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Advantages of British Series

This article uses “seasons” when referring to American shows and “series” when talking about British shows. An American season is a British series.

With British programs becoming more popular in the United States, Americans are noticing more and more that a British show can run for 10 years, but only have 32 episodes. A show produced in the United States usually accomplishes that feat in a season and a half, which typically takes place over the course of 18 months. This occurs because British series, which an American would call seasons, range from 6 to 8 episodes; it’s not uncommon for shows to then go on a two year hiatus. American networks like to bang out as many episodes as possible as quick as possible because 100 episodes is the magic number for syndication. Neither system is bad, but the British way of making television has some distinct advantages.

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Doll & Em is Very Very British

Doll & Em is a lot like Hello Ladies. It’s quintessentially British, which somehow makes it really boring. In the case of Doll & Em, we’re watching two women navigate Hollywood. Everyone knows Hollywood is a strange place. Fiction likes to fill it with a bunch of self-absorbed jerks. So what happens when you take a town full of unlikable people and throw two more unlikable people into it? A very uncompelling show.

Dolly and Emily have an extremely close, but complicated relationship. When Dolly calls up Emily because she lost her job, Emily instantly hires Dolly to be her assistant. Since Emily appears to be a well-known actress, she is forced to go to Hollywood parties. After she comes home, she constantly complains about how terrible they are. You would think, by now, she would have found a way to get out of them. Secretly, Emily probably likes complaining about them because hanging around them makes it easier for her to ignore her own bad qualities. For example, Emily had no problem making out with a guy Dolly was interested in. The kicker: Emily has a husband, albeit one she never sees.

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Stop the American Remakes of British Shows

Every fall, a new TV show arises that millions of people are horrified that it has seen the light of day. The words “American remake” send terror through any anglophile’s heart the same way it does with “cancelled.” While everyone else is cowering in the corner watching some maniac serial killer movie marathon, we watch our beloved British TV shows being butchered by American hands. Which leave us all wondering: are any of these remakes really necessary?

I, like millions of other Americans, have no problem watching British television. British humor is known for being deadpan. Apparently, deadpan is synonymous with “incomprehensible” in the minds of network executives, which causes remakes to dumb down jokes so that Americans can understand them. Having to make jokes more obvious is part of the problem that American remakes fail. We don’t need to be pigeon holed as stupid.

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‘Doctor Who’: Where To Start

So, you’ve finally given into your curiosity and want to start watching Doctor Who. Who can blame you? All your nerdtastic friends are doing it. Not to mention, Doctor Who is arguably one of the most successful TV shows of all time and is nearing it’s 50th Anniversary! That’s nothing to turn your nose up at. But with all that success, and all those episodes, it can be quite daunting to figure out where to start. After all, there have been 11 doctors, 7 seasons since the 2005 reboot, and 26 seasons of Classic Doctor Who, which we won’t even touch in this. Overwhelmed yet? Don’t be. Lucky for you, you have options.

 Blink (Season 3 Episode 10) 

Fan favorite, “Blink,” written by the current show runner, Steven Moffat, is an excellent stand-alone episode if you want to sample the series before committing. It does not spoil any of the plot points for later viewing pleasure. The episode actually features hardly any of the Doctor at all, but manages to give an incredibly accurate depiction of who the Doctor is, how he is viewed by others including his companion, and the tone that the series eventually takes on. This fast pace and suspenseful episode features Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow in her whirlwind adventure to defeat the Weeping Angels.

If you end up liking this episode, I recommend then going back to Season 1, Episode 1, “Rose,”  and watching all the way through. The earlier episodes are great in all their campy glory, but it is definitely nice to know that the show gets better as time goes on, which makes the bad lighting more forgiving.

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Get ‘Spaced’

Before Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright made Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, they created the cult TV show Spaced. The show revolves around Tim and Daisy, played by Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes, who have to pretend to be a couple in order to live in a cheap flat. The two must keep up their faux relationship, while dealing with an alcoholic landlady and a bizarre artist neighbor, or else they will be kicked out of their apartment. In reality, the show is how to bridge that awkward period between being a teenager and an adult. It’s difficult to be an adult when you’re living in a pop-culture fantasy world with your friends, Twist and Mike.

What gave Spaced its cult status was its pop culture references. Some are obscure, like the homage to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that involves a fear of Mice Spiders. Some are more in your face, like The Shining, which includes creepy twins speaking in unison.  There are so many references that you will feel like you are included in their inside jokes. Don’t let this deter you though because the show is still hilarious if you don’t get any of the references. It’s one of those shows that you can watch over and over again and still find a reference that escaped you the first time.

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Doctor, Who Should Be the Next Doctor?

Despite being confirmed for the eighth series/season of Doctor Who, Matt Smith steps down as The Doctor. A lot of fans, like myself, are sad to see Smith go, but we are excited to see who is going to fill his gigantic shoes. (Not that I know Matt Smith’s shoe size, I’m saying it’s a big role) Since the announcement on June 1st, fans have been picking out their favorite actors to replace Smith. Big names such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, Rupert Grint (The Doctor would finally be ginger!), and Martin Freeman have been suggested to replace Matt Smith. Past stars of Doctor Who have also been mentioned: David Morrissey (Jackson Lake from “The Next Doctor”), Russell Tovey (Allons-y Alonso, anyone?), Olivia Colman (“Mother” from The Eleventh Hour), and even Billie Piper.

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Cool TV Video of the Day: British Kid’s Show with Not-So-Innocent Innuendo

Rainbow was a children’s show that aired on ITV from 1972 to 1992. It lasted 15 series/seasons for a total of over 1,000 episodes.

Of course, being part of a long running children’s show, the cast and crew felt the need to let loose once in a while. They probably didn’t expect was that their naughty Christmas tape sketch would go on to YouTube infamy.

Shows that Should Be Forgotten: Heil Honey I’m Home!

We know the very existence of this article invalidates its premise. 

If there are any television shows that should be forgotten, it’s shows that were cancelled after one episode. Some shows are a mistake from the get-go. A sitcom about Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun is one of them. Heil Honey I’m Home!, which was broadcast in 1990 by the ill-fated BSB’s defunct Galaxy channel, should not exist. Not because it’s in poor taste or offensive, but because it’s just an awful show.

Heil Honey I’m Home! is meant to be an ironic satire of 1950s sitcoms. The show was a British creation that revolved around Hitler and Braun arguing about getting along with their Jewish neighbors, the Goldensteins. The pilot has British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain coming over for dinner and Hitler wants to impress him without having the Goldensteins around. Braun suggests that getting along with the Goldensteins will give him a good reputation as a “Nice Guy Fuhrer.” Weird.

This is not poorly disguised anti-semitism. This is not bigotry. It’s solely about a curmudgeon who hates his neighbors. Complete with hackneyed punchlines, an obligatory laugh track and arbitrary applause after a character enters, this is a poorly excuted attempt of satire. The fact that Hitler was a character, complete with American accent no less, only made a bad show seem worse.

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Anglophiles Get Out Your Costco Cards

The Costco Connection has an article about some of the British television shows that are now available at Costco’s across the country. As Costco likes to say, not all of the titles are available in every warehouse. Also, this may not be a complete list.

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We Can’t Believe We Defended Piers Morgan

In “Howard Stern or Piers Morgan: Who’s Got Talent?”, Jeremy argued that Piers Morgan was entertaining on America’s Got Talent and made a decent judge. As an avid viewer of AGT, I agree that Piers Morgan did have his redeeming qualities. I actually would go as far as to say Piers is a better judge than Howard Stern, who appears to be making AGT “The Howard Show”. However, Jeremy and I both think we need to make it perfectly clear that while we like Piers, we in no way think he isn’t a scumbag.

Piers has been involved in several scandals in the United Kingdom, the most well known is the News Corp. hacking scandal. Before Americans knew him as a reality show judge, Brits already knew him as the unlikable editor of several tabloids, such as The Sun and The Daily Mirror, who was somehow redeemed by his friendship with Simon Cowell. To make up for defending Piers Morgan, here is a clip (starts at 4:30) of him getting slimed/gunged on Noel’s House Party.

Also, we would like to inform our British friends that we are well aware no one likes Noel Edmonds and have no idea why he’s still on television.

 

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