News

Looking forward to The IT Crowd?

The IT Crowd

Even if it weren’t for the planned guest appearances by Chris Morris, I think I’d still be tuning in to watch The IT Crowd. If you can put aside the show’s obvious use of stereotypes for a second, a Graham Linehan comedy is always worth watching. Even those that didn’t last the course (eg Big Train, Hippies) were full of brilliant comic moments, and with Father Ted and Black Books under his belt, you know that he’s capable of filling an entire season of episodes with end-to-end comedy gems. The IT Crowd looks like it’s going to have at least a couple, and given that Channel 4 is going to be providing an online premiere of the first episode, they obviously have high hopes for it, too.

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Kneale Before Nigel

‘Celebrity’ Big Brother vindicates Nigel Kneale

The Year of the Sex Olympics

Anybody remember a 1968 programme called The Year of the Sex Olympics? Basic plot: population of the world starts to get out of control so the powers that be decide to keep the populace in check by beaming them pornography all day. But guess what? They get bored. There’s only so much porn people can watch before it gets a bit dull (take note Men and Motors). So the powers that be come up with a new idea: reality TV. Stick a family on an island and monitor them 24/7. Then, to really shake things up, stick a criminal on the island and see what happens. The result? People get glued to that all day instead.

It was a remarkably prophetic piece of television, albeit quite dull to watch, unlike the rest of writer Nigel Kneale’s output. What’s even more remarkable is Channel 4’s decision to compress The Year of the Sex Olympics’ plot and stick all its elements into one programme: Celebrity Big Brother.

So we have a bunch of dull people, aka ‘the family’ (Rula Lenska, Faria Alam, Preston Samuel, Maggot, Pete Burns and Chantelle the stooge), pornography (Jodie ‘glamour model’ Marsh, Traci ‘Baywatch’ Bingham) and criminals (well, alleged criminals Michael Barrymore and George Galloway as well as the definitely criminal Dennis Rodman), all stuck into handy half-hour segments for our exploitation/tranquillisation. How Brave New World of Channel 4. I guess our attention span ain’t what it used to be.

Even so, the irony is that given the complete Z-list nature of the ‘celebrities’, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a ratings flop. Our attention span really ain’t what it used to be and minor celebs just don’t aren’t enough any more.

Still, my prediction for the winner? Maggot. All of Wales will be voting for him. Let me know if I turn out to be right: I won’t be watching…

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What author double-acts would you like to see in movies?

Following the news that WB is planning a movie in which Shakespeare and Cervantes become friends and bum around Europe together (or solve crimes. Who knows?), I wondered which other authorial double acts you’d all like to see in the movies. Let me know.

Here’s a few to get you started:

  1. Martin Amis and Harold Pinter: “when two authors clashed over their views on modern-day American Imperialism, it was murder”
  2. J D Salinger and F Scott Fitzgerald: “Their first names a secret, their attitude insouciant, they came to change nothing, but left having changed everything”
  3. Enid Blyton and Raymond Chandler: “Who you nodding at, kiddo? This ain’t toy town any more!”
  4. Daniel Defoe and Jonathan Swift: “It was a journey greater than any they’d written about, but they would be back by Friday”
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News

Futurama may get a reprieve

Futurama

We’ve talked before about Fox’s nasty habit of cancelling quality shows and how it seems finally to have developed a quality filter. Now, there’s nothing harder for a TV executive to do than to say they were wrong. But it seems Fox has learnt its lesson over Futurama and is contemplating bringing the show back after it scored success on DVD.

I’m not a big fan of Futurama but it was still a good show, killed before its prime. Off the top of my head, I can name quite a few shows that also bit the dust in the US before they should have as I’m sure you can. But the interesting aspect of this is that DVDs are now enabling networks to spot recent shows that were good but low-rated because of poor advertising or scheduling. Anyone want to run a sweepstake on what the next show they’ll bring back from the dead will be?