October 26, 2007
The third episode of this grand new program aired on Wednesday and after a small blip in episode two, I reckon this one’s back on track and as good if not better than episode numero uno.
For those who stick to the big 4 television networks, this one’s hidden away on SBS. But really it’s quite simple. When you’ve finished watching the ABCs Wednesday funny lineup at 10, you just head to SBS for the last half hour.
Shaun Micallef in Newstopia
The program is new satire. It’s everything that The Nation wasn’t. But mainly it’s snappier.. and well.. funnier. Whereas the Nation was a sort of slow 60 minute show with hit and miss regular interview guests (news, entertainment, sport), Newstopia is prepackaged into a tightly crafted nifty little show.
The man behind the program, Shaun Micallef is definitely not everyone’s perfect ideal of humour.. but he is mine. The program also guests a lot of familiar Australian comedy faces.. Nicholas Bell, Ed Kavalee, Roz Hammond, Kat Stewart, Bob Franklin, Ben Anderson. My favourite bits of Newstopia are when he’s introducing a story and then suddenly chucks in an unexpected one-liner, which is more often than not.. dodgy.
Here’s a couple of grabs that I extracted from this weeks episode..
Newstopia airs Wednesday 10:00pm on SBS.
Cricket Australia has created a couple of new advertisement promoting the upcoming summer cricket season in Australia. The theme of the ads is ‘Hungry For It’ and they depict the dedication required not only by the players, but the fans as well.
The first advertisement is a re-enactment by current Australian cricketer Michael Clarke of the famous Donald Bradman footage where the Don is hitting a golf ball up against a wall with a cricket stump. He doesn’t do too bad a job at it at all really.. it’s not the easiest practise method.
Michael Clarke recreating the ‘Bradman’ practise method
The advertisement is narrated by a fan on a train..
Us two are pretty similar
You wouldn’t think it to look at us
We’re both dedicated to the game
Just in different ways
Him, he practises methodically, relentlessly
As a fan, I’ll be waiting for that moment
That moment he walks out onto the pitch
The second spot features Australian pace bowler Nathan Bracken practising his thing. It begin with Nathan placing a marker (ten cent coin) on a cricket field that he then proceeds to try and hit with the bounce of his bowling delivery. He misses a few times before finally upsetting the thing, at which point he simply goes back to his box balls and grabs another one.
Nathan Bracken keeps practising as the sun sets
The narration in this one is done by a lady standing inside a cricket stadium (looks like the MCG?). These are her words:
There’s an unspoken law between a player and a fan
He trains until it hurts
And in return, we watch every ball of every game
You see, for him, it doesn’t matter how many wickets he takes
He’ll always want just one more.
The ads were developed by Cricket Australia’s advertising agency, Leo Burnett Melbourne. Talking about the Bradman re-enactment, Leo Burnett GM, Patrick Rowe said: “The whole film crew had a go but no-one could make contact more than three times in a row. Clarkey was the best at it by a mile.”
October 25, 2007
Good news for fans of Kelsey Grammer, his new sitcom seems to be doing okay in the US. By doing okay, I mean okay – not great, not terrible. The first episode rated a really promising 9.4 million, however it has since pulled about a 7 million average.
The show, which also stars Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond) is about a couple of news anchors who work great on telly but are not quite best friends off screen. Sound similar to Anchorman? The show actually also stars the extra-talented Fred Willard who was the news boss in Anchorman and also had a regular role in Everybody Loves Raymond. Small world?
Kelsey Grammer, Patricia Heaton & Fred Willard
So it sounds like a show that works. Grammer has won 5 Emmys, Heaton has 2 and Burrows (the director) has been nominated for an Emmy every year since 1980 (exclusing 1997). I’ve seen bits of it and it looks like a nice little show.
Channel 10 have picked it up – it sounds like it would suit their sort of target demographic. Expect to see it early 2008.. or whenever you like on YouTube.
October 23, 2007
Following its axing in the United States after only two episodes as consequence of bad reviews and bad ratings, Channel 9 has followed suit and given Hugh Jackman’s show the boot after only one episode.
I guess this is the risk to take with grabbing US television programs before they run a season over there. At least they’re taking some risks now. Not everything is going to work – that’s a given. But let’s just say it didn’t help that Eddie told his Milloinaire audience that everyone thinks the show’s rubbish.
Last night was the first installment of the new Who Wants to be a Millionaire. I had actually forgotten to switch this on until I heard the familiar strains of the opening sequence and then Eddie McGuire’s fight night voice welcoming all and sundry. So I flicked it on.
All actually seems very familiar with the old format. A couple of small changes though. The game now goes up to a $5 million jackpot, which works by simply adding another question to the end worth that amount. So question 15 is still worth $1 million but is no longer the top amount. Simple enough. The other (actually quite interesting) change is an addition to the lifelines. If the contestant gets to the 2nd safe level of $32 000, a new lifeline appears called ‘switch’ (i think), which basically says to Eddie – ‘I don’t like this question give me another one.’ So that’s a pretty nifty idea. Unfortunately, however, nobody got to this level and so we didn’t get to see it in action. This leads me to what I see as a major problem in the format.
In the past, 10 contestants were auditioned to be on the show and of course they were all absolute smarties due to the little examination they had to get through to make the grade. At this point, each of the 10 would vie for the hotseat by playing the fastest finger first game. No more! The new millionaire contestants are ‘chosen’, sort of Backyard Blitz stylem if you know what I mean. They seem to have chosen people who have undergone hardship or have a real excuse for wanting the money. So people who weren’t adopted or are without cancer need not apply. Being chosen in this way means that generally the intelligence level has decreased significantly from the older game. These aren’t smart people. Just average. The questions should either get easier or no where near as much money is going to be given away (how unfortunate for nine).
The show is also live now and goes for 90 minutes. Which is too long. Sixty minutes is enough thanks – I looked at my watch 5 times during the last half hour. Apparently there is also some sort of ‘cattle-call’ sound that Ed will play now if the contestants are taking too long, but it didn’t happen last night.
An interesting thing I found about last night was Eddie’s insistence on showing to us that the show was recorded live by talking up recent events. Okay Ed we believed you when you said it was live, you don’t need to bring up last night worm debacle a gazillion times.
Another laughable Eddie moment came in the cross-promotion of the new show Viva Laughlin (or ‘Lofflin’ as Eddie likes to call it), which follows Millionaire. Eddie starts by being honest and admitting that the show has absolutely been canned as possibly ‘the worst show on television’. Then he continues, and ‘but wait I’ve seen it and it’s actually really good. and i’m not just trying to sell the show.’ (not his exact words, can’t remember) You are trying to sell the show! Why else have you brought it up. It doesn’t mean a thing whether you actually like it or not, you are talking it up on your program for a reason. You’re plugging it!
Anyway, overall it was good to see Millionaire back and somewhat faster paced. The format is easy to follow and fun. It really is a cracker of a show. I definitely see it going back to the 8:30-9:30 in the future, live or otherwise. 7 until 8:30 is just strange. But I’m guessing nine doesn’t have any suitable lead in programs to go 7:30-8:30 that they’re confident will deliver justifiable numbers going in.
October 21, 2007
A bit of excitement tonight concerning the 2007 Leaders Debate. But predictably it did not result from what Mr Rudd or Mr Howard were saying. However, there was a small argument 40 minutes in that resulted in Mr Howard raising his voice just a tad and telling the country that Mr Rudd was misleading the Australian public. Well, the Australian public that were watching. Interesting to see how it rates in comparison to Australian Idol – let’s not discuss Bingo anymore than this mention.. classy.
Anyway, so the National Press Club had agreed that they would make the broadcast of the debate available to any media outlet that wanted it, on the priviso that they did not chuck one of those pesky worms on it. You see, Prime Minister Howard is not a major fan of the worm. But do you blame him? He comprehensively lost this debate and the past three on worm score. Not that this means a lot. The worm is garbage. Mr Rudd just had to open his mouth and the thing went skyward – the opposite of course occurred for the incumbent. How does this prove anything?
Okay, so Channel 9 promised the worm. They always said that they were letting it loose. The Press Club said that they weren’t allowing it. The worm appeared. It wriggled up. It wriggled down. It disappeared. In fact everything disappeared. Press Club had pulled the plug. But Channel 9 had obviously thought this scenario through and quickly grabbed the footage from Sky… and put the worm on it!
Was it worth it? Definitely. The worm was a differentiation point for their broadcast, which I’m sure took viewers away from the ABC. The really interesting question though is how well it has rated. Did it beat Idol? and ahem, what Channel 7 had on.
October 20, 2007
The critics in the United States have been savage. Viva Laughlin, produced by Hugh Jackman, debuted a couple of days ago and, well, the critics didn’t really like it. To say the least.
The New York Times said: “”Viva Laughlin on CBS may well be the worst new show of the season, but is it the worst show in the history of television?”
The Washington Post called the program “a dizzy loop-de-loop ride whose departures are so awkward and absurd that they make the norm look pretty darned good… It’s karaoke gone cuckoo, mawkish mush with a thump-and-bump beat — a rinky-tinky hybrid of ‘Dallas,’ ‘Dynasty’ and ‘Bye Bye Birdie.’ And, oh yes, ‘American Idol.’ ”
Maybe the world isn’t ready for a TV musical. Or maybe the thing is just rubbish. To be perfectly honest, there is very little chance that I will watch this show – well, no chance. But not because it’s been absolutely panned, but rather because that sort of thing just simply doesn’t appeal to me – iac!
Well.. at least that’s one less program I have to try and fit into my recording schedule. But for those of you who would like to give it a shot, it begins this Monday at 8:30pm on, you guessed it, the home of duds, channel 9!
October 19, 2007
Last night on that absolute gem of a program (read: rubbish), Surprise Surprise Gotcha! (hilariously titled) there was a stunt involving Catriona Rowntree setting up her Getaway castmate Ben Dark in a (ridiculously innovative) poor restaurant service skit.
Courtesy: What’s On The Tube
All the talk however has been about what didn’t actually go to air. So apparently Catriona said she had to go to the bathroom, when she was really going to speak to the hidden camera crew. Dark, unaware of course that he was being filmed, started saying some nasty things about Ms Rowntree to his mate after she had temporarily left them. Backstabber!
Catriona must have been devestated as she watched it all on the hidden cameras out the back. Although ever the consumate professional, she returned to finish off the skit without saying a word in order for the setup to work.
I wonder what happened after the cameras stopped rolling. Enough firecrackers for Guy Fawkes Day perhaps?
October 18, 2007
I knew as I was watching this that there was going to be a lot of furore. It was probably about the most politically incorrect 5 minutes of television I’ve seen in a long while.
The song, sung by Andrew Hansen, has a crack at Steve Irwin, Peter Brock, John Lennon, Jeff Buckley, Princess Diana, Stan Zemanek, Don Bradman, Kerry Packer and almost Belinda Emmett.
It definitely goes over the top.. it finds the line and uses it as the starting line before sprinting off. Here are the lyrics to the thing.. but be warned that it gets a tad rude more towards the end..
My great grand father died this week.
I couldn’t stand him actually nobody could.
But as soon as he passed away everybody went around saying what a top bloke he was, so..
I’d like to dedicate this song to you, Gramps.
He was very hard of hearing,
he was dull and domineering,
mysogenist cantankerous and vain.
He hit the bottle every night,
he hit my grandma out of spite,
and those stories about his bunyons were a pain.
But all that’s now forgotten,
once he took his final breath.
Yes even pricks turn into top blokes after death.
You don’t believe me?
Allow me to furnish you with a few examples..
Steve Irwin lived in khaki,
a cartoon kamikaze,
who taunted crocs and tots so frequently.
And Brocky was some revhead,
who pumped the air with pure lead,
so anti green he drove into a tree.
But all that was forgotten,
once they took their final breath.
Yes even tools turn into top blokes after death.
John Lennon chose the hippy life,
he chose some nutbag for a wife,
his songs were never quite as good as Paul’s.
Jeff Buckley fooled all lovers,
just one album, mostly covers,
more wailing than Japan does off our shores.
But all that was forgotten,
once he took his final breath,
yes even wankers turn into top blokes after death.
Princess Di was just a slut for sex,
when they looked in the car wreck,
her dress was wet with Arab semen stain.
Stan Zemanek was a racist jock,
Fatso, xenophobic cock,
whose views were more malignant than his brain.
But all that was forgotten,
once he took his final breath,
yes even arseholes turn into top blokes after death.
It’s not how they lived that counts,
but how we rewrite the book.
When it comes to truth it’s best to use restraint,
it pays to throw away the facts
and have a rose coloured look.
When he dies, Martin Bryant will look a saint.
Don Bradman was a total farce,
a grumpy, greedy tight-arse,
who couldn’t even score one run last time he played.
Kerry Packer was a brothel chief,
a tax cheat and a kidney thief.
and procreating Jamie was the worst mistake he made.
But all that was forgotten,
once he took his final breath,
yes even **** turn into top blokes after death.
Belinda Emmett was a… (stopped by cast)
Remember all will be forgotten,
once we take our final breath..
yes even pervert motherf**kers,
even rampant child-abusers,
even local Baghdad looters,
even baby bunny rooters,
even reckless drunken drivers,
even rodent sperm imbibers,
even violent poofter bashers,
even public penis flashers,
even rotting corpse molesters,
even human piss ingesters,
even tiny kitten kickers,
even anal finger lickers,
even Anna ‘bloody’ Coren,
yes even she will be a top bloke after death.
Star Warsies rejoice (what do you call the Star Wars equivalent to Trekkies anyway?). Okay start again. Star Wars fans rejoice, a new television series is on the way. To add to the gazillion other little books, comics, radio plays, games and trading cards in the franchise, George Lucas has decided that we need another telly series.
It’s going to be live action and not include Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker. George Lucas told the LA Times that “The Skywalkers aren’t in it, and it’s about minor characters.” It is likely however that main characters from the movies may make cameo appearances – perhaps Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Chewbacca.
Yoda & Obi-Wan Kenobi may have cameo roles
The program is set to debut in 2009 and will be set between Episode III and Episode IV (between the old and new movies).
Imagine if it were a half decent series. Can you imagine watching Star Wars in primetime. That would be totally weird I reckon. Lucas has said that if the series is successful then there could be more. Obviously he feels he hasn’t squeezed this sucker for all it’s worth yet.