Televisionaries! is a new weekly column in which we review television programmes. It is partially named in honour of the second tier cartoon series Visionaries. This week we look at the work of: Andrew Marr, the sodomites on HBO and a bored Paul Merton.
Andrew Marr’s Megacities
Here is a megacity! And here is another one! I am in Tokyo! Now I’m in Dhaka! Now I’m in Mexico City! London! Shanghai! London! Shanghai! Tokyo! Dhaka! London!
According to the well travelled Andrew Marr, “10 million-plus megacities are where humanity’s future lies”. Which seems obvious at first, except when you recall that back in the 1970s, the big thing everyone was talking about was de-urbanisation: both London and New York had declining populations as governments the world over sought to turf their unsightly, tourist-offending scum out to the suburbs. So maybe the pendulum can swing again.
“The Chinese government are building 10 million new homes a year,” Marr essays, as he walks round a bright and airy new apartment that has just been built by the State for a Shanghai couple of former slum-dwellers, complete with energy-efficient lighting and gleaming taps. What’s Ai Weiwei moaning about? The Chinese government are brilliant.
Game of Thrones
There are some cerebral HBO purists who hate Game of Thrones. They're the same people who love Treme and, therefore, presumably find watching their goose pimples sway under a mild breeze an unbearable blitzkrieg of adrenaline. Some people, though, prefer TV programmes with stories and events... Shows where people chop the heads off horses, former cast members of Hollyoaks have their tits licked by shit-loads of models and the promise of dragons looms ever closer. Game of Thrones has all that, plus, unchallengeable buggery content. Honestly, I'm pretty sure the only people who haven't been buggered yet are Sean Bean, the eunuch and the midget. Ten pounds says the eunuch gets it next.
Select Committee Hearings On The Coastguard
Game show in which three well-meaning old duffers from the RNLI and public service unions are eviscerated by a panel of MPs armed with awkward questions about the centralisation of the coastguard. The winner is the one who presides over a cost-saving modernisation process without measurably increasing risks to safety. Can't hold a candle to The Cube.
Have I Got News For You
There is no longer even talk about whether HIGNFY is in decline. That would be like saying ‘Is the Ten O’Clock News in decline?’. It has been bolted onto the schedules since the dying days of Thatcher, and 41 series later, questions of whether this year is better than the last are irrelevant: long term, it just is. That said; it is totally in decline right now. Four years ago, Will Self wrote an essay in which he sketched out why, after nine appearances, he’d never go back again. The show that, as he saw it, had once been scabrous towards the establishment, now was the establishment – televisual royalty, kowtowed to by both fans and politicians actively vying to make a name for themselves with a few Missing Words Round zingers. This week, the material was thin, the host passable, the team captains bored, and yet somehow this mild cocktail was greeted by the pathetic audience as though it were Steve Martin on coke in 1980. Belch.
Secrets Of The Superbrands
Coke views itself not as a competitor with all soft drinks, but with all drinkable liquids full stop. “We’re in the hydration market,” says some marketing chap from their HQ. “We aim to double individual consumption levels over the next decade.” This would be like us deciding we're not merely in competition with other websites, but with all written communication. We’d be taking down street signs, shredding tax forms, just to make sure that no one could out-compete us for market share of reading material. You suspect Coke will only be happy when our houses are plumbed with water, gas, electricity, telephones and a mainline of Coke.
The programme also contained this oft-repeated nugget: Fanta was invented by the Nazis because America wouldn’t let them have Coke. I am sure Coke have an entire dirty tricks division in the marketing bunker whose entire job is to seed this fact into the popular imagination.
STIG OF THE DUMP