Thursday, July 31, 2008

Trail Separation

If it’s Wednesday, it must be a drama about oil. Is this a new BBC trend? I tried my best to make it through the first episode of House of Saddam, I really did, but it was probably around the ten-minute mark that I thought, “Fuck this for a game of soldiers!” and went back to re-watching season two of The Wire.

The fact that this BBC/HBO co-production seemed to be positioning Mr S. Hussein as an equivalent Tony Soprano or Don Corleone turned me off. Also the fact that the first flashback, only going back to 1979, meant that it avoided a lot of the earlier shit in Iraq that the CIA was supposedly involved in.

Funny that. And the BBC Press Pack declaration that “House Of Saddam is based on two years of detailed research including extensive interviews with members of Saddam's regime, those who worked within his palaces, eyewitnesses and academics” gave me qualms after Burn Up.

But the thing that really put me off House Of Saddam, or rather, had already put me off, was that fucking trailer for the drama that seemed to be incessantly crowbarred between every programme for the past week: where the characters strike their pose and bleed/sweat crude oil. Because of course that's really what it's about, see?

Still, it is marginally better that the mental Holby City promo piece that has been turning up in all the wrong places, looking like something from Agent Provocateur. That kind of sensationalism would be dandy if the series has had a radical overhaul. But it’s obvious the show will come back as the same lacklustre hospital sop for the arsehole audience happy to see it stain the BBC1 schedule.

But even that is better than the fucking Beijing Olympics trailer based on the epic 16th century Chinese folk tale, His Yu Chi, in which the Tang boy-priest Tripitaka travels to India with three supernatural followers in search of holy scrolls. I suppose the gag is that Journey to the West has been turned into Journey to the East, with the resourceful Monkey, pig-monster Pigsy, and water-monster Sandy, end up at the Olympic stadium. Oh, ho-fucking-ho!

I suppose it’s because I never read Tank Girl that I don’t have a reverence for Jamie Hewlett. And I never thought much of Blur because Damon Albarn always came across as a self-important twat in the mold of Bono. So, obviously, Gorillaz was never really my cup of tea. Although produced by Passion Pictures, the sequence, commissioned by BBC Sport was devised in part by Red Bee Media, who also produced the Holby City spot.

Based at Broadcast Centre in west London, Red Bee was previously the BBC subsidiary BBC Broadcast until it was sold off to the Australian company Macquarie Capital Alliance Group. And now the BBC is handing over fuck knows how much in licence fee-payers’ money to have these promos made because there obviously isn’t an in-house department. I suppose there might have been one. Maybe they simply got rid of it.


At 11:41 pm, Blogger qrter said...

That Holby City promo is ridiculous, but even more ridiculous are all the comments of people saying "ooh, I wish Holby City was actually like that promo".

What, you mean like a horribly clichéd "this is what nightmares would look like when filmed, really, they would, honest!" thing?

People compare it to David Lynch. Nevermind there isn't anything actually 'Lynchian' about it, it just looks "weird" (in the most boring, mainstream way), so that'll be like David Lynch then.

"Ooh it's so surreal!" No it isn't, it's just pushing all the buttons that say "This Is What We Have Learned Indicates Surreal" and that's it. It's the same kind of mentality that makes people think new Doctor Who is good.

I'm going to have a liedown now. I'll bet I'll have a nightmare with Madonna in it.

At 9:37 am, Blogger Riddley Walker said...

It looked to me like a cheap-ass, ‘family-friendly’ version of the promos that Gottfried Helnwein makes with Marilyn Manson. Except they actually ARE fucking weird and aren’t doing the “look, LOOK! We’re really odd and surreal, aren’t we?” thing.

Completely agree with qrter in that it’s people pushing the preset buttons on the Surreal-o-tron.

And it’s also ‘surreal and odd for the feeble-minded’ in that it’s highly watered-down, mildly risqué, slightly dark and moderately weird with only a hint of scary.

That’s like having food that’s partially delicious or saying that Tricia Helfer’s moderately stunning. Or the evergreen chestnut: “totally unique”.


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