News Surfing: Red Dwarf space disaster! Doctor Who's Pond Life semi-reviewed! MORE!
Hello and welcome to News Surfing, in which I assemble a collection of the week's TV news stories, using a filter roughly defined as "Is it funny? Do I care?" If the answer to at least one of those is yes, it probably goes in. And, fortunately, there's been some real winners this week, as the new TV season gears up.
So, which shows have been winning at marketing? And which have, um, shot for the stars and missed a bit?
ITEM! There's good news and funny news from the Red Dwarf X camp this week. Let's lead off with the good news, just because it seems nicer: the first episode of the new series has been screened for journalists, and I've seen positive tweets. After previous Dwarfy disappointments, I've been maintaining caution about this project, but maybe it will turn out to be great?
Well, the air date has now been announced as Thursday 4th October on Dave, so that's when we'll find out.
The method by which that date was announced, though... that brings us to the funny news. Basically, in order to get the fans involved, they launched a promotion in which fans could both reveal the date and "launch a lager and a curry into space" by tweeting the #vindalunar hashtag repeatedly to inflate a helium balloon. No, seriously.
They finally hit their required tweet total yesterday, and as a result, the launch finally happened "live". And... well, first they accidentally broadcast a swearing old lady on the video stream, then the curry/beer payload detached from the balloon and probably killed someone. We'll never know, as they cut the feed and put up a card advertising... the wrong airdate.
For more detail, excellent Dwarf fan-site Ganymede & Titan has a longer commentary. Should anyone need a what-not-to-do example for their marketing seminar, this looks like a good place to start.
But we shouldn't let this amusing space disaster distract us from the fact Red Dwarf X might be properly good. Smegging hell. Here's a short clip.
ITEM! I was going to review the Pond Life mini-series for this week's inevitable Doctor Who segment, but to be honest, it's ended up so slight that it's hard to say much. I have seen three episodes at this point, the fourth will appear a short while after this column - the first two were basically trailers, the third a domestic sketch. All around a minute long.
The only critical comment worth making is: they'd probably have worked better as a single five-minute prelude rather than a drip-fed daily serial, but they've done one-shot online preludes before, so maybe felt we'd enjoy something different. And fair enough - when you compare it to the Red Dwarf Space Disaster of 2012, it's hardly the biggest marketing failure possible.
And now, here's an embed of Pond Life part three - hopefully part four will give us a lot more detail of how a certain alien species uses the toilet. Only a couple more days until a new episode of proper Doctor Who!
ITEM! Not going to milk this one too hard, as it already had an article on the site, but that Joss Whedon Marvel TV project I mentioned in a previous column has been announced, and it is S.H.I.E.L.D.. Yes, the Marvel security services get their own super-powered spy show.
Can't really complain about that as a premise. Presumably Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury is a bit pricey for TV, but maybe they could get Colbie Smoulders in as Agent Hill for a few scenes? I know she's already got a gig on How I Met Your Mother, but anything encouraging them to finally give that show an ending is fine by me.
As is the return of Joss Whedon to TV in any capacity. It's vague how much he will be involved if this gets a full series, but he has some pretty reliable cohorts by now anyway. As I say, assuming the pilot gets picked up at all.
ITEM! First trailer for The Thick Of it! And it's exactly what we expected, with the opposition from the last series now in power, but forced to reflect reality and govern in coalition with a third party. This has the potential to be very funny.
Trailer below, the only disappointment is that I've now watched it several times and still can't quite make out Malcolm Tucker's only line...
ITEM! And finally, not a show we often cover, but Gavin & Stacey star Joanna page has apparently confirmed to Digital Spy that the show is definitely not coming back, after a couple of weeks in which reunion rumours have flown.
In my experience, it's better to never say never on these British sitcom reunions, because they often happen in the end and then the actor who gave the quote looks silly. But for any fans reading, there we go.