Happy 17th birthday to The Medium is Not Enough!

A birthday cake

Crikey, as I always say, shortly after posting an image that was considered high resolution in 2005 – how did that happen?

Time has flown again. The Medium Is Not Enough emerged blinking into the world on 21 June 2005, and basic maths tells us it is now 17 years old. It feels all grown up now, now it’s doing its A-levels and is working out which universities to apply for. But we still all know that it’s basically still a bit childish and not yet ready for anything too important.

This year in review

Despite claiming to have got my my mojo back this time last year, following seemingly endless lockdowns, I can’t pretend year 17 was that much better than year 16. There’s definitely been more TV reviewing going on, but between my lack of daily commute, the introduction of yet more streaming services and a backlog of productions made during and before Covid all getting released en masse, I’ve not exactly been providing comprehensive coverage of the world’s TV, I’m afraid, have I?

Is that even possible any more? I doubt even someone who was paid to review TV could watch everything new that’s come out, there’s just so much of it now. Which is good, since it gives people great variety and all tastes will ultimately get catered for. And it’s not like everything’s been rubbish, either is it? There have been some great new shows from everywhere, even unexpected quarters (eg Peacock’s Bel Air), and AppleTV+ has finally got its act together, too, becoming alongside Disney+ one of the two streaming services you should probably subscribe to if you want all the best new shows – sorry, Netflix, you’re making too much that’s not good enough now.

But it does mean TMINE’s USP has gone. Ultimately, I think TMINE is becoming once again what it started out as: a personal blog that looks purely at what I’ve been watching on TV, without pretending to be anything major or important. The time of the blog is pretty much gone, though. There’s Substack for those who want to write and make money; Twitter and Insta for people who want to beam their thoughts out into the world to be read by the most amount of people possible.

A blog is now pretty retro. In my mind, though, this is just me chatting to you guys who still read this, trying to entertain you and maybe let you know about things I’ve found that you might like.

One big thing we did try this year was to open up TMINE to cover film far more comprehensively and make it more collaborative: to make it not just one regular voice but two. Unfortunately, that didn’t work quite as planned, with our new movie reviewer in residence ending up getting signed off with work-related stress – hopefully not because of TMINE but because of her evil megacorp employers but entirely possibly because of both. And maybe that thing that’s happening in Ukraine as well.

I’m hoping she’ll be back whenever she feels up to reviewing again (we have a ‘return to work’ plan, but maybe these birthday celebrations may prompt her to return sooner), since I feel she did bring both a new but compatible voice to TMINE, as well as fewer references to getting old and far more animated GIFs of Scarlett Johansson. We all have our styles of writing, I guess.

Thank you!

As always, a great big thank you to all the hardcore regular TMINE commenters: Mark Carroll, JustStark, and Adam Bowie. Bless your hearts for sticking with me all this time! Thank yous as well to the commenters on the TMINE Facebook page. You’re the ones who keep me going.

But thank yous as well to anyone who’s left even one comment this year, either here or on Facebook – it’s been great to hear from you!

Same time next year everyone? I say that every year, don’t I? Anyway, there’ll be cake, albeit the same photo of a cake as last year, so bring your friends.

Dirk Bogarde
BFI events

December 2021 at the BFI, including Jack Clayton and Dirk Bogarde at 100

Yay! Details of the BFI’s showings in December! Here’s the press release.

December at BFI Southbank – featuring BFI JAPAN, the work of JACK CLAYTON, screenings of classic Christmas films, BUSTING THE BIAS, Dirk Bogarde at 100 and much more

With special guests including director Mark Gatiss (THE MEZZOTINT), the cast and crew of GHOSTS (guests TBC), actors Jamie Dornan, Danielle Macdonald and Shalom Brune-Franklin (THE TOURIST), director Sharon Maguire (BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY), singer and performer Patti Boulaye, broadcaster and critic Mark Kermode, directors Markus Hansen and Jean-Marie Boulet (BILLY BANG LUCKY MAN)

The BFI today announces the programme for December at BFI Southbank including the culmination of BFI JAPAN 2021: 100 YEARS OF JAPANESE CINEMA, the BFI’s major UK-wide celebration of Japanese film. This month’s programme features work by radical independent directors like Seijun Suzuki and Nagisa Ōshima, as well as more recent popular and art house Japanese cinema by filmmakers such as Shunji Iwai, Hirokazu Kore-eda and Naomi Kawase. Also in December, BFI Southbank mark the centenary year of one of the most intriguing voices in post-war British cinema, JACK CLAYTON, with a full retrospective including THE INNOCENTS (1961), ROOM AT THE TOP (1959) and THE PUMPKIN EATER (1964). The season will be accompanied by a free display in BFI Southbank’s Mezzanine Gallery of material draw from the extensive collection held by the BFI National Archive of Clayton’s scripts, stills, posters and letters. Also drawing on material from the BFI National Archive, our TV season for December, THE PRECIOUS THINGS, will be a feast of weird and wonderful curios from the archives that feature a host of famous faces, from Vincent Price and Basil Brush to Terry Jones and Tina Turner – brilliant, baffling, idiosyncratic footage often unseen since its original transmission.  

It wouldn’t be December at BFI Southbank without a feast of Christmas entertainment, led this year by a BFI re-release of one of the most charming romantic comedies of all time, Ernst Lubitsch’s THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940), in selected cinemas UK-wide on 3 December. In the hectic run-up to Christmas, two ambitious rivals on the gossip-ridden sales floor of a Budapest emporium – played by James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan – are conducting an anonymous romance with each other by letter. This classic comedy has been often remade, including into the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan comedy YOU’VE GOT MAIL, but the original film remains unsurpassed, and perfect seasonal fare. BFI Southbank’s ongoing BIG SCREEN CLASSICS series – where we screen great films daily for the special price of £8 – will this month focus on CHRISTMAS ON SCREEN. Titles include MEET ME IN ST LOUIS (Vincente Minnelli, 1944), IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (Frank Capra, 1946), MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (George Seaton, 1947), GREMLINS (Joe Dante, 1984), THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL (Brian Henson, 1992), TOKYO GODFATHERS (Satoshi Kon, 2003), A CHRISTMAS TALE (Arnaud Desplechin, 2008), CAROL (Todd Haynes, 2015) and more. In addition to our £8 ticket offer for BIG SCREEN CLASSICS, audience members aged 25 & under are able to buy tickets for BFI Southbank screenings in advance, and special events on the day, for just £3, through our ongoing ticket scheme for young audiences. 

For those wanting to get a preview of some hotly anticipated Christmas specials for 2021, BFI Southbank will have TV Previews of THE MEZZOTINT (BBC, 2021), the GHOSTS CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (BBC, 2021) and TERRY PRATCHETT’S THE ABOMINABLE SNOW BABY (Channel 4, 2021). Laced with MR James’ trademark terror, THE MEZZOTINT, starring Rory Kinnear, is the latest ghost story for Christmas directed by Mark Gatiss, who will take part in a post-screening Q&A on 7 December. On 9 December, BFI Southbank will welcome members of the cast and crew of GHOSTS for a Q&A following a screening of this year’s Christmas Special. This hugely popular comedy from the makers of HORRIBLE HISTORIES has become a firm favourite since it premiered in 2019 and this event will also feature a screening of an episode voted for by fans of the show. There will be a FUNDAY PREVIEW of the wonderfully festive animation, TERRY PRATCHETT’S THE ABOMINABLE SNOW BABY on 4 December; prior to the screening, ticket holders will also be able to join a family workshop in the main foyer to design their own member of the Abominable Snow Baby family. 

To mark the 20th anniversary of BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY (Sharon Maguire, 2001) Woman with a Movie Camera powered by Jaguar will present a special screening of the film on 16 December, followed by a Q&A with director Sharon Maguire. After a painful festive party 30-something Bridget Jones, played to perfection by Renée Zellweger, decides to set some New Year’s resolutions: she’s going to lose weight, cut out the cigarettes and keep well clear from all the wrong men. Co-starring Colin Firth, Hugh Grant and a who’s who of British acting talent, BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY is one of the best-loved romantic comedies of the last 20 years, and this anniversary screening offers audiences a chance to hear from director Sharon Maguire about bring this iconic character to the big screen. 

Also in December will be BUSTING THE BIAS, a series of screenings, talks and presentations taking place from 3-5 December, showcasing disabled practitioners’ work while creating ongoing discourse for improved access for disabled talent to work in the screen industries, and advocating for authentic on-screen representation and leadership off-screen (the full programme will be announced soon). There will also be a TV preview of THE TOURIST (BBC, 2021) starring Jamie Dornan as a British man who finds himself in the Australian outback being pursued by a vast tank-truck trying to drive him off the road. The screening of the first episode of the series, written by Harry and Jack Williams (THE MISSING, LIAR) on 7 Decemberwill be followed by a Q&A with actors Jamie DornanDanielle Macdonald and Shalom Brune-Franklinalongside other members of the creative team. 

Other highlights this month will include a special screening on 5 December of the Tom Baker-era story DOCTOR WHO: CITY OF DEATH, which was co-written by the great Douglas Adams; monthly star-studded event MARK KERMODE LIVE IN 3D AT THE BFI on 6 December; and Patti Boulaye in Conversation on 12 December, during which the singer and performer will talk about her life and television career on the occasion of the publication of her memoirs. Completing the events programme will be new regular programme strand, THIS KIND OF THING, in which we explore video games and beyond at BFI Southbank – from consoles and VR to AI and wearables. The first event on 10 December will be a unique live event where audiences talk, listen, eat, drink and play their way through the evening, exploring just what a video game is in 2021, and beyond. This month’s event complements BFI JAPAN, exploring the country as one of the engine rooms of the past, present and future of video game culture, creativity and play.

Finally, to mark the centenary year of DIRK BOGARDE, we screen a selection of work featuring the British star who shook off the mantle of the matinee idol to gain respect, not just as an accomplished actor but also as a writer of considerable talent. Screenings will include HUNTED (Charles Crichton, 1952), in which a boy finds a corpse in a bombed-out building and is taken hostage by the killer; I COULD GO ON SINGING(Ronald Neame, 1963) about a stage star (Judy Garland, in her final film) who is reunited with her estranged son; the darkly comic tale of a nightmarish butler who exploits the weakness of his lazy, entitled employer THE SERVANT (Joseph Losey, 1963), screening in a recent 4K remaster; and SO LONG AT THE FAIR (Terence Fisher, Anthony Darnborough, 1950), a perfectly formed period mystery. 

Continue reading “December 2021 at the BFI, including Jack Clayton and Dirk Bogarde at 100”

Happy 16th birthday to The Medium is Not Enough!

A birthday cake

Crikey, as I always say, shortly after posting an image that was considered high resolution in 2005 – how did that happen?

Time has flown again. The Medium Is Not Enough emerged blinking into the world on 21 June 2005, and basic maths tells us it is now 16 years old, so therefore old enough to get married, leave school, have sex and join the army – but instead spends all its time making sarcastic comments about foreign TV while moping around on the sofa.

This year in review

Like most 16 year olds, TMINE has been a bit mardy and aimless for the past year, albeit thanks to Covid rather than puberty. There’s been little TV getting made and cinemas have largely been shut. With me stuck at home and also getting into that newfangled exercise thing, I’ve had even less time to watch what TV and movies that are getting made and distributed/broadcast, let alone write about it. I’ve even had to discontinue the decade-old TMINE news service. Permanently, I suspect.

On top of that, I’ve got a new, quite demanding job that makes Wednesday to Fridays tricky for doing anything except work; I’ve moved house and I didn’t have broadband for quite some time.

In other words, like most 16 year olds, I’d say it’s not fair and it’s not my fault! I hate you, Covid!

But… lockdown is easing. Work is easing. Summer is coming. Films and TV are returning. I see new hope and a new dawn arriving soon. Yep, TMINE is starting to feel it again. The mojo is returning. Soon, there might be an update more than once a month. I doubt we’ll ever see the full TMINE of yesteryear again – not until I’m retired, anyway – but there might be some actual content regularly again.

I hope.

Thank you!

As always, a great big thank you to all the hardcore regular TMINE commenters: Mark Carroll, JustStark, Adam Bowie and Craig Grannell. Bless your hearts for sticking with me all this time! Thank yous as well to the commenters on the TMINE Facebook page.

But thank yous as well to anyone who’s left even one comment this year, either here or on Facebook – it’s been great to hear from you!

Same time next year everyone? I say that every year, don’t I? Anyway, there’ll be cake, albeit the same photo of a cake as last year, so bring your friends.

TMINE background image

Oh God no, not another lockdown. And what does it mean for TMINE?

Hi all. I’m back from my holiday. Woo hoo! Everyone notice something, though? Yep, no news this morning.

Basically, for a number of COVIDy reasons and with a heavy heart, I’ve decided to both discontinue it and scale back TMINE itself as well – at least for now.

Let me explain why. I hope you’ll understand

Firstly, I’m really not getting any younger. I’ve tried using Inversion Technology from the future, but that didn’t work, so my arrow of time is still going forward. So I do need to look after my health, and with gyms closing and me now continuously working from home, I don’t commute past any gyms (or anything) any more.

Somehow I have to find time during the day to exercise and the only time I can think of, short of getting up at 5am every day and screwing up that whole work-life balance thing, is the time I usually spend doing the TMINE news.

Secondly, lockdown has actually made me busier than ever. I’m doing more and more work for longer and longer hours, which leaves less time to do TMINE. And that’s the stuff that pays the bill, whereas TMINE has always been a labour of love. I’m going to have to prioritise that.

Thirdly, cinemas are shutting again and the streaming services are running out of new movies, so there’s less for me to review. Ditto for the TV networks and TV itself.

And lastly, I have less time to watch TV and movies, since again, I’ve not got two hours of commute time every day any more. And as we found during the previous lockdown, it’s actually damn hard to focus on new things, rather than on comfort food viewing.

So what next?

All of which adds up to… something. At the very least, no potted news summary every day. Which is sad because I’ve been doing it for about a decade – in fact for so long, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t do it or even when I actually started doing it. But it is what it is.

As for everything else, I’m going to try to keep doing something. I might end up doing a semi-daily Covideodrome and turn TMINE into a film review blog, based on films that are already out there. I might turn ‘what have you been watching?’ into just that: what have you been watching.

I hope to continue the events coverage – assuming there are any events to cover – as well as What Time, TMINE? I might even simply post news to TMINE’s Facebook page as I get it, rather than trying to sum it up every morning. Then there’ll still be a TMINE news service.

It’s all a bit nebulous and up in the air. And who knows? I might end up with oodles of time and new things to review if the entire economy implodes. These are unprecedented times, so who can predict what’s going to happen or work out what the new normal is going to be?

But TMINE will continue in some form or other. I just hope it’s a journey that you’ll all want to go on with me – or that you’ll be back for more once we can get our COVID vaccinations with our daily Starbucks.

Bill and Ted Face the Music

On TMINE this week…

Blimey. It’s nearly October. How did that happen?

Things were a bit quiet on TMINE last week, owing to a surprising bucketload of work that landed in my lap, resulting in the usual schedule ending up in a dumpster somewhere.

So this is just to reassure you all I’m still alive and to let you know what you can expect this week. Just in case you were worried.

Some time either today or tomorrow I’m going to be reviewing all of season 5 of Le Bureau des Légendes (The Bureau), since I have now managed to watch all of it. I’m hoping to have the schedule for the BFI’s forthcoming Play for Today season, as well as all the latest BAFTA and RTS events as well, and any new TV shows I’ve spotted in Talking Pictures’ schedules.

Wednesday will bring What Have You Been Watching?, will include the usual regulars as well as Fox (US)’s Filthy Rich, maybe Amazon’s Utopia Netflix’s Criminal: UK as well as anything else that happens to be on in the next couple of days.

Orange Thursday will have reviews of both Bill and Ted Face the Music (2020) and Enola Holmes (2020), and Friday will have more What Time, TMINE?

And then it’ll be the weekend. Woo hoo!