Category Archives: Television
I’m not a fan of the design of the iPhone 4, and I’m slowly losing my first interest and excitement surrounding the iPod, but I do love Apple. I’m not talking about their products either; surprisingly enough you won’t find a Mac in every room of my house (nor would you find the money to buy one), but I love Apple, the company, and their adverts in particular.
Sleek and sophisticated describes the design of most Apple products, but while watching the television advert for the iPad for the twentieth time last night, and later the iPhone 4 too, I realised Apple have their advertising down to a tee.
I can easily choose one line from the iPad advert to illustrate this, and I think if one line that isn’t particularly made to stand out stays in your head like this does, any advert is onto a winner: “you already know how to use it”. This line subtly sits between more casual lines but at a later observation stands up above the rest. I wish I’d have written it, I think its simplicity is fantastic. It slips into the unconscious and tells the non-techy geeks among us that this wonderful invention will casually slip into our lives without us realising that we ever lived without one. We won’t search the box for the instruction manual, we will switch on our iPads and immediately play. And that’s what Apple want, immediate satisfaction with no hassle, much like the design, and best of all? It all goes unnoticed.
The same can be said for the iPhone 4. There was something special about the advert I couldn’t quite put my finger on until a few moments later. What was it? I’d watched several people communicate and share with each other special moments and conversations of love and intricate emotions via video calling, and then it clicked: The people featured had been deaf. Video calling isn’t new but to me this idea was: it presented the feature as new born without telling it so. The sudden realisation that thousands, if not millions of people can now call their loved ones shot a little arrow of magical emotion through me, and who gave me that feeling? Apple did. Who will I now associate with that feeling? Apple.
The advert wasn’t actually telling us about video calling, it was presenting a way of looking at something already established that we may never have thought of before, and this made it seem new and exciting. Apple is big and everyone knows it, but I think in advertising, they just got a bit bigger.
With the Big Bang Theory coming to the end of its third season in America and several episodes of the third season being shown on Channel 4/E4, we look at what has made this programme such a success in America and ask what it is that draws us to these rather unusual characters and even more unusual plot?
The Big Bang Theory is a programme that is all about four men, scientists with little knowledge of how to interact with him, and their next-door neighbour who proves to be a rather attractive woman. This might seem rather dull but the opportunities for comic effect are ample and, given that the writers of this programme also produced ‘Two and a Half Men‘ and ‘Gilmore Girls‘, there is guaranteed to be the fluid combination of comedy and character development, something that the Big Bang Theory has succeeded in doing rather well.
One of the strongest points of this programme is the diverse nature of the characters. Leonard Hofstadter is an experimental physicist who is sarcastic but affectionate. His room-mate, Sheldon Cooper, is the obnoxious, ego-maniac who fails to understand people. Their two friends, Howard Wolowitz, a Jewish engineer who is obsessed with women and Rajesh Koothrappali, an Indian astrophysicist who is indoctrined into American culture but cannot speak to women (literally). Together, the four make a hilarious combination of socially awkward scientists who often display the amusing side of being a geek. Into the mix is the attractive but stupid Penny (who has no last name) and ensues an interesting social interaction between the fix.
What makes this programme so popular is because most people know each one of the characters. Leonard is the likeable and considerate friend. Sheldon is the tag-along who most people tend to ignore. Howard is the sex-obsessed pest. Rajesh is the diverse and interesting outsider. Penny is the self-obsessed girl who everyone falls for. What makes this programme better is that it creates a social situation where the personalities of all the characters interact with one another for comedic effect.
You can catch the Big Bang Theory on E4 every Thursday at 9pm. Be sure to watch it!
Waterloo Road is in its fifth season on the BBC and has been an unrivalled success so far. It presents a dramatised image of the public education system within the United Kingdom and does more to interact on a personal level with adults and teenagers who watch this programme than most other dramas on the BBC. It has its flaws and its problems but it is an excellent outsider look at schools.
When Waterloo Road started on the BBC, there was little promotion or advertisement surrounding the programme in comparison with the likes of Doctor Who, Eastenders or Planet Earth. It was scheduled for Thursday evening after the watershed to make sure that the audience was right for such a programme but it still acquired a following who have watched it ever since its first episode and it is still going strong in its fifth season.
I, for one, did not watch it during the first season. I am ashamed to admit that I had never heard of the programme until the third season where I discovered what a delight it was. Waterloo Road is a drama based on the comings and goings of pupils and teachers at a public comprehensive school, notorious for its drugs and alcohol problems along with the usual anti-social behaviour expected at a comprehensive school.
There is little doubt that the producers of this programme had a vision in mind of what Waterloo Road should be and the casting is perfect for such a role. It is a programme full of stereotypical characters from the egotistical sports fans to the narcissistic girls and the teachers are just as bad. With teachers ranging from the disenchanted and disinterested to the over-sexed and driven, most people will be able to associate with several of the characters, whether it is teachers or publics.
One of the most interesting developments of this series came in the fifth season when the producers decided that a new injection of drama was required and so had two schools, the existing Waterloo Road and a grammar school, John Fosters, merge with one another. The pupils from John Fosters flocked to Waterloo Road with disapproval and so ensues a bitter feud between pupils of two different schools and two different backgrounds.
This drama is one of the best parts of the BBC line-up with a strong cast that is ever-changing to keep the audience interesting (with some characters remaining longer than others), dialogue that is fast-paced and flowing and a plot that is dynamic and seamless as it shifts from season to season. The producers should be proud of their creation and I hope that this programme continues for a sixth or indeed even a seventh season.
Look out for Waterloo Road on BBC One, Wednesdays at 8pm.