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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What is wrong with the punks of today?


When I read the public reaction to John Lydon’s  controversial interview on The Project on Tuesday, I imagine it being dictated in the tone of those letters to the editor complaining about The Youth of Today.

“I say,” they bluster  “this Johnny Rotten chap sounds absolutely ghastly! Why, oh why do they let oiks like him on the television? Something must be done!”

These latter-day curmudgeons seem to be shocked that a former punk rocker acted like, well, a bit of punk. Continue reading

Girls and premature acclamation

What is the deal with aprons? Source: New York Times

An unfortunate aspect of current entertainment writing is the tendency to rush to judgment on new artists, ranking them against their predecessors before they have even had the chance to go to rehab or give their child a stupid name.

This month The Vine devoted more than 1000 words to explore the notion that Girls is the new Seinfeld. Continue reading

The missing stories of the Asian Century

This Friday the Chinese Communist Party will hold its 18th National Congress.

The event will anoint Xi Jinping as President as well as making decisions on an economy that, while still outperforming the rest of the world by a considerable margin, is starting to slow down. Think of it as the ultimate gathering of faceless men. Continue reading

There’s no business like news business

He actually asked some half decent questions.

IT WAS CNN commentator Paul Begala who coined the phrase “politics is show business for ugly people” to describe the ego, talent and charisma needed to succeed in both high profile industries.

It reinforces the popular view that our leaders and legislators prioritise style over substance, like the film producers who keep hiring Megan Fox. Continue reading

Seven live versions of popular Australian TV shows

As television executives watch their audience and – more importantly – advertisers dwindle, they are increasingly looking for new revenue streams. A current winner is to stage live versions of popular television programs in the hope audiences will pay $99.95 plus booking and parking fees for something they could watch for free.

In the last 12 months alone Australia has hosted live versions of Grand Designs, Spicks and Specks  and QI, the later proving that even if you don’t own a TV, Stephen Fry is an inescapable presence. Continue reading

Pretentious dude food takes the cake

So let me get this straight: A greasy hamburger made by a minimum wage teenager is “fast food” but an equally greasy pork bun with onion rings made by some tattooed hipster is “dude food”. That’s the lesson I took from Sunday night’s episode of MasterChef.

Dude food is the apparently “junk food for hard-core foodies, evocatively tasty snacks such as fried chicken, mini-burgers and pork buns, meticulously made with only the best ingredients”. I’d call it something else but I can’t think of anything that rhymes with wanker. Continue reading