DVD Review: Appropriate Adult (2011)

The British legal system has something called the “appropriate adult”. This is a volunteer who’s brought in to observe interrogations when a suspect is deemed incapable of looking out for their own interests, either through some learning disability or other mental handicap. At the beginning of ITV’s two-part fact-based drama, Janet Leach (Emily Watson), a […]

Binge Viewing

I recently came across a comment (can’t recall where) that it’s wrong to binge on TV series now that we can get whole seasons on disk. The art form is designed to be watched and appreciated in installments and watching many episodes back to back prevents absorbing each one individually. I do see the point, […]

Recent viewing, part 3

Jalmari Helander’s Rare Exports (2010) began as a couple of shorts (2003 and 2005) which were a success on the Internet. In the form of industrial training films, they depicted the hunting, taming, and training of wild Santa Clauses in Northern Finland. These are strong, rather vicious creatures which end up being marketed around the […]

DVD diary: September – part one

There’s still no recognizable pattern to my DVD watching, but maybe I shouldn’t worry about it. If my viewing became more systematic, it would probably start to feel like work. I finally finished getting through the British TV series Department S, which I mentioned a while back. It never really improved, though perhaps the production […]

Quality control

Rapidly developing video technologies are altering not just our expectations but also our responses to the experience of watching movies. Blu-ray, hi-def TVs, the digital technologies which are used more and more in production – all have helped to create particular standards which many viewers now apply to virtually everything they watch. A lot of […]

DVD of the week: The Feathered Serpent

British television in the ’60s and ’70s was limited by a lack of money, a fact which resulted in certain distinctive characteristics. Most shows were shot in studio, on videotape, with quite obviously flimsy sets. These limitations forced creators to follow a theatrical, rather than cinematic, model; at their worst, these shows seemed like creaky […]

Nigel Kneale & British genre television

British TV has always been primarily a writer’s medium; since the ’50s, the biggest stars have tended to be the writers, with writers’ names attached possessively to projects. Television production was often built around writers such as Alan Bennett, Alan Bleasdale and Dennis Potter, who was one of the biggest, with each of his new […]

Blasts from the past

Dr. Seuss’ Nightmare: The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953)

Podcasting again …

The Complete Jacques Tati on Blu-ray

Ghosts of Television Past, part two