Articles on Television

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Jonah and the Fobba-liscious boys. ABC

Jonah From Tonga and the essence of cringe

Chris Lilley has long been a high maintenance love object. Last night, the first episode of Jonah From Tonga was broadcast on ABC1. Critics have had an easy time finding humour in socially “well-placed…
Will we recognise the “real” Stephen Colbert when he discards his persona to become the host of The Late Show? EPA/Paul Buck

Stephen Colbert the persona is ending – and I will miss him

What happens when an actor who has built an amazing persona is called upon to reveal a truer self? When Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report, discards his right-wing talk show host persona and takes…
The public broadcasters inform audiences and shape culture – whether in drama, news, or documentary form. ABC Publicity

Public broadcasters play a major cultural role, beyond the market

Due to Australia’s small population and high concentration of few media voices, public broadcasters play a pivotal role in shaping the media ecosystem and cultural landscape. With the ABC and SBS under…
Thick accents, bad accents, mumbling… BBC/Origin Pictures

Jamaica Inn complaints reveal widespread accent prejudice

The recent torrent of complaints about the “inaudible dialogue” in the BBC’s adaptation of Daphne de Maurier’s Jamaica Inn have prompted a debate about actors’ speech. The cause of the problem was variously…
Let’s pause to consider the rich mythology of this 75-year-old icon. James

Holy birthday, Batman! Sizing up the Caped Crusader at 75

This year the world’s most popular superhero, Batman, celebrates his 75th birthday. From inauspicious beginnings in a six-page comic to the transmedia anchor of one of the world’s largest media conglomerates…
If we’re living in a golden age of television, we should pay attention to the dialogue that drives shows like Veep. Foxtel Movies

Five reasons we should listen more closely to TV dialogue

People often ask me why I study television dialogue. Behind such a question sometimes lie deep-seated assumptions about the low value of popular culture. Such underlying assumptions can extend not just…
Nostalgic screens. Sky Atlantic

The secret of Mad Men’s marketing success revealed

As has become standard practice for any contemporary television production, the seventh and final season of Mad Men – AMC’s 1960s period drama – has been preceded by a torrent of promotional material…
Striding back on to our screens. Sky Atlantic

Review: Game of Thrones season four opener

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season four, episode one. When we first met Charles Dance’s Tywin Lannister back in season one he was gutting a stag – a none-too-subtle…
Lighting and CGI creates interiors reminiscent of Caravaggio. HBO

Game of Thrones is the Holy Grail of TV production

With the fourth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones (GoT) upon us, many of us will once again escape to the mythical land of Westeros. And we’ll do so thanks to a vast array of international locations and…
Be unsullied no more – winter is coming … again. HBO

Explainer: Game of Thrones, the story so far

The heir to an ancient exiled dynasty marries his sister to the leader of a savage warrior society, in return for their support in his effort to regain his father’s throne. The heir is soon killed, while…
You’re the third exclusive I’ve done this evening… London Live/Twitter

Things can only get better for Lebedevs’ London Live station

A decade and a half after one family firm abandoned its attempt to run a television channel especially for London, another is trying to succeed. Channel One ended in 1998 when, just one day after the third…
What? I called you a ditch, Mike, a ditch … Courtesy of FOXTEL

What the f***‽ How much swearing is there on TV?

Warning: this article contains copious swearing. Let me start with a confession: I swear. Not gratuitously, but once in a while it’s nice to let off steam with a well-placed “damnit” or two, when running…
With Theroux, the audience becomes a participant rather than consumer of the story. BBC/Steve Schofield

What Louis Theroux can teach us about social research

Louis Theroux knows how to entertain; but the lessons he teaches us have much greater import. The British journalist and broadcaster is back on TV – at least in the UK, for now – with his new series LA…
Has Danny Cohen stolen Bonneville’s comedic limelight? BBC/Jack Barnes

W1A falls short of the real absurdity of life at the BBC

Oscar Wilde once wrote: “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.” But W1A, the BBC’s new let’s-all-laugh-at-ourselves observational comedy, has shown art can be quickly left behind, following…

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