Friday, February 12, 2010

Interactive radio drama

Yesterday's Afternoon Play on BBC Radio 4 was another small step into the world of interactivity. The following is from The Times:

Tim Wright's Say What You Want to Hear: The Startup is a two-part drama in which the second part depends to an extent on how listeners react to the first. Erik (Stephen Tompkinson) is a would-be dot.com entrepreneur with a big idea - a website that offers users the chance to have their innermost thoughts voiced. His old friend Mike (Ewan Bailey), looking for start-up capital, visits another old school pal, Stephen (John Biggins). Matters take their course - which is where listeners come in, because Wright is inviting them to post messages (bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/swywth) that will form part of the follow-up, to be broadcast on March 9. And not only that, but the action will be moved along by listeners' suggestions for messages for the main characters to send each other.

Promising premise, but it all depends on how much control Wright is willing to give up. I suspect not much. More likely to succeed are the suggested messages.

We will see. In the interim, gold star for effort.

Robin Hood

At last! Grass roots activism! The argument against? There isn't one. Everybody with a shred of decency should sign up immediately.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Thoughts on recent TV

It occurs to me that two US series that don't get the credibility they deserve on the UK side of the Pond are Life on Mars US and Burn Notice.

US Life is much better than the UK original and, by this stage in the series, very different. Obviously for a US-length series the writers have had to create entirely new eps and these have been of the highest quality. The one shown on FX last week, the second half of Sam's undercover in the Irish mob, was simply superb. One thing which I expect nobody foresaw is that Harvey Keitel's undercooked turn as Gene Hunt means that Jason O'Mara as Sam is properly the protagonist and Michael Imperioli as Ray is a hugely compulsive character, shovelling all due shame on the talking 'tache British forerunner.

Burn Notice, too, is classy fare. For me it has the slightly ironic fizz of those great 60s shows like The Man from Uncle and The Saint (Roger Moore version). That ended its run last week and I am already pining.