Not even Satan himself would stoop that low

Vinny Jones as Moriarty in Elementary? I’m hoping it’s a bluff.

The Wisdom of Ron Swanson: The Pyramid of Greatness

BBC4 has acquired NBC’s Parks and Recreations, ready to air it this year – better late than never, it being on its fourth season at the moment. Now, I stand by remarks I made a while back on Radio 5 – that it’s actually not that great a show. Sorry. I keep trying to watch it but it rarely makes me laugh.

However, there is one aspect of it that’s pure awesome: Ron Swanson, possibly the most American man in the whole wide world. His words of wisdom are wonders to behold. So, every Tuesday, to celebrate BBC4’s acquisition and to save you having to watch everything in Parks and Recreations that isn’t Ron Swanson, I’m going to be serving up some of Ron’s insights.

And where else should I start than with his Pyramid of Greatness? Next week: bacon. Once you watch, you’ll understand.


On the ubiquity of advertising for TV shows in the US

A couple of months ago, I asked whether UK TV advertised itself enough. Some people argued yes, it does, but as I pointed out, compared to the US, it’s all just baby steps.

Anyway, just to prove a point, I took a few pictures of the TV adverts plastered all over New York. The sides of buses are the major areas for TV advertising. Imagine that every single bus you saw (well, 95%) had an ad for a TV show on the side and you could see perhaps one a minute while walking down any given avenue: that’s how ubiquitous it is.

Squint hard and you’ll see Portlandia on the side of this one in front of the UN building:

Portlandia on a bus

Deception currently makes up about 50% of all bus ads, despite being rubbish.

Another bus

But Banshee, The Americans, Girls and a couple of other shows make up the rest (adverts for The Hunger Games on Epix make up a goodly proportion, too)


And then, of course, there are old ads that haven’t been removed from the sides of buses yet. You can still see a fair few for the last season of Dexter. And then there’s this one for Go On plastered all over the bus outside the window of this restaurant I was in. The whole bus. It was even painted Go On yellow.

Go On bus

Yes, the picture is rubbish. Sorry. I was eating.

But buses aren’t the only story, of course. About 50% of phone booth and newsstand advertising is dedicated to TV programmes. Season two of the dullish Enlightened gets most of the look-ins, as does Girls.

Enlightened phone booth ad

But you can also see the likes of Real Time with Bill Maher, Project Runway and 1600 Penn everywhere you go.

More newstand and phone booth advertising

Project Runway

1600 Penn

Hell, even the latest Lifetime movie gets some advertising love:

Rob Lowe in HBO's Prosecuting Casey

I should probably have cropped some of those, so you wouldn’t have to squint, but I can’t be arsed.

Anyway – that’s how to advertise a TV show. Admittedly, it’s mainly Showtime, FX, NBC and HBO that seem to have got their acts together on this and they’re mainly doing it to pump their more rubbish output, but compare that with the UK’s anaemic efforts.

To be fair, I did spot an advert for Channel 4’s Utopia and one for GOLD’s Yes, Prime Minister in Victoria station yesterday. That’s two whole adverts in two hours of travel from zone 6 to zone 1 and back out again in London. Wow.


Yes, that was me on NBC at the back of the crowd watching JWoww and Snooki a few days ago

JWoww and Snooki on The Today Show

Why do you ask? At least, I think it was them on the Today Show. But I could be wrong. Like I’d know.

In case you didn’t realise, I’ve been off in New York for a few days’ holiday. Along the way, I took in a few TV-related sites. This one was mandatory, of course:

Me in front of 30 Rock

Yes, I do look an idiot. Inside, of course, is NBC Studios and the NBC Experience. Oddly, the NBC Experience, as well as having excellent T-shirts, such as this one…

A Community T-shirt

…also has a range of House (Fox) and Doctor Who (BBC) goods. They even had a guy dressed up as the 11th Doctor on the tills. What’s up there then?

Tuesday’s “Justice League Dark movie, more Necessary Roughness & Workaholics, and David Tennant: escape artist” news


Film casting


  • Trailer for Girls Against Boys
  • Trailer for The Last Stand with Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Teaser for Only God Forgives with Ryan Gosling




US TV casting

  • Alan Thicke, James Van Der Beek, Paul Shaffer, Jason Priestley, KD Lang and Alex Trebek to guest on How I Met Your Mother
  • Torchwood‘s Burn Gorman to recur on Revenge
  • Benjamin Bratt returning to Modern Family
  • Barry Bostwick joins Scandal [minor spoilers]

New US TV shows

  • ABC acquires time-travel FBI drama Tomorrow from Brett Ratner and Barry Schindel
  • NBC acquires Camp

New US TV show casting