Tag Archives | Television

The Brilliant ‘Black Mirror’

Have any disinfonauts checked out British TV series Black Mirror? A friend recently recommended it to me and a couple of Netflix streams later I’m a true believer (but please Endemol, don’t create an American version as rumored by Variety – it won’t work).

black mirror

It’s a kind of Twilight Zone for the 21st century and has earned an enthusiastic review from the New York Times Magazine:

One of the most disturbing moments in the British TV series “Black Mirror” is what appears to be a passionate love scene. The episode takes place in a version of the future where most people have had small devices, called “grains,” surgically implanted in their heads that can record and replay their memories on demand. As the encounter progresses, it is revealed that the couple are actually having dull and mechanical sex, their eyes grayed out as they both tune into their grains to watch memories of their previous trysts, from an earlier, steamier time in their relationship.

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Welcome to Hollyweed: Why TV Is Going to Pot

Marijuana mania is sweeping the United States, from Wall Street to Hollywood, or “Hollyweed” as the Hollywood Reporter dubs it:

The television industry is catching up with film and learning that pot sells in Hollywood. As more states join the legal marijuana movement and the drug becomes less taboo in the country, entertainment industry insiders say interest in weed-related storylines is at an all-time high.

Showtime series “Shameless,” for instance, which follows Chicago’s dysfunctional Gallagher family and stars William H. Macyand Emmy Rossum, will embark on a major weed arc later this year. The network is also responsible for the mother of all television pot tales, “Weeds,” which starred Mary-Louise Parker as soccer-mom-turned-drug-dealer. The series blazed trails (and spliffs) from 2005 to 2012 and helped put Showtime on the original-programming map.

Showtime isn’t the only pot-obsessed programmer, though; CNBC is in Season 2 of its series “Marijuana in America,” and “60 Minutes” struck ratings gold with a recent pot segment that drew in a whopping 17 million viewers.

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New ‘X-Files’ Returning To Fox

Thexfiles.jpg

I’m sure there’s more than a few X-Files fans among disinfonauts, so you’ll be interested to learn that David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are (probably) going to revive their X-Files personae in a revamp of the Chris Carter series to air on Fox, per Deadline:

Following the success of Fox’s 24 limited series, the network is looking to bring back another iconic drama series, The X-Files. Fox TV Group chairman Gary Newman today confirmed chatter that the network is in talks for a new installment of Chris Carter’s cult supernatural drama, which starred David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. Newman went on to say he was “hopeful” about the outcome.

Later, fellow Fox TV Group chairman Dana Walden said that the conversations so far have been only logistical, looking at windows when the key X-Files players, creator Carter and stars Duchovny and Anderson, are available. She confirmed that a potential X-Files followup will star the original leading duo of Duchovny and Anderson.

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Atheists Unveil Anti-Christmas TV Specials

“Yes, Virginia, there is a ‘War on Christmas’,” declares the Washington Times, reporting on AtheistTV‘s holiday lineup:

Conservatives have been mocked for insisting there’s an ongoing war on Christmas, but now it looks like they may have simply been ahead of their time.

American Atheists unveiled Wednesday the “War on Christmas” line-up on its television channel, AtheistTV, featuring “original programs proclaiming the truth about Christmas on December 24 and December 25, featuring scholars and celebrities from the atheist community.”

Atheist TV

“Christmas is hard for many atheists, so we will provide programming free from superstition and fairy tales that allows families to watch together and not worry about being preached at,” American Atheists President Dave Silverman said in a statement.

Conservatives like Fox News talk-show hosts Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly have long warned of a “War on Christmas,” citing moves by retailers, public schools and local governments to remove references to Christmas from displays and celebrations.

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Remembering the Max Headroom Incident, One of the Creepiest Hacks Ever

I actually learned about this on Reddit just a couple of weeks ago. If you haven’t heard of the Max Headroom Incident, you’re in luck because Klint Finley recounts this bizarre, but legendary hacking event over at Wired.

via Wired:

Around 9 o’clock on November 22, 1989, Chicago residents witnessed this epic hack. The evening news sportscast cut out, and a person in a strange mask appeared, dancing around in front of a spinning piece of metal—a rather dark incarnation of Max Headroom, the rather inexplicable character at the heart of the British TV series Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into The Future and two subsequent TV shows. On these shows, Headroom had a tendency to interrupt the broadcasts of the fictional TV station Network 23, but this wasn’t an authorized appearance by the character. It was a real pirate transmission.

After about 30 seconds, WGN’s technicians were able to override the pirate signal.

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Five ways Sesame Street changed the world

USAG- Humphreys (CC BY 2.0)

USAG- Humphreys (CC BY 2.0)

By Todd VanDerWerff via Vox:

How many TV shows have changed the world?

The list is short. Indeed, you could probably count it on your two hands (and, okay, maybe a couple of toes). But somewhere on that list, you essentially have to have Sesame Street, the educational stalwart that turns 45 this month.

The show began on National Educational Television, then transitioned seamlessly when NET became the still existent PBS. And its artistic importance to children’s television cannot be overstated. It codified and created many of the ideas about how TV could be used to teach kids that we still use today. But its influence went well beyond that. By becoming such a bedrock of educational television, Sesame Street changed the country — and eventually the world.

Don’t believe me? Here are five good reasons.

1) Sesame Street invented children’s programming as we understand it — and changed adult programming too

2) Sesame Street solidified the place of PBS — which helped kick off the TV drama revolution

3) The show focused on the education of preschool children, which wasn’t a given at the time

4) Sesame Street helped television diversify

5) It became a shining example of the United States’s soft power

Go here to read Todd VanDerWerff’s entire argument: http://www.vox.com/2014/11/17/7228353/sesame-street-changed-world

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101 Masterpieces: ‘The Twilight Zone’

twilight-zone-movie

via Mental Floss:

For Rod Serling, TV was the perfect landscape to battle bigotry and corporate censorship. But was the nation ready for it?

In the late 1950s, Rod Serling found himself sitting in a London airport tired and ready to go home. As he waited to board his flight, he spotted something eerie. Across the room stood his doppelgänger: a man who looked to be his same height, sporting the same coat and carrying the exact same cowhide briefcase. It blew his mind. As the award-winning TV writer tried to catch a glimpse of his double’s face, a strange thought hit him: What if, through some glitch in the universe, he was watching another version of himself?

“I kept staring and staring,” Serling recalled, “with this funny, ice-cold feeling that, if he turns around and it’s me, what do I do?” Eventually, the gentleman did turn around. He was a decade younger and, Serling joked, far better looking.

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Why You Should Be Afraid Of Your Smart TV

Michael Price isn’t generally a tin-foil hat wearing crank. In fact he’s counsel in the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law (i.e., part of the establishment). But now he’s getting the tin foil ready as a result of his new privacy-smashing Smart TV, as he relates at Salon:

I just bought a new TV. The old one had a good run, but after the volume got stuck on 63, I decided it was time to replace it. I am now the owner of a new “smart” TV, which promises to deliver streaming multimedia content, games, apps, social media and Internet browsing. Oh, and TV too.

LG smart TV

The only problem is that I’m now afraid to use it. You would be too — if you read through the 46-page privacy policy.

The amount of data this thing collects is staggering. It logs where, when, how and for how long you use the TV.

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Waiting for the Internet’s ‘Mad as Hell’ Moment

[Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on Medium.com. It was republished with permission.]

Follow Drew Reed on Twitter


Dear reader: This article ended up being longer than I set out to make it, and you, the average Medium reader, are notorious for not finishing articles. So I’ll make a deal with you, based on a tactic I stole from John Oliver. Finish this article, and at the end I’ll give you that which you most crave in your online existence: a GIF of a cute little hamster eating a miniature burrito! Mmmkay? As Oliver says, the GIF is “as magical and as uncomplicated as you think.”

They’re telling us that we’re living in a “golden age” of television. Game of Thrones! House of Cards! Army of Darkness! OK, so that last one wasn’t a TV show, but you get the idea. TV is now a place for serious people to talk about serious things and be taken seriously.… Read the rest

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Atheist TV Channel Launches

atheist tvWell I don’t see why there shouldn’t be Atheist TV, considering the proliferation of Christian and other religious television channels. Plus atheists can be just as rigid and dogmatic as religious extremists… From the New York Times:

Atheists are angry, and watch out, because now they have a television channel.

This week the organization American Atheists announced the premiere of Atheist TV, available through the streaming service Roku and over the Internet. That news will certainly prompt assorted knee-jerk reactions in some quarters, and perhaps some confusion:

“Atheist TV? It’ll be full of incest and smut and debaucheries of all kinds. Oh, wait; that’s HBO.”

“Atheist TV? It’ll be nonstop mockery of conservative Christians and Republicans and Middle America. Oh, wait; that’s Comedy Central.”

“Atheist TV? It’ll be godless wiccans and flesh-eating zombies and serial killers and all manner of other people who lack the Judeo-Christian morals that built America.

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