"Tivo-ifies the web" Paul Kedrosky

Best TV Program of 2013: The Returned

While Breaking Bad broke new ground in the US, France, which has created little in the way of cultural innovation since it was taken over by an army of pen-pushing, zombie civil servants 30 years ago, produced one of the world’s most interesting and original TV shows of the last few years.

It’s a brilliant, intelligent and quiet twist on the zombie formula, and as The Guardian put it, selecting the Returned as the best TV program of 2013 and pushing Breaking Bad into the number 2 spot:

At its heart was the existential question that is as profound as it is infrequently asked. What if the worst you could imagine wasn’t having a child die in a car crash or having your fiance kill himself on your wedding day, but them coming back to life? Almost as they were before, but not quite.

It was broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK, with subtitles. One of the few foreign language items to break the language barrier in the Anglosphere that stems from the laziness of speaking the world’s dominant second language. It remains almost unknown in the US, but with the magic of legal streaming you don’t need to wait for the inevitable remake for the US market to watch it via the post-modern TV channel that is Smashing Telly:

It is available for streaming via Amazon instant video, here.

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Edge of Darkness

Watch Edge of darkness 1 in Entertainment  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

From the comments, Jon picks edge of darkness in his favorite TV from the past.

“One of a long series of big drama serials that pretty much sustained British TV in the post-Play for Today years. It fed straight into the nuclear paranoia instilled from a childhood where we subconsciously listened for the early warning sirens. ”

Here it is on Veoh (a login allows you to watch it and parts 2-4 in full).

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Naked City

Hunter Gatherer has a great post about the classic 1948 film noir, Naked City, and the subsequent TV series which ran between 1958-1963, complete with a few choice clips.

Most so-called New York TV series were shot in studios. Friends, for example, was filmed in LA. In most episodes the only genuine NY image is of the front door in the West Village, and even this spells fake as an implausibly expensive location for its fictional occupants. Naked City is special because, befitting its title, it was filmed in large part, on location in New York and strips Manhattan bare to reveal an architecture that was far more coherent than today’s mixture of glass and steel modernism and pre-war masonry gothic.

This great opening shot from the movie shows how much bigger the downtown skyscraper cluster was relative to midtown, before the corporate center of gravity shifted. The financial district is dominated by the hypodermic needle like tower of what is now a focus of news half a century later, as the HQ of AIG with its injections of tax payer bail-out cash, while midtown looks relatively spartan revealing the since hidden laminated shards of the side facade of the Rockefeller Center.


3 comments architecture, drama

YouTube Launches Full Length Video Service

Star Trek Original Series – the enterprise crew catch a virus that removes their inhibitions.

The original Star Trek is hilariously camp to look at these days – there is a world apart from this and the later versions which appeal to techy geeks rather than nostalgia freaks. This episode is a particular favorite of mine.

While we are on the subject of full length videos, YouTube has done what it always promised, full length videos with inline ads, similar to Hulu. For the ones that I could find, embedding was disabled for individual items yet they still promote a playlist embed which then doesn’t work. This seems to destroy the essence of what made YouTube so great and viral. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

More on YouTube full length, here.

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Le Ballon Rouge

Le Ballon Rouge (Albert Lamorisse 1965)

Albert Lamorisse’s simple and beautiful film from 1956 is the only short film to ever win an Oscar outside of the short film category. Its about a magical balloon that travels with a young boy through Paris, and creates a unique historical record of the city in the 50′s.

Update: Film Freaks Club points out that the director of this movie invented the board game ‘Risk’.
32 min 38 sec Oct 15, 2007

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This was Jean Cocteau’s first feature film. A surrealist film style that is interesting today primarily because of its continuing influence on people like David Lynch.

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Derek Jarman’s Wittgenstein

This is an odd but fascinating movie. Derek Jarman was often self indulgent as a film maker, but he innovated, and some of what he did was great. He directed the seminal punk movie, Jubilee, many of the Smiths’ pop promos and a beautifully filmed portrait of the painter Caravaggio. The self indulgent stuff included the simultaneously hyper camp and mind numbingly dull Sebastiane, which was entirely in Latin.

Wittgenstein is an interesting subject, being one of the few philosophers that wasn’t entirely self indulgent.

BBC 1 hr 11 min 53 sec Sep 21, 2007


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1 hr 14 min 21 sec – Oct 30, 2006


Today’s second Dracula movie is the 1931 camp and cozy romp that smacks of Mel Brooks’ ‘Young Frankenstein’.

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Public Domain Video
1 hr 24 min 19 sec – Jan 10, 2006


Two versions of Dracula today! This one is the classic German expressionist silent film from 1922: ‘Nosferatu’.

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Home – adaptation of J G Ballard’s ‘The Enormous Space’

Ballard at his best, finding the weird in the seemingly banal. Here, a story about a suburbanite who intends to shut himself off from the rest of the world by never leaving the house again.

Running time: 59 mins

Full screen

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