Category Archives: TV

Fool Us!

There is a series on tv called Penn and Teller Fool Us! It started in the UK, then transferred to the USA and is now in season five, I believe.

During the show, magicians come onto the stage, perform a trick and try to fool P&T. Mostly they are card tricks.

I have a general dislike of magic. I don’t see what the appeal is. The job of magicians is to lie. “Pick a card, any card, you have a free choice”. Sometimes you do, but usually not.

Bits of it are on YouTube, and, for some reason, this clip was recommended.

If you watch it, you will notice certain things. One is that just after the three minute mark (3.23 ish) the glass he is drinking from jumps from one hand to another, as if by magic. Another is that at just before six minutes, there is a shot where compere Alyson Hannigan changes to be a completely different person. If you look very hard, it does appear that the razor blade trick goe wrong and he cuts his bottom lip.

So, what you see on the screen is a big cheat, and not a representation of what really happened at all.

Fort Boyard

Television is pretty dismal right now in the UK. There is only one thing I watch regularly that I enjoy watching, and that is actually French. It is the original series of Fort Boyard.

FB has been running since about 1990, and has changed in detail but not in the basics. You may have your own country version of it, but the French is the one I get here (initially on TV5Europe but now it’s also on YouTube).

So you have teams working through rooms in the fort doing games, collecting keys and clues in order to get the chance to gather Boyards (gold coins) for their charity.

Compared with the UK version (that I know) and sanitised the UK Crystal Maze, it’s very sadistic and rather gritty. Snakes, spiders and inedible food abound. As do haunted puppets.

The French in it can be relatively basic (I think it technically counts as a children’s programme) , so, with my O Level French, I can mostly follow what they are saying. And there’s lots of English anyway. Even if you don’t understand exactly, mostly it’s obvious and the more than two hour running time passes quickly. And it makes me laugh.

Look it up on YouTube. Or, the 2017 season is on TV5Europe.

BBT

So, it’s been announced that Big Bang Theory is to finish in 2019, at the end of series 12.

The reasons seem to be many and varied, and not totally clear.

If you look back at the first few series, whatever objections you may have to the characters, it could be genuinely unusual and funny. As time has gone on, and the writers began to run out of ideas, more cast were added and the whole thing became more of a Friends clone (I am told, never having watched the latter). Several of the last series have been very unfunny, consistently, and while the ratings are still high, they are dropping.

Plus, it’s an expensive show to produce. The main stars get something like $1million per episode. You only need to do one series at those rates to be set for life, in my world at least. I am sure the main cast, especially Jim Parsons, has had enough. He will be type cast for the rest of his career.

I don’t know about other places, but there are channels in the UK where BBT seems to be on all day every day. Someone gets money for all these showings, for doing no extra work. So why do we need more episodes?

But mostly it’s just stale. It’s a tale of babies and marriage and the odd celebrity guest (Stephen Hawking is now dead of course) and it can be on in the background and you hear the fake laughter and you wonder what’s funny, but it’s nothing any more.

About time to go…