Australian TV in 2014: Get ready for the Joe Dolce Story

A new year in television brings with it plenty of questions for viewers and executives alike.

Who survived the Summer Bay bombing? Has Australia still got talent? Why on earth did Colin Friels agree to be in that Schapelle telemovie? Wonder no more dear reader. Thanks to a time machine discovered in the long-abandoned offices of Beyond 2000Daily Review is able to reveal the highs and lows of our small screens in 2014 …

January 14: Cricket commentator Ian Chappell gives Channel Nine an ultimatum. “If you want someone to call the game then pick me but if you want someone to cross promote your shows then get one of those fucking House Husbands.” Gyton Grantley makes his commentary box debut the following week.

February 17: A visiting HBO executive emails various Australian TV producers seeking to get in contact with the “hilarious political satirist” he saw on TV the night before. He is eventually informed that was a Sky News broadcast of parliamentary question time involving Clive Palmer.

March 13: Falling advertising revenues prompt a round of cost-cutting measures for Ten’s ailing breakfast program Wake Up. On the chopping block are EP Adam Boland’s fully automatic coffee machine, James Mathison’s dedicated eyelash stylist and the extra “r” in Natarsha Belling

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How To Make Gravy: Australia’s only Christmas carol?

Dirty pot

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Like its taste in cars and awards show guest presenters, Australia prefers its Christmas carols imported.

Some progress has been made in other aspects of the season – my family and I now choose to accompany our passive aggression with seafood instead of turkey – but when it comes time to attend your niece-in-law’s end of year massed recorder recital, it’s the same old songs being attempted: Jingle Bells, Silent Night and Rudolph the Bloody Reindeer.

The Australian carols that do exist are mostly novelty re-workings of existing songs with the holly and the ivy replaced by gum trees and wattle.

Santa swapping his fur hat for a corked Akubra and a token Aboriginal word is deemed sufficient to localise the celebration of the day a Middle Eastern tradesman wasn’t actually born.

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Costume dramas

Source: Aimo at Deviant Art

Source: Aimo at Deviant Art

One of ironies of my life is the older I get, the more costume parties I am invited to. Not a month goes by without someone insisting the only way to celebrate reaching the same age their mother was when she had them is to dress as my favourite superhero.

Come Monday morning there is an exhibition’s worth of photos on Facebook of otherwise sensible public servants and engineers dressed as Breaking Bad characters.

It’s not how young Ben imagined adulthood back in the early 1990s. I pictured myself getting married (tick), buying a house (tick) and owning a flying car (seriously, who do we have to give millions of dollars in government bailouts to to make this happen?). Continue reading

A 16th Century theatre critic reflects on the industry

blog-shakespeare Let it be known that in the year of Our Lord 1600 the Muses departed this sceptred isle, never to return.

The English no longer possess the art to fashion an entertainment as virginal as Her Majesty.

This conclusion weighed heavy on my soul as I contemplated the bleak reality that London must endure yet another bloody Hamlet reboot. Continue reading

The Pirates Strike Back

Source: latuffcartoons.wordpress.com

In 1908 a group of American companies involved in the nascent motion picture industry, including Thomas Edison’s Edison Manufacturing Company and film supplier Kodak, formed the Motion Picture Patents Company.

The MPPC’s brief was to enforce the patents on the film making equipment developed by Edison. Groups of independent film makers in New York and New Jersey had been pirating equipment produced by Edison to make their own wildly popular films. Continue reading

Don’t call me Shirley

Oh my God you GUYS! Did you read that story about how Khalessi from Game of Thrones is growing in popularity as a baby name?! We should totally share that link multiple times on Facebook and Twitter!! Isn’t that just the weirdest thing EVER?!!

Actually, no. It’s not weird at all. Finding inspiration in popular culture for baby names dates back more than 100 years. Continue reading