The Haunted Fishtank

A few years ago I went through a phase of discussing stuff on internet forums. Then I realised it was an enormous waste of time and stopped. But I saved some contributions, which I've just rediscovered.

Here's a selection. The theme is...Television

Tonight's TV

0700: A forgotten detective drama from the 70s.

0800: Two blokes in flares and fringe haircuts, named after US presidents, shouting, firing guns and driving too fast. Watch out for the cringingly sexist bit.

0900: More of the same, but with a better theme tune. This week's villain is a fat black man with a HUGE afro haircut.

1000: Are You Being Bloody Served. Don't ask, just don't.

1100: A remake of something from, er, the 70s.

1200: News

1205: Some sitcom from the states.

1300: Another sitcom from the states. Or it might be the same one, I don't know.

1400: Something about how guns are made. Very macho. Honest.

1500: Yet another fucking sitcom from the states. Same jokes as the other two.

1600: Afternoon movie about some police detective who spends a lot of time in strip joints. Something about political corruption and prostitutes being murdered.


2100: Tonight's "erotic thriller". Three snogging scenes, a woman taking a long bath before being stabbed brutally to death, and one hilarious scene where a gay man wearing a dress gets shot 27 times.

1100: Our pretend reality TV show. Really a lot of porn starlets in bikinis walking around somewhere in Spain.

0000: The crap sci-fi hour. Conspiracy theories, woman with red hair, ambiguous ending. Usual stuff.

0100: A show about a man in a very long scarf who lives in a phonebox. We've got it because UK Gold were too stupid to keep it.

Annoying TV Cliches

The tart with the heart. American prostitutes are ridiculously glamorous and happy. British prostitutes have fishnet tights, a mass of dyed blond hair, a perpetual cigarette and loads of bonhomie.

The criminal psychologist who dresses up trite observations into psychobabbling generalisations. "He kills women slowly so...he needs to be in control. He's a driven personality."

The young schoolteacher/priest who goes cruising and can't tell his annoyingly naive wife.

The hard-as-nails superbitch assistant investigator. It's her job to bully suspects and make snide remarks. She always has a troubled personal life - usually a senile mother who goes missing.

The detective who 'bends the rules' but it's okay because he always gets the bad guy in the end. The bad guy is an incidental character you meet near the beginning, then forget about, until a chance remark from a witness reveals him to be the unsuspected psychopath mastermind.

Empires in Science Fiction

Buck Rogers had a benevolent government with a peaceful empire that was threatened by outsiders driven by greed and sometimes insanity.

Farscape had a corrupt and murderous empire, threatened by another, equally bad.

Star Trek, in all it's forms, had a good empire threatened by a collection of bad empires.

Blake's 7 had a single corrupt government and military empire, threatened by outsiders (the heroes) driven by a desire for freedom.

TV Executives

What is it about TV producers makes them think they can do creative stuff too? It's like the chairman of the board who thinks he can relate to customers.

In Britain, we deal with our idiots by putting them on TV as chat show hosts or political pundits. In America, they make them TV executives.

And sometimes presidents, but mostly producers and scriptwriters.

On a Doctor Who charity special

Unmitigated fartblowing shitspray. Absolute brainmelting tripe. Eyestabbingly teethgrindingly hideous. A pissshakingly sofamunching whoremother of a fistbiting atrocity. A cowmutilatingly coprophagic rank spit gobbet of goretwisting glopchurning satanwank.

Actually, I switched off after five minutes. It was boring.

Babylon 5

B5 urinates upon Trek from a great height. Farscape does the same to B5. As does B7 most of the time.

For a long time, B5 was 'brilliant' simply because it was so much better than almost all of Trek. The thuggish original series, the wimpy TNG, the occasionally tense and insightful DSN that sold out, the soapy Voyager and finally the execrable Enterprise, which made TOS look sophisticated. Now we have Buffy, Firefly and, well, Doctor Who.

It was impressive at the time. Now, B5 looks cosy and naive. The edgyness of it's characterisation is blunted by the knowledge that, however badly the characters behave, they're still fundamentally decent people who do the right thing. Unless they're the bad guys, in which case they're just always bad.

Oh yes, and it reinvents human national stereotypes as alien races, with humans - as bloody usual - representing America, which is always in control and always in the right.

So who are the Brits in the Star Trek universe?

Vulcans. Logical, cold, sexually repressed, and encased in the delusion that Starfleet didn't own them.

The first season of New Who

It's about this bloke right, except he turns into this other bloke who's scottish but talks like a southerner, but anyway this bloke and his girlfriend right, well actually she's not really his girlfriend because it's like their relationship is enigmatic and anyway she's got a boyfriend except she left him and her mother to go off with him and she's a bit of a slapper anyway but it's okay because she's got a heart of gold and she swallows the vortex at the end and puts bad wolfs everywhere.


  1. I can see the Brits as Vulcans...except when it comes to soccer. Then they're Klingons!

    Luved Farscape...

    I remember a show about a man in a box, who supposedly did amazing things. His name was David Blaine, and he sucked!

  2. "To sit in a box and think it's entertaining is not logical, Kapitano."

    You might be thinking of Rugby, which is like soccer in the same way kickboxing is like boxing.

    Played by stocky men in tight shorts rolling around in mud and shouting. Very, um, masculine.

    As for Farscape, it took me a few episodes to realise it wasn't just a dumb sci-fi show with odd moments of self-mockery - it was a very smart sci-fi show with moments of mocking dumb sci-fi shows.

    And after that I luved it too!

  3. I will always love B5 for three reasons:

    1) The absolutely hysterical scene where Ivanova has sex with an alien.

    2) The Shadow vessels which are probably the coolest ships ever.

    3) The wealth of insightful (and quotable) dialog. B5 had a profound impact on my personal spirituality.

    Never seen Farscape. Obviously I should.

    The best part of the first season of new Who was when the Doctor and Jack were comparing the size of their, er, equipment. :-)

  4. "I slept with you,
    The other night.
    You didn't call,
    You didn't write.
    I think you did it
    Just for SPITE!"