Tag Archives: television

Mandatory TV parental lock; really great or nanny state?

1 Mar

Televisions sold in Australia are now required, by law, to feature a parental lock system as part of it’s digital set-up system. This means that all parents will have the opportunity to block programming from their children up to the age-ratings that the Australian Communications & Media Authority have set for and every show that goes on the air.

Australian news networks are just cottoning on to this major new piece of television legislation, and it’s an issue that is certainly splitting opinion.

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An Idiot Abroad: the most important Sky 1 show for years?

1 Dec

Sky have had it tough in recent times, with top brass accusations that their investment in content is not up to standard and losing a whole host of their biggest shows (including Lost, 24 and Prison Break) – but there’s been a bright spark on Sky 1 that may turn out to be the most important show in the channels recent history.

But before, let’s consider some of the considerations that Sky has made before commissioning a piece like this:

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PROMO WATCH: The Walking Dead S1

24 Nov

The Walking Dead looks to be one of the biggest hits of the year, as it broke cable rating records on it’s release and the numbers have been holding relatively steady.

The success of the show had been questionable before it come out, as the genre is relatively niche (movies like Shaun Of The Dead and 28 Days Later are critically loved but do relatively modest box office numbers, for instance) and it didn’t feature any hot star names (apart from director and writer Frank Darabont, of Shawshank Redemption fame).

So was the success based on the promo / poster campaign from the network then?

You can be the judge of that!

Here are all the official and even some non-official promo art for The Walking Dead…

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Alternative Theme Tune #1: The Walking Dead

20 Nov

This feature’s been conjured up after listening to a song that basically sounded as though it had been written specifically for the new AMC undead drama.

I was a little disappointed with The Walking Dead opening credits, if I’m honest, as the highlight of the comics books was often the cover and I was hoping the show would come up with a clever ploy to create a ‘cover’ for each of the episodes (much like those brilliant freeze frames used at the beginning of every Eastbound & Down episode, here’s a rather rude example).

So it was with pleasant joy that I discovered a song that seemed perfect for the show, and figured this is as nice a chance as any to provide director Frank Darabont an alternative theme song for the show.

The song, written by singer/songwriter Felix Carey, is a bittersweet love song set in a post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland. The lyrics could easily be from the point-of-view of The Walking Dead’s main protagonist Rick Grimes (especially after the lovely reunion with his wife Lori), and the down-tempo guitar fits well with the shows often bleak outlook.

Interestingly, the show come about during a radio show where listeners are asked to text in suggestions for song ideas – and one lucky listener has Felix write and perform a song (based on their idea) an hour later. And it takes some artists months to write a tune!

Perfect for The Walking Dead, right?

‘Mo’vember is incoming; the greatest TV moustaches ever!

22 Oct

The month of November approaches, a month where by the end you may notice a higher proportion of men with well endowed top lips.

This is often to raise money for the Movember charity event, where men (and possibly a very small number of women) get sponsored to banish their razors for the month. It’ll itch, it’ll look a bit silly and it will clearly seperate the men from the boys (I’m in the latter), but it raises millions of pounds for Prostate cancer (and various others) and brings offices and households a little bit closer; a shared enjoyment of silly looking faces.

In celebration of the brave fellas doing it this year, and have done it in the past, I think it’s time to salute those individuals on television that have a mo’ all year round.

I’ve probably missed out countless hairy top lips that have entertained over the years, especially in the decades when it was rather popular, but I’ve tried to include the best ones of at least the last decade or so.

And I think we’ll begin this list with the most infamous one of all…

Tom Selleck – Magnum P.I. and Blue Bloods

Density: 8/10, like a small dog’s tail.

It’s the Selleck, the tash we all know and respect. Years of viewing on Magnum PI meant much of America was greeted with this mighty mo’ for a decade and he’s created quite a standard.

Burt Reynolds – various movies and TV shows, most recently in Burn Notice (above)

Density: 3/10, with the texture of a snooker table.

Ol’ Burt made his appearance on Burn Notice this season and the tash was still snuggled below his nose. It’s wonderfully symetrical and matches his hair colour perfectly, it’s a real mo’-from-a-pro.

Dan Stark – The Good Guys

Density: 6/10, like a hairy pooh.

The new hero of tash’s on television right near is Dan Stark, played by West Wing veteran Bradley Whitford, in the under-rated cop caper The Good Guys. He goes as far to reference it numerous times, and there’s also a scene of the most manly thing a bloke can do – combing it.

Borat – Da Ali G Show (and film)

Density: 8/10, like a wooly bow-tie.

I’ve always wondered if this one’s a fake, but I’ll give actor / creator Sasha Baron Cohen the benefit of the doubt. This one is a true masterpiece, perfectly sculptured to perfection and with a thickness that would seem daunting to a lost flea.

Ned Flanders – The Simpsons

Density: 9/10, like a door-stop made from mud.

Homer’s chirpy neighbour has sported a moustach since the very beginning and he seems to have sculped it perfectly for 20 years. It’s a solid and quite soft looking too – touchable.

Mike Watt – Spaced

Density: 6/10, like a top-lip glove made from a grizzly bear’s back fur.

Most people’s favourite Spaced character Mike sports an awesome mo’ and you can definitely see why Pegg’s character Tim sees in him as a friend (apart from his awesome shot at paintball).

Walter White – Breaking Bad

Density: 3/10, like the skin of a balding donkey.

One of televisions ultimate badasses compensates his lack of hair with some near-ginger fluff on his top lip. It seems to be tailored very short, the mark of a drug dealer always wanting to be in control, but it certainly adds to his hardcore credentials.

Randy Marsh – South Park

Density: 10/10, like a floppy underscore.

Everyone’s favourite South Park character, next to Butters and Cartman, also sports a brilliant piece of face-wear. It definitely adds to his hilarious charm and dimwittedness in crazy events that tend to crop up in the small snowy town.

Stan – Frisky Dingo

Density: 9/10, like the very end of your big toe.

Xander Crews’ strangely loyal associate Stan, who runs the day-to-day operations of Xander’s company whilst he acts like an idiot and tries to be a superhero, is basically personified by his tash. So-much-so that he’s one of the rare characters in the list where you actually don’t see his mouth move at any point. He also seems to have more hair below his nose than above it.

Paul Teutul Sr. – American Chopper

Density: 11/10, like a wooly unicorn’s shoe.

Look at that thing! The domineering head of the pimped up motorbike place that dominates the schedule of the Discovery Channel is one of the kings of the mo’. It reminds me of a simple pot plant on a window sill that ends up growing down the building and mostly out of the original pot – does it still just count as just a pot plant? Whether this qualifies as a moustache or a  beard is a debate for another time though, for now admire that density – if a fly got caught up in that he’d never make it out alive.

Dicky Dastardly – Wacky Races

Density: 1/10, like the eyes of a sleeping Chinaman.

This is almost the most skilled of the lot – crafty Dick Dastardly must have spent years growing just two hairs below his nostrils, whilst shaving all around the top lip, to achieve this mighty look. Some people have argued whether it’s just very long nose hair, but I am positive that this is a sneaky tash grown for the pure purpose of stroking when coming up with genius plans to win that damn Wacky Race (although he ironically seemed to have the best car out of the lot of them).

That’s it for the list this year, although I’m sure there’s many I’ve forgotten and will end up cunningly adding after I post this article.

For anyone taking part in ‘Mo’vember this year – good on ya!

And for those men lucky enough to be able to grow hair on their face but aren’t going it – why not?

Join up, get a few donations and get those follicles out; the weather’s getting cold so just see it as a philtrum jumper.

The Event; will it get the axe?

18 Oct

Arguably NBC’s biggest punt this year was in the conspiracy thriller ‘The Event’, the Monday night drama that got off to a solid start and was also one of the biggest reasons that slot rival Lone Star (on Fox) was kicked off the air after two episodes (it just couldn’t compete in the deeply competitive slot and sadly Fox refused to give it a decent chance and / or another slot).

But the numbers have been tumbling by significant amounts every week though and it looks like this killer slot ‘may’ have another victim sometime soon.  So if you’re planning to tune into this on Channel 4 then stand-by that the hundreds of questions that are brought up may have no resolution in the future.

Check out this graph, that compares The Event to the similarly poor received Flashforward last year (which was given a full season but left many viewers disappointed with no real resolution). It looks at the viewing figures (in adult millions) across episodes, starting from the first episode on the left.

Click on the graph to see it full size.


That’s nearly half of The Event’s original audience gone by episode four!

Whereas Flashforward only lost just over 3 million viewers in the same period, which is quite a fall and did ultimately lead to cancellation. But the steady numbers later in the season, hovering just over 5 million viewers, was just good enough to warrant that full season (and I reckon they figured dramas like this have decent DVD takings, which is helped if they have one full season – poor already-cancelled Lone Star, My Generation and Outlaw will never have that blessing).

The Event may have settled at just over 6 million viewers, if episode five’s numbers are any indication, then it’s still a disappointment for the network but should be enough to get a second season.

But why were the viewers desserting in such heavy numbers?

I think for a number of reasons. Lost, which is pretty much the reason shows like Flashforward and The Event get green-lighted in the first place, has just ended and viewers may like a break from such bafflement and intrigue. A show like Lost often required the viewer to do a bit of homework, be it rewatching an episode to having hearty discussions online, and after six years of this they may just want a bit of a break.

It’s also the fact that creatively it just isn’t that good. I only watched the pilot, I’ll admit, but I already got that lingering feeling I had with Flashforward; the creators are trying so hard to create something to hook me that they ultimately lost me. It goes full circle. The pilot of The Event was a mess, full of pointless time shifts and twists that it just became boring. It also didn’t help that none of the characters ooze the relatable charm those in Lost had from the very first episode – by the time Jack, Kate and Charlie returned from the brutal trip to the cockpit I was already rooting for them and wasn’t completely bombared with mystery in that first episode.

Maybe Lost was also just an exception to the rule. The most succesful shows on the broadcast networks tend to be procedurals that have a very clear beginning, middle and end for each episode (like House MD, NCIS, Criminal Minds, CSI) or shows with a clear and easy-to-follow storyline that don’t ‘neccessarily’ need a full commitment (like Glee, Hawaii Five-0, Castle). The shows that break that mould need a cast that have charisma and charm that will draw people in week-by-week (like 24, Greys Anatomy, The Mentalist). Lost broke the mould because it ticked the latter box, The Event does not.

It could also be, as already mentioned, the vicious competition in the slot. CBS has the troublesome twosome of Two and a Half Men and newcomer Mike & Molly (a comedy about overweight people that was always bound to rate well) that are watched by 11.5 million people, whilst ABC has Dancing With The Stars that is watched by nearly 20 million people. That’s a majority of the audience on the other channels straight away, and Fox learnt that lesson quickly (sadly for Lone Star, the key demographic for them was the one watching Dancing For Stars).

My prediction? It will probably get a full season order like Flashforward did, just for the sake of the improved DVD sales in the future. I think there’s a much greater chance that the season will be shortened though, to around 18 (or less!), if the numbers don’t rise any time soon. If it continues to fall at its current rate (beneath 5 million viewers consistently or so) then I think that the axe will begin to sharpen and the questions raised will have no answers at the end of it all…

UPDATE

The Event has been given a full season order by NBC (though the terrible Outsourced did too).

PROMO WATCH: Breaking Bad

9 Sep

I’ve just caught up with the news that the brilliant AMC drama Breaking Bad, starring Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, won’t be returning until June 2011. This is a delay of about three months, with the actually fair enough reasoning that writer and creator Vince Gilligan wants more time in the writing room to make sure the show is as good as it’s been in the past.

On that note, a retrospective of the creative genius of the show was in order to tide me over until the summer of 2011.

Breaking Bad’s promo team work tremendously hard coming up with a large array of promotional art for the show, and you’ll notice that many of the photographs are taken straight from the show (and not taken seperately) – demonstrating how superb the cinemotography for each episode (even Season 3’s episode ‘Fly’, set in one dingy room, was a feast for the eyeballs).

Anyway, here are some of my favourite shots from the last three seasons (and one cheeky unofficial one that I think is well done too):

CLICK ON ANY PICTURE TO SEE IT IN GLORIOUS FULL SIZE.

I do love the minimilist posters that seem to exist for each revered TV show and movie…

And last-but-not-least, my favourite Breaking Bad promo ever (the main promotional ad for season three)…

I cannot wait to see what season four entails, get writing Gilligan and co!