Category Archives: Television

Bonanza

On this day In  1959 – Bonanza premieres in the USA, the first regularly scheduled TV program presented in color.

On 1 June 1960 TV started in NZ.

Broadcast from Shortland St in central Auckland, New Zealand’s first official television transmission began at 7.30 p.m. The first night’s broadcast lasted just three hours and was only available to viewers in Auckland. It included an episode of The Adventures of Robin Hood, a live interview with a visiting British ballerina and a performance by the Howard Morrison Quartet.

In February 1966 the average price of a 23-inch black and white television ‘consolette’ was £131, equivalent to nearly $5000 today.

On Wednesday 31 October 1973, colour television using the Phase Alternating Line (PAL) system was introduced, in readiness for the 1974 British Commonwealth Games, which were to be held in Christchurch in January and February 1974. The final switchover for colour television was in December 1975.

Better Us

Better than Us (In Russian it is called ‘Better than Humans’) is a Russian science fiction television series created by Andrey Junkovsky.

The series was purchased by Netflix, and is the first Russian series presented as a Netflix Original. On August 16, 2019, the first season was available to stream on Netflix markets outside of Russia and China.

 

Final Space

Final Space is a space opera comedy-drama television series created by Olan Rogers for TBS and Cartoon Network’s late night programming block Adult Swim.

The series involves an astronaut named Gary Goodspeed and his alien friend, Mooncake, and focuses on their intergalactic adventures as they try to solve the mystery of “Final Space”.

For an animated cartoon style show, this has surprising depth of story and fun characters. The premise even has a reasonable scifi idea. The only thing that really falls short is the badder-than-bad villain.  But it turns out than even he has a surprising origins story.

Review

 

Archer #1

Archer is an American adult animated sitcom created by Adam Reed.

It follows the exploits of the title character (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin), a dysfunctional, irreverent secret agent and seven of his colleagues—domineering boss/mother Malory Archer (Jessica Walter), professional Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler), mild-mannered Cyril Figgis (Chris Parnell), delusional, psychotic Cheryl Tunt (Judy Greer), gossipy Pam Poovey (Amber Nash), openly gay Ray Gillette (Adam Reed) and bizarre, mysterious Dr. Algernop Krieger (Lucky Yates).


It’s fun to laugh at stupid people. And that’s all there are here. Supposedly a secret agent company, ISIS personnel spend more time on their personal issues than the ‘bad’ guys.

Very biting  satire at times, but mainly bad taste jokes about the characters.

Aisha Tyler was the host of ‘Who’s Line is it Anyway’ after Drew Carey.


Hacked

The Great Hack

Is not about a hack. It follows the story of Cambridge Analytica, it’s involvement in the Brexit vote and the American 2016 election.

It focuses on Brittany Kaiser, who was employed by CA at the time. She appears to have had a change of heart as she comes around to talking to UK & USA governments.

An interesting documentary for those interested in media history, but it could have done with more technical background, and less of Brittany floating in her pool.

Future Man

Future Man is an American comedy web television series that premiered on November 14, 2017. The series follows an underachieving janitor who is called upon to save the world. It stars Josh Hutcherson, Eliza Coupe, Derek Wilson, Ed Begley, Jr., Glenne Headly, and Haley Joel Osment and is executive produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.


It seems like a winning premise. Slacker guy, expert at a computer game gets visited by characters from the game. They take him to the past (1969) to ‘fix’ the future. It’s ‘The Last Starfighter’ mixed with “Back to the future”.

I should have know what it would be like with Seth Rogan in charge. While the setup is interesting and obviously plenty of money has been spent things go awry regarding the ‘comedy’ part.

It just isn’t funny. There are sexual jokes at least 20 years old. Racial stereotyping that misses the mark and a lot of actors just cruising through the dialogue. It’s the lowest denominator toilet humour at best, derivative and boring. Why they made another two series I will never know.

Mr Robot

Mr. Robot is an American drama thriller television series created by Sam Esmail. It stars Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson, a cybersecurity engineer and hacker who has social anxiety disorder and clinical depression. Elliot is recruited by an anarchist known as “Mr. Robot”, played by Christian Slater, to join a group of hacktivists called “fsociety”. The group aims to destroy all debt records by encrypting the financial data of the largest conglomerate in the world, E Corp.


OK – so there is an ‘evil’ corporation E-Corp, and employees refer to their own company as ‘Evil-Corp’. This seems to break the first rule of being evil – you are the hero.

Dismissing this, the series starts with an interesting premise of Elliot as a gifted by flawed hacker. Along with his group, they intend to bring down the world’s biggest institution so all debts will be void. And for the first few episodes the plot proceeds on this basis.

Rami Malek (who played Freddy Mercury in the recent film) sells it as the dis-functional hacker. But then, in episode six it begins to feel not like a long story, but more episodic. Things seem to wrap up nicely at the end of the episode.

Then, in the next episode a major revelation changes Elliot’s relationship with Mr Robot. Suddenly the plot and intent seems to shift. Is this a thriller, or a family drama.

And what of Elliot’s reality/imagination dis-function. Is is real or is he trying to break the forth wall. In the end the series concludes with a terrorist act. Then some tacked on philosophy. It feels like the writers just got lost along the way, went for something different before returning to the main plot.

And the final scene was just so forced and preaching. Really detracted from the tone of the story. Somehow I won’t be bothering with the next series.

Rami Malek as Freddy Mercury

Dirk Gently 2

Season two kicks off with life in a fantasy world. It’s obviously one made by a child that somehow has become real.

Then all the characters from the previous season get chucked in the world. This is designed to complicate what seems to be a simple premise and good vs evil plot.

Eventually, after lots of crazy stuff going on we get back to the boy and the fantasy world to resolve the story.

The best part of this season was the production design and crazy characters, my favorite being the black queen, who starts as a ‘normal’ housewife and ends up trying to rule a world.

Amanda Walsh, who plays Suzie Boreton

DS9 Left Behind


What We Left Behind:
Looking back at Star Trek Deep Space Nine

This film celebrates the 25th anniversary of the self-proclaimed ‘black sheep’ of the Star Trek spin-off series.

Often described as ‘dark,’ and edgy,’ as a show that did not fit into Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future.


The series aired from 3, Jan 1993 to 2, June 1999. Almost the same time as Babylon 5 (commencing 22 Feb 1993).

Trekkies try to credit the series for implementing  long form story arcs in network television. However history is clear that Michael Straczynski’s show was written in this way. Where DS9 started with self contained episodic shows, B5 was written to tell a five season space opera.

The DS9 film is a bit of a mish-mash of interviews, behind the scenes and extracts and commentary.

There is the pretense of writing a new season (#8) and the first episode is described, complete with story-board. This seemed completely unnecessary and distracting. Maybe it was a wish fulfillment for Ira Steven Behr (Director/Producer).

Ira Steven Behr

So overall, an interesting look-back. But not an invaluable resource for Trek fans.