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Analysis

Aug 15, 2013

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The colourful world of Adventure Time.

An article in the archives of The Atlantic, dated August 1st 1969, bears the title, ‘What’s Good About Children’s TV’. Its author, Norman S. Morris, assesses the state and value of children’s television at the time, discussing Mister Rogers, The Friendly Giant, and prognosticates the impact of the Children’s Television Workshop (CTW), established one year before in 1968. The CTW, of course, is now known as Sesame Workshop thanks to the recognition afforded to it by the show it was founded to produce, Sesame Street.

For those of us who have grown up with television, which by now is most people, it’s difficult not to feel nostalgic for the programming of our youth. Programming from Scooby Doo, Where Are You!, which began in 1968, to Tom and Jerry (which made its TV debut in 1965 after winning 7 Animated Short Film Oscars as theatrical cartoons beginning in 1940), to the aforementioned Sesame Street, all shows whose ubiquity has allowed them to remain a cultural touchstone for millions of people worldwide.

Continue reading “Cartoon and a comedian: how Adventure Time and Louie are revolutionising TV storytelling for different generations”

Analysis

Jul 4, 2013

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Byron: So I think we can agree that Wednesday Night Fever tanked, right?

Laurence: It’s pretty terrible. To be fair — and this might prove to be generous — but it’s worth consideration that they rewrote at least some of it after the leadership spill last week.

Continue reading Wednesday Night Fever’s premiere was slipshod, witless, and dated”

Analysis

Apr 21, 2013

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Kevin Spacey failing to properly apply nail polish in House of Cards.

One of the reasons The Simpsons will prove to be, in this writer’s haughty, look-at-me-I’m-a-TV-blogger opinion, television’s greatest achievement is because it’s almost impossibly enduring. Those classic seasons just don’t age; even a generally under-appreciated episode like “A Streetcar Named Marge” only increases in stature the more I revisit it (if you don’t cackle hysterically at this The Birds reference at The Ayn Rand School for Tots — genius in itself — then I can nought but pity you).

The reason I mention The Simpsons is because of how progressively it became so brilliant and iconic. It started as brief little sketches on The Tracey Ullman Show, blustered through a good but uneven first season before finding its feet in its second, and now it’s probably the most oft-quoted body of work since Zombie Shakespeare wrote a bunch of plays. Even its increasing detachment from the original characters and persistent refusal to die can’t sully its legacy. But if you turn the clock back, even at its peak the show struggled to please everyone — thankfully, those dissenters’ ridiculous opinions on an episode like “Itchy & Scratchy Land” live on in the internet’s memory.

Continue reading House of Cards indeed: does the ‘Netflix model’ diminish television as art?”

TV shorts

Apr 3, 2013

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Jerry Seinfeld
Jerry Seinfeld

Ever wondered why Seinfeld‘s not on the iTunes store? Basically, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David don’t need your money. It’s just been signed into syndication for a fifth time.

Keri Russell wigging out in The Americans

FX’s superlative cold war espionage drama The Americans isn’t just Felicity and that guy from Brothers and Sisters brandishing guns, it’s the biggest wigfest since Alias. Vulture has a disturbingly comprehensive slideshow of all the wigs worn on the show so far.

The cast of Channel 4's Misfits

The UK’s Channel 4 has renewed Misfits, Howard Overman’s wildly successful and then not-so-successful ASBO-kids-with-superpowers drama for a fifth and final season.

And over at CollegeHumor, a brilliant supercut of every video game ever mentioned on The Simpsons: