Ten years ago today, Cartoon Network aired a very special episode of The Powerpuff Girls. Though nominally a harmless kids series about three adorable kindergarten superheroes, creator Craig McCracken attracted an unexpectedly diverse audience (50% male, 25% adult) by sneaking in a surprising amount of violence and adult in-jokes -- and on that last point, this particular episode was king. Broadcast on the 37th anniversary of their debut on the Ed Sullivan Show, "Meet the Beat-Alls" was an extended and sophisticated metaphor for the rise and fall of The Beatles, cramming more than forty song references and dozens of visual jokes into only ten minutes of animated allegory. Catch the original episode here or read the transcript, but for the full effect, watch this remarkable YouTube mash-up that splices the referenced song clips directly into the audio track and plasters the screen with helpful annotations. Want more PPG goodness? You can start with the special "Powerpuff Girls Rule!!!" (part 2), a sly, hyperkinetic celebration of the show's tenth anniversary directed by McCracken himself that features every character (and totally subverts an important one). But as far as weirdness goes, it's hard to top Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi, a long-running fan-made webcomic which stars the trio alongside Dexter, Samurai Jack, Invader Zim, and tons of other network icons in an unusually dark manga adventure. Oh, and don't forget your plate of beans.
Tom Schiller is best known for his work on NBC's Saturday Night Live, particularly for his filmed "Schiller's Reels" and "Schillervision" segments from 1975 through 1990. Examples [mouseover for more details on each]: [ Don't Look Back in Anger • Java Junkie • Falling in Love • The Land Before Television • Swedish TV One investigates Hidden Camera Commercials: What Are They Hiding? • Broadway Story • Search For Akasa ] [more inside]
Louis CK is a pretty funny guy. While the Boston comic hasn't fared well in scripted formats -- projects like The Dana Carvey Show, Pootie Tang, and Lucky Louie were all commercial flops -- his stand-up is quite popular, and his new series Louie (premiering tonight on FX) looks like a winner -- and just in time, too. But that's something you'd need a TV to know about. Luckily, the guy's a big hit on YouTube, and has even added some of his own homemade content to the mix. Click inside for a collection of some of his best (and most NSFW) routines. [more inside]
Gallery 1988's Twilight Zone Exhibit. The Twilight Zone was mostly well written, directed, and acted. It continues to inspire with a nice collection of art at Gallery 1988. It's also a record of whose who in television and cinema, with famously, William Shatner, Burgess Meredith, Carol Burnett, Buster Keaton, Dennis Hopper, Martin Landau, and many, many, more. Inspiration continues with repeats on television and a rumoured Blu-ray release in September 2010.
On the cusp of the long-awaited series finale of Lost, people are understandably confused. Fortunately there are plenty of ways to catch up, from the fan compendium Lostpedia to the 2-hour ABC recap tonight at 7:00 EST to YouTube summaries of Seasons 1-5 from ABC (in 8:15) and from costumed fans (in five minutes). As for longtime fans, why not reminisce by revisiting the show's infamous bookends -- the artfully inscrutable scenes which introduce or conclude each season? Look inside for these and more, along with a cavalcade of interesting fan videos and other fun stuff. [Warning: Spoilers (for everything but the series finale) inside] [more inside]
In its January 13, 2010 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the public broadcast of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a U.S. District Court case challenging the constitutional validity of California's Proposition 8, despite the ruling of Judge Vaughn Walker. Working directly from court transcripts and first-hand accounts from bloggers who have been present at the trial, marriagetrial.com is re-enacting the trial, to provide a "non-biased, objective presentation" of the case for public benefit.
After David Letterman signs off and the Worldwide Pants production logo fades, viewing audiences are oftentimes treated to a cold open of an empty talk show set... one that quickly becomes the impromptu dance floor for a shameless Scot making an absolute giddy fool of himself while lip-syncing pop songs alongside a menagerie of puppets (and a couple of scantily-costumed stagehands). Now on YouTube for your viewing pleasure, the complete collection of Craig Ferguson's Late Late Show musical numbers: "Say Hey (I Love You)" by Michael Franti and Spearhead - "White Lines" by Duran Duran - "Wonderful Night" by Fatboy Slim - "Istanbul" by They Might Be Giants - "Oops!...I Did It Again" by Britney Spears - "MMMBop" by Hanson - "In the Navy" by Village People - "Fireball" by Don Spencer - "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz - "The Lonely Goatherd" from The Sound of Music - "She Taught Me How To Yodel" by Frank Ifield - "Fire" by The Prodigy - "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" [more inside]
The 27 Best (Non-Super Bowl) Commercials of the 2000s: Balls [Bravia] - Birthday [Got Milk?] - Bubble Boy [Volkswagen] - Bus Station [Starburst] - Carousel [Phillips] - Cog [Honda] - Dangerously Low [Levi's] - Diorama [Halo 3] - Evolution [Dove] - Freestyle [Nike] - Gorilla [Cadbury] - Grrr [Honda] - Hello Tomorrow [Adidas] - Lamp [IKEA] - Like [Volkswagen] - Mountain [Playstation] - Noitulove [Guinness] - Odyssey [Levi's] - Rabbit [Comcast] - Sheet Metal [Saturn] - Stork [Monster] - Swear Jar [Bud Light] - Tag [Nike] - Tea Partay [Smirnoff] - Touch [Skittles] - Wedding Toast [Budweiser] - Yes We Can [Dipdive]. Part of Adweek's "Best of the 2000s" competition, which also includes rundowns of the 22 Best Super Bowl Spots and the 15 Best Print Campaigns of the last decade, among many other voting categories.
"Long thought to be lost or destroyed, this complete recording of one of the few hour long interviews of Alfred Hitchcock has been found." [more inside]
Even if you don't know Joe Raposo's name, you probably have heard his music. Throughout the 1970's and 1980's, Joe was the main composer of songs and incidental music for the children's television shows Sesame Street and The Electric Company. In this role, he wrote some of today's standards while also imprinting his musical stylings on the consciousness of a generation of children worldwide. In the second half of this post, you will find a curation of youtube-links leading to a good chunk of Joe Raposo's oeuvre -- all gems, mostly under two minutes each. Sing along if you know the words! [more inside]
Andy Richter destroys Wolf Blitzer in Celebrity Jeopardy (twice, if you count the rehearsal show). Of course, Richter is no stranger to the game.
Persuasion: Why men in ads are dumb, goofy or completely inept. Several YT commercials and a thoughtful essay.
The 1961 interview begins, "About four days ago, a plane landed at Idyllewild airport. The plane came from the Middle East bearing a man who claims to be 2000 years old. He's spent the last six days at the Mayo Clinic." The interviewer then goes on to pick the brain of the world's oldest man. [part 2, part 3, animated in 1975] This is considered by many to be one of the funniest comedy routines of all time -- Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks performing The 2000 Year Old Man. [ A 1961 TV clip of 2KYOM • Another • Similar, only it's an accountant instead of an old man • Origins of the words "cheese" and "egg" • Interview with Reiner & Brooks, late 1990's; Part 2 • Similar, only with Charlie Rose as the interviewer ]
While Adult Swim is generally regarded as the pioneer of irreverent short-form animation -- especially for 'toons that reimagine past hits -- it wasn't always the king. In fact, the late-night programming block arguably found its birth in a series of short toons and interstitials that ran in the heyday of its daytime alter ego, the venerable Cartoon Network. The brainchild of C.N. Creative Director Michael Ouweleen and Hanna-Barbera chief Fred Seibert, these cartoons reinterpreted the network's properties through stock footage, indie music, and original animation in a wide variety of styles, as well as introducing prototypes of characters that would become some of the most famous in the history of American animation. (warning: monster post inside) [more inside]
80s era holiday television complete with antenna, TV guide, and remote.
"Wally Ballou here, reporting for the Matinob with Ray and Bob from the World Wide Internets..." Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding are better known as Bob and Ray. Spending over four decades on the radio, television, print, and Broadway, beginning in Boston in 1946, they pioneered absurdist, satirical, dry, improvisational sketch comedy, influencing a legion of future comics (and others). The duo was inducted into the NAB Hall of Fame in 1984. They last appeared on the radio in NPR's "The Bob and Ray Public Radio Show" from 1982-1987. [more inside]
The Kneale Tapes (1, 2, 3, 4) documentary about British science fiction screenwriter Nigel Kneale. [more inside]
WireFilter: David Simon speaks at USC Law on journalism and The Wire. (Youtube - 1:22:50; a few mic/sound problems in the first few minutes)
When reality bites, it leaves deep scars... behind the scenes of The Jeremy Kyle Show. 'One-Night Stand On CCTV!' 1, 2, 3 - the episode mentioned in the article. Brooker on Kyle. Dead Ringers sketch.
"Every idea I ever had is based on the fact that it's 2:30 and there's a production meeting at 3:00."
In the introduction to his close friend's "Best of" DVD, Jack Lemmon says, "Ernie Kovacs was the funniest, wildest, zaniest man I ever knew. Ernie thought so, too, and so did millions of happy people. Ernie was all over television on one network or another from 1950 until he died in 1962. He had an unpredictable and illogical view of the world. He played with the medium of television in a way no one ever had before. And he created a batch of cockeyed characters that have become classics. So, slow down your internal clock; it was a more leisurely time, you know. Here's Ernie Kovacs." [more inside]
In Bed With Chris Needham (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) A BBC video-diary documentary from 1991 depicting the trails and tribulations of a teenage metal fan as he tries to knock his band, Manslaughter, into shape for its first gig, with many digressions into his philosophy of life along the way. Some NSFW swearing. [more inside]
A Day In The Afterlife of Philip K Dick - An Arena documentary first broadcast by the BBC in 1994 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
The Black and White Minstrel Show was a (very cheesy) British variety series that ran Saturday nights on the BBC for twenty years. Hard to believe that it was still on the air as late as 1978. A live show, "Memories of the Minstrels ," toured the UK to packed houses in 2004 and 2005. The show was performed white-faced and featured the stars, medley's and costumes from the original TV series. Previously. [more inside]
First it was Blake's 7, now another Terry Nation cult classic sf television programme is to return. The BBC have announced they are remaking Survivors. Telling the story of the survivors of a plague that wipes out most of Britain, the original was famed for its gritty and somewhat controversial story-telling.
"It's constituency was the drunk, unemployed insomniac, student, loners that understood my passion for the minutia of television."
The classic post-pub television program of the nineties, In Bed With Medinner had a simple format - Bob Mills would present and comment on clips from the many documentaries he had made over the years. [more inside]
From The Adventures of Twizzle to the reboot of Captain Scarlet - for nearly fifty years - Gerry Anderson made television shows, but is still best remembered for the classic 'Supermarionation' period were, as this documentary shows (1, 2, 3, 4) he really was making the 21st century. [more inside]
Blake's Back! British science fiction classic Blakes 7 is getting the Battlestar Galactica treatment. [more inside]
Growing up in 70s and 80s Britain you were exposed to some rather disturbing Public Information Films on the television. But that was nothing... [more inside]
I'm baffled why these science fiction tv pilots never made it to series... especially Leonard Nimoy's Baffled!.
One rather strange minor cultural phenomena you experienced as a kid growing up in 60s and 70s Britain was a number of television programs that originated from beyond the Iron Curtain. Most infamous was the downright scary The Singing Ringing Tree from East Germany (Radio4 doc), later spoofed by the Fast Show but there were several others... [more inside]
Punk Guitar Heroes - Television's Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd Television, and its guitar pas de deux between Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd, fit into the punk scene only because they are the ones basically responsible for CBGB becoming a punk rock club. Verlaine convinced Hilly Kristal to let them practice there and play shows, and the rest is history. [more inside]
Laugh tracks making things funny: Friday the 13th | The L Word | Mitt Romney | Star Trek | The Wire | FOX News
"Hello, and welcome to Mainly For Men (part 1, part 2). And, as the title implies, this is a programme, fellas, just for you." Yes, everything the BBC thought the red-blooded male back in the late 1960s would be interested in (ie women, cars and shark fishing). The result was so hideous it was never broadcast until a TV Hell themed night many years later. Possibly NSFW... some brief nudity ('artistic', naturally) and mild swearing. And rampant mind-blowing sexism.
The year 1964 was a watershed period in British music. Before that year, British popular music was barely heard outside of the U.K. But when the Beatles achieved American success, a seemingly endless number of British bands and singers were suddenly able to crack the American market.The features opens with footage from a November, 1963 Beatles concert in Manchester - She Loves You [more inside]
By the end of 1964, some enterprising filmmakers decided to create a cinematic year-in-review to highlight this new wave of British music talent. The result was “Pop Gear,” a strange but jolly little production that serves as a celluloid time capsule for that remarkable musical year.
Ronnie Hazlehurst RIP. Who? Well if you've seen any of the BBC's sitcoms and light entertainment programmes from the 70s onwards, you would have probably heard his work... [more inside]
So, it seems like (almost) everyone is watching Heroes. But if you want more, Heroes doesn't have to just a hour of screen time a week. The weekly 'graphic novels' offer backstory [PDF] to familiar faces, fill in plot holes [PDF] and introduce* [PDF*] new characters, they've even continued during the haitus. But Heroes' impressive online presence encompasses more than just comics... Spoilers for S1 throughout, mild spoilers for S2 (casting, new characters, some plot), I've asterisked the most spoilery. [more inside]
Sunday Night, later named Michelob Presents Night Music, was an NBC late-night television show hosted by Jools Holland and David Sanborn which aired for two seasons between 1988 and 1990 as a showcase for jazz and eclectic musical artists. [YouTubeFilter, via] [more inside]
In The Night Garden [Danger - lots of Flash and YouTube] is your new favourite TV show (if you're under 4). Meet Igglepiggle, Makka Pakka, Upsy Daisy, The Pontipines, The Tombliboos, The Haahoos, The Ninky Nonk and The Pinky Ponk. Brought to you by the creators (previously) of the Teletubbies. Wikipedia link for the confused. Oh, and the great Sir Derek Jacobi narrates. [more inside]
James Burke does Youtube. A very conscientious fan has begun creating a wonderful collection of two of James Burke's shows on youtube. There are many episodes up and more to come of both Connections and The Day The Universe Changed. Catch them while you can.
Charles Nelson Reilly (1931-2007) If, in 1940, you had a lobotomized aunt, an institutionalized father, a racist mother, and were the only gay kid on the block, what do you think the odds would be that you'd end up a Tony winner, a staple of television, and a generational icon? (contains YouTube links)
TV in Japan. A hyper representation of what airs, or has aired on Japanese TV. Ranging from action packed to truly awesome (and from monkeys to ninjas), set your eyes to "dazzled" and brain to "frazzled".