Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Closed Indefinitely

Regular readers may have noticed a distinct lack of new content on this blog. For the last seven months work, and various small social manoeuvres, (carried out in what a diehard techie friend of Little Mr Square Eyes describes as ‘meatspace’) have interfered with posting here.

These work commitments meant LMSE has spent large chunks of time away from Tasmania – a situation unconducive to writing regularly about local telly and all things TAS. As a result, the Little Mister Square Eyes blog will be closed indefinitely until things sort themselves out one way or another.

Cheers and thanks for reading

Little Mr Square Eyes.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

From his lips to God's ear

"I have no fear of losing my life - if I have to save a koala or a crocodile or a kangaroo or a snake, mate, I will save it."
Steve Irwin

Thursday, July 06, 2006

First Hinde now Mr Gormsby?

Following the death of John Hinde, Crikey carried an item flagging the somewhat pungent obituary of New Zealand newspaper proprietor Ray Smith.

It opens with:
Ray Smith, the newspaper owner who died in Rotorua on Sunday aged 85, was an austere man, who went through life with a perpetual scowl...

and then becomes really frank. Worth a read, if only as a studied exercise in how to speak ill (and therefore honestly) of the dead -- could Smith have been the real life Mr Gormsby? You also wonder what Phil Campbell, the journalist who wrote the story, would have done with the Kerry Packer obituary.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Golden Hinde

Amidst all the stories of turkey slapping at ten and boning by the management of the Nine Network, news broke today of the death of ABC veteran John Hinde.

One of Australia's first foreign correspondents, TV presenter and movie critic, John Hinde has died in Sydney aged 92.

ABC Radio's AM program today paid tribute to Hinde, who filed a report for its first bulletin.

Mr Hinde began his career at the ABC in the news department and was a correspondent in the Pacific during World War II.

Apart from his war work and hosting the first AM broadcast in 1967, Hinde found fame as the ABC's avuncular film reviewer and presenter. This report on the national broadcaster's website features a good summary of Hinde's self-depreciating appeal :
David Stratton... says Mr Hinde was a lovely man who was a pleasure to talk to.
He says he had a roguish look on TV and always presented with wit, perception and style.

"It was something to do with his innate good humour and wit I think, and he would always focus on very often on small details, on whimsical little things that appealed to him, and convey them so beautifully to the listener or the viewer in his television introductions," he said.

Just how good humoured was Hinde? Well, that's Libby Gore in the photograph with him dressed as Superman. Little Mr Square Eyes seems to recall the only other person at the ABC who voluntarily got that up-close-and-personal with Gore was David Hill, but that probably had more to do with Network Nine-style management techniques than anything else.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Things that make you go hmmm…

(aka stuff on the tube I didn’t notice until recently)

During an aimless flick through morning television programs LMSE was surprised to see The Wiggles have spun off The Little Wiggles, a group of child performers portraying the skivvy aficionados when they were young. It’s a strangely creepy move that hints the franchise is being milked like a prize Holstein. The little Wiggles are notable for the lack of rhythm, singing ability and appeal they bring to their roles

Likewise, Rugrats also appear to have been back to the well once too often with All Grown Up. The show takes you 10 years into the future where the viewer learns what the writers and producers should have instinctually known (what worked with tots doesn’t translate to teens).

Finally, Variety reports two icons of the 80s are reuniting for a television comedy. You can see the whole, told-with-an-admirably-straight-face report here but the gist of it follows:
Former teen heartthrobs Corey Feldman and Corey Haim have teamed with RDF USA ("Wife Swap") on "The Coreys," a hybrid improv comedy that would center on fictional versions of themselves à la "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
"The Coreys" picks up with Feldman living the comfortable suburban life with his wife Suzie and son, until circumstances bring his old pal Haim back into the picture. Episodes would follow Haim -- single and the total opposite of Feldman -- as he shakes life up for the Feldmans.
RDF USA exec VP of current/development Greg Goldman said because Feldman and Haim have been friends on and off screen for several years, the chemistry between the two " just pops off the screen."
Sweet Jesus.
"Everyone feels like we know the Coreys," Goldman said…. Feldman and Haim met on the set of "The Lost Boys" and appeared in several movies together, including "License to Drive," "Dream a Little Dream" and "Blown Away.
Unfortunately, none of this last paragraph was much help because the only movie Little Mr Square Eyes recognised from the list is The Lost Boys and the only actor I can readily recall from that flick is Keifer Sutherland (and I still can’t forgive Donald for not employing birth control on that particular night 40 years ago). YourTV put the news into perspective a little better.
If the series is picked up it would be a big change of fortunes for the duo. Feldman's last major TV role was on ex-celebrity dumping ground The Surreal Life in 2003, while eBay busted Haim in 2001 for attemping to shill his molars on the auction site.
It takes news like this to make you appreciate 24 (or more correctly 120, seeing we're into the fifth season).

Coming up next week, the truth about the Beaconsfield mine rescue

Monday, May 15, 2006

Break in Transmission

During the past three weeks, travel has interfered with our scheduled programming. Stay tuned, normal service will resume shortly.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Hair Mitts & Moments

“…television ratings information is the currency by which television is bought, sold and evaluated.”
Oztam website frontpage

In the offices of cosseted Australian television executives they talk with numerical crudity – Dancing with the Stars 2.13 million viewers, The Biggest Loser 1.41 million, National Nine News 1.37 million. Amongst the closely groomed sales reps the peppy, incessant chatter is more homespun and they reach with frequency for HUTs, TARPs and (by turns haughty or meek) admit to audience share.

But when viewers talk about television, ratings fall by the wayside. When viewers talk about television we talk in units of “did-you-see-the-part-where?” or “there-was-this-one-bit” and “what-about-when-they”. Viewers talk about moments.

In no particularly order of merit, here are some of those moments that caught my eye over the last few months but failed to make it into previous entries.

The televised forum is a venerable format but it takes a skilled host and competent editors to produce a smooth, flowing program. Just don’t expect the results to even nudge towards the “well that’s that then” and “glad we finally sorted that one out” zone.

Insight (SBS) kicked off the year with special guest author and New York Times journalist Maureen Dowd whose latest book Are Men Necessary, provided the topic starter for the evening. Dowd (who, as most male members of the media seem obliged to mention, is anything but dowdy) divides her readers — depending on what side of the political fence you’re on, she is either a witty and incisive commentator or an inane, girly hack.

Whatever the case, she seemed comfortable in her role as a sort of feminist louche cannon but there was a quality to her voice that tugged at my memory for most of the program. Due to Little Mr Square Eyes’ innate shallowness he chiefly noticed three things, all of which had to do with superficial appearances or personal presentation.

*Hard studio lighting, a 100 metre stare, sharp looking teeth and a hunger for camera time conspired to give Catharine Lumby a passing resemblance to Gollum. Her idea that wearing an Armani suit or a lame bikini is part of a class issue was, like Lord of the Rings, a product of creative fantasy.

*Cosmo editor Sarah Wilson’s opinons would have carried more weight if her artificial tan hadn’t looked like it was applied with a watering can.

*Finally, the penny dropped regarding the featured guest's nasally tones - if MTV ever produces a series “Daria at 40”, they should consider Maureen Dowd for the voice role.

The celebrity interview is another television staple but when Andrew Denton is on top of his game, he can take it to interesting and entertaining places. At one point during an interview with Billy Connolly on Enough Rope (ABC), they discussed the furore over the Mohamed cartoons, the motivation of Jehovah Witnesses and the bible:

ANDREW DENTON: …I mean you've read the Bible or bits of the Bible...


ANDREW DENTON: You know that it can be whatever interpretation you like.

BILLY CONNOLLY: I just bought it a couple of weeks ago actually in Sydney.

ANDREW DENTON: I wont tell you how it ends. It's fantastic.

Connolly was clearly tickled by the banter and the pair continued to bounce off each other for the rest of the interview. It was a measure of just how successful the Big Yin has been at portraying himself as “the welder who got away with it” that when the topic of dreams and ambitions came up and he expressed the desire to be a “hair-mitt ina keev" you took him at his word he wanted to be a grotto dwelling recluse. The fact that he had to make do with jetting back to Cairns after the interview to shag Pamela Stephenson on a luxury yacht notwithstanding.

Another ongoing delight of the tube is the way it juxtaposes wildly divergent talents and continually poses nagging questions. During a commercial break in The Mummy Returns, a promo for Rove Live (or as network ten tweely bills it ‘seriously Rove Live’) popped up — after watching the Scorpion King’s crazed minions, Rove’s toothy, vacant, gaping visage seemed much less jarring than usual.

Still to be answered: can romance author Di Morrissey ever do an interview without mentioning her daughter is a sexologist? Similarly, is interviewing serial plastic surgery witch Pamela Noon the ultimate benchmark of lazy journalism? Should the increasingly spaced out looking Joan Plowright simply get a t-shirt with “Larry Olivier slept here”, have herself declared an historical site and be done with it? And what is it about Ghost Whisperer (Southern Cross) that makes you carefully note down the writer's name so as to studiously avoid any of their future work?