Hewlogram
Commercials

Fancy a belated pastiche of Automan that also doubles as an advert for some computer software?

Automan aired in 1983. A buddy-buddy cop dramedy, in which one of the buddies happened to be a computer-generated hologram who was friends with Pac-man and Donkey Kong, it was one of Glen A Larson’s long line of sci-fi action cop dramas that peppered the 80s. However, it didn’t last as long as Knight Rider and has largely disappeared into both obscurity and people’s childhood memories. Or their DVD collections.

Oddly, though, today seems to be a day for US TV shows of the 80s to be making a comeback and we’ve just had the release of Hewlogram, a pastiche of Automan that stars David Hewlett (Stargate: Atlantis). It’s a surprisingly accurate parody of the first episode of the show, as well as a good recreation of the show’s look and its title sequence. There are even guest appearances at the end by both Automan himself Chuck Wagner and Cursor.

Why is this happening, 34 years after the show aired? Well, the guy with Hewlett is Aharon Rabinowitz, the head of marketing for a software company called Red Giant, and the whole thing is a big ad for the company’s Red Giant Universe 2.2 visual effects tool. Still, I won’t begrudge it that. It’s actually pretty funny.

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You can now watch BMW’s new Neill Blomkamp mini-movie, Escape

Last month, I heralded the fact that a new BMW mini-movie with Clive Owen was on its way, directed by Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Chappie, Elysium), with Dakota Fanning, Jon Bernthal and Vera Farmiga along for the ride. Well, it’s here now and you can watch it below. It’s an odd little thing, being the usual Blomkamp combination of top action scenes combined with a bit of weird science fiction, as well as just a hint of The Transporter. It’s only 10 minutes, so why not give it a whirl – it might encourage BMW to make some more.

UPDATE: Now with the actual movie, rather than a trailer for Graves. Oops.

The CW’s superhero fight club is back

Last year, The CW put together a nice little team-up trailer to show off its roster of superhero characters in a make-believe training ‘fight club’. Of course, that was back when the network had a mere two superhero shows to its name: Arrow and The Flash. Can you believe it was ever so superhero-poor?

Now, though, it’s not only launched DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, it’s picked up CBS’s Supergirl and made it its own. Yep, we’re up to four shows – one every weekday night, except for the desert wasteland that is Friday. That seems much more sensible, doesn’t it?

To show off the new characters, as well as the old, here’s the sequel to that trailer: Fight Club 2.0. It’s not as much fun as the original and it goes on way too long, but it’s clearly got a bigger budget and it’s nice to see nerdy Supergirl and Flash sparking off each other again.

Signing’s come a long way on UK TV

For those who are nostalgic for TV times past (like me), it’s sometimes easy to forget that the past wasn’t necessarily better – particularly for minority groups. Consider the deaf (assuming you’re not. Deaf that is). Time was that BSL signing on television was unheard of. It just didn’t happen. 

The first exposure to it I remember getting was when one of my favourite early 80s bands, Red Box, appeared on Blue Peter to discuss the inclusion of a BSL signer in the video for their song ‘Lean On Me’. 

Of course, when ‘For America’, their next song came out, no BSL signing was deemed necessary. Gimmick, maybe?

And apart from a new little show on Sunday afternoons called See Hear, that was about it for BSL for quite some time.

Nowadays, although we’re still not exactly talking global signing, the BBC has both signed versions of regular programming in its Sign Zone slot and original programming, too, including the now venerable See Hear.

You don’t have to stay up late set the video to watch signed programmes, since you can watch them on iPlayer, too. There’s even live signing on BBC News.

Like the BBC, Channel 4 has its own late night signing, as do E4 and Film4, and of course the recent Rio Paralympics was signed.

Other channels? Not so much.

Commercials are an interesting one. This recent one for Maltesers is something of a first. 

Lovely, hey? But perhaps even lovelier is the signed version (yes, really), since it showed that enough people would recognise the BSL signer from the Rio Paralympics that he could be included in the ad. Not that he had a lot to do…