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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From Indonesia with Love

I for one am shocked, SHOCKED, that Australian’s spies might be spying on people.

A news story hasn’t shaken me this much since I found out SAS Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith was awarded the Victoria Cross for killing people. I thought he received it for services to current affairs programs.

The revelations published in the Guardian this week really hit home for me. The Defence Department facility allegedly used in the phone tapping is near the farm my pet dog went to live on when I was 12. The thought of it being used for nefarious purposes is utterly bewildering. Continue reading

Underdogs gone overboard

There are only two times when Australians drop the pretence and openly hope Goliath will crush David.

The first is the Commonwealth Games, where we treat beating the likes of Papua New Guinea and the Isle of Man as akin to winning the America’s Cup.

The second allowable moment is right now, in that strange time between football and cricket seasons when the general public pretends to like horse racing. Continue reading

Political correctness gone mainstream

Bloody PC hippy Source: smh.com.au

The popular view of political correctness is that it is an exclusively left wing phenomenon.
Two seasonally appropriate examples of “political correctness gone mad” are craven shopping centres removing Nativity scenes so as not to offend Muslims and bushfires caused by Green/ALP opposition to backburning.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison made use of this public perception on Monday when he defended his use of the term “illegal arrival” to describe asylum seekers who arrived by boat. Continue reading

Look mum, I did a journalism

As if the prospect of encountering Christopher Pyne on campus didn’t terrify university students enough, this month they awoke to the news there were more people studying journalism than there are working journalists.

It’s a grim statistic so in order to offer a fleeting burst of hope, I would like to share a few journalistic secrets on what employers are looking for. Continue reading

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