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TV - John C. Kirk

Aug. 12th, 2007

05:28 pm - TV

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I've recently started watching My Name is Earl. (This is shown on Channel 4 at 10pm on Thursdays, so it conveniently starts just after House finishes on Five.) I saw an advert for this in one of my comics a while back, which had a list of activities. I initially thought that this was one of those "100 things to do before you die" lists, and I was put off because so many of them seemed malicious, e.g. "Kicked cat trying to see if it would land on its feet". However, it turned out to be a bit different: the idea is that it's all about karma, and the lead character is trying to make amends for his past misdeeds. I like that idea, and the episodes have all been funny so far; I started part-way through season 2 (I've just put season 1 on my Amazon DVD rental list), but each episode basically stands alone, so you can just start with the latest one.

Season 1 of Heroes has now finished on the SciFi channel, and just started on BBC2; I was a bit dubious about it at first, but I stuck with it because other people had recommended it, and I think it got better as it went along. Mind you, without going into spoilers I will just say that lots of the ideas aren't as original as you might think, i.e. they've previously appeared in superhero comics.

Speaking of comics, I must recommend this review of Wolverine #55, since it gleefully rips apart the story. ("This is America, goddamit, and if our children leave school knowing what a cat is, they've been reading too many books and playing too little football.")

More generally, this site is very interesting:
http://tvtropes.org/
It's a collection of "tropes": these aren't the same as cliches, but they are themes which often occur in stories. If you're a Buffy fan, Spikeification might be a good article to start out with; I came across the site when I read the epileptic trees theory for a subplot in Lost. However, be warned that you could easily get sucked in and spend hours following links when you should be sleeping...

This isn't a TV program, but it's a great YouTube video:
Battle at Kruger
It's fairly long (over 8 minutes), but it's worth watching the whole thing; how often do you get to see a three-way fight between lions, buffalo, and crocodiles? It does amuse me that the person who filmed this was just a tourist on holiday rather than a professional naturalist: definitely in the right place at the right time!

Of course, where you get TV programs you can also expect to find adverts. Intel are now offering security advice in the form of music videos: "Everything Has Changed" and "Set I.T. Managers Free". These contrast software and hardware with a combination of soft ballads and hard rock; they're quite funny, and I'm probably the target audience, but it's not really going to affect my purchasing decisions. Meanwhile, ShatteredWindows.com have done a set of adverts about Real Technology Heroes (parodies of the Budweiser Light "Real Men of Genius" adverts from a few years ago). I particularly liked "Mr. Side Task Bar User": "You dare to be different ... because you don't know how to fix it!" I've encountered issues like this at work, so again I'm probably the target audience for these videos.

And finally, the DooDah News Ticker is quite fun:

The idea is that you can sing each headline with the words "doo dah, doo dah" afterwards. E.g. "Royal Mail goes on strike, doo dah, doo dah, Tony Blair begins new job, doo dah doo dah day." The only snag with the ticker is that it picks headlines automatically, so in some cases it feels inappropriate to sing them like this.

Comments:

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From:rjw1
Date:August 12th, 2007 04:45 pm (UTC)
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my name is earl is possibly Scientology propaganda
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[User Picture]
From:johnckirk
Date:August 12th, 2007 05:45 pm (UTC)
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Hmm, I hadn't noticed any signs of that, but I've found a Guardian article which expands on that theory. It doesn't really bother me if they are doing it, since I think it's fairly common for writers to do stories which reflect their own philosophical views. In fact, one of the criticisms that I've heard people make of Scientology is that you have to pay lots of money to find out the big secrets, so presumably they'll either stick to the basics or they'll counter that claim by going into more detail.
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[User Picture]
From:sulkyblue
Date:August 13th, 2007 11:38 am (UTC)
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I'm now losing time to tvtropes.org, and getting funny looks from office mates when I keep laughing. I particularly liked:

" Large Ham: Ridiculously larger-than-life character, often a mentor to one of the regulars... See BRIANBLESSED, William Shatner.
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