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Analysis and Comment (87)

Let’s hope the series tackles the big projects in its satirical sweep. Let’s hope the series tackles the big projects in its satirical sweep. Utopia, photo: Hwa Goh, ABC

Working Dog’s Utopia is a welcome satirical treat

Crack open the champagne. The return of Australian satirical drama to ABC television is cause for celebration. Utopia, an eight-part series that launched last week, is the real deal. It offers a high-energy…
American comedy-drama series Orange Is the New Black. American comedy-drama series Orange Is the New Black. Foxtel

In Conversation with The New Yorker TV critic: Emily Nussbaum

Over the past decade we have witnessed the rise and rise of long form television – from The Sopranos to The Wire, Game of Thrones to Orange Is the New Black – and no one has been watching this transformation…
The Indonesian media often portrays the lives of transgender people as “sinful” and wrong. The Indonesian media often portrays the lives of transgender people as “sinful” and wrong. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/Flickr

On Indonesian TV, transgender people are made to repent

A transgender woman with heavy makeup, a red wig and dressed in pink is chased by her pimp’s henchmen. A young woman hides her in her house. So begins the TV drama, a story of repentance of a transgender…
US actor Robin Williams has been found dead aged 63 in his home in Marin County, California. US actor Robin Williams has been found dead aged 63 in his home in Marin County, California. AAP/ Tracey Nearmy

Robin Williams gave us a lifelong masterclass in comedy

American actor and stand-up comedian Robin Williams has died today, aged 63. Barack Obama posted a statement about his death and noted, in a rather odd turn of phrase, that “he arrived in our lives as…
In Life at 9, the producers took the opportunity to examine the children’s creativity. In Life at 9, the producers took the opportunity to examine the children’s creativity. ABC

Good habits foster creativity – whether you’re nine or 99

The modern creativity era was born in the early days of the US-Soviet space race. When the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik I, its plaintive beeps, accessible to anyone with…
The Dreamhouse launches tonight on ABC1. The Dreamhouse launches tonight on ABC1. Artemis Films

Living with intellectual disability in The Dreamhouse

“I’m not a mummy’s boy any more!” proclaims Justin. “You never were!”, counters his mother Margaret. Justin, aged 32, is leaving home for the first time. He has Down syndrome and he and two others who…
The cast and crew of transgender comedy The Switch want to see more inclusive representation of transgender people on TV. The cast and crew of transgender comedy The Switch want to see more inclusive representation of transgender people on TV. We Love The Switch

Changing the way we look at trans women on TV

The Canadian production company Trembling Void has just successfully crowdfunded a new television series called The Switch. The project is a comedy tracing the lives of an ensemble of trans characters…
Matthew McConaughey won an Oscar for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club – but films about the contemporary experience of life with HIV/AIDS are in short supply. Matthew McConaughey won an Oscar for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club – but films about the contemporary experience of life with HIV/AIDS are in short supply. EPA/ETTORE FERRARI

HIV/AIDS on screen: by focusing on history, we ignore the present

Consider the last three major films gracing our screens that explicitly deal with HIV/AIDS – the Academy Award-winning, highly acclaimed Dallas Buyers Club in 2013, followed by Ryan Murphy’s much-hyped…
Grant Denyer gets ready for action on set. Grant Denyer gets ready for action on set. Channel 10

Family Feud’s return confirms the state of game shows in Australia

Family Feud returns to our television screens tonight as part of Ten’s desperate scramble to remain a viable entity, and is scheduled to compete with Seven and Nine’s main news bulletins at 6pm. For those…
Television audiences may be fragmenting, but sport happens in the moment and demands instant – and lucrative – congregation. Television audiences may be fragmenting, but sport happens in the moment and demands instant – and lucrative – congregation. EPA/Fernando Bizerra Jr

World Cup: round ball, square eyes and hungering to excess

Just before a critical World Cup game against Spain in Rio de Janeiro, scores of ticketless Chile fans broke into the expensively rebuilt Maracana Stadium at its least secure point – the media centre…
Who doesn’t want to be Daenerys Targaryen? Who doesn’t want to be Daenerys Targaryen? © Home Box Office

Our transportation into Game of Thrones could have ugly results

The fourth season of Game of Thrones has gripped scores of people with its epic story of warring factions in a strange and changing landscape, dragons and dire wolves, incursions and sieges, plots and…
RuPaul’s Drag Race: season six queens. RuPaul’s Drag Race: season six queens. Logo TV/Mathu Andersen

Speaking drag: the deep insights of a show about catty queens

A siren sounds in the workroom and the contestants, still in their street clothes, stop their conversation. “Oooh, girl! You’ve got She-Mail,” says a shrill voice. For those of you just tuning in, you’re…
For James, the reasons for putting pen to paper haven’t changed. For James, the reasons for putting pen to paper haven’t changed. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Clive James on death, dragons and writing in the home stretch

Death is a funny thing. It creeps up on us all, or surprises us if we are unlucky (or lucky, depending on the circumstances). For a writer, especially a self-confessed solipsist such as Clive James, the…
STV counts down to Scotland’s first new local channel. STV counts down to Scotland’s first new local channel. Andrew Milligan

If local TV fails in Glasgow, it’s unlikely to succeed anywhere

At 6.30pm tonight, Scotland will lay down a milestone in one of the key debates in television: will local television become a successful and profitable part of the UK’s media scene or remain one politician’s…
The IT Crowd, the latest example of the British interest in failure and embarrassment. The IT Crowd, the latest example of the British interest in failure and embarrassment. Channel 4

British TV excels, but it hasn’t changed since the 60s

Although awards shows are all about the excitement of the moment – that’s why they’re live – this year’s Bafta television crop is more about continuity than revolution. There was mild controversy because…
Peter Foley, The Crimson Field’s hospital orderly. Peter Foley, The Crimson Field’s hospital orderly. BBC/Nick Briggs

Don’t forget the hospital orderlies of World War I, on or off the screen

With the centenary commemorations continuing, all things World War I have been filling our screens, pages and radio waves. The latest of these was the BBC’s The Crimson Field, a drama set in a field hospital…
Jonah and the Fobba-liscious boys. 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? 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. 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… 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…
‘Who do you think you’re kidding, Mr Hitler?’ ‘Who do you think you’re kidding, Mr Hitler?’ EPA/Claudio Onorati

Bill Nighy fronts new Dad’s Army, but don’t forget the real Home Guard

News that a feature film of the BBC TV comedy series Dad’s Army is to be made – starring Bill Nighy and Toby Jones – has garnered a mixed response. The Daily Telegraph has questioned whether the film is…
Let’s pause to consider the rich mythology of this 75-year-old icon. 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. 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. 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…
Can the new Spicks and Specks team match their predecessors when it comes to pacing? Can the new Spicks and Specks team match their predecessors when it comes to pacing? ABC Publicity

Getting the pace right on TV – The Big Bang Theory and Spicks and Specks

Popular television series rely on a great many factors for their success. Among these is the not-often-celebrated task of integrating screen pace and performance. When that works the story flows effortlessly…
Striding back on to our screens. 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. 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. 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… 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…
Swashbuckling stuff. Swashbuckling stuff. BBC/Dusan Martincek

BBC’s Musketeers and the rise of history as entertainment

BBC One’s swaggering epic The Musketeers has concluded with much skulduggery and winning of honour. A second series has already been confirmed after the show opened spectacularly with a consolidated audience…
What? I called you a ditch, Mike, a ditch … 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. 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? 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…
‘Three cheers for the Blobby Broadcasting Corporation!’ ‘Three cheers for the Blobby Broadcasting Corporation!’ Paul Conneally

No deal Noel, Mr Blobby is never going to buy the BBC

So: Noel Edmonds – television game show host, helicopter pilot, spiritualist and anti-wind energy campaigner – wants to get his hands on the BBC. The broadcaster, he says, is hopelessly un-business-like…
Kevin Spacey’s direct address as Frank Underwood keeps the audience compliant and intrigued. Kevin Spacey’s direct address as Frank Underwood keeps the audience compliant and intrigued. Foxtel

You talking to me? House of Cards and breaking the fourth wall

Season two of US political thriller House of Cards hit Netflix as a complete 13-part series in February and, depending on which way you chose to watch it in Australia, you’ll have either binged shamelessly…
Tonight ABC2 offers a glimpse into the lives of girls around the world, including Aziza from Afghanistan. Tonight ABC2 offers a glimpse into the lives of girls around the world, including Aziza from Afghanistan. ABC Publicity

I am a Girl: 21st-century lessons from 1970s feminism

Tonight ABC2 airs I am a Girl. Rebecca Barry’s documentary introduces us to six young women from around the world. They hail from Cambodia, Cameroon, Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea, the USA and Australia…
Comedic duo Roy and HG simultaneously celebrate and critique the place of sport in Australian culture. Comedic duo Roy and HG simultaneously celebrate and critique the place of sport in Australian culture. Network Ten

Too much sport is barely enough: what makes Roy and HG funny?

The Sochi Winter Olympics has seen the return to Australian television screens of sport parodists extraordinaire “Rampaging” Roy Slaven and HG Nelson. Roy and HG’s Russian Revolution presents the familiar…
Can’t we play a game now? Can’t we play a game now? flickingerbrad

Children’s attention spans at risk from too much screen time

From iPads to Xboxes, the modern child has a vast array of electronic media to help alleviate boredom, pass the time and play online games. Parents may often wonder about the impact such activities can…
The many similar faces of Ian Fleming. The many similar faces of Ian Fleming. Sky Atlantic

BBC America’s Fleming and the trouble with author biopics

The first episode of mini-series Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond is a very glamorised account of the life of James Bond’s creator, and it is certainly entertaining. But should we lament its deviations…
Luke Arnold as Michael Hutchence in Never Tear Us Apart. Luke Arnold as Michael Hutchence in Never Tear Us Apart. Channel Seven/Narelle Sheehan

Review: Never Tear Us Apart, the tabloid version of the INXS story

Maybe the ads ruined it for me. Certainly, INXS: Never Tear Us Apart was thoroughly cross-promoted on Channel Seven. I think Kochie may have even mentioned it once or twice. The ads, though, pointed to…
Is it worse to be hated or forgotten as a reality-show contestant? Is it worse to be hated or forgotten as a reality-show contestant? Courtesy of Seven Network

My Kitchen Rules pair are all the rage on social media – for now

The launch of the current series of My Kitchen Rules has undoubtedly been successful, both in terms of television ratings and in capturing a social media audience, clearly winning the battle for the Twitter…
Schapelle Corby remains behind bars – but Channel 9 is spruiking its telemovie about her time in jail in Indonesia. Schapelle Corby remains behind bars – but Channel 9 is spruiking its telemovie about her time in jail in Indonesia. AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Did she do it? The ethics of the Schapelle Corby telemovie

However 4.2 kilograms of marijuana made its way into Indonesia in a body board bag in 2004, the story of Schapelle Corby’s arrest, conviction and subsequent jailing for drug smuggling is known by every…
This is one that should have been left alone. This is one that should have been left alone. Abraham Caro Marin/AP

Don’t reject the movie remake, sometimes it’s worth it

Even the briefest glance at recent cinema listings and television schedules suggests that the remake is everywhere. Currently showing in the UK is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, an update of the 1947…
Now serving lavender crème brûlée. Now serving lavender crème brûlée. BBC

Hipsters on Eastenders? Shoreditch is so over

In the US, television programmes have traditionally been designed to be aspirational. This is largely due to an advertising model that likes to think of audiences as consumers and sell them the latest…
Downton Abbey returns to Australian screens shortly. Expect writer/director Julian Fellowes to keep messing with the conventions of screenwriting. Downton Abbey returns to Australian screens shortly. Expect writer/director Julian Fellowes to keep messing with the conventions of screenwriting. Channel Seven

How Downton Abbey gets away with breaking all the rules

When Downton Abbey finally returns to our tellies for a fourth season (we hope it will be “soon” but Channel Seven is keeping its powder dry) it’ll be sans its scheming troublemaker. Australian fans are…
Reality talent show formats like The Voice can be shopped around the world. Reality talent show formats like The Voice can be shopped around the world. AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Same show, new country: how Australia led the TV format trade

It’s not uncommon, these days, to flip on the television in a foreign country and see a local remake of a show you always thought of as American or British. Talent shows like The Voice, The X Factor and…
The ABC will be richly rewarded for its decision to monitor its coverage if the analysis is robust, empirical and multidimensional. The ABC will be richly rewarded for its decision to monitor its coverage if the analysis is robust, empirical and multidimensional. AAP/Stefan Postles

Beyond ‘impartiality’: how the ABC can benefit from editorial audits

The decision of the ABC to conduct regular editorial audits of its coverage of controversial topics is a great idea. The ABC has a unique place in the Australian media landscape. Learning more about how…
Analogue TV may be on the way out – but it’s been an involving medium for artists. Analogue TV may be on the way out – but it’s been an involving medium for artists. Tele Visions/Lucy Parakhina

Art on screen: time stands still on analogue television

2013 will be remembered as the year analogue television was switched off in Australia. The curators of Tele Visions are celebrating the final days of analogue TV with a set of new and historically significant…
We’re still not very good at acknowledging the importance of television sound. We’re still not very good at acknowledging the importance of television sound. ABC

The Australians who created the sonic world of Doctor Who

It’s 50 years since the first episode aired on the BBC on November 23 1963 – and now Doctor Who is in promotion overdrive. We’ve been treated to online snippets of the 50th-anniversary special, pre-anniversary…
Sidse Babett Knudsden as Danish PM Birgitte Nyborg returns to Australian screens this week. Sidse Babett Knudsden as Danish PM Birgitte Nyborg returns to Australian screens this week. SBS

Soft power: how TV shows like Borgen put Denmark on the map

Denmark’s award-winning cultural export, Borgen, is back on our screens for a second series following the fortunes of its fictional female Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg. Denmark need never resort to hard…
Can S.H.I.E.L.D juggle the expectations of fans and network execs? Can S.H.I.E.L.D juggle the expectations of fans and network execs? Disney | ABC Television Group

Superheroes, superviewers and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

We are now about half way through the first season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, the much-hyped TV spin off from the enormously successful 2012 superhero blockbuster, The Avengers. The honeymoon is…
‘Rendition television’ is conservative and retrograde. ‘Rendition television’ is conservative and retrograde. AAP/Seven Network

Rewind, repeat: TV’s fame machine is oh-so retro

More than a decade ago, I wrote something on the 1996 film Twister and a host of other action films. I thought it was deep and profound: the new blockbuster films were trying to emulate the experience…
Wake Up’s Natasha Exelby, James Mathison, Natarsha Belling and Nuala Hafner. Wake Up’s Natasha Exelby, James Mathison, Natarsha Belling and Nuala Hafner. AAP Image/Supplied by Network Ten

Can Channel Ten Wake Up from its slumber?

At 6.30am this morning, Channel Ten launched the program that will either resurrect the network’s fortunes or push it further into a coma from which it may never recover. Wake Up, Ten’s new breakfast offering…
Televised court proceedings will reveal what goes on inside these walls. Televised court proceedings will reveal what goes on inside these walls. John Allan

Cameras in court throw us in at the deep end before we’re ready

The Court of Appeal is to be televised for the first time now that a ban on cameras in courts in England and Wales has been lifted. High-profile media organisations have been lobbying for such a move for…
Gillian Anderson plays detective Stella Gibson in the BBC drama The Fall. Gillian Anderson plays detective Stella Gibson in the BBC drama The Fall. Steffan Hill/BBC/Artists Studio

The Fall: does Gillian Anderson play a man in women’s clothing?

Female characters are currently dominating our crime dramas on television worldwide, with shows such as British detective series Scott and Bailey, Danish cop show The Killing, Danish/ Swedish co-production…
Schama’s controlled emotion made for gripping viewing. Schama’s controlled emotion made for gripping viewing. Financial Times photos

Story of the Jews: Schama got it in the neck, but got it right

In nearly 40 years of teaching Jewish Studies at university the course I found hardest to deliver was my first-year “Introduction to Judaism”. It didn’t get any easier: the more I learned, the more I agonised…
Lack of British chemistry. Lack of British chemistry. sally_monster

Why meth hasn’t broken bad in the UK

The final episode of the award-winning American TV show Breaking Bad aired last night. Set against the backdrop of illicit crystal methamphetamine production, the series highlights the huge problem parts…
What is it that we admired? What is it that we admired? bj_hale

Why the time was right for Breaking Bad guy Walter White

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW Walter White came to us just when we needed him. Breaking Bad offered a world reeling from the effects of lengthy recession some glimmer of hope, but more importantly it now offers…
What has Showtime TV series Dexter, starring Michael C. Hall as the eponymous character, taught us about media violence? What has Showtime TV series Dexter, starring Michael C. Hall as the eponymous character, taught us about media violence? EPA/Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Vale Dexter, the serial killer who changed the face of TV violence

On September 23, Showtime audiences will bid adieu to television’s unlikeliest hero. Since 2007, they’ve really warmed to Dexter. The show’s eponymous anti-hero is a congenial blood-spatter analyst who…
Election 2013 reminded us that television remains the most powerful medium despite the rise of social media. Election 2013 reminded us that television remains the most powerful medium despite the rise of social media. AAP/Alan Porritt

Preferred but not popular: did live TV tell the most important truth on election day?

Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd knew what to expect yesterday - with one exception. Both candidates were savagely heckled at polling stations. This morning Abbott is smiling about victory. He should be pondering…
Kevin Rudd follows a long line of male politicians exercising as part of their pitch to voters. What does this tell us about masculinity, the media and politics? Kevin Rudd follows a long line of male politicians exercising as part of their pitch to voters. What does this tell us about masculinity, the media and politics? AAP/Lyndon Mechielsen

We can work it out: television and the pumped-up politics of the election

Nothing summarised a bad week - indeed, a bad election campaign - for prime minister Kevin Rudd better than Tuesday’s Brisbane workout. A camera-friendly “power walk” was interrupted by insults from larrikin…
The highly edited segments position the advice and decisions of the judges – including Matt Preston, right – as beyond reproach. The highly edited segments position the advice and decisions of the judges – including Matt Preston, right – as beyond reproach. AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Cooking with passion: why audiences still love MasterChef

As MasterChef fans count down to tomorrow night’s season five finale, advertisers will be crossing their fingers that ratings will match last year’s top-ranking-program status. With a season six on the…
We’re about to reach intermission in the ten-part Ashes series. What have we learnt about the way we consume the sport of cricket as a social and cultural construct? We’re about to reach intermission in the ten-part Ashes series. What have we learnt about the way we consume the sport of cricket as a social and cultural construct? EPA/Peter Powell

The end of Act One of the Ashes melodrama

The end of the English summer beckons, and Act One of the current Ashes drama is reaching its appointed denouement across the Thames from London’s Theatreland at The Oval. The interval will last until…
TV gives even the most disconnected and apathetic of us a shared language, a shared experience. TV gives even the most disconnected and apathetic of us a shared language, a shared experience. AAP Image/HBO

Big TV and our small screen vernacular

Slobodan Milosevic went to trial. Bali got bombed. Dudley Moore died and right up there with the memorable moments of 2002 was that 2.8 million Australians sat down and watched The National IQ Test. Because…
Cricket commentators like Richie Benaud attract cult followings and satirical impersonations. Cricket commentators like Richie Benaud attract cult followings and satirical impersonations. AAP/Dean Lewins

Cricket commentary: an art or a science?

The Ashes are now upon us, and both sets of players are in the midst of the first Test at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge ground. As we sit down to watch the Test on television, it is worth reflecting on the…
For years, communication through holograms has been confined to Star Wars and other science fiction. But new research means we may be using holograms in day-to-day life sooner than you think. For years, communication through holograms has been confined to Star Wars and other science fiction. But new research means we may be using holograms in day-to-day life sooner than you think. Paula Dawson

Television got you feeling flat? Switch over to 3D Holo-TV

Communication though holographic TV - also known as Holo-TV - has, for decades, been a science fiction dream. But now, thanks to developments in display technology reported in Nature today, it is likely…
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the real world current Prime Minister of Denmark, has said that TV drama Borgen has been good for Danish politics. Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the real world current Prime Minister of Denmark, has said that TV drama Borgen has been good for Danish politics. EPA/Rungroj Yongrit

Politics is about compromise: a guide to the SBS drama Borgen

Anyone in Australia who has struggled with the political repercussions of a federal minority government should spare a thought for the Danes: they operate in a parliamentary system where minority government…
Popularity of digital video streaming services such as Netflix suggest that the future of TV may well be online. Popularity of digital video streaming services such as Netflix suggest that the future of TV may well be online. Image from www.shutterstock.com

Netflix: a house of cards or the new HBO?

In arguably the TV event of 2013 so far, House of Cards – a $100 million, 13-episode TV series starring Kevin Spacey, directed by David Fincher, and commissioned by Netflix, premiered exclusively online…
Nine CEO David Gyngell has secured a lifeline for the ailing television network. Nine CEO David Gyngell has secured a lifeline for the ailing television network. AAP

Debt deal saves Channel Nine — for now

Channel Nine is a station of two tales. The first is the positive story its viewers see: smiling in-house celebrities, reliable newsreaders, and blockbuster programs such as House Husbands, The Voice…
Channel Nine’s depiction of Kerry Packer’s ‘cricket revolution’ during the 1970s has attracted strong ratings and critical acclaim. Channel Nine’s depiction of Kerry Packer’s ‘cricket revolution’ during the 1970s has attracted strong ratings and critical acclaim. AAP/Paul Miller

The 1970s cricket ‘revolution’: a beginner’s guide

Over the previous two Sunday evenings the Nine television network broadcast a mini-series titled Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War. It was a dramatisation of a revolutionary time in Australian cricket when media…
Big Brother is back … but will we watch? Big Brother is back … but will we watch? AAP/Big Brother

‘Be Surprised’ … why Big Brother won’t go away

It’s tempting to wonder whether Channel Nine’s “Be Surprised” slogan, heralding the return of Big Brother, is intentionally ironic. After all, its producers are proudly offering nothing new. Speaking to…
Most of us cringe, but the type of Australia portrayed in the new show, The Shire is very telling. Most of us cringe, but the type of Australia portrayed in the new show, The Shire is very telling. AAP Image/Supplied by Network Ten, Nigel Wright

Botox, McMansions and whitewashing: the glossy neoliberalism of The Shire

The first episode of The Shire ran last night on Channel 10. Described as “dramality” – a combination of drama and reality television – the show purports to show the lives of young people living in Sutherland…
Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella has been criticised for her failure to respond when GetUp director Simon Sheikh collapsed on Q+A. Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella has been criticised for her failure to respond when GetUp director Simon Sheikh collapsed on Q+A. ABC Television

Sophie Mirabella shouldn’t be attacked for failing to emote

By 9AM yesterday I’d been called a Sophie Mirabella apologist. Of all the very many slurs I’ve ever been subjected to, that one came as one hell of a surprise. And I just thought I was defending every…
Downton Abbey is a period indulgence for some, but at its heart it is a story of property law. Downton Abbey is a period indulgence for some, but at its heart it is a story of property law. AAP/Seven Network

Downton Abbey: melodrama, frocks and … property law?

Dim the lights, don the snuggie and pass the chocolate; Downton Abbey is back. Amid all the mooning over Matthew and Mary, viewers may not have noticed that Downton Abbey is actually about property law…
Optus may be offering a great service to customers, but is it right? Optus may be offering a great service to customers, but is it right? AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Optus should know there’s no such thing as a free lunch … or sporting telecast

Telecommunications company Optus lost its bid to gag AFL boss, Andrew Demetriou from speaking out against its “TV Now” service, which allows customers to watch AFL or NRL broadcasts near live. Demetriou…
No one goes to Paula Deen for health advice. No one goes to Paula Deen for health advice. Bristol Motor Speedway Dragway

In defence of Paula Deen, battered cheesecake and ‘food porn’

I’ll be completely up front. I love celebrity cook Paula Deen. I love the drawl, I love the finger licking, I love her ever-so-slightly inappropriate relationship with her sons. That time she described…
Chris Lilley’s Gran character is written too large to be ignored. Chris Lilley’s Gran character is written too large to be ignored. ABC Television publicity

Mockumentary’s ‘beautiful confusion’ animates Chris Lilley’s Angry Boys

Last night’s premiere of Chris Lilley’s third mockumentary series, Angry Boys, was a reminder that television comedy in Australia as we once knew it has changed forever. In the wake of the popular successes…

Research and News (1)

Research Briefs (1)

Crime dramas help stop sexual assault

Television shows that feature people intervening in sexual assault encourage people to do the same. Researchers found that…