‘Houdini & Doyle’ – On the Box

Well this looks daft. I rolled my eyes at the advert, but then I wondered, is it too silly, or just silly enough?

As long as a show is well-written, the acting isn’t too hammy and there’s some spectacular effects we’ll sit through a lot of stuff that sounds like absolute guff written down. For examples please see fantasy/ fairy tale horror Grimm (now inexplicably in its fifth season), fantasy/ fairy tale mash-up Once Upon a Time (totally ridiculous premise, carried off with some significant flair), ’90s cultural touchstone Buffy (Teenage Mutant Vampire Hunter) etc etc.

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‘Shetland’ – On the Box

Back in 2013 the Beeb had a go at capturing the Scandi noir spirit with a drama set slightly closer to home than the usual Sweden/ Denmark heartland. When I say slightly, I mean only very slightly because this dark drama is set in Shetland. They might speak the language and you can fly to Glasgow in 90 minutes, but the place has much more in common with Scandinavia than Scotland. Famously the islands didn’t become part of Scotland until the 15th century and that remoteness lingers in the traditions and the outlook of the people.

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‘Too Much TV’ – On the Box

Well thanks BBC2 for this new tea-time waste of time. Too Much TV is the perfect name for a desperate and disparate bunch of ‘presenters’ – some with little or no presenting experience – chatting awkwardly about television shows that are all at least 469% better than the one they’re hosting.

They’re a motley crew of left-over raffle prizes in the school hall that should never have been grouped together (“The chocolate and wine are gone! I want to get my moneys worth but I don’t want lavender soap or a fucking Spanish wicker donkey!”). They’re like the very end of a list of potential presenters shouted out at random at a BBC meeting: “Can we get Dermot O’Leary? Fiona Bruce? Oh God, Terry Wogan has died! How about Carol Vorderman?… None of them? Oh shit, I guess this lot will have to do”.

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I Have Been Watching…

Shush! Turn the telly off – we’ve got guests!

Don’t worry – it’s guest blogger Susie Sue! She’s here to talk telly, and for her first Dead Pixel Test post it’s the demise/ rebirth of BBC3, comedy, tragedy and line-dancing. Read on!

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We Need The Muppets Now More Than Ever

Andrew has hit the nail on the head with this reivew of the abysmally poor Muppets reboot. I was excited they were coming back and it was being picked up by Sky in the UK. But when they trailed the fact that Kermit and Piggy were breaking up it was a red flag. Worse still when it turned out Kermit’s new girlfriend Denise was younger, thinner and less outrageous than his old flame. And also a pig. A pig! He can’t help himself can he? That frog has some serious issues.

I am and always have been Team Piggy. I would like very much to be her when I grow up. Mr H would probably say I’m exactly like her right now and don’t need to change at all. I want to perfect the hair-tossing flounce – Harumph!

The viewing public were not happy with this break-up. Fictional and felt they may be, but these characters are very imporant to people the world over. The fans watched, and continued to watch hoping that something would work. But it didn’t. The Muppets have always been about rebellion, and sticking their middle finger (paw?) up at to man. They’re always putting on one last charity show to save the Muppet Theatre from fat-cat developers for the love of it, but now they’re working in late night tv (Up Late With Miss Piggy) that love has gone.

And we don’t love it anymore, and that’s a real shame.

As Andrew says, I hope the team behind this flop get the message. We still love The Muppets and their crazy mad-cap joie de vivre but this was not the format for them. Try again please, and do it better!

Thanks to Andrew at cronofire.com

CronoFire

I’m a little behind with what is on my DVR so I’m watching the Disneyland 60 special that was on the other week. Kermit the Frog came on and did his song The Rainbow Connection that I absolutely adore. He did it with some girl that has an amazing voice and I don’t remember her name (Tori Kelly perhaps?). Anyway, no offense to her, but shes not important to what I’m getting at. As I was watching this I was smiling like an idiot because The Muppets mean so much to me. I love the movies, the shows, and the songs. When I heard about the new TV show that ABC was putting out I was beyond excited. That was until I started to hear more and more about it.

The show was going to be filmed in the same style that The Office was. I didn’t like the office…

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‘That’s So Last Century’ – Period Features

Just before Christmas I was desperate for a Game Boy. This statement is true, both in 1990 and 2015.

I really, really, really wanted a Game Boy mainly to play Tetris but also because it was cool and all the cool kids were getting one. As with many things when I was a kid I had my heart set on it, and could not be dissuaded by my parents, who may have mentioned awkward things like cost and it being a total waste of time. I didn’t care. I couldn’t hear them over the deafening sound of my sighs of longing.

What I did get was a grey plastic gaming device – it was a sort of executive toy that had a small screen and buttons, but the only game you could play on it was a sort of black and white Tetris knock off. I did play with it, and it’s probably still in a box in the loft, but it didn’t make much of an impression on me because I can’t even tell you what it was called.

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‘It’s Not Rocket Science’ – On the Box

As of last week ITV has a science entertainment show! I know! Shocking right? This from the channel that regularly brings you live testicle-eating on I’m A Celebrity. But science is having a moment right now (which I can show with graphs and equations stems directly from Professor Brian Cox’s beautiful hair), so why the hell not? Science isn’t the preserve of the BBC alone.

Stand-up comic Romesh Ranganathan, Countdown mathematician and general cleverclogs Rachel Riley, and comedian and actor Ben Miller seem on paper to be a strange selection of presenters, but they all have maths and science backgrounds. And they were all sparky and enthusiastic. Even their Top Gear style banter seemed quite natural. You can tell Rachel Riley has been taking notes after working with Jimmy Carr – her comedy timing is on point!

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