The Glass Teat, or 'Television'

Getting the first episode of Ken Burns’ documentary The Vietnam War tonight. Looking forward to it. Anyone care to weigh in? It’s PBS, so it’s good, right?

On a friend’s recommendation, I’ve also been watching Fortitude, which contains some great performances, not least from Stanley Tucci and Michael Gambon. Smashed series the first and onto the second, which has bonus…Douglas Quaid? Randy Quaid? Bill Paxton? I can’t remember his name. Anyway, series two is not quite as good, but is still eminently watchable. Gorgeous snowy landscapes, grim humour, murders, and a touch of the sci-fies.

We literally watched episode one of The Vietnam War last night. I learned a lot, I really had no idea of all of the many factors that resulted in the US being there.

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Okay, so I thought the first episode was really good. Apart from ‘Seymour Topping’ being the kind of name Homer Simpson would dream up to get into a dessert buffet, I thought the whole thing was a class act. The presentation in particular was excellent, but in addition to that you had some quality talking heads from the north and south Vietnamese, in addition to the Americans. It was a little too light in places, Dien Bien Phu was largely glossed over in the way battles are, like they’re a foregone conclusion and it was so obvious at the time, but minor quibbles aside, it was good work. Looking forward to more.


In contrast, The Good Place on Netflix. Exactly what you’d expect from a moderate-budget half-hour comedy about someone shoved into the wrong afterlife, except it stars Kirsten Dunst and Ted Danson. Agreeable, occasionally acerbic, lampshades bad language by having the afterlife edit swear words. Kirsten Dunst gets to say ‘motherforking shirtbags’ while looking adorable.

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Not Kirsten Dunst. Her name is escaping me right now, though. Kristin Bell, maybe?


I need Dunst closure, chaps. Is it her or not. This fever dream needs to end.

The latest season of American Horror Story touches on the dreaded politics and contains more black comedy than horror; while previous seasons have had no trouble going for laughs, this season is either misjudged or a big change. Still very good if you can set aside your disbelief at the, as always, tangled plot.

Yeah, it’s Bell. That series goes to some very interesting places… It’s the best network sitcom since Brooklyn Nine Nine. I can’t believe it got made, considering how high-concept and expensive it is.


Motherforking brain farts. Of course it’s Bell. What a shirthead.


Tim Roff? A chief of powice in Canada? I wove it awready, mate. Tin Star. Check it aaht.

Finished Ken Burns’ Vietnam, and it was excellent overall. It didn’t quite get across the idea that the US was superior on the field of battle, I thought that there was contrast lacking between the success militarily (from tactical on upwards) to the failure in the other spheres of action. Perhaps it was because the US had much more of its war filmed by the media, but there seemed to be a negative slant to most, if not all, of the parts covering US forces actually fighting, with even US firepower brought up as a negative (munitions missing, civilian casualties, friendly fire). Other than that, it was great to see so much more of the Vietnamese side of things; I dearly hope the Vietnamese on both sides get more exposure after this.

Twin Peaks. Just nothing else like it out there. Finally got the last couple of episodes watched, and the combination of horrific imagery, unabashed humour, and pure weirdness is unbeatable. Deeply strange, watchable even if only for the spectacle.

Ozark: Chicago financial-advisor-actually-drug-money-launderer uproots himself and his family to the middle of nowhere after his clients … are unhappy. Twisty, morally neutral, nicely paced. Shame the last episode was a bit limp.

Also, in a fit of nostalgia, the first two episode of Knight Rider. So unbelievably bad. No-one can act, the writing is terrible, the pacing is weird, token love interest arrives and then goes, and dear God, the love of zooms. But, the theme music and car scenes are all my distant adolescent self really cared about, plus I had no taste in those days anyway. Mrs StC originally saw it dubbed into German and assures me it lost nothing in translation.

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I enjoyed Ozark too, although the premise required some suspension of disbelief.

I had the same fit of nostalgia with Airwolf. The beginning dum dum dum dum, dum dum dum dum brought a tear to my eye… and then the actors opened their face holes and spewed forth what can only be described as my childhood dying. What god awful plots and acting… but lord, did I love that stupid helicopter thirty years ago.

Also, HBO’s The Deuce. Great period drama in Times Square 1970’s, focusing on the hookers and characters in the area. Great story, great acting.

I was a huge Airwolf fan at the time too. I don’t think I could bring myself to even try and watch it now.

I may have the DVDs somewhere if you want :grinning:

That’s ok :stuck_out_tongue:

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The Knight Rider rewatch continues, out of a sort of fascinated horror.

As we’re now into the proper episodes, the full intro in all its 1 minute + duration is there. I was faintly appalled to discover I can still join in word for word with the portentous voiceover, including the timing in "Michael Knight, a man who …pause… does not. exist". That explains why remembering German verbs is a problem; apparently my neurons are all busy right now.

I’d also forgotten the inexplicable pre-intro montage of the exciting bits of the episode and the damsel-in-distress-of-the-week. I hadn’t forgotten Bonnie; as an adolescent, I considered her appearances with big hair, white jumpsuit and the lip gloss were too short, but that’s what imagination was for.

The music is intrusively bad, the heavy-handed zooms unsubtly yank your attention around -look! Over there! Something … dramatic! - the acting is straight from the Joey Tribbiani school, and the writing is literally stomach-clenching at times. Oh, the pre-ad-break freeze frames, to let you appreciate a character in full emote.

The redeeming feature is of course KITT, who gets the best dialogue and is easily the most convincing actor on set.


Wow, you’re bringing back a lot of memories. I have that theme song in my head right now.

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Laughed aloud at this.


“Patriot” on Amazon Originals is really good. It’s about an American spy who has to go “non-official cover” with a company so he can travel to Luxombourg. He’s mentally unstable, so to release tension he will take his guitar to open mic night and sing hilarious folk songs about some of the messed up things he’s had to do on previous missions.

I’m also anxiously awaiting more episodes of “Jean-Claude Van Johnson”, because the pilot was excellent.

The Tick. Perfectly in line with what I remember, it’s an excellent mix of transplanted 50s superheroishness with well-judged comedy, and additional sharp edges. Peter Serafinowicz is perfect as the Tick, a 50/50 split of grandiose heroism and cluelessness, with someone I don’t know as Arthur, providing a superb foil as a mentally unstable and fearful brains of the operation. Jackie Earley Healey does his thing as the villain.

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