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British actors colonise American TV

Front Row (BBC Radio 4), 28/12/12 – 30mins. British stars of big American series like Homeland & House discuss why US TV and movies are so keen to employ UK actors right now. Answer seems to boil down to (a) proper theatre training (b) greater willingness to play unsympathetic characters and (c) botox-free faces still able to move in reaction shots. Damian Lewis, Hugh Laurie, Thandie Newton, Adrian Lester, Clive Owen, Ashley Jensen and Stephen Frears all take part. It’s an interesting discussion, though perhaps a little smug in its assumption of British superiority. I’d be interested to hear what American listeners make of it.
posted by Paul Slade on Dec 28, 2012 - 80 comments

Who! Who! Who! Merry Christmas!

This year's festive Doctor Who Christmas episode will feature a new companion, a new theme tune and title sequence and a new look to the Tardis interior! But look out for those scary Snowmen! [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 24, 2012 - 121 comments

"Governments should be afraid of their people."

Television viewers in China were shocked last Friday when state broadcaster CCTV aired V for Vendetta unedited in prime time. Previously, Chinese search engines would not even return results for the anti-totalitarian 2006 film; CCTV-6 did at least harmonize the title by translating it as "V Special Forces", rather than the more common translation given in pirated DVD editions, "V the Revenge Killing Squad". [more inside]
posted by strangely stunted trees on Dec 22, 2012 - 53 comments

It's the end of the world and they know it

The most-watched show in the history of the National Geographic Channel isn't Wild, Taboo or even the longest-running documentary series on cable tv: Explorer. It's Doomsday Preppers, a show that documents the "lives of otherwise ordinary Americans" as they prepare for the end of the world. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 21, 2012 - 115 comments

Robert Dudley is HOT

Horrible Histories, the historical sketch show on the BBC inspired by the books of the same name, has been featured previously on Metafilter. Not mentioned, however, were the real gems of the show, Historical Desktops [MLYT]: [more inside]
posted by primer_dimer on Dec 20, 2012 - 10 comments

"You can't get un-famous. You can get infamous, but you can't get un-famous."

James Lipton interviews Dave Chappelle. Dave Chappelle interviews James Lipton. And while we're at it.... [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 17, 2012 - 48 comments

And Now For Something....

(minor Spoilers should be assumed for most of the post) Fringe, which many have called a cult show, has a pension for playfully populating its episodes with pop culture references and has continued to do so into its fifth and final season. [more inside]
posted by sendai sleep master on Dec 15, 2012 - 75 comments

People is important!

Dan Harmon on why you shouldn't take the internet seriously. [slyt]
posted by cthuljew on Dec 13, 2012 - 32 comments

Way Down in the Hole, Bitch!

Titles sequences for all five series of Breaking Bad in the style of The Wire (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 12, 2012 - 26 comments

Every newspaper headline published in "The Simpsons"

This is a compilation of every headline (with screenshots) seen on "The Simpsons". These Simpsons headlines come primarily with the Springfield Shopper, Springfield's only major newspaper. The compilation includes such memorable headlines as "SQUIRREL RESEMBLING ABRAHAM LINCOLN FOUND", "AWFUL SCHOOL IS AWFUL RICH", and "PARADE TO DISTRACT JOYLESS CITIZENRY"
posted by winecork on Dec 12, 2012 - 32 comments

Black Bart Endures

The early '90's t-shirt merchandising hysteria that accompanied The Simpsons' series premiere ignited an even larger bootleg "black Bart" social response that continues to resonate.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Dec 12, 2012 - 41 comments

'Homeland,' Obama’s Show.

'Homeland,' Obama’s Show. The award winning TV show does little to alleviate the myths and misconceptions about Arabs and Muslims, writes Joseph Massad, a scholar at Columbia University. "The racist representation of Arabs is so exponential, even for American television [..] that one does not know where to begin." [more inside]
posted by kiskar on Dec 12, 2012 - 84 comments

The Stopped Dead

The Stopped Dead: a 1200x18000 pixel infographic cataloging The Walking Dead's 347 on-screen zombie deaths by season, character, and weapon. [spoilers]
posted by Egg Shen on Dec 6, 2012 - 16 comments

"From the beginning, we thought that everything about the show should be painfully, painstakingly real."

My friends and I weren’t popular in high school, we weren’t dating all the time, and we were just trying to get through our lives. It was important to me to show that side. I wanted to leave a chronicle—to make people who had gone through it laugh, but also as a primer for kids going in, to say, “Here’s what you can expect. It’s horrifying but all you should really care about is getting through it. Get your friends, have your support group. And learn to be able to laugh at it.”
The Oral History of Freaks and Geeks [more inside]
posted by mokin on Dec 6, 2012 - 75 comments

"The story of Lost makes no sense."

'I pretty much wanted to die', an excerpt from Alan Sepinwall's The Revolution Was Televised.
posted by IvoShandor on Nov 29, 2012 - 61 comments

Point of View, Depth of Focus

Scott Eric Kaufman examines the visual rhetoric of Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Mad Men, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, and more.
posted by Iridic on Nov 29, 2012 - 15 comments

"Jake from Two and a Half Men means nothing. He is a non-existent character."

Angus Jones, better known as Jake on the show Two and a Half Men, has joined the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The young star has released a pair of videos urging people to stop watching the show.
posted by reenum on Nov 26, 2012 - 182 comments

Thurman Lives

Back in March I posted about the forgotten Nickelodeon show Turkey Television. Recently a full episode of the show (later era) has shown up on YouTube: Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3.
If that's too much video tryptophan (even at its best, Turkey Television was amazingly uneven), here's a few clips (WARNING: CONTAINS UNCLE HOGRAM, also some of Uncle Floyd's bizarre Day In The Life Of A Food) from YouTube user 2reelers. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 25, 2012 - 19 comments

I didn’t dream up the helicopter. My memory is Jerry said a helicopter.

It may be the most notorious Thanksgiving promotion of all time. It is the 40th best television episode of all time. It's available in (semi-)entirety on HULU. And the classic TV blog offers an oral history. Happy thanksgiving, and, as God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.
posted by Bunny Ultramod on Nov 21, 2012 - 102 comments

Norman Lear's "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman"

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman appeared in 1976... and it exists as a sort of island of experimentation, its ripples of influence not fully engaged with until several decades later... . Predictably rejected by the networks, this Norman Lear production ran in first-run syndication, five nights a week, usually after the late-night news. ... Louise Lasser (once Woody Allen’s muse) stars as a put-upon pre-feminist housewife who repeats the secular liturgy of American consumerism in an attempt to stave off a nervous breakdown.*
posted by Egg Shen on Nov 16, 2012 - 61 comments

TV show recaps, recappers, and TWoP

Taking the seen-it route: Sara Morrison talks about the rise and influence of television show recapping; recapping's advantages for writers; and the origins and evolution of Television Without Pity (<--- time suck warning: TVTropes link!) Includes lots of links and a handy chart of recappers. [more inside]
posted by flex on Nov 16, 2012 - 41 comments

The Law & Order Database

The Law & Order Database is complete. Which characters had the highest success rate?
posted by Egg Shen on Nov 14, 2012 - 26 comments

How would you feel if somebody was out there using your name for purposes of their own—without your knowledge?

Anthony Bourdain is "fighting mad" at the Travel Channel for editing him into a commercial without his permission. He expressed his rage on twitter first, and then in a long post on his tumblr blog: "All of us on the show would have preferred to go out on a high note—and we tried to do that as best we could, turning in a strong, final season that we are very proud of. We wanted to go leaving a lot of great shows—and nothing but good memories and good will behind...But things just didn’t turn out that way." [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Nov 13, 2012 - 94 comments

What's Snots?

Two Irish children misunderstand a quiz show
posted by rollick on Nov 8, 2012 - 61 comments

You will become like us

Can Neil Gaiman restore the Cybermen to their original greatness? - Neil Gaiman's second episode of Doctor Who will feature the classic cyborg villains introduced by medical scientist Kit Pedler in The Tenth Planet
posted by Artw on Nov 8, 2012 - 115 comments

Vicious Old Queens

Here's a sitcom with an unusually high pedigree: Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi to play an old married couple in a new british sitcom from Itv, airing in april 2013!
posted by aldurtregi on Nov 2, 2012 - 43 comments

The one with the hitchhiker in the yellow coat

Hammer House of Horror was a 1980 British anthology television series produced by the eponymous film studio. It was followed by Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense and there were a couple of other notable, similar themed, series around at the time, Beasts and West Country Tales. They might now seem a little crude and simplistic, but they employed an interesting array of writers, directors and actors and the best can still raise a definite chill [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Oct 31, 2012 - 8 comments

Not quite sweaters for goalposts

Football's (soccer, that is) ultimate conquest of North America comes a step closer with the sale of English Premier League broadcasting rights to NBC for 250 million dollars. Unlike the Olympics, NBC has indicated that they'll broadcast the games live, to complement their NHL broadcasts. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Oct 29, 2012 - 65 comments

The Brady Bunch Variety Hour

On November 28, 1976, ABC televised the premiere of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour. Few who saw it would ever forget it. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Oct 24, 2012 - 89 comments

"Unbelievable. Do you recognize those uniforms?"

Artist Dusty Abell has created a massive poster featuring "at least one, sometimes more, character, entity, starship or structure from every episode of [Star Trek: The Original] series." Via io9, who ask: How many characters can you name? Stumped? Here's a key of all 123! [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 21, 2012 - 25 comments

What it's like to be on "Jeopardy"

What it's like to be on Jeopardy
posted by Egg Shen on Oct 19, 2012 - 53 comments

from the mightiest pharaohs to the lowliest peasants

Sitting is hazardous to your health. "The research, published in separate medical journals this month, adds to a growing scientific consensus that the more time someone spends sitting, especially in front of the television, the shorter and less robust his or her life may be." [more inside]
posted by roger ackroyd on Oct 17, 2012 - 116 comments

Hold the Line. (War Isn't Always On Time.)"

Based on Robert Kennedy's book Thirteen Days, with a stunning cast and a riveting screenplay, broadcast a scant 12 years after the event... The Missiles of October. [more inside]
posted by timsteil on Oct 16, 2012 - 20 comments

Self-described as Classical MTV

Flipping through public access or PBS channels one might have seen Classic Arts Showcase with it's familiar ARTS bug. The 24-hour non-commercial free-to-air satellite channel broadcasts a repeated 8-hour mix of about 150 video clips weekly a mix of various classic arts including animation, architectural art, ballet, chamber, choral music, dance, folk art, museum art, musical theater, opera, orchestral, recital, solo instrumental, solo vocal, and theatrical play, as well as classic film and archival documentaries. The channel has no VJs and only silent interstitials encouraging the viewer to “...go out and feast from the buffet of arts available in your community.” [more inside]
posted by wcfields on Oct 16, 2012 - 7 comments

HBO's "In Treatment"

In Treatment was an HBO series that ran three seasons from 2008 through 2010. Adapated - often word-for-word - from the Israeli drama BeTipul, it depicted the weekly sessions of a psychologist (Emmy-nominated Gabriel Byrne) with his patients (including Debra Winger, Emmy-nominated Hope Davis, and, in her first American role, Mia Wasikowska) and with his own therapist (Emmy-winning Dianne Wiest). The filming of the series placed extraordinary demands on Byrne - which are well described in this interview with showrunner Warren Leight. (h/t: MCMikeNamara) You can watch its entire first episode here. (possible spoilers throughout)
posted by Egg Shen on Oct 15, 2012 - 24 comments

.

Alex Karras, N.F.L. Lineman and Actor, Dies at 77 [NYTimes] "Alex Karras was one of the National Football League‘s most feared defensive tackles throughout the 1960s, a player who hounded quarterbacks and bulled past opposing linemen. And yet, to many people he will always be known as an actor — the lovable father from the 1980s sitcom “Webster” or the big cowboy named Mongo who famously punched out a horse in “Blazing Saddles.”
posted by Fizz on Oct 10, 2012 - 59 comments

The Seventh Voyage of Ijon Tichy, by Stanislaw Lem

It was on a Monday, April second - I was cruising in the vicinity of Betelgeuse - when a meteor no larger than a lima bean pierced the hull, shattered the drive regulator and part of the rudder, as a result of which the rocket lost all maneuverability. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Oct 6, 2012 - 40 comments

These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. It's continuing mission, to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before.

Ronald D Moore talks about Star Trek: The Next Generation at 25
posted by Artw on Oct 1, 2012 - 129 comments

Time-shifters: you get one week

How To Stop Spoilers from Ruining TV for Everybody
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Sep 30, 2012 - 118 comments

♪ Where Everybody Knows Your Name! ♪

"Everybody Knows Their Names: The GQ Oral History of Cheers." (Single page version.) On the thirtieth anniversary of the premiere of Cheers, GQ "sat down with just about everyone who made it." Also, Christopher Lloyd, Amy Poehler and Shawn Ryan talk about what they learned from the show. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 27, 2012 - 145 comments

Our Huckleberry Friend

Popular US crooner Andy Williams, best known for singing the bittersweet "Moon River" (YouTube link), is dead at age 84. [more inside]
posted by Sidhedevil on Sep 26, 2012 - 52 comments

♪ Believe it or not! ♪

History Of [US] TV Theme Songs (slyt / Jimmy Fallon & "Guys With Kids" Cast)
posted by zarq on Sep 26, 2012 - 30 comments

Our home food dispenser broke and I had to wait 20 seconds at the check out counter, such inefficiency.

50 years of The Jestons and Why the show still matters. It was September 23, 1962 when ABC aired the first episode of The Jetsons. This was ABC's first color program and while it only lasted a single season, its impact, influence, and popularity is still felt today. Many of the predictions portrayed in the series are coming true.
posted by 2manyusernames on Sep 21, 2012 - 60 comments

Medicine Wheel / Wagon Wheel

In 2005, Steven Spielberg and Dreamworks produced a 6 episode miniseries that spanned the period of expansion of the United States into the American West, from 1825 to 1890. Through fictional and historical characters, the series used two primary symbols--the wagon wheel and the Lakota medicine wheel -- to join the story of two families: one Native American, one White settlers, as they witnessed many of the 19th century's pivotal historical milestones. The award-winning Into The West can now be seen in its entirety on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 20, 2012 - 12 comments

Cupcake Justice

Tonight, two new fall shows premiere: Mob Doctor, which is about a doctor who works for the mob, and Revolution, which is about a devastating global power outage and — more than that — a revolution. Neither of these shows particularly requires your attention, but taken together, they emphasize that essentially, all you need to make a show is the right combination of title-friendly words. In fact, if you take the correct 25 words, you can combine them (often in either order!) to create all the television we will see in the next ten years.
posted by malapropist on Sep 19, 2012 - 108 comments

New NBC Show "Revolution" is suspiciously similar to indie production "Powerless"

"Revolution" seems a little too much like "Powerless." Indie television proof-of-concept pilot "Powerless" is "about a trio who are in the woods when an unexplained and unexpected event causes electricity the world over to suddenly disappear." The pilot is submitted to a 2011 television festival where it is seen by studio executives. Then, "come February 2012, NBC picks up [a] mystery high concept pilot and reveals it's called 'Revolution' and the high concept is: An adventure series in a world suddenly and inexplicably without power." [more inside]
posted by Mo Nickels on Sep 18, 2012 - 150 comments

The Bionic Wiki

The Bionic Wiki is a collaborative project to create the most comprehensive information database for the Bionic universe as presented in the 1970's science-fiction, action-adventure series, The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Sep 17, 2012 - 43 comments

The New New Girl

"When it debuts this month, it will make [Mindy] Kaling one of the only women of color to be both the face of and the creative force behind a network TV show. Every detail of this set, not to mention every word of every script, has had to pass through Kaling’s brain and reflect her unique worldview as a self-described “chubby” 33-year-old Indian-American female comic by way of Cambridge, Massachusetts; Dartmouth College; and eight years as both a writer and a cast member on NBC’s The Office."
posted by vidur on Sep 16, 2012 - 51 comments

Copenhagen cool

American public transportation commercials? Boring. Belgian De Lijn commercials? Amusing. Danish? Exciting!
posted by fredludd on Sep 13, 2012 - 17 comments

Make good programmes

Armando Iannucci's Bafta lecture 2012 - In which the creator of The Thick Of It argues that the BBC should be more aggressive, fight back against critics in the press and goverment, be more like HBO than committee-driven American network TV, and that if as James Murdoch says the only reliable, durable guarantor of independence is profit then the only guarantor of profit is independance.
posted by Artw on Sep 12, 2012 - 41 comments

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