Simon Willison’s Weblog


15 items tagged “tv”


The premise of “The Good Place” is absurdly high concept. It sounds less like the basis of a prime-time sitcom than an experimental puppet show conducted, without a permit, on the woodsy edge of a large public park.

Sam Anderson # 10th November 2018, 9:48 pm


When did South Park characters stop calling things “gay” in the vernacular derogatory sense “not very good”?

There was actually an episode that touched on a similar issue back in 2009:—“the boys attempt to change the official definition of the word ”fag“ from an anti-homosexual slur to a term describing loud and obnoxious Harley bikers.”

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What is the best 30-minute sitcom ever?

I’m shocked it hasn’t been mentioned already, but seriously: where’s the love for Father Ted?

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How could Sherlock be improved?

Watson needs to be more competent. Jude Law’s Watson is significantly more useful than Martin Freeman’s—Watson is a military man and a doctor, and is hence useful for far more than just bumbling around with a quizzical expression and updating his blog.

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2010 for television. Dale Lane’s neat hack to visualise his television watching habits. An Ubuntu / vdx home theatre stores TV events in SQLite, and graphs are generated using Python and Open Flash Chart 2. The really clever bit: the back-end captures nearby bluetooth IDs’ allowing events to be filtered by the people watching based on the presence of their mobile phones. # 7th January 2010, 7:28 pm


But I guess where I was originally going is that nobody wants to write endings in television. They want to sustain the franchise. But if you don’t write an ending for a story, you know what you are? You’re a hack. You’re not a storyteller. It may not be that you have the skills of a hack. You might be a hell of a writer, but you’re taking a hack’s road. You’re on the road to hackdom and there’s no stopping you because stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

David Simon # 22nd December 2009, 10:52 am

Micro Men. “Affectionately comic drama about the British home computer boom of the early 1980s.”—aired last night, and on BBC iPlayer for the next week. I thought it was absolutely charming, as well as being a thought provoking history of the rise and fall of the British computer industry in the early 80s. # 9th October 2009, 12:47 am

UK Television Series Map. Inspired by the US sitcom map, Meg Pickard is plotting TV series on a map of the UK. # 5th April 2009, 7:25 pm

What the Internet has actually done is not decimate literary reading; that was really a done deal by 1970. What it has done, instead, is brought back reading and writing as a normal activity for a huge group of people.

Clay Shirky # 13th January 2009, 2:22 pm


A Matter of Loaf and Death Comes to BBC One This Christmas. New Wallace and Gromit 30 minute short! # 20th November 2008, 2:26 pm

James May’s Big Ideas: Come Fly with Me (via) The BBC made an hour-long documentary on Ekranoplans! It’s available for the next 21 days on the iPlayer (UK residents only). # 28th September 2008, 11:07 pm

OpenTech 2008 “Impossibox” presentation. One of my favourite Open Tech sessions—Tom Loosemore describes the “Impossibox”, a cloud of PVRs collaborating to transcode and share “all decent UK TV for a year” via BitTorrent. # 7th July 2008, 2:11 pm

Consumption is also about choice. Tom Armitage’s thoughtful response to Clay Shirky’s Web 2.0 talk on television as “cognitive surplus”. # 1st May 2008, 1:01 pm


Outcry over TV kidney competition. Reality television is now a parody of itself. # 29th May 2007, 11:01 pm



I’ve become yet another statistic in the Bath Mumps epidemic of 2004. I’m quarantined until next Monday, and this afternoon we had a camera crew from ITV West come round to film some doom-and-gloom footage warning students to get vaccinated. Amusingly the camera man hadn’t had Mumps and took suitable precautions to avoid infection. I’m told that the piece will go out on ITV news for the south west at 6pm this evening.

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