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"This Was Not A Show In Which Good Things Happened"

In the summer of 2000, the top executives in charge of the basic-cable network FX—which was mostly known for showing reruns of The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer—were eager to make a change. They believed that in order to be relevant, they needed to present audiences with an original, prime time scripted drama that would be so provocative it would completely alter the way the network was perceived. Good Cop, Bad Cop: An Oral History of The Shield
posted by Ghostride The Whip on Sep 10, 2013 - 70 comments

Our country is the whole world, and our law is liberty.

Accidental Death of An Anarchist is a 1983 television version of Belt & Braces Theatre Company's adaptation of Dario Fo's Morte accidentale di un anarchico, a satirical farce based on the real death in police custody of an Italian railway worker and and anarchist; featuring an entirely fictional Maniac invading a police station to expose police corruption and brutality. It contains more than traces of slapstick, Thatcher-era left-wing agitprop, terrible jokes, swearing, vigorous fourth-wall obliteration, great jokes, a fully-functional mock-up of a bomb (that is to say, a bomb), a musical number, a coffee break and a multiple-choice ending. Among other things. If you speak Italian, here is a presentation of an elderly Fo himself as the Maniac, for comparative purposes. If you don't speak Italian, you can still make the comparison, though somewhat less precisely. [more inside]
posted by Grangousier on Sep 4, 2013 - 5 comments

The scrupulous gadabout genius

David Frost - RIP [more inside]
posted by unliteral on Sep 2, 2013 - 26 comments

NO CATCHPHRASES

Good morning everyone, I've gathered you all here today because you're the best TV writers and we're going to write the greatest TV show of ALL TIME! [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Sep 2, 2013 - 28 comments

EGO·TIBERIVS·CLAVDIVS·CAESAR·​AVGVSTVS·GERMANICVS

The 1976 BBC drama I, Claudius, an adaptation of Robert Graves's novels I, Claudius and Claudius the God, which came out in 1934 and 1935, respectively, is on YouTube in its entirety. [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Aug 30, 2013 - 71 comments

The Woman Behind Walter White

Dr. Donna Nelson is the science advisor for Breaking Bad. After reading an interview where show creator Vince Gilligan said no one on the show's staff had a scientific background, she reached out to the Breaking Bad creator. The rest is history.
posted by reenum on Aug 29, 2013 - 33 comments

We Don't Joke About Such Things Here

The 1991 CBs made-for-TV movie adaptation of Shadow Of A Doubt and the 1943 Alfred Hitchcock version are based on the same source material and contain many of the same lines, beats, and scenes. So why is one considered a classic film noir and the other a flop? The Dissolve puts the two movies next to each other and tries to find out.
posted by The Whelk on Aug 29, 2013 - 15 comments

the bleep is a literal demonstration of First Amendment principles

"Curses! The birth of the bleep and modern American censorship" by Maria Bustillos
"The bleep of censorship invariably draws attention to the material it was intended to conceal; circles it, if you like, by loudly omitting it. Bleeping also serves as proof that there is a watcher: someone looking out for us in advance. In the bleep lies the evidence that you are being “protected” — but by whom? Why? And from what?"
posted by andoatnp on Aug 27, 2013 - 15 comments

Just give it to them, and collapsing mediums

Kevin Spacey urges TV channels to give control to viewers (SLYT)
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Aug 24, 2013 - 37 comments

Diamonds, Daisies, Snowflakes... New York!

Movin' On Up: A skewed history of New York City as depicted by the opening themes of 1970s TV shows
posted by scody on Aug 23, 2013 - 45 comments

The Divine Miss Spoon

From the nearly-forgotten 80s educational show Vegetable Soup, Woody the Spoon tells you how to make gohan, Japanese-style rice. If Woody's voice sounds a little familiar, it's because he's voiced by Bette Midler.
posted by JHarris on Aug 23, 2013 - 24 comments

“Live, from New York, it’s ‘Saturday Night’!”

The God of ‘SNL’ Will See You Now. "How do you please Lorne Michaels? Twenty-two ‘Saturday Night Live’ cast members – and one who came close – share tales of the audition that can make or break a career." Also, extended interviews with Kristin Wiig, Will Ferrel, Chevy Chase, Dana Carvey, Jimmy Fallon and Molly Shannon, on what it took to get hired for 'SNL.' Check out audition tapes from: Phil Hartman, Andy Kaufman, John Belushi, Jimmy Fallon, Dana Carvey: 1 & 2, and Dan Aykroyd. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 22, 2013 - 27 comments

Funny, he seemed like such a normal fellow... a little quiet...

Cyriak interviewed about taking inspiration from his cats, living in Brighton, making music videos, animated GIFs, and so on.
posted by ardgedee on Aug 22, 2013 - 9 comments

Lock them in separate rooms and do experiments on them

"Unlike most teen dramas, Buffy wasn’t a narrative about finding an identity; it was always about having a lot of them." Kim O'Connor for The Toast on Buffy Summers, growing up, identity, and how saving the world every week is a better model than just getting through high school.
posted by The Whelk on Aug 20, 2013 - 113 comments

Mad Men And Bad Men

What Batman can learn from Mad Men and The Sopranos
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on Aug 11, 2013 - 33 comments

Fight the future

The X-Files 20th anniversary reunion panel at San Diego Comic-Con (Youtube) (Podcast version here) (Summary and slideshow), featuring Chris Carter, Vince Gilligan, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Darin Morgan, Glen Morgan, Jim Wong, John Shiban, Howard Gordon and James Amann. sex scenes, a third movie and Home are discussed. The Lone Gunmen will return in Season 10. The Guardian picks 13 best X-Files episodes but somehow misses Jose Chung's From Outer Space.
posted by Artw on Aug 10, 2013 - 115 comments

Randolfe Wicker talks gay rights in 1972

Ask a Homosexual
posted by latkes on Aug 9, 2013 - 16 comments

Goodnight, Mr. Bunny Rabbit.

Cosmo Allegretti, who created and voiced puppet characters like Grandfather Clock and Dancing Bear on the children's television show "Captain Kangaroo," has died. He was 86. [more inside]
posted by pjern on Aug 8, 2013 - 31 comments

15 ways to waste your day online with Tim Holman

tholman.com is the playground and folio of interactive developer Tim Holman, where he has posted 15 different projects, both interactive (fizzy cam [info/demo]; ZenPen; Texter; and Image Nodes) and passive (Meet the Ipsums, more than 30 text generators, from corporate to batman; the useless web; dripping paint). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 7, 2013 - 8 comments

Coulda been an Asian Jim

Watch Famous Actors' Failed Auditions for 'The Office.' Watch Seth Rogen, John Cho, Eric Stonestreet, Adam Scott and other now successful actors on failed auditions for key office characters.
posted by sweetkid on Aug 7, 2013 - 29 comments

"I coulda played a great street urchin or ragamuffin. Or just been one."

Let's Go Apartment Hunting With 'Orange Is The New Black' Star Natasha Lyonne
posted by The Whelk on Aug 5, 2013 - 53 comments

The Last Vestiges of the Old Republic...

The Clone Wars (previously) are over, with only a few last mopping up operations underway and a few Jedi unaccounted for. But there is another... Star Wars Rebels will be the new Lucasfilm animated series, and will be taking it's design direction from the work of Ralph McQuarrie.
posted by Artw on Jul 28, 2013 - 30 comments

Awaken Human Nature and Perceive the Value of Life

For over five years, journalist and TV presenter Ding Yu headed up a  massively popular Chinese TV talk show. Every week, She would sit down with convicted murderers and interview them about their life and crimes, before they were taken out and put to death by either firing squad or lethal injection. The show, "Interviews Before Execution", was taken off the air in March 2012. [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Jul 24, 2013 - 18 comments

Our Contemplation of the Cosmos Stirs Us

Cosmos returns in the year 2014. "A Personal Journey" becomes "A Space-Time Odyssey". Presented by Neil deGrasse Tyson and produced by Seth MacFarlane, Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey will be aired on FOX and follow a similar format to the beloved Sagan classic, available here.
posted by 221bbs on Jul 22, 2013 - 58 comments

"Can you have it ready for this NFL season?"

The secret history of football's TV first down line.
posted by Chrysostom on Jul 19, 2013 - 28 comments

Under the Dumb

Ken Levine's network notes for Under The Dome, perhaps not the best example of Stephen King's TV work.
posted by Artw on Jul 17, 2013 - 165 comments

Big Bad Bag Boys

Last month, New York PBS affiliate WNET launched a subway ad campaign that promoted several fake but totally plausible reality shows, to poke fun at the state of Cable TV. To follow up on the successful campaign, yesterday, the network released 3 TV spots with a similar theme. (Kinda previously...)
posted by schmod on Jul 16, 2013 - 57 comments

World's Finest

DC has uploaded tons of DC Nation animated shorts to YouTube Including My Little Pony creator Lauren Faust's Super Best Friends Forever (previously). Not yet included: Robert Valley's super awesome 70s Wonder Woman.
posted by Artw on Jul 15, 2013 - 24 comments

Orange is the New Black

New Netflix original series "Orange is the New Black", based on a memoir by Piper Kerman about her year in a women's prison, and created by Jenji Kohan of Weeds, has been garnering heaps of critical praise. Plus, it's super gay. Of the show's "naïve yuppie" lead character, Jenji Kohan says "I don't think I could have sold a show about black and Latina and old women in prison, you know? But if I had the girl-next-door coming in as my fish out of water, I can draw a certain audience in through her that can identify with her, and then I can tell all of these stories once she's in, once we've signed onto this journey. She's just a great entry point for a lot of people."
posted by showbiz_liz on Jul 15, 2013 - 183 comments

How does it feel to be 100?

A New York woman turned 100 recently and she only has one thing on her mind. (NSFW)
posted by gman on Jul 8, 2013 - 54 comments

They're Hip. They're Young. They're 32 years Old!

While it's widely known that US television likes to hire actors in thier 20s to play characters in thier teens, have you ever wondered what actors playing teenagers actually looked like as teenagers? Actual Teen Vs Adult Teen has you covered.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 8, 2013 - 78 comments

And now for something completely animated

All of Terry Gilliam's animation bits from Monty Python's Flying Circus: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 (SLYT, NSFW)
posted by Room 641-A on Jun 22, 2013 - 31 comments

Small-Town Maiden Aunt Chic

People who are dressed like Jackie from Roseanne.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 14, 2013 - 98 comments

"First you get me turned into a virgin. And then you cockblock me."

TV REWIND! You're watching Supernatural, late season 3. (Welcome back! Spoiler alert!) Demon hunter Dean Winchester has sold his soul to a demon to resurrect his brother Sam, a deal that Sam is determined to break before Dean's payment is due.
"A hunt for a dragon in New York City ends with some unexpected changes for Sam and Dean. With the clock ticking down on Dean's deal, can the brothers pull together to save the city?"
You're now watching The Other Side, a 25-minute Supernatural fan film created as a volunteer labor of fan love. Written by novelist Naomi Novik, The Other Side is the first episode in a series exploring how fannish tropes, a tricksy dragon, gender issues, and a teeny tiny film budget could have sent Sam and Dean's story in a very different direction. [more inside]
posted by nicebookrack on Jun 12, 2013 - 65 comments

Sadly, there is no information on "A Fish Called Wanda".

No Animals Were Harmed is the Film and Television unit of the American Humane Association. Their website provides details on the different kinds of certifications films and television shows earn and how they go about earning it. You can browse recent films (such as Life of Pi and Django Unchained) or page through their archive (which includes everything from Fellowship of the Ring to Rushmore to… (cough)Apocalypse Now).
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jun 12, 2013 - 37 comments

Televisions Suuuuucks! BROADWAY FOREVER!

Broadway stars Andrew Rannells (of the now-cancelled TV show The New Normal), Megan Hilty (of the now-cancelled TV show Smash), and Laura Benanti (of the now-cancelled Go On AND The Playboy Club) join host Neil Patrick Harris at the 2013 Tony Awards to sing the joys and heartaches of Broadway-actors hiting the small screen. [more inside]
posted by ThePinkSuperhero on Jun 10, 2013 - 60 comments

John Oliver: "The most formative comedy of my teenage years."

There was no wink and they never sold it out for these half-hour, densely, beautifully produced pieces, which is, for all possibilities, obscuring that this doesn’t at all sound like a comedy show. It is all the production elements you would use in a full-scale news production. All the gravitas, but just inflated to a point that it has no gravitas whatsoever. And I think that is where it became this excitingly subversive thing because it just showed that BBC Radio 4 and everything it stood for was just a big bag of shit.
John Oliver on why he's a fan of On the Hour. On the Hour, of course, is the legendary BBC news radio program created by, among other people, Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It, In The Loop, Veep), Christopher Morris (Jam, Brass Eye, Four Lions, Why Bother?), Stewart Lee (41st best stand-up comic ever), and Steve Coogan (Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge, I'm Alan Partridge). Short-lived but influential, On the Hour mimicked the tone and production of other radio news shows but replaced the content with what Oliver describes as "unremitting bullshit". On the Hour was aired in two six-episode series (S1E1 S1E2 S1E3 S1E4 S1E5 S1E6; S2E1 S2E2 S2E3 S2E4 S2E5 S2E6), and begat a television series called The Day Today. That show in turn added Graham Linehan (Black Books, Father Ted, The IT Crowd) to On the Hour's already all-star lineup, upped the already-insane levels of overproduction, and ran for six short-but-glorious episodes (one two three four five (WAR!) six), as well as a special 9/11 radio report. [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich on Jun 10, 2013 - 64 comments

Sea Hunt is Not on the List

The Writers Guild of America has posted a list of the top 100 best written TV shows of all time. "Mendelsohn admits he's disappointed that there aren't more shows created by women or people of color on the list. "That speaks to a broader problem in the industry than to the list itself," he says. But as barriers continue to be broken in the industry, future lists will hopefully begin to rectify that."
posted by Xurando on Jun 3, 2013 - 211 comments

The First Rule of Clone Club Is...

On Saturday, the premiere season of BBC America's Orphan Black finished up its first ten-episode run. The show has garnered praise and buzz for lead actress and relative unknown Tatiana Maslany: "There's no better special effect on television right now than Tatiana Maslany playing a variety of clones." [more inside]
posted by yasaman on Jun 3, 2013 - 89 comments

Imagine "Thunderbirds" with people instead of puppets

UFO is a 1970 British science fiction television series about a secret military organization which defends the Earth from Alien invaders. The series was created by Gerry & Sylvia Anderson, who previously created the "Supermarionation" puppet TV series in the 1960's (Thunderbirds, Fireball XL-5), and would later create Space: 1999. The production is highly stylized, from the cars, hair styles, and future fashions to Ebert-worthy parties of the future, mesh space shirts and groovy theme music. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on May 31, 2013 - 44 comments

The year is 2013. The name of the place: Phoenix Comicon

It's been 20 years since ground-breaking, TV-defining science fiction TV show Babylon 5 debuted. Join Phoenix Comicon in celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Babylon 5 with creator J. Michael Straczynski and 14 of of the surviving Babylon 5 actors. Part 1. Part 2. Learn secrets such as why Michael O'Hare really left Babylon 5. [more inside]
posted by Mezentian on May 30, 2013 - 32 comments

More inspirational than Bill Cosby

Joss Whedon speaks at Wesleyan commencement
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on May 29, 2013 - 41 comments

Producers know what's acceptable. Everyone fears a call from Roger Ailes

"I was a liberal mole at Fox News": Joe Muto explains how Fox News works on the inside and outlines how a day on The O'Reilly Factor works.
posted by Pope Guilty on May 29, 2013 - 39 comments

A New Start

"Arrested Development's fourth season is triumphant when it's not completely falling apart." That seems to be the critical consensus, which sees the season as ambitious but flawed—a "hot mess", if you will. The American Prospectcompares Season 4 to the housing crisis; Daniel Fienberg simply calls the season's length "exhausting". But how has binge watching affected the critical response? Showrunner Mitch Hurwitz asked viewers not to watch the whole season in one glut: "[Y]ou can’t really laugh the whole time. You have to take a break. There’s so much material." Some critics agree with Hurwitz; others argue that this season is "essentially a 7-1/2 hour long episode" and that binge watching is the only way to appreciate the new show. (Sadly, Hurwitz's original plan—to have the new episodes be watchable in any order—fell through.)
posted by Rory Marinich on May 28, 2013 - 369 comments

CALL 1-800-HELLO NASTY

If you were watching late-night television in July 1998 you may have seen the half-hour informercial parody that the Beastie Boys produced to promote their upcoming album, Hello Nasty. The ad features Mike D, MCA , and Ad-Rock taking on roles to shill everything from the services of phone psychics to get-rich-quick scams to a food processor that plays songs from the upcoming LP. (Warning: video auto-loads.) [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on May 22, 2013 - 8 comments

Frolicking Through Farmer's Markets Is Extra

Somtimes a guy just wants a curiously asexual sprite to whimsicaly break the chains of his workaday world for an hour or so - cue the Manic Pixie Prostitute!
posted by The Whelk on May 18, 2013 - 64 comments

Her?

The longest-delayed reveal in television history has been unveiled: I give to you: the mother from How I Met Your Mother. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on May 15, 2013 - 198 comments

It's not a trick, it's an interactive visualization

Recurring Developments: An interactive visualization of running jokes in Arrested Development
posted by DevilsAdvocate on May 14, 2013 - 88 comments

reeks too much of "space pirate" or similar bad science fiction

How do you solicit freelance scripts for a science fiction television series that breaks the mold? You create a comprehensive guide to writing an episode of Star Trek. [more inside]
posted by Sara C. on May 14, 2013 - 189 comments

"The story of Grizzly Adams is big and powerful. Beautiful!"

"Now, my friend Adams was accused of a crime he didn't commit, so he escaped into the mountains, leaving behind the only life that he ever knew." In 1977, three years after the popular movie The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams introduced the story of John "Grizzly" Adams to the public, a TV show of the same name premiered. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 8, 2013 - 45 comments

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