Spiked accuses Life on Mars of missing the point, while simultaneously missing the point

Spiked has posted another of its rubbish TV reviews. This time, in its usual “Argument Sketch” style (“This isn’t an argument. You’re just contradicting everything I say”), it accuses Life on Mars of missing the point of The Sweeney. I would do my normal rant but I thought I’d be disciplined and restrict myself to a few comments

  1. The writer assumes the creators of Life on Mars are as anal about The Sweeney as he is and are actually critiquing particular episodes. They aren’t.
  2. He assumes Life on Mars is intended to demonstrate how Neanderthal The Sweeney‘s characters were. It isn’t. It’s partly designed to demonstrate that certain aspects of policing (and life) have justifiably moved on. Mostly it’s just about having a laugh and enjoying car chases (seriously, its entire premise was based on a whiteboard with “70s cop. Ford Granada” written on it).
  3. He thinks that we’re not supposed to learn anything from the 70s characters, only look down at them. Clearly, he hasn’t been watching. One of the subtler themes, reiterated in every episode is that clinical future cop DI Sam Tyler is supposed to learn gut instinct and a proper understanding of people from his 70s counterparts, among other things.

I also take issue with this statement, written by someone with no understanding of televisual history:

Britain in the 1970s was a tense, edgy and often violent and volatile place. No other TV programme reverberated with this same crackling aggression (and, curiously for a cop show, class anger) as did The Sweeney.

Hmm. He clearly never watched Special Branch, Callan or The Professionals, if he thinks The Sweeney was an isolated incident.

Still, what was I expecting from Spiked? It’s not like they know anything there. Must stop reading it…


Batman to kick al-Qaida’s head in

Frank Miller is apparently working on a new graphic novel in which Batman chases after al-Qaida and kicks their collective butts. Marvellous. I’m not sure how tongue in cheek Miller is being, particularly given that Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again was such a blatant piece of anti-Bush propaganda. Could be entertaining kitsch, could be arse, particularly given how poor The Dark Knight Strikes Again was. It may even put a dent in the “Batman as serious, realistic hero” bubble that’s been forming in the last 15 years or so, as everyone realises that a man dressed as a bat is not the best option for fighting crime, terrorists, rent arrears, etc. I wait with great anticipation, though.


Life on Mars gets renewed for second season, Dick and Dom doesn’t

Today’s Broadcast is full of little nuggets of news. Kudos has been given the green light by the BBC to make a second season of Life on Mars. Meanwhile, Dick and Dom have been ushered out of da Bungalow. And surprise, surprise, ITV’s rubbish rebranding hasn’t done anything to stop a ratings slump.

Continue reading “Life on Mars gets renewed for second season, Dick and Dom doesn’t”


Reality recipe for disaster

You ever watched any US reality shows, such as Survivor, Big Brother, Fear Factor and the like? Scary shows, filled with a combination of very earnest people who really want to win and very sociopathic people who really want to win.

That’s why I know this show, Unanimous, is doomed from the beginning. I can see how it could be “compelling viewing”: lock up nine strangers in a nuclear bunker then tell them they’re not coming out until they’ve unanimously decided who should win $1.5 million. I can even see how it might work, if it were entirely filled with English people going

“No, after you.”

“No, no. After you. I’m rubbish and you’re so much better than me.”

But psychotic, ultra-competitive reality show Americans? The winner is going to be the last person left standing after everyone else has died of old age. Do you really want to commit yourself to watching 50 years’ worth of programming?


Eleventh Hour cancelled

Readers of my Eleventh Hour review can probably guess that I’m not too surprised by The Mirror’s news that the show’s been cancelled.

Despite some of the dodginess in the article’s information (Stewart didn’t come back to the UK just to appear in mainstream TV), I suspect that there’s an element of truth in both The Mirror’s reason (poor ratings) and Granada’s official reason (Patrick Stewart won’t be available for a second series).

I suspect also that the show’s complete pantness is the unstated third reason.

UPDATE: For those of you wanting to know about the US version of Eleventh Hour starring Rufus Sewell, I’m afraid it’s been cancelled, too, along with a whole load of other CBS shows.