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#1 Matthew Buick

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 05:30 PM

I just tuned into "Extras", a BBC comedy program (for those who don't know).

There was this scene that was supposed to be part of some flashy hollywood movie, with this sickly video promist over it, it didn't even look remotely like film. Infact, if my DCR IP220 started behaving like that I'd throw it away. When the program cut to a behind the scenes look they had the cheek to put a 16mm Arriflex in place of whatever piece of crap filmed the actual scenes.

Why not just use the real deal, instead of somebody's friggin' mobile?

I don't think I have any faith in the BBC any more. What the hell is going on?????

-Matthew Buick.
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 11:12 PM

> What the hell is going on

They're trying to run dozens of TV channels and radio stations while simultaneously acting like an overgrown government department, that's what.

Phil
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#3 Matthew Buick

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 05:51 PM

GAGH! I hate them! :angry:
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#4 Michael Collier

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 10:09 PM

meh, who cares its TV. tv is crap and always will be.

speaking to the actual show, I love that show! we get it here on HBO and my tivo grabs it every time. The dynamic between the agent and andy is hillarious. The dry brittish humor is something we don't get in America. If its not 8 laughs a page with standard set up-knock down rythm, then it doesn't get made. I hope extras continues on just the way it is.

The only problem I have with brittish shows is the whole 6-episode season crap. I don't know if its typical to have only 2 seasons per year (or is it only one?) but in America we get either a 13 or 26 episode commitment, meaning most weeks its a new show. That is key in my opinion since good shows are few and far between. I can count on one hand the shows I watch all the time, so if a show is good, I want as many episodes as they can churn out. How the hell is the UK going to surpass our syndication power? Will a show ever top the Simpsons 300-400 something shows?

by the way, the way TV operates these days with about 4-5 MPEG compression/recompression cycles away from the source material; I am not sure I could tell what is 24p video and film anymore. it all looks like rubbish. I saw a shot (shot on film) of a building with a slow pan. The MPEG confused the bricks with the windows and trim and within a second it was a jumbled mess until the pan stopped. Who cares how good the source material is if thats the best we can hope for on digital cable!

(pluss ending the show with a cat stevens song...brilliant!)
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#5 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 04:20 PM

There was this scene that was supposed to be part of some flashy hollywood movie, with this sickly video promist over it, it didn't even look remotely like film. Infact, if my DCR IP220 started behaving like that I'd throw it away. When the program cut to a behind the scenes look they had the cheek to put a 16mm Arriflex in place of whatever piece of crap filmed the actual scenes.

I don't think I have any faith in the BBC any more. What the hell is going on?????


If you're refereing to the episode with Daniel Radcliff I wondered that too.

It seems a little crazy when an episode stars Daniel Radcliff, Warrick Davis, Diana Rigg and not to mention Ricky Jervais (who's become a fairly big star recently) and they have actually rented a super 16 production camera as a prop that why don't they spend a wee £200 to run a single 400' roll through, to make the film being shot look like film!

The production probably even has enough lights on board to use a failry fine grained medium/slow speed film too.

It does seem a little insane.

Its supposed to be intertextual comedy after all.
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#6 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 04:32 PM

meh, who cares its TV. tv is crap and always will be.


Wow! Slightly sweeping statement there!


We'll here's some good TV from the last 30 years, some my personal favourites:


*Jim Henson's The Storyteller

Okay its a kids show but its beautifully written by Anthony Mingella, and the dramatic directorial style was set by Steve Barron (the music video director), plus it featured a range of animatronics and puppets from the Henson Workshop.


*Early Doors

A whole comedy set in a pub. Co-written by Craig Cash (Royal Family) and beautifully shot by Daff Hobson (Welcome to Sarjevo) on super16.


*Duel

The excellent TV film that brought us Speilberg.


*Eerie Indiana

Another kids show, much of the early dirction was by Joe Dante (Gremlins, Matinee) and it was co-written/co-created by Jose Rivera (screenwriter of the Motorcycle Diaries) - its was quirky, well written, visual and a little twisted.


*Fanny and Alexander

Ingmar Bergmans 5 hour tv drama so good it traveled the worlds cinemas - its actually scary too.


*The Best of Youth

A 6 hour Italian mini-series shot on Super16 that was so good it also travel the worlds cinemas. Sentimental, dramatic and an exciting wirlwind tour of learning to live in Italy over 30 years - perhaps one of the best things to come out of Italian cinema in the last decade.

Edited by Andy_Alderslade, 21 March 2007 - 04:36 PM.

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#7 Ricardo Diaz

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 05:04 PM

AHHH this show is hilarious. So its TV who cares in this case its about the content. Unfortunately, I just read that Gervais wants to end the show after the second season like he did with the original "The Office". So we only get one more season. Quite a bummer.
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#8 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 05:18 PM

AHHH this show is hilarious. So its TV who cares in this case its about the content. Unfortunately, I just read that Gervais wants to end the show after the second season like he did with the original "The Office". So we only get one more season. Quite a bummer.


Haven't we just seen the second season?
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#9 Ricardo Diaz

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 05:55 PM

In the UK yes I believe you are right. Here in the states we have only gotten season one. Maybe it was after the third season not sure let me try and find the article.

An article in the most unreliable source imaginable (IMDB) had this to say...

Comedian Ricky Gervais will make a final Christmas special episode of TV hit Extras before axing the show, according to reports. The Emmy-winning creator of The Office is determined not to risk the failure of a poor third series, and would rather move onto new projects. After the success of The Office, Extras attracted a host of A-list celebrities desperate for cameo roles including David Bowie, Chris Martin and Ben Stiller. The insider tells British newspaper The Sun, "There had been reports that Ricky was going to go ahead with a third series of Extras. But he is firmly of the opinion that third series are rarely a success and has decided to quit while he's ahead. When he said goodbye to The Office with a two-part Christmas special, it was a smash hit both in the ratings and critically, so he's decided to do that again. He's loved making the series and there are tons more A-list stars who want to appear. But Ricky has lots of other things he wants to do and feels this is the right timing."

http://www.imdb.com/...wenn/2007-03-20
scroll about halfway down the page.
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#10 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 06:03 PM

In the UK yes I believe you are right. Here in the states we have only gotten season one.

Actually, here in the U.S. we've gotten both seasons.
Here's the link to the article about Extras ending.
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#11 Ricardo Diaz

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 06:22 PM

Well then I guess I have only seen season two. I need to catch season one then! Thanks Brad for the heads up and the link to a far more credible source.
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#12 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 07:10 PM

The six ep season thing drives me mad. It's been like that forever here. It's a bad idea on so many levels.

It makes it very hard to compete with US produced shows in the home market, because it's almost impossible to pick the series up if you've missed the first several eps - it's almost over by then. You could miss the first ten of a 26-ep US series and still get a meaningful viewing experience out of it.

It's harder to get a groundswell of support going for the thing. People used to have X-files parties and they used to be a weekly event for months on end - these were people who would go out and talk to their friends about it, generate viewers for it. Six eps and it's over in a month or so; it's insignificant, it can have no grandeur; it's blip on the collective consciousness.

Gaps between seasons become gigantically long, so everyone forgets the thing exists. Merchandise sales drop off to nothing inbetween series.

It makes much harder to sell the show in the US market because they want to be able to fill a regular timeslot with it for a long period - it's hard to schedule. It's also difficult, once the series is old, to dump it into daily slots on a satellite or digital channel who want to back-to-back the thing day on day, because you can only fill a week with it.

It affects the stories you can tell. Some of the best episodic TV had proper storyline arcs which covered the entire series, requiring it to be shown in order; no other motion picture medium allows for truly epic tales to be told. Six eps, given that UK series are invariably half an hour and given the need to set up and resolve each story, is barely more than a long feature film's worth.

I am currently entertaining wild fantasies of having a TV series I'm involved with writing commissioned; it almost certainly never will be, but if it is, I am absolutely dedicated to the idea of making no fewer than eighteen 45-minute eps.

Phil
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#13 Matthew Buick

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 07:17 PM

But is there money for that? :huh:

You've caught my interest. :D
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#14 Michael Collier

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 08:11 PM

Is Tv in the UK a state-run thing? That is, is it a private opperation or a goverment op? It seems like all the BBC channels are state run(I assume those are the only over-the-air stations?) I have heard of 'TV liscence' is that to say you have to pay money to own a TV set to recieve programing with advertisements? if so thats completely absurd.

Free market, esp in artistic endevors usually works out better over goverment run, especially the more control over product the goverment takes. (though philanthropic artistic endevors with no controls or strings attached would be best, but between free market and goverment, I take freemarket.) All the state run TV we have is PBS. One channel. It fills in the sort of docs that would not be run on commercial stations, and they have very strict guidelines on what kinds of advertisement can air (actually it can't be advertisement at all. You can never say 'speacial end of year sell out at litha-dodge, 10% off sticker'. There can be no 'call to action' or sales type elements. most are 'this show sponsored in part by...')

Our free market competition drives long season runs. (it also has a way of homogonizing the shows, this is where cable and premium cable come in handy) but we don't suffer from lack of production or content options. I cannot believe that anyone can look at a 6-episode run and call it good.

Also Ricky going out after 2 seasons because shows don't pass 3 typically? This is amazing. In America the last show to go off the air out of desire to go out on top was Seinfeld, and that was after 10 long years of quality show (260 episodes, somewhere in that range? maybe less, the first few seasons were 13 episoders) This is not counting the Chappelle show, which went off for different reasons all together. Sounds like another Brittish show we need to bring over and make work (American 'The Office is great in my opinion, though I cannot compare it to the UK version having never seen it)

(oh and Andy, yes it was a sweeping statement. Really more designed for dramatic effect than accuracy. There is great TV out there, but its hidden amidst lots of crap. But I suppose thats how it should be. Lots of options, for whats crap to me might be anothers favorite show (and probably another demographic all together, making way for the widest range of advertisers)
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#15 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 09:48 PM

> Is Tv in the UK a state-run thing?

No. The BBC is a "public service broadcaster", that is, it's a fundamentally nonprofit corporation and quasi-governmental department run by quasi-public money, but run by a trust and "free from both political and commercial influence and answers only to its viewers and listeners", according to the charter. Although this sounds good, actually it means that broadcasting in the UK is tied up with a lot of red tape and strange legal issues that exist nowhere else.

There have been at least three terrestrial commercial television broadcasters (comprising many "regions", what would be similar to regional news affiliates in the US) since the mid-nineties, satellite offerng much more since the late 80s, and in the last five to ten years, digital terrestrial broadcasting means that more or less anyone can get 100 channels of feeble commercial dross for the cost of a DVB-T decoder (about £20/US$40). Sky still run very comprehensive satellite services including HD sports and movies.

> (I assume those are the only over-the-air stations?)

You can get most of it on cable and satellite too, but all the BBC stuff is free to air.

> I have heard of 'TV liscence' is that to say you have to pay money to own a TV set to recieve programing
> with advertisements?

Yes.

> if so thats completely absurd.

Yes, it is. This situation was de-facto acceptable (though theoretically wrong as hell) for years when the BBC was clearly and identifiably producing better television that anyone else. This has not been true for over a decade and there is a groundswell of resentment about it.

> Also Ricky going out after 2 seasons because shows don't pass 3 typically?

I suspect that was just his personal interpretation - for which which I have a lot of sympathy - not to drag the thing out until it became junk. Of course that may also be down to the fact that he's used to writing for six ep series.

The BBC is a proud and historic organisation, is unique in the world in the way that it is funded, and is the wealthiest media organisation on the face of the planet. In this situation, it should be, and very occasionally is, capable of some truly inspired feats of brilliance. The problem is that recent management has interpreted "answerable to nobody but the viewers" as "just do whatever gets the best numbers", which means they've been dragged downmarket with the rest of the TV industry when they should have been in ideal circumstances to resist backsliding. It's very disappointing, and the BBC are now no longer merely not the best broadcast organisation in the world anymore, they're not even the best in the UK. Most of the best stuff is now produced and aired by the commercial broadcaster Channel Four Television. The BBC is a strange beast and has strange internal procedures and workings which baffle people (like me) whose broadcast experience is mainly for the commercial broadcasters.

The BBC also truly horrible people to work for.

Phil
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#16 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 07:59 AM

One of my current complaints about the BBC is i'm noticing almost every drama on it is now shot on video, with the exception of the odd period piece.

I'm not being anti video at all, but sometimes it just looks inapprorpiate or cheap. For the small screen film really does seem to assure quality. And if you have to shoot video than make it be video, push it as being video like Funland did on HDV.

I find it intriguing watching Primevel, ITVs blatant rip-off of Torchwood. Despite its an original and not a great show, it looks great and guess what? Its shot on Super 16.
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#17 Rupe Whiteman

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 08:43 AM

Generally I'd agree with Andy. But Extras series 2 looks pretty good to me... Considering they always shoot with 2 cameras rolling and co-directors - which is not easy...

- the first episode of series 2 with Orlando Bloom and David Bowie was sublime, and the moment 'Bowie swung round on his chair and broke into song was brilliant. Very very clever writing and pitch perfect performances - even from Bowie... (Although he was great casting in The Man Who Fell to Earth..)

... If you watch the first series against it, you can see how the production values have grown on the second series, which has a more polished look and more defined and developed scripts From Gervais and Marchant- perhaps because of the influence of HBO.
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#18 Daniel Smith

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 06:51 PM

The reason a lot of what's on TV is so bad is because a lot of the people working in the BBC don't know poop.

There's just a big 'ego' thing going on. I've met several, and been interviewed by some "legends" working in TV. And worked with a DP from some TV programs. They are all camera operators with big cameras and steadicams. Lighting? Forget lighting. Provided the audience can see what's happening, there are no problems there.

Apologies if I sound 'arrogant' but from what I've seen so far these people don't 'know' talent.

It's as though TV is becoming a 9 to 5 job. Not an art form.

It's why I'm first going into TV to get a foothold of some kind, and then when and if I get a chance, I'm transferring straight into film.

Edited by Daniel Ashley-Smith, 22 March 2007 - 06:53 PM.

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#19 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 12:38 AM

Apologies if I sound 'arrogant' but from what I've seen so far these people don't 'know' talent.

You do sound arrogant. You have to consider what the situation is. You guys seems to be putting all BBC DP's in one heap and calling them garbage. That's not cool. I don't live in England, but I'm sure there are some good things coming out of the BBC. What's the point of badmouthing all of them anyway?
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#20 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 07:18 AM

Unfortunately he's very near correct.

> You have to consider what the situation is.

True. The situation is that despite being incredibly well funded, the BBC piss it all away on penny-ante local TV and radio operations who have to work very hard to fill their time with cat-stuck-up-tree news stories and extremely feeble local interest programming - and bear in mind that most of these regional outfits have patches you can practically spit across; it's not worth doing. They also run vastly too many channels, resulting in an obvious and unavoidable dilution of standards - as everyone with two braincells to rub together said when they started doing it, the advent of digital TV in the UK has meant that there's now a hundred channels but exactly the same amount of really decent programming as there was before. It's just spread across a whole bunch of streams.

> You guys seems to be putting all BBC DP's in one heap and calling them garbage. That's not cool.

Again, it's sadly and alarmingly near to the truth. It's probably not directly the fault of the people themselves; when you're told to shoot twenty pages a day, there's only so much you can do, but at some point someone has to take responsibility for Torchwood.

> I'm sure there are some good things coming out of the BBC.

Uhrm. Er. Er. Ah... well, yeah, you're probably right, but... um... er..

> What's the point of badmouthing all of them anyway?

Someone needs to say it. Not that it'll make much difference over here in the land of the deeply feeble - I believe the BBC has a formalised Commitment to Mediocrity which is not easily shaken.

Phil
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