The Rise and Rise of Television Torture
Hansel at Interpet This writes:
But this prevalence of torture that you see in otherwise very comparable shows is not limited to Fringe. It is everywhere in American entertainment now.
Everywhere you see it it promotes the lie that torture works. It does this very effectively. Because usually we, the audience, already know that the person being tortured has the information. They just will not give it up. In real life of course torture is not like that. In the hundreds of torture scenes that have been acted out in popular media only a handful show the victim making things up, and saying whatever they think the torturer wants to hear in order that they stop torturing them. Which is the reason why torture is not a useful tool. The process would be: Torture someone, they tell you something, you double check that story, maybe torture the people they implicate, then you find it out that there story was incorrect, go back to torturing them. Just one round of that might take days or a weeks. Which would make for boring TV.
Full Story: Interpret This: The Rise and Rise of Television Torture
The politics of the man behind “24.”
Scalia: Fictional TV show justifies legal torture
Interview with Creator of Channel 4′s Utopia
Channel 4′s Utopia was one of my favorite pieces of media of 2013. The series follows a group of average people who know each other through a web forum dedicated to a comic book called Utopia. As the events of the comic unfold in real life, the characters swept up in an Invisibles conspiracy adventure. Unlike most series about comic fans, this a dark, edgy thriller, not a campy sitcom.
Den of Geek interviewed series creator and writer Dennis Kelly a couple months ago:
There’s a question at the heart of Utopia that I can’t answer, which is, with a burgeoning population, what do we do? I have lots of answers for lots of the world’s problems, and no-one ever asks me so they’re still going on [sighs. Everyone laughs]. For this one, I don’t have an answer because my slightly lefty liberal sensibilities just cannot offer anything. There’s talk about birth-rates going down, but our birth-rate went from 2.7 to 2.4 in the last fourteen years and we still produced another billion people. Even if the birth-rate does lower to 2.2 or 2.3 we’ll still be producing another billion in twenty years and it’s just a fucking nightmare. Phosphates are not going to last, we’re not going to be able to feed this amount of people. I don’t have an answer to that. I don’t think that Utopia’s going to come up with an answer for that, and I think if the world looks to Utopia for an answer to that, we’re really in trouble, but to me that makes it interesting, because it’s difficult and I don’t understand it.
Full Story: Den of Geek: Dennis Kelly Interview
You can stream the whole series from the Channel 5 site if you’re in the UK. If you’re outside the UK you’ll have to get a little more… creative… if you want to watch the show. Oh, and HBO has the rights to do a remake of the series, with David Fincher and Rian Johnson possibly attached.
How a Team of Outsiders Created Doctor Who
i09 has some interesting back history of Doctor Who and how difficult it was to get the show made:
Also, at the panel, Hussein and William Russell talked about how the first Doctor, William Hartnell, wasn’t just a cantankerous old man — he was also a very traditional Englishman, who wasn’t used to the idea of women working outside the home. And he didn’t know what to make of Hussein, “an East Indian who spoke posh English,” said Hussein. Thus, Hartnell took a lot of convincing that an East Asian man and a young woman were going to be up to their jobs. The first lunch Hussein and Lambert had with Hartnell, he seemed reluctant to take on the role, and they almost gave up. In the end, they decided to have a second lunch with Hartnell, at which it became clear that the actor wanted them to prove their qualifications.
i09: The creators of Doctor Who were a scandal
Invisible Babies = Codename: Kids Next Door
Danny Chaoflux on the similarities between The Invisibles by Grant Morrison and the Cartoon Network show Codename: Kids Next Door.
1: The leader, bald, wears shades, really into spy stuff.
2: Inventor/Shaman, always cracks jokes, “the weird one”, overweight [ie: Future Fanny].
3: Shes nuts.
4: Street thug with thick accent and hoodie.
5: Cool headed, laid back tomboy, specialty is stealth and investigation.
Theme : Worldwide loose knit cells operate in secret to protect and encourage freedom from tyranny.
The Antagonists : ‘The Old Gods’ and their lesser manifestations.
This has been brought up a number of places on the internet, but I wanted to shop an image to go along with it paired with a breakdown.
Sure you could say its a blatant rip off, but I think its more interesting to think of it as a starter set of key memes.
Stop Making Sense: Invisible Babies = Codename: Kids Next Door
Official Codename: Kids Next Door website.
The Wire As a Victorian Novel
This is an amazing treatment of The Wire a Victorian novel instead of an HBO t-series:
There are few works of greater scope or structural genius than the series of fiction pieces by Horatio Bucklesby Ogden, collectively known as The Wire; yet for the most part, this Victorian masterpiece has been forgotten and ignored by scholars and popular culture alike. Like his contemporary Charles Dickens, Ogden has, due to the rough and at times lurid nature of his material, been dismissed as a hack, despite significant endorsements of literary critics of the nineteenth century. Unlike the corpus of Dickens, The Wire failed to reach the critical mass of readers necessary to sustain interest over time, and thus runs the risk of falling into the obscurity of academia. We come to you today to right that gross literary injustice.
The Hooded Utilitarian: “When It’s Not Your Turn”: The Quintessentially Victorian Vision of Ogden’s “The Wire”
Apparently this essay is being turned into a book.
It’s part of a The Wire Round-Table at the site The Hooded Utilitarian.
Also included in the round-table is this essay on women in The Wire, which claims, quite rightly, that “The Wire is singularly unconcerned with how women fare in these institutions, the fates they face, the options open to them.”
When did TV become art?
Vice Magazine’s interview with David Simon
Alan Moore’s New Feature Film And Spin Off TV Series, Jimmy’s End
Who knows if this will ever make it out of production hell:
As readers of Dodgem Logic #2 will know, photographer Mitch Jenkins took a striking series of portraits of performers at a Northampton burlesque review. He decided to film a 10-minute short featuring the dancers for his showreel and, wanting to help out a friend, Moore offered to write a shooting script. It was called “Jimmy’s End”.
As soon as word got out that Moore was writing something for film, people quickly got interested. Jenkins and Moore were approached by Warp Films (producers of Shane Meadows’ This is England and Chris Morris’ Four Lions), who offered to fund a feature version of the film.
These discussions grew to accommodate the idea of spinning off a Channel 4 series from the film, in the manner of This is England ’86. Moore said that initially he’d been dubious about how the story could be extended in this way but had now figured out a longer ongoing narrative.
Bleeding Cool: Jimmy’s End – Alan Moore’s New Feature Film And Spin Off TV Series
(via John Reppion)
William S. Burroughs and Don Draper
Nancy Mattoon writes on the similarities and differences between William S. Burroughs and the fictional character Don Draper from AMC’s Mad Men:
Insiders wanting out, outsiders wanting in. Flamboyantly embracing the outlaw life, desperately seeking status. Life on the junk, life selling junk. Creating a nightmarish truth, concocting a glamorous lie. Writing to save your soul, selling your soul to write. Spectacularly surrendering to the siren song of smack, self-medicating with scotch and soda to maintain the social surface. The psychotic outlaw-addict and the man in the gray flannel suit. Both hell bent on that great American pastime: reinvention. But the artistry of the addict betrays the poetry in his soul. And the Marlboro Man has a cancer at his core. Neither Burroughs/Lee nor Don Draper can escape the one thing they’re trying to outrun: themselves. As William Faulkner put it,”the past isn’t dead, it’s not even past.” Or to quote Dr. Buckaroo Banzai, “No matter where you go, there you are.”
Seattle PI: Don Draper Eats A Naked Lunch
CNN Marries Content and Commercials to Retain Viewers
Soon you’ll be able to watch a tiny screen with these people silently dicking around while being bombarded with a commercial for crap you don’t want. Or you can just keep skipping the commercials with your DVR.
Act of desperation or brilliant new strategy? Me, I can’t imagine this helping.
TV viewers by now are accustomed to seeing product placement in their favorite shows. But how will they react upon seeing “program placement” in their commercials?
On John King’s new early-evening news show on CNN, every commercial runs with a small window at the bottom of the screen offering a live view of the show’s set. That’s right — the show, “John King, USA,” in a sense continues into the commercials, with viewers able to see activity between producers and talent as well as a broader graphic offering news and tidbits from around the nation.
Adage: CNN Marries Content and Commercials to Retain Viewers
(via Nieman Journalism Lab)
Grant Morrison Writing BBC Miniseries Starring Stephen Fry (Updated)
Paul McGuigan, director of Gangster No 1, Lucky Number Slevin and the upcoming Sherlock Holmes TV series by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, has confirmed for LiveForFilms that he will be indeed working on a new TV series for BBC Scotland, written by Grant Morrison and starring polymath Stephen Fry. Bleeding Cool reported on this possibility previously, and McGuigan says that currently Morrison has written a treatment.
Read More – Bleeding Cool: Paul McGuigan, Grant Morrison, Stephen Fry In New BBC Thriller
(via Cat Vincent)
Update: This was to be called Bonnyroad, but this project has been “knocked back.”