Tag: TV

Liam Neeson in ‘Death of an OLED TV Salesman’

Wednesday, 3 February, 2016 0 Comments

In conjunction with Sunday’s Super Bowl 50, LG has just released a commercial for its Signature OLED TV. It must have cost a fortune as it stars Liam Neeson and was produced by Ridley Scott. Is it a winner? The Verge is deathly: “…we’ve got a schlocky 60-second journey through a Tron knock-off fantasy land, with Neeson growling cliches about how ‘the future belongs to us.'” John Gruber is equally morbid: “As with many Super Bowl ads, I feel like they would’ve gotten more bang for their buck by just setting fire to a few million dollars in cash and putting the video on YouTube.”

“My character is an enigmatic man from the future who has traveled back to the present day on a very important mission,” said Liam Neeson to/for LG. “He represents that inner appeal, that curiosity we have to find out about the future.”

One gets the feeling at times that Ridley Scott has made a handsome trade of recycling memes from the iconic television commercial that introduced the Apple Macintosh personal computer. But is LG happy to be placed in a spectrum that’s 30 years behind Apple? Is it so incurious that it’s willing to be associated with a tired rerun of “1984”?

John Steed exits

Friday, 26 June, 2015 1 Comment

“Daniel Patrick Macnee died a natural death at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, at age 93, with his family at his bedside, according to his son, Rupert.” So reads the statement on the actor’s website. Despite his many roles, Patrick Macnee was most famously John Steed in the 1960s’ British TV series, The Avengers. Paired with Diana Rigg (Mrs Peel), he was the elegant complement to her beautiful Holmes-like character and the couple were the embodiment of grace, charm and wit. Viewers wanted to dress like that, drive those cars and have machines that recorded phone messages.

As Macnee’s website puts it: “….The Avengers became known for its progressive approach to feminism, the female stars being more than a match for Steed… and a plethora of ‘diabolical master minds.’ The programme was also known for its creative team’s interest in stories about cutting-edge technology.”

For Patrick Macnee, who played many parts but will be remembered for one, here’s the introduction to the famous monologue from Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Act II Scene VII:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts

Bad news for the Borgens

Friday, 19 June, 2015 0 Comments

Ah, those were glory days for the left. Helle Thorning-Schmidt became Prime Minister of Denmark on 3 October 2011 and almost simultaneously Borgen, a Danish TV series about the charismatic Birgitte Nyborg, who becomes the first female Prime Minister of Denmark, is the darling of the chattering class, which likes politically correct political fantasy. The icing on the (wedding) cake was provided by the fact that Ms Thorning-Schmidt’s husband is the reddish Stephen Kinnock. Familiar name? That’s right. Stephen is the son of Neil, who has entered the history books the only Leader of the Labour Party never to hold ministerial office.

And now? Well, let’s go over to Aisha Gani of the Guardian, which aspires to being the journal of a global Denmark. One can detect an air of grief here:

“From handing out red roses, to driving about in tractors. From tiresome Borgen references, to wooing fishermen on islands. From clashing on TV debates, to red and blue blocs. Yet in the end, after what has been a tightly fought contest in the Scandinavian nation, the centre-right has been voted in to govern the Folketing.”

The left lost recently in Britain and the polls in France and Sweden suggest that more change is in the offing. Borgen has ended.


Dennis and Pamela People are affected by numbers

Tuesday, 31 March, 2015 0 Comments

Today’s numbers: One in ten 12-13 year-olds worried they are addicted to porn; Russia’s Gazprom Says Net Profit Plummeted 70% in 2014; Latest YouGov / The Sun poll results 30th March: Con 35%, Lab 35%, LD 8%, UKIP 12%, GRN 5%; Bayern finance chief: ‘We could spend 100 million on a player’; US federal agents stole hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Bitcoin during infamous ‘Silk Road’ probe.

Charlie Brooker, the creator of Black Mirror, looks at how television runs the numbers.

QUOTE: “If you only knew the magnificence of the 3, 6 and 9, then you would have a key to the universe.” Nikola Tesla

Charlie is not Borgen

Monday, 5 January, 2015 0 Comments

With Charlie, its dramatization of the rise and fall of Ireland’s most Machiavellian prime minister, Charles Haughey, the state broadcaster, RTÉ, has produced a kind of anti-Borgen. Anoraks will know that Borgen is the acclaimed Danish TV series that tells the story of Birgitte Nyborg who becomes the first female Prime Minister of Denmark. Charlie, in contrast, is amateurish. The characters are wooden and dull and, worst of all, there is almost no visual drama. Question: Where was the reputed €4.5 million budget spent? On the shirts?

The night Bob Dylan played for a single Swede

Saturday, 20 December, 2014 0 Comments

Fredrik Wikingsson went to a Bob Dylan concert. Not exactly newsworthy, that, except he was the only fan sitting in the auditorium of the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. Dylan isn’t known for doing cover songs, but he played three for Wikingsson: Buddy Holly’s Heartbeat, Fats Domino’s Blueberry Hill and Chuck Willis’ It’s Too Late (She’s Gone). The mini-concert was arranged by the Swedish TV show “Experiment Ensam,” which enables people to experience individually those things that are normally shared by large groups.

Germany: Home of the world’s worst TV

Wednesday, 2 October, 2013 0 Comments

No, this is not a post about the high-end TV maker Loewe AG, which filed for insolvency yesterday. Its dilemma was that it failed to keep up with innovative rivals such as Samsung and LG Electronics, and could not cope with the drop in the average price of TVs. The problem is not with the German TV; it’s with German television, which churns out endless hours of unwatchable bilge at enormous cost to the taxpayer. What these costs involve was revealed last month by Bild when it published figures associated with the pension entitlements of Monika Piel (62), who spent 36 years at WDR, the largest branch of ARD, the German association of public broadcasters. Bild reported that €3.18 million had been set aside for the departing bureaucrat’s retirement and that this would amount to monthly pension payments of up to €14,500.

Tonight in Cologne, the makers of the world’s most unwatchable television will meet to award each other the German Television Prize. The insolvency of Loewe is an evil omen for the event, but that won’t trouble the talentless, tasteless cadre in charge of producing 24/7 trash TV as much as two words from across the Atlantic: Breaking Bad. The US series has generated huge interest in Germany and those watching it are asking awkward questions: Who is responsible for the awful domestic output? What is all the money being spent on? Why can’t we do something like Mad Men? Where is our House of Cards? When will this billion-euro budgeted TV industry create something original?

While people wait for the answers, they should take a look at this opening scene from The Newsroom. Given an infinite amount of time, the infinite apparatchiks typing at ARD, ZDF and RTL would never create a minute of this kind of dialogue, and the unimaginative producers at ARTE or Sat.1 would never in their lifetimes deliver the collage of shots, lighting, angles and social critique we see here. This is as about as un-German as television can be.