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19 February 2024
[tv] Which Shows Got Their Finale Right, and Which Didn’t? A Statistical Analysis… A data-centric study looking at TV endings and anaysing if various drama series were good, bad or just disapointing. ‘The Sopranos Finale Has Aged Like Fine Wine: Given the commotion surrounding its initial airing, I was surprised to see The Sopranos’ finale on this list. Perhaps the emotional resonance of this once-idiosyncratic ending has grown over time.’
23 January 2024
[vhs] The Best Easy Way to Capture Analog Video (it’s a little weird) / How to convert VHS videotape to 60p digital video … Two good guides on how to convert a VHS video to a digital format.
8 January 2024
[tv] Freeze-Frame Gonna Drive You Insane [Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5] … A deep dive into freeze-frames in the Young Ones and Spitting Image. Trigger warning: Beware the appearance of a topless Norris McWhirter. ‘The image of Norris McWhirter personally handing out pictures of a topless woman with his head pasted on is quite possibly the funniest thing to come out of this entire affair.’
4 January 2024
[comics] Junji Ito’s Horrifying Uzumaki Artwork is Highlighted in Adult Swim Series Trailer … Junji Ito’s spiral manga will be releases an an anime in 2024. ‘The new trailer uploaded on Adult Swim’s YouTube channel offers a glimpse into the terrifying world of ‘Kurouzu-cho’ crafted by the original artist. The trailer begins with Shuichi Saito telling his girlfriend Kirie Goshima about the strange events happening in the town and asking her to leave Kurouzu-cho with him. “Don’t you feel any of it? The stream has been full of whirlpools lately. It’s even the wind. Whirlwinds have been popping up nonstop lately. I think it’s because of this town that my dad’s been getting strange,” says Shuichi. He also shares his worries about his father’s odd actions, as he becomes fixated on spirals and locks himself in his study, surrounded by objects with spirals.’
20 November 2023
[tv] Channel 4’s Partygate docudrama is well worth streaming. Review: Partygate review – a giant, exploding grenade of a TV show‘Partygate shares one of the key qualities of The Thick of It, which is not just portraying political professionals as unpleasant, interchangeable idiots but showing them playing their own private parlour game, never giving a thought to how policy affects people. Aside from when someone has to reply to the public’s tweets asking if they can have a Christmas party – absolutely not, the wonk responds, struggling to type because he’s hungover from a Downing Street Christmas party – the wellbeing of the masses does not intrude.’
16 November 2023
[horror] Four things That traumatised me for life as a child… The Omen, The tentacle monster episode from Space: 1999, the vampire kid at the window in Salem’s Lot and the birthday party in The House that Bled to Death.

26 October 2023
[tv] The BBC’s Late Night Horror Was Alleged to Be So Terrifying That It Was Destroyed … Atlas Obscura takes a look at a lost BBC horror drama. ‘Two episodes do, however, appear to indulge in some gore. One is “William and Mary,” a darkly comic episode about a brain kept alive in a jar, based on a story by Roald Dahl. The other, as luck would have it, is “The Corpse Can’t Play,” the episode that surfaced in the 1980s, only to disappear again. Whether fear or outrage or dark forces (or indifference) played a role, Late Night Horror was not picked up for additional episodes after its first run. It was shown again in 1970, after which the network’s rights to repeat the series expired. It is believed that the tapes were erased sometime after this broadcast.’
18 September 2023
[tv] ‘The scripts were the funniest things I’d ever read’: the stars of Peep Show look back, 20 years later … Remembering Peep Show.‘Everybody thinks they’re stuck in their weird puddle. That’s central to the appeal of the show. It’s that self-consciousness.’
10 August 2023
[comics] Junji Ito’s Horrifying Uzumaki Artwork is Highlighted in Adult Swim Series Trailer

23 June 2023
[tv] Best ‘Black Mirror’ Episodes, Ranked‘A pair of men hunker down during a blizzard at a remote outpost to share three tales of deception and murder, but they’ve both got secrets galore. In what must be the darkest Christmas special ever made, Jon Hamm relates his past life of sleazy seduction-coaching by night and torturing digital copies of living people by day, racking up a host of futuristic sins along the way. His companion Rafe Spall isn’t much better, having handled his separation from his wife, shall we say, poorly. As mini-twists give way to jaw-dropping mega-twists and the episode’s core concept gets frightfully postmodern, both actors deliver skin-crawling work as villainous but sympathetic figures.’ White Christmas Episode
22 June 2023
[fiction] Fictional Brands Archive… A collection of fictional brands created for films, TV and video games. ‘NERV (German for “nerve”) is a special organization that was put together to combat the Angels after the Second Impact and is the organization responsible for the creation of the Evangelions. NERV is an international organization with their center of operation located in the city of Tokyo-3, Japan. More specifically, they run the majority of their research and operations out of NERV Headquarters, a large facility located in the GeoFront.’NERV
22 May 2023
[truecrime] 50 True Crime Docs Guaranteed to Keep You Guessing … Fifty of the best true crime documentaries available to stream. ‘The Staircase (2004) – My God, if you were around when the 2004 French-produced docuseries first made a stir in the US, leading to endless coverage since, you know this is some piping-hot content. Given unguarded access to novelist Michael Peterson as he faces trial on charges of murdering his wife, the filmmaking team wisely lets Peterson’s all-around shadiness and the endless legal angling do the talking. Come away convinced one way or another, or at least transfixed by the “owl theory.”‘
19 May 2023
[tv] All Roll Is B-Roll … Interesting analysis and criticism of Adam Curtis’ latest documentaries. ‘The success of TraumaZone is the success of a work with downsized, or at least redirected, ambitions. Perhaps Curtis has been listening to the growing group of critics accusing him of dealing in sensationalized conspiracy theories coated in a thin sheen of intellectualism. Certainly he seems to have listened to the criticisms of HyperNormalisation’s relentless pessimism — hence the David Graeber quote that bookends Can’t Get You Out of My Head: “THE ULTIMATE HIDDEN TRUTH OF THE WORLD IS THAT IT IS SOMETHING WE MAKE, AND COULD JUST AS EASILY MAKE DIFFERENTLY,” leavening that series’s fundamental doomerism with a light optimism of the will.’
2 May 2023
[tv] Man Not Accepting Any More Television Recommendations At This Time‘CINCINNATI—Issuing the proclamation directly to friends and family Wednesday afternoon, local man Sean Patterson officially announced he is no longer accepting television series recommendations at this time…’
3 October 2022
[queen] BBC Television Channels – 1830BST 8th September 2022 – Announcing The Death Of Queen Elizabeth II … Grid showing BBC Television channels as they announced the Queen’s death.

7 September 2022
[tv] Casting Columbo: the gargantuan unseen effort … A lot of the magic in Columbo came from casting the right actors for villians, victims and supporting cast. ‘Team Columbo considered up to three dozen different actors for every role in every episode. For a typical 1970s Columbo, the casting started with the producer. Three to four weeks before the scheduled start of filming—about the time he hired his director—the producer would compile a list of actors he thought would be right for each part. He’d also send the script to several talent agencies, to get their suggestions. Executives from Universal Television and from NBC would also weigh in. And, finally, the producer would bounce his options off of the director and Peter Falk.’
25 August 2022
[comics] Neil Gaiman on the Secret History of ‘The Sandman,’ from Giant Mechanical Spiders to the Joker … Long interview with Gaiman on The Sandman comics, TV series, Alan Moore, his history with DC Comics and much more. ‘I love that the House of Secrets and the House of Mystery are on screen. I love that Asim Chaudhry and Sanjeev Bhaskar are respectively Abel and Cain. I love the fact we’ve got Goldie and Gregory the Gargoyle. I look at Gregory and I’m just sad that [artist] Bernie Wrightson is no longer with us, because I wish he’d lived to see Gregory the Gargoyle flying around on the screen, this thing that he made. I love all that. I think that’s so much fun. And I love the fact that if you want to do weird deep dives into DC chronology, you have Lyta Hall, who in some versions of DC Comics existence — not really the one that we were in even by the time we got to the comic — but there is a level in which she’s Wonder Woman’s daughter. And perhaps she is, we’ll never know.’
25 May 2022
[media] Pop Culture Has Become an Oligopoly‘So why might people be more open to experiencing the same thing over and over again? As options multiply, choosing gets harder. You can’t possibly evaluate everything, so you start relying on cues like “this movie has Tom Hanks in it” or “I liked Red Dead Redemption, so I’ll probably like Red Dead Redemption II,” which makes you less and less likely to pick something unfamiliar.’
4 May 2022
[comics] Arena: The Comic Strip Hero… … A look back in 1981 at the success of Superman with interviews from the creators Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster and other comics artists such as Will Eisner and Art Spiegelman.

25 April 2022
[tv] ‘You Don’t Understand What This Is Doing to Me’ … Remembering James Gandolfini and a deep-dive into the impact that playing Tony Soprano had on him. ‘To say that Gandolfini rose to the occasion would be putting it mildly. His complex, nuanced, and inspired performance demonstrated remarkable range, not just over the course of the series, or any one episode, but often within a scene, a confrontation, even a single moment, that seemed to transcend mere “acting.” No matter how despicable Tony’s behavior appeared on the surface, Gandolfini was so persuasive and affecting —whether conveying Tony’s rage, passion, or some fleeting flash of guilt — that the audience never turned its back on him. In a troubling age of anti-heroes, Tony Soprano was royalty. His eyes told a million tales, and his performance elevated him to the upper echelon of American actors. He adapted handily to the series’ widened scope, its growth from intimate portrait to rich, blood-splattered tapestry, and he was enormously instrumental in making The Sopranos an epochal cultural event — unofficially the start of what some would call television’s “second golden age.” Whether that’s true or not, it was a golden age of Gandolfini.’
16 March 2022
[tv] How tainted is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 25 years on?‘And then there were the show’s gender politics: for while it foregrounded many empowered women, it also featured a problematic male lead in the shape of Xander. There were other examples of toxic and fragile masculinity on the show, like the reprisal of teenage boy villains into The Trio in series six, but the difference was that Xander was positioned as a nice guy – and rewatching the series now, that’s something which leaves a particularly bad taste. A pretty girl couldn’t walk by without Xander oggling or pestering them, and it mostly goes unquestioned, especially where Buffy is concerned. His entitled attitude towards her and animosity towards every guy she dates is nauseating to watch.’
15 March 2022
[tv] Artie Bucco Would Like You To Try Some Food … Mastercut of Artie Bucco from The Sopranos offering people food to try.

9 March 2022
[tv] Charlie Brooker: ‘Mr Dystopia? That makes me sound like a wrestler’ … A catch up with Charlie Brooker.

Before he was Mr Interactive, Charlie Brooker was Mr Dystopia, creating disturbing, prescient vistas of the very near future. What if the prime minister had to have sex with a pig, live on air? What if anxious modern parenting turned into 24-hour hyper-surveillance? Even Nathan Barley, his 2005 comedy co-written with Chris Morris, came eerily to pass. That eponymous, portfolio-careered hipster could have been written yesterday. “That makes me sound like a wrestler,” Brooker says, not without satisfaction. “A really mean, horrible wrestler. Here he comes, in the blue corner: Mr Dystopia.”

It’s not so much that he predicted things, and then they happened, he says. Rather, Black Mirror plots were “extrapolations of whatever was already happening”. The pig plot was inspired by Gordon Brown’s Gillian Duffy moment, when he called a Labour voter a bigoted woman and “had to go and apologise, and it became this bizarre circus of calamity. I was just watching it thinking, ‘No one’s in charge here.’”

7 February 2022
[tv] The FBI is going crazy-stringboard crazy … Slate takes a look at the Crazy Wall trope often used in TV and movies. ‘Nowadays, some might chalk up the explosion of this trope to prestige television and cinema trying to advance a complicated plotline. This is why journalist Richard Benson in 2015 called our age the “Post-it Procedural.” For example, the Baltimore detectives in The Wire, now almost 20 years old, tried to crack a complicated drug ring using a board to pin up all the photos, press clippings, and index cards with information on the suspects. The board—and the data flowing in from the detectives—became the focal point of the investigation and the show, helping the audience to know who and what was important. If it was on the big board, it mattered.’
21 January 2022
[worzel] Worzel’s Warning … A remarkably dark Jon Pertwee song warning about stranger danger in the 1970s.

27 December 2021
[tv] What Was the First TV Show to Reference the Internet?‘The X-Files had to have been among the first shows to use the web in a storyline, in “2Shy,” which originally aired in November 1995. The episode features a mutant serial killer who sweet-talks self-conscious women online, convinces them to meet in-person, then pulverizes their flesh for sustenance. (Moral of the story: Chat with strangers online and an alien will turn your body into goo.)’
22 December 2021
[tv] Is “Succession” the Best Sitcom on Television?‘What makes any good sitcom work is an ability to repeat itself with small differences. Kendall is still a wimp who swings between self-satisfaction and an insatiable hunger for reassurance, and Strong is fantastic in his portrayal of this back-and-forth. But in Season 3 he fashions himself as a woke warrior, which opens up new satirical avenues for the show. “Fuck the patriarchy,” this patriarch manqué shouts at the press on his way into a charity gala. “Another life is possible, brother,” he tells Tom, urging him to leave Logan’s camp. (“Fuck you, plastic Jesus,” Shiv tells Kendall at one point, hitting the nail on the head.) He is also obsessed with tracking the public’s response to his newfound reputation as a whistle-blower, asking Greg to “slide the sociopolitical thermometer up the nation’s ass and take a reading.” The hapless sidekick checks Twitter and notes that Kendall is “the No. 1 trending topic, ahead of Tater Tots.”’
3 December 2021
[tv] ‘We were two tortured idiots trying to make TV’: The Adam and Joe Show, 25 years on‘One of the most striking things about rewatching The Adam and Joe Show is how well most of it has aged (there are notable exceptions, including a debate about the relative merits of vinyl versus CDs). That’s partly because – comfortingly or depressingly, depending on how you look at it – mainstream entertainment hasn’t actually changed that much. The subjects of their parodies – Star Wars, Friends, Loose Women – remain ubiquitous. People Place, their very funny pastiche of daytime TV programmes that “take on these really massive subjects but do them in a huge hurry, and involve members of the public and just rush them all the time”, as Cornish puts it, remains painfully spot-on.’
23 November 2021
[movies] Dune / Terry and June Mashup …

Dune / Terry and June Mashup

18 November 2021
[tv] The Real C.E.O. of “Succession” … Profiling Jesse Armstrong and Succession. ‘At first glance, it might seem surprising that “Succession”—a show saturated in knowing detail about Manhattan, even if it is concerned with a global corporate business—was conceived by a British showrunner and is the product of a writers’ room in London. The Roys, though, have British roots: Logan is from a working-class Scottish background, and the mother of the younger Roy children, Caroline, is a frosty English aristocrat. Armstrong told me that in considering Caroline’s class background he had in mind someone like Lady Caroline Blackwood, the author and the daughter of the Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, who was married to both Robert Lowell and Lucian Freud. The barb-trading discourse of the family, and also its aversion to the expression of emotion, are recognizable as culturally inherited traits. When Kendall visits his mother and tries to confide in her late one night, she recommends that they wait until morning, so they can talk “over an egg,” then scarpers before he rises.’
3 November 2021
>> The 100 greatest TV series of the 21st Century‘It felt like the right time to survey the television landscape because arguably it has been the defining art form of the past 21 years: where once, rightly or wrongly, it was largely patronised as cinema’s younger, more rough-and-ready sibling, today its artistic credibility is unassailable, while the advent of streaming platforms has also given shows the ability to reach unprecedented global audiences all at once. And so, in order to mark TV’s ascendancy, we have decided to ask the question: what are the greatest TV series of the 21st Century?’
19 October 2021
>> Lost Session – Netflix releases Cowboy Bebop Teaser Trailer
20 September 2021
[columbo] Celebrating Murder by the Book’s 50th anniversary … A look back at the first episode of Columbo. ‘However, what most makes Murder by the Book sing is the presence of Jack Cassidy as the ultimate foil to the scruffy Columbo. His Ken Franklin is urbane, stylish, arrogant, extroverted – and utterly heartless. Yet being a double murderer never seemed such fun given Cassidy’s gleeful wickedness that makes him one of the series’ most cherished guest stars. Cassidy is my favourite Columbo guest star killer of all. I rate many others extremely highly, but Cassidy had the X-factor and was the absolutely perfect choice to play Franklin. Just as Donald Pleasence was born to play Adrian Carsini in Any Old Port in a Storm, no one could have embodied Franklin better than Cassidy. His contrast to the earthy Falk makes their every encounter absolutely zing.’
23 August 2021
[netflix] Self-Learning Netflix Algorithm Produces Jeffrey Dahmer Stand-Up Special‘“Our proprietary algorithm has always served our viewers the most engaging content possible, and we’re thrilled to announce its latest creation, Jeffrey Dahmer: Losing It!” said Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, who shared his hopes that the infamous serial killer’s “incisive and unapologetic takes on relationships, cannibalism, the working life, drinking, necrophilia, and human dissection” would have viewers “unable to turn away” from their screens. ‘
19 August 2021
[movies] Nestflix … A pretend streaming website showing fake TV shows and movies shown within real TV shows and movies. So well done!

30 July 2021
[tv] Columbo: an origin story … A look at the early origins of the TV detective series and the three versions of Columbo. ‘It became a case of third time lucky for Levinson and Link (and the Lieutenant) when they heard Universal were on the lookout for good mystery scripts in 1967. The Prescription: Murder teleplay was duly picked up by the studio, but who to cast as Columbo – a character more pivotal to the story than originally intended? Lee J. Cobb, then in his 50s, is said to have been the first choice, but his schedule was too full to allow it. Bing Crosby was famously offered the role but turned it down as he was enjoying retirement (and the lure of the golf links) too much. Instead, and despite reservations about him being ‘too young’, Levinson and Link turned to Peter Falk, who had just turned 40. Filming wrapped up in late 1967. The rest, as they say, is history.’
28 July 2021
[curtis] Adam Curtis Knows Exactly What’s Wrong With Right Now … The documenatary filmaker is interviewed about his latest series Can’t Get You Out of My Head.

In his new epic series, Curtis pulls together such disparate threads as Chairman Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, the stoner duo who created the Illuminati conspiracy theory, Tupac Shakur, and Dominic Cummings. Through these personal histories – and many, many, more – the six-part film picks apart the rise of individualism, the fall of democracy, failed revolutions and corrupt systems of power, the addictive nature of social media and the combined psychological impact all of that has had on us.

If that particular synopsis makes it sound like the whole world is burning, while we sit helplessly and watch, Curtis wants you to know that is not his intention at all. While there are several points in the documentary that have quite nihilistic undertones, he directs me to the opening quote in the first film, by anthropologist David Graeber: “The ultimate hidden truth of the world is that it is just something we make, and could just as easily make something different.”

14 July 2021
[horror] Eddie Munster and me: the secret lives of spooky, sinister screen children … A look at how children cope with playing horror roles on TV and film. ‘In another film Kord references in her book – 2008’s horror-thriller The Children – the actor Eva Birthistle remembers the barely contained glee of the obstreperous child actors assigned to murder her on set. “Their confidence just grew, like, in the first week, then they were sort of … delighted they were going to kill us all,” said Birthistle.’
18 June 2021
[people] Stewart Lee Interviewed — 1996/2021… Fascinating Stewart Lee interview – He’s asked the same questions 25 years apart. ‘I hope when I’m picking on people or things to laugh at, there’s always an element of me being the twat for bothering to express the wrong/mad/obsessional opinion I am – I hope it works both ways, with me as a kind of ignorant victim of myself, maybe not.’
11 June 2021
[curtis] Adam Curtis Hate Matrix‘I mean we were just having a lovely time for my nan’s birthday, what does that have to do with nuclear disarmament? – Man whose Butlins holiday footage was played, over-exposed and at half-speed beneath Aphex Twin’s Avril 14th.’
26 April 2021
[tv] @xnemxia on Twitter:‘I wonder who killed her / What the fuck’

Twin Peaks - Who Killed her / WTF

15 April 2021
[tv] How Columbo Became an Unlikely Quarantine Hit‘Columbo isn’t quite hardboiled like detectives out of Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler; he’s also not flashy or well-dressed like Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot. The show isn’t gritty like many American crime shows, and it isn’t whimsical like some of the British detective shows you’ll find on Masterpiece. There isn’t a lot of violence; instead, Falk brings a comic tone to his character. Columbo, basically, is the most soft-boiled detective show I’ve ever seen. And soft is all I’m looking for these days.’
8 March 2021
[tv] Aha! – The Oral History of Alan Partridge … The real-life origins of Alan Partridge. ‘I was able to see quite quickly that this character could have more scale than just doing sports, and it seemed to me that the chat show was a perfect vehicle. I had a very strong image for Alan, and whether it actually happened or not, I’m not sure, but I think I remember a sports reporter on TV interviewing some footballers who then threw him into the swimming pool. He had to put on a brave face while sopping wet. That, to me, was everything about Alan – having to be brave in the face of his own humiliation. The principle with Alan was: how can we torture him the most? (Patrick Marber)’
4 March 2021
[tv] Charlie Brooker in Conversation with Adam Curtis … A long discussion covering many topics.

All the unedited tapes from which the news stories were cut… They are extraordinary. They’re like a strange, magical world that is halfway between real life and the snippets of doom that we transmit. There are terrible things on them – but the overwhelming amount is just the record of stuff happening. I’ve got hundreds of thousands of hours of it, and the effect of watching it is incredibly calming. It sends you into that kind of dream state we talked about earlier, where you start wondering what happens to all the billions of billions of moments of experience that are never recorded. Where does that all go to? And I find myself drifting off into wondering about what other people’s experiences must have been like in the fragments I’m watching.

16 February 2021
[comics] A Jack Kirby Cameo on the Incredible Hulk TV Series from 1979

15 February 2021
[curtis] Adam Curtis’s Seaside Dream … Curtis visits Walton-on-the-Naze in 1983. ‘[Curtis] aimed to show that ordinary people could find fulfilment away from the ever-growing influence of global capitalism. His film was broadcast by the BBC on Tuesday 19th April 1983, only one day after 33 people were killed when terrorists bombed the US Embassy in Beirut. This documentary was “Just Another Day: The Seaside” and it depicted the small coastal town of Walton-on-the-Naze, where innocent holiday-makers found pleasure in a technology-free utopia…’
9 February 2021
[tv] From Tupac to Dom Cummings: meet the cast of characters in Adam Curtis’s new series … A looks at the personalities behind Can’t Get You Out of My Head. ‘George Boole, who invents Boolean Logic – a way of describing what goes on in people’s minds mathematically. It is the concept behind algorithms. His great-great-grandson – Geoffrey Hinton – now works in artificial intelligence at Google. Another of her relatives in the late 19th century puts forward the idea of being able to see the fourth dimension, which inspires a lot of the work of Alan Moore.’
8 February 2021
[tv] The John Munch Cinematic Universe … A good look at how one fictional cop unites a number of TV and Movie Universes. ‘Munch was based on real-life Baltimore homicide detective Jay Landsman. After retiring from doing actual police work, Landsman became an actor who pretended to be a cop in The Wire, a show that already had a character named after him (as did Michael Chabon’s 2007 novel, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union). When Homicide ended in 1999, Munch took the unusual step of getting a transfer to another fictional precinct. He became a regular on the New York-based show Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, the first of many, many Law and Order spin-offs. Munch remained there until his on-screen retirement party in 2013, where he reminisced with characters from Homicide some 14 years after that show’s finale. This, it’s worth noting, is not a typical career trajectory for a fictional TV cop.’
1 February 2021
[tv] Adam Curtis Explains It All … Adam Curtis has a new series of film coming out and the New Yorker has a preview/interview with Curtis. It has comments from “a former comic-book writer” called Alan from Northampton for those that are interested. :) ‘[Alan] Moore told me that he felt “quite neurologically fizzy” after each film. At the end of the binge-watch, he sent Curtis a postcard, comparing his work to “the kind of dream where we become aware that we are dreaming and can thus attain agency over the torrent of nonsense.”’
30 November 2020
[tv] Rediscovering “Columbo” in 2020 … Great comic on the pleasures of watching Columbo right now.

Rediscovering Columbo in 2020 Panel