This week on Utopia we returned to my favourite interaction on the show, which is between Nat and Human Resources. The performance review episode last year was a highlight of the show, and earlier this year, Nat had to do battle with HR in order to hire her preferred candidate for the Brisbane office. We also had a quick look at the ‘independent’ review process following a tunnel in Sydney being canned by the media after its cost-benefit analysis had a ratio of 0.65, Amy’s second career as a barista, and the process of taking photos for the annual report, which was as ridiculous as it sounds.
This first season review of Empire is coming to you less than two hours before the second season premieres in Australia. Television has become a strange beast, and Empire is the story of 2015. It was the biggest broadcast hit in a decade during an era in which the television audience has become increasingly fragmented. Meanwhile, there has been almost zero promotion of this show in Australia. It’s the most popular show in the world (sorry NCIS), and tonight the second season debuts on Eleven, one of Network Ten’s secondary channels. I also found it really difficult to find Empire’s first season when it debuted in Australia, so I waited until it came out on DVD. It was worth the wait. Spoilers for this show and also the third season of Person of Interest, which got really good in its second season. If you want to watch it start from the first season finale.
Noah’s Daily Show debut was not about intimacy. It needed to be quite the opposite. It was about being as broad and welcoming as possible, reassuring a nervous fanbase that even if the guy at the desk is more dimpled-and-dapper and even if the world is spinning in a different direction, it’s still The Daily Show. Check back in a few weeks or months, and maybe it will be time to review The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.
I’m not a Daily Show devotee – what I’ve seen is mostly via YouTube – but I did watch Jon Stewart’s final episode, because his retirement was a significant television event this year. I remember everyone being upset that Jon Stewart was leaving, because Jon Stewart had become The Daily Show. In this article, Dan Fienberg points out that The Daily Show existed before Jon Stewart, and Jon Stewart had to find a way to make it his own. Everyone’s eyes were on Trevor Noah, who has the weight of the world on his shoulders. I’ll check in on The Daily Show every so often during Trevor Noah’s tenure, but the first episode isn’t the right time to do so. Trevor Noah is currently known as the Guy Who Is Replacing Jon Stewart. As Dan articulated in his piece, the changes aren’t going to happen all at once. This is a time of transition. It will be interesting to see what Trevor Noah’s Daily Show is, but it’ll take a little while to get there.
“The Witch’s Familiar” is a perfect example of why I haven’t enjoyed Doctor Who during Steven Moffat’s tenure as showrunner. I thought that what happened in the season premiere was bold storytelling which was undercut by having everything tied up in a neat little bow by the end of the two-parter. There were some interesting things going on, but in the end it was just about Missy and Clara competing for the Doctor’s affections because that’s all women are capable of, and also The Doctor knew what Davros’ plan was all along. And also we shouldn’t forget that compassion can be our strongest weapon, because they said that at least five times in the episode.
What’s going to happen in a Best Buy parking lot?
This quotation probably isn’t word for word, but it’s what I laughed the most at in the first two episodes of Scream Queens. It’s a reference to the podcast Serial, which you’ve probably listened to. I think Adnan was supposed to have called Jay from the Best Buy parking lot or something like that, I can’t remember exactly. It’s just telling that the thing I laughed at the most in this particular comedy-horror anthology series as a pop cultural reference. Scream Queens isn’t bad, and I’m intrigued enough to keep watching until the end of the season, but it has all the signs of a Ryan Murphy show that could go off the deep end at any point. I get that bitchy women is what Murphy, Brennan and Falchuck enjoy writing, but this is so over the top that it’s gone past the point of being funny. There is a lot of screaming though, so it lives up to its name. This post has spoilers I guess (it premiered nearly a week ago now), but I’ll try to keep them in the bullet points and be vague until then.
I’m experimenting with the ‘Press This’ button on my browser right now, and it seems to be working pretty well. I like reading The Green Guide, but I find that some of the shows they highlight in their previews are things I don’t really want to watch. Two Australian TV Bloggers Kevin Perry and Steve Molk have recently joined forces to launch Decider TV, and this is a pretty handy guide. I don’t agree with everything – I dislike Ray Donovan and I think Mom and Cougartown are good but not necessarily great sitcoms, but other than that it’s a pretty good guide to what’s on Australian television.
Months and months ago I wrote a post about all my favourite television and film related podcasts, and it wasn’t a short list. Since then, TV on the Internet has ended, and the Firewall and Iceberg podcast only has one episode left now that Dan has moved to The Hollywood Reporter. I’m hoping that Mo Ryan’s move to Variety doesn’t affect her podcast, because I have a strange amount of podcast related anxiety right now. I listen to two podcasts that are focused mainly on film, which are the /Filmcast, the official podcast of Slashfilm, and also Fighting In the War Room. Both are great for different reasons, but over the past few months David Chen and the rest of the crew at /Filmcast have produced some outstanding content for casual fans of film, and more particularly people who aspire to become involved in the industry in one way or another.