September 20, 2007
[blogs] Wrong Call — the Guardian ask if the new TV Series starring Billie Piper glamorises prostitution? … ‘The main problem is that whereas Belle de Jour the writer has a patently dark sexuality, which allows you to imagine why she embraces her trade, Piper is about as noir as a chipmunk. She’s like a naughty nurse dispensing therapy, rather than a humanities graduate with a genuine sadomasochistic streak. The writer Belle clearly has a rare ability to separate sex from emotion in her working life, but Piper doesn’t have the range to convey this.’ [Related: More links about Belle de Jour]
September 6, 2007
[sopranos] 9 Minute Sopranos — a complete amusing summary of all seven seasons of the Sopranos. ‘…if you’re lucky, you’ll remember the little moments like this …that were good.’
August 12, 2007
[tv] The Real Doctor House — I’m relieved to find out that that the real House doesn’t have a borderline personality disorder. .. ‘Unfortunately, many of the patients Bolte sees are victims of iatrogenic, or doctor-caused, illness. Simply put, they have been misdiagnosed, overmedicated to the point of sickness, or given treatment inappropriate to their conditions. On occasion, this has led to shouting matches with more conventional docs, like the dermatologist colleague who burst into Bolte’s office one day and harangued him—in front of another patient—for telling the mom of an acne-ridden teen to stop feeding her child so much junk food. There’s no evidence that diet has anything to do with acne, the dermatologist shouted. Bolte begged to differ and cited the literature. “The pharmaceutical industry has trained even doctors to believe that there’s a pharmaceutical answer to everything,” he says, shrugging.’ [via Ask Metafilter]
August 6, 2007
[tv] Medical Reviews of House — a real doctor dissects House‘Even though an infection may not have been at the heart of the problem, the patient still had a dangerously low white blood cell count and needed to be in isolation — isolation which was broken by Dr. House storming into the room in his “Eureka!” moment.’ [via Yoz]
July 26, 2007
[comics] Simpsons create Episode for all you Comic Geeks — More on the Episode of the Simpsons with Alan Moore. ‘…the episode, “Husbands and Knives,” will air on October 7 and will feature not only [Alan] Moore, but two other big comic book names: Art Spiegelman (Maus, Maus II, In the Shadow of No Towers) and Daniel Clowes (Eightball, Ghost World, David Boring). The three men figure into a subplot centered on Comic Book Guy, who finds himself in direct competition with a new comic book shop called “Coolsville Comics & Toys,” run by a fella named Milo (Jack Black).’ [via Blah Blah Flowers]
July 23, 2007
[blogs] Secret Blog of a TV Controller (aged 33 and 3/4) — funny fake blog of a TV Exec … ‘Thommo is stomping about issuing disgruntled threats to everyone left, right and centre; Fincham is curled up in his office weeping. Human Resources people are barging – unannounced – into offices and throwing office stationery around; even the kind Indian gent in the papershop in White City has a fucking scowl on his face whenever I pop by.’
July 21, 2007
[tv] Want to save Teletext? Don’t press the red button — The Guardian on the Slow Decline of Teletext … ‘Ceefax has been clinging onto life since 2001, repeatedly flatlining and then sitting up in bed shouting “No, I’m feeling better!” However, this time the decline does seem terminal, as indicated by the decreasing frequency of page updates. During last week’s Wimbledon, for instance, score updates were lagging nearly a set behind the live action…’
June 20, 2007
[obit] Surplus Manning — Marcus Brigstocke sums up Bernard Manning‘For myself, I am glad Bernard Manning is dead. Good riddance. The world now has one less ignorant, hateful bigot living in it. One less racist oaf poisoning us all with his stupid, crass, playground ideas; may the many others, who shared his view of the world, soon leave us too. If you thought Bernard Manning was a harmless loveable rogue with impeccable timing and a charming yet dangerous disregard for conventions of taste and acceptability, you are wrong. He was a racist, hateful and dull, and we are better off without him.’
June 17, 2007
[tv] Everything I Know About Design I Learned from The Sopranos … ‘On the unintended consequences of technology: “It sounds to me like Anthony Jr. may have stumbled onto existentialism.” “Fucking internet.”‘
June 15, 2007
[tv] Always Remember: It’s not Lupus. [via polymath blues]
[tv] BBC, ITV, Channel 4 Plot Single Broadband TV Player‘The BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 are said to be aiming to create a “one-stop shop”, open to other channels too, which would allow legal broadband viewing from one programme. According to The Guardian, the plan is dubbed “Project Kangaroo” and will “do for broadband what Freeview did for digital television”. It is expected to operate like Joost, perhaps hinting at some P2P element.’
June 11, 2007
[interview] More from Stephen Fry on… Web 2.0, Technology, Learning and his Heroes. [thanks]
June 10, 2007
[comics] Mark Millar on Jonathan Ross’ Documentary on Steve Ditko: ‘…we have a documentary filled with Ditko goodness for one Earth hour ranging from Flo Steinberg and John Romita Senior to Stan Lee, Jerry Robinson and vast chunks of Alan Moore (singing a song about Mister A he wrote some years ago).’ [via Neilalien]
June 9, 2007
[tv] Diamond Geezer Reviews the BBC’s iPlayer: ‘I have caught up with the Doctor Who Confidential I missed while I was on the train coming back from Dungeness, and a couple of programmes I only realised were worth watching after I’d read the review in the following day’s paper. iPlayer can really change your viewing habits.’
May 31, 2007
[bb8] Big Brother: A girly night in — Grace Dent on Big Brother 2008 … On Lesley: ‘Once upon a time, retired posh women used to trek the Andes for charity or make prize-winning marmalade; now they want to go on Big Brother and have a breakdown in public and let people they’ve never met watch them without make-up looking like a cadaver. I’ve no idea what possesses someone as sport-mistressy as Lesley to do this show. She seems to have one expression, which is: “Yes, you will do cross-country running in the sleet, young lady. Nowwwww!”…’
April 29, 2007
[tv] Fallen Madonna to go to New Buyer‘An auction of The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies – the picture made famous by BBC sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo – has raised more than £4,000 for charity […] Mr Moore, from Thame, said many other copies of the picture, by fictional artist Van Clomp, were ruined during shooting of the series. “They were rolled into German sausages, shoved down trouser legs, or singed by an exploding gilded frame intended as a gift for Adolf Hitler,” he said.’
April 21, 2007
[tv] The MacGyver Multi-Tool‘The only tool you’ll ever need…’ [via Clipmarks]
April 15, 2007
[tv] £1,500 in a carrier bag? What planet are you on? — the origins of the BBC TV drama Life on Mars‘One of us said, “Is there any way we can just do The Sweeney in the Seventies?” The Sweeney is terminally sexist, terminally racist, all the things you just can’t do, and yet we also thought there was almost an odd innocence about it. We just had a feeling it wouldn’t turn out to be a vile piece of offensive drama but might end up being quite cool and fun, and probably the only way to do that it is to take someone with our sensibilities and plonk them right in the middle of it, so that any time Gene Hunt says, “All right luv, go and make us a cup of tea and [bring] a Garibaldi biscuit,” someone can roll their eyes. Somehow that lets us off the hook.’ Graham got to work on the story under the working title Ford Granada…’
April 13, 2007
[comics] The Connections between Lost and Watchmen — interesting Wikipedia-style article … ‘In Watchmen there are a character named Bernard, who opened a magazine store to meet people after his wife, Rose, died. In lost Rose and Bernard are two minor characters…’ [via Pete Ashton]
April 3, 2007
[tv] Peepshow Series 1-3 Catch Up — Peep Show summarised by Super Hans‘Frosties are just cornflakes for people who can’t face reality.’ [via As Above]
April 2, 2007
[sopranos] 7 Minute Sopranos — brilliantly done summary of six seasons of the Sopranos … Christmas with the Sopranos: ‘Tony and Carm are racist. A.J. resents his Dad. Carm is pissed at her Dad. Bacala’s kids hate Janice. Tony is pissed at Chris for banging that Chick. Meadow’s moved to California and Chris is back on heroin.’ [via Metafilter]
March 29, 2007
[tv] Quotes from the Batman TV Series … Batman: ‘A reporter’s lot is not easy, making exciting stories out of plain, average, ordinary people like Robin and me.’ [via]
March 28, 2007
[tv] Farewell Tony, a modern Everyman — Preview of the Last Series of the Sopranos … ‘Unlike most crime boss anti-heroes, Tony Soprano has vulnerabilities. The first episode of the pilot for the series, made two years before the show was picked up by HBO, opens with Tony staring at a statue of a naked woman. He is sitting in the psychiatrist’s waiting room, where he has come for his first session following his collapse from a panic attack. The tone for the 77 episodes that have followed was set: Tony was a modern wise guy, shackled by the responsibilities of both families, and caught at home between the demands of mother, wife, mistress and shrink.’
March 19, 2007
[tv] Jack Bauer’s Twitter‘Can anyone recommend a good hand lotion? Conditions when I was in China were just torture on my skin.’
March 15, 2007
[blogs] Belle de Jour on Billie Piper and ITV2: ‘Finally – it’s official – Billie’s on board, and you can expect to see Belle the series on ITV2 this autumn.’
March 14, 2007
[tv] Metafilter discuss Adam Curtis’s The TrapMy feeling was that the ‘secret history’ aspect of the docos has deliberately given the nod to the idea that in some sense there are an infinite number of secret histories, but perhaps that’s my preconceptions interfering.”
March 11, 2007
[tv] Cry freedom — Preview of Adam Curtis’s The Trap‘”I realise what I said at some times may have over-emphasised rationality,” an elderly John Nash tells Curtis in an extraordinary interview, after emerging from years of battling schizophrenia. “Human beings are much more complicated than the human being as a businessman.” In fact, the documentary notes sardonically, experiments show that only two kinds of people behave like perfect little economists in every arena of life: economists themselves, and psychopaths.’
[tv] Charlie Brooker on Adam Curtis’s The Trap – What Happened To Our Dream Of Freedom? (on BBC2, tonight, 9 PM) … ‘Curtis has an uncanny knack for hovering coolly above recent world history and spotting huge, sweeping, disturbing trends, then recounting them in a way that feels subversive and playful, thoughtful and entertaining, all at once. He has an incredible eye for archive footage, assembling one haunting montage after another, apparently from thin air. His programmes unfold like a series of revelations; watching one is like having all your slumbering suspicions about the world – suspicions so dormant you didn’t even realise they were suspicions – confirmed and explained for the very first time.’
February 26, 2007
[quote] Arthur Miller Quote on Suffering and Psychoanalysis: ‘My argument with so much of psychoanalysis, is the preconception that suffering is a mistake, or a sign of weakness, or a sign even of illness. When in fact, possibly the greatest truths we know, have come out of people’s suffering. The problem is not to undo suffering, or to wipe it off the face of the earth, but to make it inform our lives, instead of trying to “cure” ourselves of it constantly, and avoid it, and avoid anything but that lobotomized sense of what they call “happiness”. There’s too much of an attempt, it seems to me, to think in terms of controlling man, rather than freeing him – of defining him, rather than letting him go! It’s part of the whole ideology of this age, which is power-mad!’ (Spotted on Adam Curtis’ documentary Century of the Self)
February 24, 2007
[tv] Charlie Brooker on The Half Hour News Hour: ‘A lot of people think right-wingers aren’t capable of being amusing at all. Not true. Mussolini looked hilarious swinging from that lamppost.’
February 14, 2007
[24] Whatever It Takes — interesting look at the politics behind 24 and of it’s creator Joel Surnow … ‘The “24” producers told the military and law-enforcement experts that they were careful not to glamorize torture; they noted that Bauer never enjoys inflicting pain, and that it had clearly exacted a psychological toll on the character. (As Gordon put it to me, “Jack is basically damned.”) Finnegan and the others disagreed, pointing out that Bauer remains coolly rational after committing barbarous acts, including the decapitation of a state’s witness with a hacksaw. Joe Navarro, one of the F.B.I.’s top experts in questioning techniques, attended the meeting; he told me, “Only a psychopath can torture and be unaffected. You don’t want people like that in your organization. They are untrustworthy, and tend to have grotesque other problems.” [via Blah Blah Flowers]
February 12, 2007
[blogs] Billie Piper to play Belle de Jour?‘Friends say she is “desperate” to play the part of Belle de Jour, with Channel 4 expected to green-light the project in the coming weeks.’
February 7, 2007
[comics] Harvey Pekar on Letterman — the infamous episode where Harvey seriously manages to wind-up Letterman‘You’re a dork, Harvey – Relax!’ [via Journalista]
February 6, 2007
[movies] RoboCop, PhD — According to Wired Peter Weller is getting a PhD in Italian Renaissance Art History … ‘This is no vanity degree; Weller teaches courses, writes papers, and is doggedly climbing the academic ladder. Buckaroo Banzai, the polymath who was arguably Weller’s most famous character — acclaimed neurosurgeon, race car driver, particle physicist, and, of course, rock star — would be proud.’ [via Ghost in the Machine]
January 31, 2007
[TV] Grace Dent’s Final Word on Celebrity Big Brother 2007: ‘It’s only a game show: only a few careers and livelihoods ruined. Only a few relationships shattered, a few contestants’ families heartbroken, only a few safehouses booked and kids living without mum while she’s in hiding, and only a few psychologists on standby and contestants said to be near-suicidal. This is totally normal on game shows, isn’t it? You should see the drama on Countdown when they run low on pens. Carnage, emotional fall-out, safehouses being booked everywhere.’ [via Feeling Listless]
January 29, 2007
[tv] Weird, or just Wanting? — Louis Theroux on Weirdness. ‘…what I did come to realize was this: that the strangest behaviours are always answering some very normal human need – for love, for religious meaning, for a place in the world. And that the “weird beliefs” themselves never stood in the way of me making a human connection…’ [via As Above]
January 21, 2007
[blogs] Smashing Telly — a blog watching for interesting television available on Google Video – for example On the Edge of Blade Runner and Rob Newman’s History of Oil. [via Pete’s Linklog]
January 8, 2007
[funny] Concepts Replaced by Grinning Faces? This is not Dumbing Down – it’s Dizzying Madness — another great column from Charlie Brooker‘Under this system, Schindler’s List = Vicky Pollard.’
January 7, 2007
[tv] Things I have learnt from Celebrity Big Brother, #1 — Troubled Diva on Celebrity Big Brother. ‘…by placing real-life inter-personal relationships under a microscope, and by raising the emotional temperature in order to elicit a series of controlled reactions, Big Brother is – whether by accident or design (and I couldn’t really care less) – usefully illuminating the human condition. This is why, for all its peripheral irritations, I never tire of watching it.’
December 17, 2006
[wikipedia] My Wikipedia Contrail: Larry David‘Curb Your Enthusiasm was credited with helping clear a Los Angeles man named Juan Catalan of a first-degree murder charge. Catalan, who was arrested on suspicion of murder, maintained his innocence, saying he was at a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game on May 12, 2003, during the time of the slaying. During the game, an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm was being shot in Dodger Stadium which contained footage of Juan Catalan with his daughter. When told that his show had released a wrongfully accused man, Larry David commented in a New Yorker article, “I tell people that I’ve now done one decent thing in my life. Albeit inadvertently.”’
December 7, 2006
[tv] Imagine Links — nicely annotated link list covering Alan Yentob’s BBC documentary on the Internet. ‘I did try to track down Yentob’s myspace and livejournal but they appear to have been removed.’
December 4, 2006
[tv] Charlie Brooker: When it comes to Psychics, my Stance is Hardcore: they must Die Alone in Windowless Cells.
November 30, 2006
[simpsons] When iPods take over the Earth — screengrabs from a new episode of the Simpsons showing what happens after the iPods become self-aware.
November 25, 2006
[tv] Binge Watching Contemporary TV — the blog City of Sound on DVD Box Sets … ‘When binge watching really kicks in, the form of the content itself is implicitly involved, as I’d suggest that the tighter the ‘universe’ the show inhabits, the higher the levels of intensity involved. In other words, with a show like ‘The West Wing’ – of which more later – the same set of characters inhabiting largely the same few spaces of the same location over seven seasons creates a gravitational pull which is difficult to escape from. Similarly, ‘Lost’, in being confined by an island, builds up a fictional universe one is immersed for most of the episode, with flashbacks off-island simply a counterpoint to the resolution of returning to that natural prison. Arguably, most successful TV shows have attempted to create a tightly defined universe…’
November 18, 2006
[tv] Make Love, Not Warcraft — Southpark animators discuss intergrating World of Warcraft into an episode of the animated TV Show … ‘The Blizzard team gave us a special “friends and family” server to play on. Every once an a while a strange player would walk by and check out group the filming. The programmers could instantly kill a player that got in the way of filming. There’s a player out there wondering what they had stumbled upon just before they were wiped from the location.’
November 17, 2006
[tv] It’s Like A Jungle Sometimes — Grace Dent on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here‘Being in the jungle makes you constipated. Nobody aside from Lauren Booth has had a poo. Oddly enough, living on a diet of boiled muddy water and chargrilled alligator bum doesn’t do much for the bowels. Neither does sitting on the loo praying for movement with David Gest’s ghoulish face against the door clutching a bucket of water asking if you’ve had any luck.’
November 11, 2006
[tv] Never-Ending Stories — article about how to fix the format of TV Shows like Lost. ‘Puzzles are meant to be solved, not prolonged. You can only tease viewers so long before they feel like they’re being mocked.’ [via City of Sound]
November 10, 2006
[comics] Alan Moore to Appear on the Simpsons‘[Moore] features in a sub-plot which sees a new ‘cool’ comic shop opening in Springfield in competition with the Android’s Dungeon, run by Comic Book Guy who is voiced by Hank Azaria. The new shop has persuaded Moore to make a public appearance.’ [via Progressive Ruin]
October 22, 2006
[tv] Think outside the box — Jon Ronson Visits Deal or No Deal

‘If anyone doubts the extent to which mysticism has permeated the hitherto secular corners of British society, they should spend a couple of days behind the scenes at Deal Or No Deal. “I wrote to the cosmos that I would like to meet a woman who’ll make me laugh and make me happy,” Noel tells me. “I wrote that I’d like a relationship that’s not too heavy, with an attractive lady, and I’d like her to walk into my life by the end of September 2005. And she did!” There is a short silence. “She wasn’t the person who sold her story to the Sunday People back in July, was she?” I ask. There’s another silence. “Yes,” says Noel.’

October 10, 2006
[tv] Why We Watch… Columbo — from Radio Times Why We Watch blog/column … ‘Here was a show in which you saw who committed the crime in the opening minutes, an oddball narrative ploy that turned the rules of TV detection inside out. With the best line-up of villains since Batman, the likes of Donald Pleasence, Johnny Cash and Patrick McGoohan would then underestimate the cigar-chomping, raincoat-wearing Columbo, who would itch at them like a sore until they broke, all the while ingratiating himself on their time.’