyed when the script leaked because it was a rough draft in dire need of roughening up. I thought it’d never fool anyone unless it was toned down a bit. I heard that Paul Merton was infuriated by it, which disappointed me at the time.”

“Amusingly,” says Joseph Champniss, “the publication resulted in something similar to what we’d planned, albeit via a more scenic route. It certainly wasn’t a planned forum-leak. Had we realised beforehand what was going to happen, we would have removed the credit from the base of the page! We probably should have put a stop to it sooner, but all three of us were fascinated – and not a little excited - about how far it could conceivably go.

“We found out for sure a bit later when solicitors, apparently acting on behalf of Sir James Savile OBE, managed to close down the site pending an enquiry re libel, defamation of character etc etc. As webmaster, Rob was required to write a legally-binding letter in hardcopy pointing out that the script in question had never actually been ‘officially’ published on the site (and that we had no plans to publish it in the future) before the ban could be lifted.”

One reason why I thought the fake transcript was so convincing was because, I assumed, the people who wrote it were TV insiders. But I was wrong. Appearances can be deceptive.

September 29, 2012
[funny] Haters Gonna Hate

Haters Gonna Hate

July 20, 2012
[comics] “The Life and Works Of Alan Moore” On Mastermind ..

July 9, 2012
[adverts] The Hard Sell: Wonga … the Guardian takes an amusing look at the Wonga.com adverts … ‘[The Wonga.com puppets] work on a simple but watertight assumption: that everybody trusts an old person. The over-70s usually offer us fluffy sweets, tell long stories, or send pound coins taped to the inside of birthday cards. They never, repeat never, push barely legal, morally questionable loans at 4,214% APR.’
June 20, 2012
[tv] William Shatner confirms Devon town actually prostitute free‘One knowledgeable Register source confirmed that Ilfracombe is indeed prostitute free, but full of “dodgy brummies and scousers who are too dodgy for Liverpool”. He added the “toilets up on Oxford Grove” had been shut down because of immoral activity.’
June 8, 2012
[blogs] Jim Davidson’s Official Blog‘I have put on some replies to my blog on the Jubilee. It would seem that I am once again a racist. I am not. Why do people get so upset? was it because I didn’t like Grace Jones or because I described her as a black woman dressed as bat girl. Well I’am sorry if that caused offence. I really am, but come on, get a life.’
May 18, 2012
[tv] Law & Order & Food … today’s favourite Tumblr … ‘You Have The Right To Remain Delicious.’ [via Waxy]
April 11, 2012
[simpsons] Matt Groening Reveals The Location Of Springfield‘Springfield was named after Springfield, Oregon. The only reason is that when I was a kid, the TV show “Father Knows Best” took place in the town of Springfield, and I was thrilled because I imagined that it was the town next to Portland, my hometown. When I grew up, I realized it was just a fictitious name. I also figured out that Springfield was one of the most common names for a city in the U.S. In anticipation of the success of the show, I thought, “This will be cool; everyone will think it’s their Springfield.” And they do.’
March 16, 2012
[tv] Why TV Is Broken … interesting anecdote about how children who use on-demand media perceive broadcast television … ‘When the commercials are over, it is some live action teen show. She is not impressed. “Can I choose?”, Beatrix asks. She’s still confused. She thinks this is like home where one can choose from a selection of things to watch. A well organized list of suggestions and options with clear box cover shots of all of her favorites. I have to explain again that it does not work that way on television. That we have to watch whatever is on and, if there is nothing you want to watch that is on then you just have to turn it off. Which we do.’
March 7, 2012
[tv] Pass notes No 3,135: Titanoraks … Passnotes on Julian Fellows’ Downton-on-Sea Titanic … ‘Do say: “Familiarise yourself with the safety procedures whenever you board a metaphor and use your butler as a lifeboat in the event of an emergency.”‘
January 5, 2012
[comics] Batman Says… Stop, Look and Listen

Batman and Kids Crossing Road

January 3, 2012
[tv] Scooby-Doo and Secular Humanism‘The very first rule of Scooby-Doo, the single premise that sits at the heart of their adventures, is that the world is full of grown-ups who lie to kids, and that it’s up to those kids to figure out what those lies are and call them on it, even if there are other adults who believe those lies with every fiber of their being. And the way that you win isn’t through supernatural powers, or even through fighting. The way that you win is by doing the most dangerous thing that any person being lied to by someone in power can do: You think.’
November 11, 2011
[funny] Man Killed To Death

Man Killed To Death

August 17, 2011

June 30, 2011
[tv] How to be… a Top Gear presenter‘The key attribute required of a Top Gear presenter is unerring devotion to the idea of the car as history’s most perfect vehicle. This devotion must be so irrational that, if anyone dares to suggest something is better than a car – perhaps a boat, or a train, or a BMX, or a bobsleigh, or a jet fighter – you must feel compelled to immediately challenge one to a race.’
June 17, 2011
[life] Go Look: Clay Shirky’s Cognitive Surplus Statistic Visualized.
June 6, 2011
[tv] The Killing: In Cold Blood … The Guardian Profiles The Killing …

‘Lund’s appeal perhaps is that she’s not so much a woman in a man’s world as a traditionally male character in a woman’s body – a maverick like Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry and a frightening obsessive like John Wayne in The Searchers, though neither as self-righteous nor gun-happy as either. She’s a loner guided by a superior intelligence who pursues her investigation ruthlessly, stepping on the toes of town hall politicos and lame-brained bosses alike, treating her male colleague Jan Meyer as part-chump and part-servant, hardly ever sparing the feelings of Nanna Birk Larsen’s bereaved parents when she turns up, Columbo-like, with just one more question.’

June 5, 2011
[funny] Darren Wants A Drama-Free Relationship

Funny TV Screen Capture

May 29, 2011
[docu] Adam Curtis: The Rise of the Machines … Andrew Orlowski interviews Adam Curtis … ‘I’ve always wanted to make a film about managerialism. It’s impossible, because with managers nothing really happens. What I’m dealing with here is the ideology behind managerialism. Behind all this, behind the flipchart, is the idea that you’re nodes in a system, and ‘our job’ is to keep things stable.’
May 24, 2011
[tv] Grace Dent On Adam Curtis’ All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace‘And look at me, I’m so happy. Twitter alone has given me retinal migraine issues, RSI and cajoled me into believing I am a free-thinking revolutionary fanning flames of liberty in Iran, Libya and Syria, when in fact I’m just a woman in pyjamas, hugging an Intel Pentium processor, waiting for Ocado to fetch more olives. Up the revolution … oooh, have these got pimentos in them? Yum, yum, slurp.’
May 12, 2011
[tv] The Most Stupid Quiz Answer Ever?‘Andrew and Vanessa – the contestants in question – had been doing so well in the Channel 4 game show. But then came the fateful Bannister question. In 1954, did he go into space, run a sub-four minute mile or become the first man ever to put the toilet seat down? Andrew and Vanessa ummed. They ahhed. Then, out of nowhere, Andrew had a breakthrough. Eyes burning with pure knowledge, he shouted “I think I’ve seen ‘Bannister’ written on a toilet!” Vanessa was more cautious, wailing “Who KNOWS this?” before eventually agreeing on the toilet thing as well.’
May 11, 2011
[tv] Adam Curtis – All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace … promotional trail for Adam Curtis’ latest documentary … ‘WE DREAMED THE SYSTEMS COULD STABILISE THEMSELVES THROUGH FEEDBACK.’
May 10, 2011
[docu] Have computers taken away our power? … Adam Curtis on his new documetary series “All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace” …

The central idea [of All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace] leads Curtis on a journey, taking in the chilling über-individualist novelist Ayn Rand, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan, the “new economy”, hippy communes, Silicon Valley, ecology, Richard Dawkins, the wars in Congo, the lonely suicide in a London squat of the mathematical genius who invented the selfish gene theory, and the computer model of the eating habits of the pronghorn antelope.

You can see why Zoe Williams once wrote that, while watching one of Curtis’s programmes, “I kept thinking the dog was sitting on the remote.”

March 13, 2011
[tv] What Is The Win/Loss Record Of The Prosecution In Law And Order?… … ‘The average for the first 10 years is a 74.6% conviction rate.’
February 18, 2011
[anime] Neon Genesis Evangelion: (Hideaki Anno) Reborn Again (and Again) … huge Metafilter post on Neon Genesis Evangelion‘What makes Eva so good is that as the series goes on, the deeper frameworks behind it become more and more apparent. It goes from a fairly standard ‘plucky teens in mechas vs giant monsters’; to a drama with explorations of growing up, shyness, cowardice, love, heroism etc; through a conspiracy reveal with betrayal and intrigue; to an all-out, reason-defying, biblically-proportioned eschaton.’

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