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Analysis and Comment (53)

Come play with us. For ever. And ever. And ever. Come play with us. For ever. And ever. And ever. Alex Eylar

Humilitainment – the sorry story of reality TV

Yesterday the Danish Toymaker Lego announced its plans for a reality TV show to be launched in 2015, rumoured to be based on the idea of Master Builders, the top “construction workers” in the insanely…
The suspense of reality TV hangs on viewers' votes for contestants. Can social media predict winners and losers? The suspense of reality TV hangs on viewers' votes for contestants. Can social media predict winners and losers? AAP Image/Nine Network/Paul Broben

Online fine line: using social media to predict the Big Brother eviction

Reality television, alongside shows such as Q&A – which may be Reality TV in all but name – frequently drives social media conversations about the Australian television industry. Big Brother, currently…
A fundamental aspect of drama is the need for rising tension. A fundamental aspect of drama is the need for rising tension. Maria

Tepid TV? Australia needs to sharpen its cutting edge

A special thing happened in August this year: Foxtel launched BBC First, a premium channel showcasing the best of contemporary British television drama. As a global channel that chose Australia as its…
Back in town. Back in town. BBC/Mandabach/Tiger Aspect/Robert Viglasky

How Peaky Blinders made 1920s Brummies hard but hip

Your living room is in danger of being invaded by criminals with Brummie accents. Not a reason for fitting a new burglar alarm, I hasten to add, but an alert for the BBC’s new series of Peaky Blinders…
There’s more than one way to decode ABC’s The Code. There’s more than one way to decode ABC’s The Code. ABC

The Code: darkness in the blaze of the Australian sun

ABC’s six-part political thriller The Code is shaping up as the most challenging political thriller on Australian television since the BBC’s House of Cards (1990). And, like the BBC series – and its recent…
Venezuala criticised Hollywood of saying president Nicolas Maduro wants a biological bomb. Venezuala criticised Hollywood of saying president Nicolas Maduro wants a biological bomb. EPA/Miraflores Palace

Venezuelans up in arms against Hollywood’s cultural imperialism are in the right

Cultural imperialism is alive and well. The desire of successive governments of the United States to destabilise governments in Latin America that are too far left for Washington’s taste is well and truly…
Shell shock? Shell shock? BBC/Big Talk/Robert Viglasky

BBC explores the therapeutic origins of a 1930s zoo

The history of zoos is eccentric, erratic; spotted with the spectacular as well as the cruel. But one of the more interesting beginnings of a zoo has to be that of Chester Zoo. And this is the story that…
Casting has something to do with it. Casting has something to do with it. Chris Radburn/PA

The secret to Sherlock’s success at the Emmys

The BBC drama Sherlock won an impressive seven awards at the Emmys, more than any other show, which came as a surprise to many. The three awards most discussed are those for Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin…
Here’s to more transatlantic TV collaboration. Here’s to more transatlantic TV collaboration. gavjof

British broadcasters should welcome American investment, not fear it

Large parts of the British TV industry are at risk, according to David Abraham, chief executive of the UK’s Channel 4. He claimed public service broadcasting, which includes Channel 4 and the BBC, was…
Do you need a degree to make a movie? Recent research shows that it will help you get a job. Do you need a degree to make a movie? Recent research shows that it will help you get a job. Jonathan Kos-Read

A degree helps for jobs in TV and film – eventually

It’s Open Day season at universities across Australia. Prospective students are pondering whether it’s worth doing a degree or not – and in particular, whether it will increase their chances of gaining…
For Buffy fans, Sarah Michelle Gellar will always be the Slayer. For Buffy fans, Sarah Michelle Gellar will always be the Slayer. Wikimedia Commons

Vampires beware: Buffy is the unslayable pop culture text

Give them enough blood and vampires keep on feeding – but give academics Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) and the same phenomenon occurs. Much Ado About Whedon: The 6th Biennial Slayage Conference…
We were promised hoverboards by 2015 – ain’t gonna happen. We were promised hoverboards by 2015 – ain’t gonna happen. dangerismycat

We love reliving the 1980s, but only as farce

History is generally made of things that happen. This truth often prejudices us to ignore the importance of the things that don’t. In this spirit, I would like to bring attention to the significance of…
The show not only repeats the historical marginalisation of black people, but enacts their current marginalisation. The show not only repeats the historical marginalisation of black people, but enacts their current marginalisation. FOXTEL

Why Mad Men’s treatment of black Americans is a problem

Matthew Weiner, the creator and “showrunner” of Mad Men, is famous for his pernickety attention to detail. The office furniture, clothing, and hairstyles of Mad Men must change, faithfully, with each year…
Loss of the service will impact Australia’s international image, media diversity in the region and coverage of news from the Pacific. Loss of the service will impact Australia’s international image, media diversity in the region and coverage of news from the Pacific. dithern

Scrapping the Australia Network affects more than the ABC

The termination in the 2014 budget of the ABC’s international television broadcasting contract to run the federal government’s Australia Network service, barely a year into its ten-year term, was hardly…
The reimagining of previous Prisoner characters brings depth and empathy to a world of female criminals. The reimagining of previous Prisoner characters brings depth and empathy to a world of female criminals. FOXTEL

Why Wentworth is raising the bar in Australian TV drama

There’s no escaping it. Wentworth, FremantleMedia’s reimagining of the Reg Grundy cult classic TV series Prisoner, is packing a punch far above its weight – and probably all industry expectations. A project…
The public’s active participation in society is considered vital to a functioning democracy. The public’s active participation in society is considered vital to a functioning democracy. Patrick White

Community broadcasting? Where’s the value in that?

The National Commission of Audit - released on May 1 – recommends slashing all community broadcasting funding in Australia. For some, this is a logical response to the nation’s need to collectively “shoulder…
There’s a case to make for public service broadcasters' role as a preventative health initiative. There’s a case to make for public service broadcasters' role as a preventative health initiative. Joe 13

Keep watch: your kids would be worse off without the ABC

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…
Make no mistake, Peppa Pig brings home the bacon. Make no mistake, Peppa Pig brings home the bacon. slimmer_jimmer

The ABC is not ‘commercial free’ – just ask Peppa Pig, oink!

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…
The cinema industry needs to be more open to changing its distribution model. The cinema industry needs to be more open to changing its distribution model. palomaleca

Only at the movies? Home truths about cinema ticket pricing

In the last fortnight, senior executives from cinema operators in Australia, including Village Roadshow and Palace Cinemas, have come out defending their decision to raise movie ticket prices. But do their…
Where to for Don Draper and the kind of man he is in Mad Men’s final season? Where to for Don Draper and the kind of man he is in Mad Men’s final season? Courtesy of FOXTEL

Inside the Mad Men: Don Draper and American masculinity

This weekend, AMC’s Mad Men returns to TV screens for its final season, due to be shown in two halves, this year and next. In its six seasons to date the period drama has won plaudits for its writing and…
A Western, set in the south, featuring European gothic – what’s going on? A Western, set in the south, featuring European gothic – what’s going on? Image courtesy of FOXTEL.

True Detective lassos the Yellow King in Hollywood South

This article contains spoilers. Ne raillons pas les fous; leur folie dure plus longtemps que la nôtre … Voila toute la difference. So begins The Repairer of Reputations, the opening story to Robert W Chambers…
There’s much binding in Broadcasting House. There’s much binding in Broadcasting House. Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Flawed and could improve, but BBC is still the best of British

If the current media debate about the future of the BBC is anything to go by, the corporation seems to be facing the gravest crisis of its 92-year history. Indeed, this week a book with the title: “Is…
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, who starred in Silver Linings Playbook. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, who starred in Silver Linings Playbook. Warren Toda/EPA

Mental illness on screen – a new world of hopes and aspirations

It is a basic tenet of mainstream filmmaking that you want the audience to identify with your protagonist: to go on an emotional journey with them, to empathise with them. What, then, are the particular…
Someone’s about to get sold a Lucozade. Someone’s about to get sold a Lucozade. adwriter

Advertisers look with empathy into your front room

Technology is under development to enable advertisers to target products not just at a broad group of people that might be watching a certain type of programme but at specific households and even individuals…
Curved TV: the future. Using glam girls to advertise tech? Not so much. Curved TV: the future. Using glam girls to advertise tech? Not so much. samsungtomorrow

You don’t need a curved TV, but 4K is the future

There has been a lot of hype and misinformation in the press over the last few weeks about the future of television. At the CES Electronics Showin Las Vegas, curved screens and 4K TV are being touted as…
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…
Shows with strong Australian links have done well both home and away. Shows with strong Australian links have done well both home and away. Lubs Mary

Notable Australian TV of 2013

What follows is not a “best-of” list and is by no means conclusive – but these are some of the Australian TV shows that stood out for me in 2013. Top of the Lake Top of the Lake is a seven-part mini-series…
Supposed savings on children’s television are based on flaky figures. Supposed savings on children’s television are based on flaky figures. ABC

Give Hoot the boot? Let’s not downsize ABC’s kids offering

In a report published this month by the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS), Simon Cowan advocates the downsizing or sell-off of ABC3 – the dedicated channel for Australian school-age children – as a…
There’s something very Melbourne about Jack Irish: Bad Debts. There’s something very Melbourne about Jack Irish: Bad Debts. AAP Images;ABC Television, Lachlan Moore

Location, location, location: a key character in good TV drama

Television is always located somewhere, even if the place is imaginary. And programs such as Dr Who move effortlessly between real and imagined worlds. Once, mid-Pacific (or mid-Atlantic) was a term for…
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…
Programme makers are wary of turning off viewers with climate change. Programme makers are wary of turning off viewers with climate change. Till Krech

We’ve woken up to climate change but we’re not tuning in

A report from the International Broadcasting Trust has argued that more investment should be made to get environmental issues covered on television. Environment on TV is based on interviews with people…
Let’s be honest: the sofa’s often better than the cinema. Let’s be honest: the sofa’s often better than the cinema. AAP/HBO

Youth vs truth: how box sets beat the box office

The northern summer of 2013 was a bad one for Hollywood. After Earth, The Lone Ranger, White House Down, World War Z and Pacific Rim were among the million-dollar turkeys. And you may have noticed the…
The world of advertising hits the small screen – again – in the new series The Crazy Ones. The world of advertising hits the small screen – again – in the new series The Crazy Ones. CBS

The Crazy Ones – advertising agencies make great television

Move over Mad Men – there’s a new group of advertising executives hitting the small screen. The Crazy Ones, a TV series set in a Chicago advertising agency, is currently the top-ranked show in the new…
Walt and Jesse prepare for their red wedding in the final episode. Walt and Jesse prepare for their red wedding in the final episode. deviantART

Twitter app stops you Breaking Bad news to good people

WARNING: This article contains a spoiler. Don’t worry though, it’s not what happens in the final episode of Breaking Bad. Even academics don’t get early access. This week, Netflix has created a handy service…
Crystal meth forms the basis of fictional TV show Breaking Bad, but its effects are very real. Crystal meth forms the basis of fictional TV show Breaking Bad, but its effects are very real. YVRBCbro

Breaking Bad and crystal meth – a chemical reaction

Crystal meth has at least two faces, in common with those people unfortunate enough to succumb to its charms, as these horrific before-and-after pics show. I’d like to look at the drug chemically, to shine…
TV portrayals of forensic science sometimes border on the criminal. TV portrayals of forensic science sometimes border on the criminal. Derek Bridges

Get real, forensic scientists: the CSI effect is waning

You’ve heard of the so-called CSI effect – the manner in which the exaggerated portrayal of forensic science on crime television shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation influences public perception…
It’s time for Australian broadcasters to get smart about how they show live sport. If they don’t, we’ll go elsewhere. It’s time for Australian broadcasters to get smart about how they show live sport. If they don’t, we’ll go elsewhere. Tim McFarlane

Australian media and the Olympics: prepare for further disappointment

The Olympic Games are a fascinating yardstick for how much things have changed in the preceding four years. As Beijing’s fake fireworks beamed across our TV screens, Kevin Rudd was still Prime Minister…
The ghost-like image of Tupac captured the imagination of concert-goers … imagine if they’d seen a real hologram. The ghost-like image of Tupac captured the imagination of concert-goers … imagine if they’d seen a real hologram.

Beyond Tupac – the future of hologram technology

Last week the world watched on as a supposed hologram of the late rapper Tupac Shakur performed at the Coachella music festival in California. But was it a hologram? The term “hologram”, (“holos” meaning…
Tweet success and sweet success increasingly go hand in hand. Tweet success and sweet success increasingly go hand in hand. Scolirk

Field of screens: it’s sport and social media for the win

In the brave new world of contemporary sport-watching, the goalposts have moved. Watching the big game (once a simple matter of grabbing a beer and some chips and settling down in front of the television…
A rooftop ‘E-bomb’ could wreak havoc on critical infrastructure and electronic devices nearby. A rooftop ‘E-bomb’ could wreak havoc on critical infrastructure and electronic devices nearby. Shane Brennan Productions

I advised NCIS: LA on ‘E-bombs’ but they’re not a work of fiction

In tonight’s episode of NCIS: Los Angeles airing on Channel Ten, the program’s protagonists try to locate a stolen electromagnetic bomb before detonation. I know this, because I was the scientific advisor…
The Murdoch crisis in the UK raises many questions about media ownership in Australia. The Murdoch crisis in the UK raises many questions about media ownership in Australia. AAP/William West

Media ownership matters: why politicians need to take on proprietors

The Gillard Government’s media inquiry is to disregard the crucial issues of bias and concentration of media ownership, despite Bob Brown’s demands for wider terms of reference. This is, at best, misled…
Google CEO Eric Schmidt will discuss collaboration at the Edinburgh TV Festival. Google CEO Eric Schmidt will discuss collaboration at the Edinburgh TV Festival. Peter Parks/AFP

Will Google get good TV reception? All eyes on Edinburgh

Google chairman Eric Schmidt will make history tomorrow as the first IT/internet executive to deliver the MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh International Television Festival. In doing so, he will face…
Bad behaviour isn’t cause to ignore these TV shows. Bad behaviour isn’t cause to ignore these TV shows. Flickr/Number Stumper

Scrubs, House, Grey’s Anatomy: Are medical students learning bad habits?

Television loves particular careers: detectives, lawyers, forensic experts and, perhaps most of all, doctors. Popular long-running shows such as House and Grey’s Anatomy join a long list of medical programs…
The AFL may bypass broadcasters altogether and stream games live to fans. The AFL may bypass broadcasters altogether and stream games live to fans. AAP

Non-stop AFL: Andrew Demetriou has an app for that

Interesting to read AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou’s thoughts on the next broadcasting rights deal, given that the league has yet to work out how to divvy up the money from the deal it recently negotiated with…