Dallas-A House Divided

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I think it is safe to say that Dallas was one if not ‘the’ biggest TV show ever to be aired, probably even bigger than “Game of Thrones” and in a way the shows have similarities even though they are set in completely different settings.

I know they tried to revive ‘Dallas’ a few years ago but every knew it wasn’t going to work.

The episode called “A House Divided” which first aired on March 21 1980 will probably mean nothing to most of you, but if I say it’s the one where JR got shot every one will know.

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“A House Divided” served as both an introduction to the now common practice of season-ending cliffhangers and the beginning of an eight-month international media frenzy.[11] International betting offices created a set of odds for the possible suspects: “Dusty Farlow (J. R.’s wife Sue Ellen’s lover, who disappeared after a plane crash) was the 6 to 4 favorite, followed by Vaughn Leland (a banker J. R. swindled) and Kristin Shepard (J. R.’s mistress) at 4 to 1. Sue Ellen herself was a long shot at 25 to 1, as is J.R.’s long- suffering mom, Miss Ellie.

 

“Who Shot J.R.?” entered the national lexicon, becoming a popular T-shirt slogan, and heightening anticipation of the soap’s third season, which was to come in the fall. Much to the dismay of Dallas fans, the premiere was delayed because of a Screen Actors Guild strike. When it finally aired, the episode revealing the shooter became one of television’s most-watched shows, with an audience of 83 million people, and helped put Dallas into greater worldwide circulation.

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++++ Spoiler Alert+++++

I know it is probably overkill to indicate a spoiler alert at this stage but one can never be too careful.

JR was shot by an Irish man who lives on Craggy Island in the Parish of Father Ted.He confessed to the crime by wearing a Tee Shirt admitting he had done it.

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That was a joke of course, but that just indicates the cultural significance of the shooting of JR, literally the whole world spoke about it.

The real perpetrator was Kristin Shepard, JR’s mistress and sister in law, played by Bing Crosby’s daughter

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The shooting of JR wasn’t the only big cliffhanger of course, who could forget Bobby Ewings’s shower scene, a resurrection if there ever was one.

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Have a Yabba Dabba Do time- The Darker side of the Flintstones

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Who hasn’t grown up watching the Flintstones, a wholesome family TV show if there ever was one. However it did have a slightly darker side.

The Flintstones was originally aimed at an adult audience and the first two seasons were co-sponsored by Winston cigarettes.

 

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It was only at season 3 when it became mor child friendly and was sponsored by Welch’s, who produced grape juice and jellies.

The First Couple to be Shown in the Same Bed Together on Prime Time TV were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

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This occurred during The Flintstones’ original run on ABC from 1960 until 1966. Many falsely claim that the Ricardos from I Love Lucy were the first couple to do so, but in fact Lucy and Ricky slept in separate beds for the duration of that series.

It is still one of the most entertaining TV shows though.

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The other impact of 9/11

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I was struggling to come up with an appropriate title ,this is the best I could come up with. In this blog I am not looking at the obvious impact of that awful day but to the impact it had on the entertainment industry and also how we looked at different aspects of climate change.

The entertainment industry.

There were many TV shows and movies affected by the attacks but I am only highlighting the aftermath of 9/11 on the 2 most popular shows at the time.

The Sopranos

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Definitely in my top 3 of all time favourite TV shows, it really raised the bar for other shows coming after it.

I only started watching the show on box sets several years after it aired. For the first 3 season it had the World Trade Center in the opening credits. Where Tony Soprano catches a  quick glimpse of the buildings in the rear view mirror of his car.However in season 4 that sequence has been removed and changed.

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Friends

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Although I never really got the show and why so many people were so fascinated by it, I do realize it is the most popular sitcom to have ever aired on a global scale.

In episode 3 of season 8, titled ‘The One Where Rachel Tells Ross”  which was filmed before the attacks. The original script included scenes where Chandler made fun of airport security and Monica seemed to issue terrorist commands to Joey and Phoebe by phone. The episode was supposed to be aired 2 weeks after the attack. The subplot was changed to Monica and Chandler newlywed privileges.

Climate Change

Global Dimming

One of the definitions of Global Dimming It is a phenomenon that happens due to reduction in the solar rays falling on the earth’s surface. The residues and particulates such as sulfur dioxide, ash, soot (black carbon), that are produced after combustion of fossil fuels cause global dimming .

I am not a climate expert but the way I understand it Global Dimming is the opposite of Global Warming.

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Although the term Global Dimming had been branded about since the 1950’s,it was after the attacks where a more serious look was taken at the phenomenon.

Dr David Travis of University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, was on his way to work on September 12 2001, about 800 miles west of New York. He looked at the skies and noticed they appeared to be bluer  and much clearer then before.

For 15 years Dr Travis had been doing research on this  apparently obscure topic, on the effect of  vapour trails left by aircraft  and if they were having a significant effect on the climate. Because of all flights being grounded in the US directly after the attacks, Travis finally had a chance to find out.  During the period, an increase in diurnal temperature variation of over 1 °C (1.8 °F) was observed in some parts of the U.S.The 1 degree Celsius reduction in temperature is may not mean anything for a common man, but scientific records show that this sort of abrupt reduction in temperature can have adverse effects in the future.

Ironically this opportunity to study the effects of the contrails was one of the few positives to come from the 9/11 attacks.

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R.U.R: Rossum’s Universal Robots

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On this day 80 years ago the BBC broadcast the first piece of television science-fiction ever.

On 11 February 1938 a thirty-five-minute adapted extract of the play RUR, written by the Czech playwright Karel Čapek, was broadcast live from the BBC’s Alexandra Palace studios. Concerning a future world in which robots rise up against their human masters, it was the only piece of science fiction to be produced until the BBC television service resumed after the war..

The play introduced the word robot, which displaced older words such as “automaton” or “android” in languages around the world. In an article in Lidové noviny Karel Čapek named his brother Josef as the true inventor of the word.In Czech, robota means forced labour of the kind that serfs had to perform on their masters’ lands and is derived from rab, meaning “slave”.

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The play had been referenced in several popular TV shows after it’s first broadcast in 1938.

n the Star Trek episode “Requiem for Methuselah”, the android’s name is Rayna Kapec (an anagram, though not a homophone, of Capek)

Rayna Kapec

In Batman: The Animated Series, the scientist that created the HARDAC machine is named Karl Rossum. HARDAC created mechanical replicants to replace existing humans, with the ultimate goal of replacing all humans. One of the robots is seen driving a car with “RUR” as the license plate number.

The 1999 Blake’s 7 radio play The Syndeton Experiment included a character named Dr. Rossum who turned humans into robots.

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In the 1977 Doctor Who serial “The Robots of Death”, the robot servants turn on their human masters under the influence of an individual named Taren Capel.

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In the 1995 science fiction series The Outer Limits, in the remake of the “I, Robot” episode from the original 1964 series, the business where the robot Adam Link is built is named “Rossum Hall Robotics.

In Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, when Wolff wakes Chalmers, she has been reading a copy of R.U.R. in her bed. This presages the fact that she is later revealed to be an android.

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Although the original play was written in 1920 nearly a 100 years later it is still referenced in Sci Fi shows and ganes. Currently a new movie version is in production with a release date in 2019.

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Who shot JR?

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This question will trigger 2 new questions.

The 1st one by younger generations who never experienced the anxiety that Dallas fans had, their question will be “Who is Jr?”dallas 15

The second group who belong to my generation and older, when they realize that the question in the title was answered today 37 years ago, they will ask themselves”37 year!,am I really that old?

On this day in 1980, 350 million people around the world tune in to television’s popular primetime drama “Dallas” to find out who shot J.R. Ewing, the character fans loved to hate. J.R. had been shot on the season-ending episode the previous March 21, which now stands as one of television’s most famous cliffhangers.

Not that it really mattered whodunit. What mattered was, the issue was settled. The mystery solved. Dallas fans could finally move on.

The November 21 episode solved the mystery, identifying Kristin Shepard, J.R.’s wife’s sister and his former mistress, as the culprit.

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Who thought that Bing Crosby’s daughter could so such a thing.

As J.R. had many enemies, audiences were hard-pressed to guess who was responsible for his attempted murder. That summer, the question “Who Shot J.R.?” entered the national lexicon, becoming a popular t-shirt slogan, and heightening anticipation of the soap’s third season, which was to air in the fall. After a much-talked-about contract dispute with Hagman was finally settled, the season was delayed because of a Screen Actors Guild strike, much to the dismay of “Dallas” fans. When it finally aired, the episode revealing J.R.’s shooter became one of television’s most watched shows, with an audience of 83 million people in the U.S. alone—a full 76 percent of all U.S. televisions on that night were tuned in—and helped put “Dallas” into greater worldwide circulation. It also popularized the use of the cliffhanger by television writers.

J.R.’s poor wife Sue Ellen, unsurprisingly drunk at the time, got the blame first, and was jailed, with father-in-law Jock (the sorely missed Jim Davis) turning on her with a vengeance.

But in the end, it was Kristin Shepard, Sue Ellen’s sister and J.R.’s mistress, who did the deed, stealing J.R.’s gun from Sue Ellen by tempting the onetime beauty queen with liquor and later sneaking the weapon back into Sue Ellen’s closet.

When she finally confessed to J.R. and Sue Ellen, the “Dallas” writers had another twist up their sleeves. You can’t jail me, Kristin taunted, “Not unless you want YOUR CHILD born in prison.”

Cue the DUH-DUH-DUH swelling music. Yes, pregnancy, the convenient wrench thrown into all soap-opera stories.

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Kristin Shepard then went on to kill JR’s brother Bobby. Or did she?

Well yes and no, she did kill him by car but in a twist that didn’t actually happen, Because after Bobby was dead for a season he suddenly appeared in a shower again.

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But that would warrant a complete separate blog.

Although Tom(Pat Shortt) a character in the sitcom “Father Ted” claims he shot JR we can safely assume it was in fact Sue Ellen’s sister who did it.

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NFL- Heidi

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You are all set , the game is on. Popcorn and Hot dogs on the table. Beer cooling in the fridge. The most comfortable chair in front of the TV, ready for THE match.

Wow a great match, only 3 points between the team, 65 seconds to go, it’s going to be a thriller… WTF???????

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The game between the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders on November 17, 1968 featured two of the American Football League’s marquee teams, and a combined 10 future Pro Football Hall of Famers.

On November 17, 1968, the Oakland Raiders score two touchdowns in nine seconds to beat the New York Jets–and no one sees it, because they’re watching the movie Heidi instead. With just 65 seconds left to play, NBC switched off the game in favor of its previously scheduled programming, a made-for-TV version of the children’s story about a young girl and her grandfather in the Alps. Viewers were outraged, and they complained so vociferously that network execs learned a lesson they’ll never forget: “Whatever you do,” one said, “you better not leave an NFL football game.”

The game between the Jets and the Raiders was already shaping up to be a classic: It featured two of the league’s best teams and 10 future Hall of Fame players. By the game’s last minute the two teams had traded the lead eight times. The game’s intensity translated into an unusual number of penalties and timeouts, which meant that it was running a bit long.

 

With a little more than a minute left to play, the Jets kicked a 26-yard field goal that gave them a 32-29 lead. After the New York kickoff, the Raiders returned the ball to their own 23-yard line. What happened after that will go down in football history: Raiders quarterback Daryle Lamonica threw a 20-yard pass to halfback Charlie Smith; a facemask penalty moved the ball to the Jets’ 43; and on the next play, Lamonica passed again to Smith, who ran it all the way for a touchdown. The Raiders took the lead, 32-36. Then the Jets fumbled the kickoff, and Oakland’s Preston Ridlehuber managed to grab the ball and run it two yards for another touchdown. Oakland had scored twice in nine seconds, and the game was over: They’d won 43-32.

But nobody outside the Oakland Coliseum actually saw any of this, because NBC went to commercial right after the Jets’ kickoff and never came back. Instead, they did what they’d been planning to do for weeks: At 7 PM, they began to broadcast a brand-new version of Heidi, a film they were sure would win them high ratings during November sweeps.

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Before the game began, network execs had talked about what they’d do if the game ran over its scheduled time, and they decided to go ahead with the movie no matter what. 6a00d8341c630a53ef010536014c8f970c-800wiSo, that’s what NBC programmer Dick Cline did. “I waited and waited,” he said later, “and I heard nothing. We came up to that magic hour and I thought, ‘Well, I haven’t been given any counter-order so I’ve got to do what we agreed to do.’”

NBC execs had actually changed their minds, and were trying to get in touch with Cline to tell him to leave the game on until it was over. But all the telephone lines were busy: Thousands of people were calling the network to urge programmers to air Heidi as scheduled, and thousands more were calling to demand that the football game stay on the air. Football fans grew even more livid when NBC printed the results of the game at the bottom of the screen 20 minutes after the game ended. So many irate fans called NBC that the network’s switchboard blew. Undeterred, people started calling the telephone company, the New York Times and the NYPD, whose emergency lines they clogged for hours.

Shortly after the Heidi debacle, the NFL inserted a clause into its TV contracts that guaranteed that all games would be broadcast completely in their home markets. For its part, NBC installed a new phone–the “Heidi Phone”–in the control room that had its own exchange and switchboard. Such a disaster, the network assured its viewers, would never be allowed to happen again.

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Talked to Murder-The Jenny Jones talk show drama

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Talk shows used to be entertaining but they have turned into a bench marking tool the bring out the worst in society when you look at some titles of the Jerry Springer or Jeremy Kyle show

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It’s no wonder that it would come to the stage where someone would get killed.

Jonathan Schmitz was 24 years old when his acquaintance Scott Amedure, 32, revealed he was romantically interested in him during a taping of the “Jenny Jones Show,” which was filmed in Chicago. Schmitz, who said he wasn’t gay, fatally shot Amedure in Lake Orion three days after the taping.

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On March 6, 1995, Amedure Scott_Amedurewas taped for an episode of The Jenny Jones Show, in which he admitted to being a secret admirer of Jonathan Schmitz, who lived near him in Lake Orion, Michigan.Until the taping, Schmitz had no idea who his secret admirer was. Schmitz stated that he went on the show out of curiosity, and he later claimed that the producers implied that his admirer was a woman,although the producers of the show claim that they did tell Schmitz that the admirer could be male or female.

During the segment, Amedure was encouraged by Jones to share his fantasies about Schmitz, after which Schmitz was brought onstage. The two men exchanged an awkward embrace before the host dropped her bombshell.

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In response to Amedure’s disclosure, Schmitz laughed, then stated that he was “completely heterosexual”.

According to testimony at the murder trial, three days after the taping, Amedure left a “suggestive” note at Schmitz’s house.After finding the note, Schmitz withdrew money from the bank, purchased a shotgun, and then went to Amedure’s mobile home. He questioned Amedure about the note. Schmitz then returned to his car, took his gun, and returned to Amedure’s trailer. He then shot Amedure twice in the chest, killing him.

Schmitz turned himself in to police, saying he killed Amedure because he was embarrassed on national television.

He was sentenced 25 to 50 years for second-degree murder.

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In 1999, the Amedure family sued The Jenny Jones Show, Telepictures, and Warner Bros. for the ambush tactics and, as the Amedure family saw it, their supposedly negligent role that led to Amedure’s death. In May, the jury awarded the Amedures $25 million.The jury found that The Jenny Jones Show was both irresponsible and negligent, contending that the show intentionally created an explosive situation without due concern for the possible consequences.

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Time Warner’s defense attorney later claimed the verdict would cause a chilling effect on the industry.The judgment was later overturned by the Michigan Court of Appeals in a 2-to-1 decision.The Michigan Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

Geoffrey Fieger, who served as an attorney for the Amedure family, said that everybody involved in the Jenny Jones Show also deserved imprisonment.

‘That show set him (Schmitz) up and certainly took Scott Amedure’s life for no reason,’ Fieger said.The episode never aired but clips were shown on news shows.

The Jenny Jones show was cancelled in 2003 after recording the lowest ratings of any daytime talk show.435C0F0B00000578-4803478-image-a-6_1503089784312

Schmitz, now 47, was granted parole after a March hearing and was released on the 23rd of August 2017.

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Scott’s older brother, Frank Amedure Jr., said he’s troubled by the parole decision and that he’s unsure Schmitz “learned what he should have” in prison.

“I wanted assurance that the (parole board’s) decision was not based on just good behavior in prison,” he said. “I’d like to know that he learned something, that he’s a changed man, is no longer homophobic and has gotten psychological care.”

Looking at the talk shows that run nowadays it is only a matter of time before someone gets killed again.

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Was the 2007,Writers Guild of America strike, the best thing ever to happen to TV?

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The WGAE and WGAW labor unions represent film, television, and radio writers working in the United States. All 12,000 screenwriters and TV writers in the guild were part of the strike which started on November 5, 2007, and concluded on February 12, 2008.

I think this was one of the best things ever to happen to TV. It is because of this the market suddenly opened up for TV shows which usually would not be broadcast outside of their point of origin.

Especially the Scandinavian dramas attracted a lot of interest.

It kinda started of with Wallander.

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Well I said kinda. It wasn’t the original series that first got broadcast but the BBC version starring Kenneth Branagh.

The original Swedish show did follow shortly afterwards though,it was much grittier then the watered down version of the BBC.

Even though this was a well written and compelling show to watch it was nothing compared to what the Danes produced. Forbrydelsen -aka- the Killing.

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The series is set in Copenhagen and revolves around Detective Inspector Sarah Lund (Sofie Gråbøl). Each series follows a murder case day-by-day. Each fifty-minute episode covers twenty-four hours of the investigation(who can’t remember that sweater)

Although it was slow at the start it was still perfectly paced.

Also from Denmark was  the political drama,Borgen.

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I have to admit I actually never got the chance to get to see it.

The show was  created by Adam Price. It tells how Birgitte Nyborg, a politician, becomes the first female Prime Minister of Denmark against all the odds. Borgen is the informal name of Christiansborg Palace and is where the three branches of Danish government reside: the Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office, and the Supreme Court.

Then what I consider the crown of Scandinavian dramas,Bron/Broen, or the Bridge in English.

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The Bridge (Danish: Broen; Swedish: Bron) is a Scandinavian crime television series created and written by Hans Rosenfeldt. A joint creative and financed production between Sweden’s Sveriges Television and Denmark’s DR, it has been shown in over 100 countries and unlike the slow start from Forbrydelsen, this one starts with a bang.

A body found on the bridge connecting Denmark to Sweden,on the middle of the border. It sets the scene for a very dark and gritty drama with many unsuspected but realistic twists.

Bron/Broen was first broadcast in 2011 a few years after the strike, but I do think if the strike hadn’t happened none of these shows would have made it out of Scandinavia, and shows like Deutschland 83 would probably only have been shown in Germany(perhaps also the low countries)

When I heard threats of a new Hollywood screenwriters strike I was actually pleased.Because I do believe the 2007 strike was the best thing that happened for TV in decades.

Finishing with the theme song of Bron/Broen.

 

A great script does matter

I am a great fan of TV Dramas and Movies and despite a lot of critics saying that the last few years the quality has gone down, I believe that this isn’t really the case.

Particularly the TV Shows have really improved, I think it was shows like the Sopranos that really raised the bar.

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TV Channels and production companies like HBO, Showtime and AMC have really invigorated the TV landscape, throw in the mix Netflix and Amazon Prime and the online entertainment is complete. If it wasn’t for these companies who basically gave a cart blanch to TV Show makers we would have never had show like Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and their spin off Better Call Saul and Fear the Walking Dead

Shows like Ray Donovan, House of Cards,Bosch,Homeland and Game of Thrones would have never been aired, especially Game of Thrones with an often graphic and even pornographic content.

So on TV front I think the quality has gone up dramatically, but of course this is all a matter of taste. The one thing these shows have in common they are all character driven and it is evident that a lot of time is spend on the scripts.

Take Game of Thrones for example, although some of the graphic scenes are really ‘in your face’ it doesn’t take away from the character, Peter Dinklage who plays  his character Tyrion Lannister  so convincing that you don’t even notice his small stature.

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However unfortunately there are shows who started so promising but really failed to maintain the initial strong story lines.

Lost, took the world by a storm but at the end it ended in a damp squib. It really felt like the producers wanted to drag it out to get as much money as possible from the show  at the cost of a good script. They should have kept to the originally planned 3 seasons.

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Another prime example is Heroes. It started of great it had everything one could want in a show about heroes and villains, until season 3 that is where they came up with this ridiculous story line based in Cork,Ireland with the worse Irish accents I ever heard. But I could get over the accents, the worse thing here was they showed heavily armed security guards in a warehouse,not even the Police have guns in Ireland. That was just lazy script writing.

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One show that kept me interested until the very last episode was True Blood, unfortunately after all the hard work they had put in , it seemed that they had just given up at the very end. I have never have been more disappointed by a finale then with True Blood it was the mother of all anti-climaxes.

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By no stretch of the imagination am I a fan of the Irish national broadcaster RTE, but they did produce one of the most realistic and gritty crime drama’s even for international standards.

When I first heard of Love/Hate I had closed my mind to it, solely because of the fact it was made by RTE, but boy was I wrong. It is one of my all time favorites on par with The Sopranos ,Ray Donovan and Breaking Bad.

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Funny enough it was our Scandinavian brethren who produced some of the finest pieces of Crime drama this century, although subtitled the characters were so strong that you’d nearly forget they were talking Danish and Swedish. I am of course talking about The Killing(Forbrydelsen), the Bridge(Bron/Broen) and Wallander(well that is still Wallander in Swedish). I wasn’t to impressed with the BBC version with Kenneth Branagh.

When it comes to TV Shows I do tend to have a preference to Police Drama’s as a kid I grew up watching the German cop shows Derrick and Tatort, the latter one meaning Crime Scene, so basically it was CSI before ‘the’ CSI.

There might be more of a case when it comes to the Big screen to say the quality of movies just isn’t what it used to be and a lot of it is because of dodgy CGI, but having that said some of my all time favorite movies were made the last 16 years or so. Gladiator,The Lord of the Rings Trilogy,The Dark Knight trilogy, Pan’s Labyrinth and I am Legend, to name but a few. Again all these movies even though they were jam packed with special effects they were still character driven and a lot of attention was given to the script.But also movies like Gran Torino and Gone baby Gone are masterpieces.

I do get over some minor discrepancies in scripts, like in the recent ‘Captain America-Civil War’ where they mix up one German word, although it is annoying for a linguist like me, it didn’t take away the overall enjoyment of the movie.

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However when they mess up a whole scene by having a Finnish guy speak German as if it was Finnish is just lazy and unforgivable , this was the case in Swordfish,maybe that’s why Halle Berry took her top off to distract from the bad and lazy script.

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All in all as a viewer I think we are spoiled for choice in both TV and Cinema features.