Recent Television

Futurama season 7 (2010)

The first season on Cartoon Network (after the four movies) feels like the show never left. Particularly excellent episodes were the first one (explaining the few years’ absence and the crew’s sorta-survival from a massive crash) and a time-travel story.

The Thick of It season 2 (2007)

A weird “season” in two hour-long chunks, showing our government goons from season one and their opposition group (“the nutters”) who think they’ll be taking power when the prime minister resigns. Fewer jokes, insults and comprehensible situations to someone as dumb about British politics as I am. Season four just aired, exciting.

Screenwipe season 5 (2008)

I can’t seem to stop watching this, even though it’s irrelevant to my life and I don’t get most of the jokes. I just like Charlie Brooker. Best was the episode on children’s programming, less good was the humor-free double-length one on TV writing. Also checked out the special Gameswipe, an unhelpful hour introducing video games to people who are afraid of them.

Patterns (Jan 12, 1955)

A workplace drama that put writer Rod Serling on the map. It was a huge hit, re-broadcast (re-performed, since it’s done live) the next month and turned into a film the following year with the same director, Fielder Cook (from Atlanta).

New executive Staples arrives at the office, gets introduced to big boss Everett Sloane (Welles’s scheming employer in The Lady From Shanghai) and nervous coworker Ed Begley. The boss intends for Staples to take Begley’s place, but has to get rid of Begley first – can’t just fire him, so he tries to force the guy out, finally succeeding when Begley has a heart attack after a ruthless attack at a board meeting. Staples protests, thinks of himself as a good man recognizing corruption in the system, but he and his wife want this position and promotion too badly so he goes along with it. Nicely mobile camera, with bigger sets than Marty.

Ghost Train, the first episode of Amazing Stories, directed by Spielberg in 1985 – which I watched when it premiered. Lukas Haas, the main kid in Mars Attacks! is the boy whose grandpa (Roberts Blossom: scary neighbor in Home Alone) awaits the train that he derailed 75 years ago, killing everyone aboard. The train coming through the family’s house is impressive – the rest is a bit too Spielbergian-lite, but an improvement on his Twilight Zone episode.

Also watched an (cr)apocalyptic double-feature of Cloverfield and The Day After Tomorrow with Rifftrax.