That Was the Week That Was – June 4th

That Was the Week That Was – June 4th

Dear DiaryA busy week, what with racing to launch the Netregistry sale and trying to fit in my social media commitments.

Plurk appeared on the scene, only to convince most of us that Twitter isn’t as bad as all that really, And Three Mobile decided they would deactivate my sim card twice, leaving me without my phone for the best part of a week. Let’s see how they try to keep me as a happy customer before I decide whether they merit the blog post from hell.

Freak Angels

I’ve regularly used Warren Ellis as an example of the kind of writer I aspire to — embracing new technology, crossing genres and platforms to produce a diverse but always fascinating body of work. Often, the format Ellis chooses is almost as newsworthy as the content — such as the creative choices made to produce Fell. This comic was designed as an example of what can be produced within the modern commercial comic landscape. By adopting a strict nine panel grid style, informative back-matter and an economical price tag, Ellis and Ben Templesmith showed the comic industry exactly how much creativity and story could be crammed into a $1.99 ongoing title.

Recently, Ellis has highlighted the possibilities of online comics. Freak Angels has become a huge success, illustrating how online comics can reach an audience and lead the readers to other works. It takes guts for a popular comic creator to effectively give away content for free over the net, as well as an understanding of the direction online creative rights are heading. Just like Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, who recently gave his entire new studio album away for free download, Ellis knows the internet has changed the rules of copyright and creator owned content. Experiments such as Freak Angels and Nine Inch Nails’ The Slip are pushing the debate forward as to how creators should manage their own properties in future, away from the corporate mechanisms of record labels or publishers.

There is a new creative anarchy coming, and I think that suits Ellis just fine.

Sex and the City Overdose

There are many blockbuster movies arriving on cinema screens at this time of year, but one film surely has to claim the record for the most all-pervasive and continual promotion I can ever remember seeing.

If you weren’t already aware – yeah, right – Sex and the City is released in Australia tomorrow. But I am already so over the whole shebang that my fiancé and daughter are under strict instructions to go see it without me.

I can’t turn on the box or open a newspaper without the four annoying plastic smiles invading my space. We all know they hate each other so all this ingratiating nonsense just grates all the more. Oprah specials, Breakfast TV hype, behind the scenes docos, it seems the publicists have approached virtually every magazine TV show imaginable to find some ridiculously facile way of working in their four nipped and tucked charges. “Getaway is a show on holidays? No problem. Sarah Jessica Parker can be interviewed about why she likes to visit Australia.”

When you think of some of the other major movie events arriving this year – or any year – the amount of back-slapping, butt-licking promotion has easily beaten them all.

And for what? A vacuous non-story about materialistic women without any obvious means of supporting their lavish lifestyles. And the great plot twist? A wedding. Kill me now.

I’ve taken to leaving the room the moment I catch a glimpse of SJP or hear that little jangle of xylophone. This over-saturation now means any chance the film had of appealing to me — and I’ve been told I would enjoy the original series — is now lost. This sort of defeats the point of the whole marketing campaign.

Long term SatC fans would go without constant prompting, so I can only assume the marketing is aimed at that large portion of the audience who aren’t regular viewers. And it is this audience that is switching off in their masses.

I swear, mention Jimmy Choo shoes to me this week and I’ll swing for you.

The Master is back

No, I don’t mean the renegade Time-Lord. Of course I’m talking about Steven Moffat – the greatest Doctor Who script writer of our times and soon to be anointed show-runner after the departure of Russell T Davies next year.

Silence in the Library was by far the best episode of the current series. Personally, it will take a lot to knock The Girl in the Fireplace from its pedestal as my favourite Who episode ever, but this one came close – and we’re only half way through, with the conclusion appearing this Saturday.

Ironically, Silence in the Library received the worst overnight ratings of any episode since the series’ return in 2005, completely trounced by Britain’s Got Talent over on the other side. But those who did maintain their loyalty are obviously of a discerning breed as they awarded the show the highest appreciation index rating in the show’s forty-five year history.

It’s quite possible the buzz on this episode got around quickly, as the repeat on BBC3 the following evening scored double the ratings of any previous Sunday repeat.

If you think Doctor Who is just childish nonsense, this is the episode you should watch. If you still believe Star Trek is the pinnacle of imaginative TV, this is the episode that will send that notion quivering under the bed for evermore.

Moffat excels at cleverly structured and densely woven plots that never take you where you expect but always satisfy. Having won a BAFTA for his script last year, Blink, Moffat is clearly the best inheritor to Davies’ crown and is a unique storyteller of immense power.

And if you don’t tune in this Saturday for the conclusion or track down a repeat or torrent of the episode quick smart, you are missing possibly the cult TV event of the year. You have been warned.

Count the shadows and stay out of the dark.

And Finally…

Indiana Jones IV – meh. Thoroughly enjoyed the first half as rip-snorting movie matinee stuff. By the umpteenth overlong car chase I was beginning to feel the script was short on ingenious plot and overloaded with set-pieces. Maybe V will be better.

Stephen Fry’s podcast is hugely entertaining listening – even if it is erratically posted and sways between scripted structure and ad-libbed ramblings.

Oh, and linkbait-gate refuses to go away, with the story of Ralph Hardy being read out as a humorous news cutting on last Friday’s News Quiz. I will be writing more on the dangers of fact and fiction mingling online soon as well as the long-promised article on the question of an ethical code of conduct for online marketing. I’ve received a few strong opinions for inclusion in the article and thank everyone who has contributed so far.

As you were. Class dismissed.


  1. A fellow Freak Angels fan! I am absolutely loving it. I look forward to every Saturday morning when it arrives on my RSS feed.

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