The world is full of idiots, and someone needs to point it out to them or they will never know.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

More Advertising is Not the Answer

This is probably going to come as a shock, dear reader, but I am a human being. What's going to come as an even bigger shock is the fact that I occasionally leave the house - in fact, I have to leave the house at least once a week for food. Now, I wouldn't describe myself as a big eater, so imagine my shock last time I went grocery shopping when the girl on the checkout gave me an enormous receipt - over 60cm long - once I'd paid for everything. But of course, not all of it was relevant to my purchases. Behold, my receipt from Woolworths:

Yes, I really have nothing better to do than measure my receipts

That's right, more than half of my receipt is not actually my receipt. It's chock full of promos and offers for other Woolworths brands (Big W, BWS, Woolworths Online, Woolworths Petrol), Jamie Oliver stickers and animal cards. But it gets worse! If we flip over my receipt we see more ads, this time for companies that aren't Woolworths!

Seriously, what else should I do? Go outside? That's crazy.

If you do the math, of my 125cm of receipt (front and back), ninety nine centimeters - or almost eighty percent! - is advertising. Does this not seem the slightest bit excessive? Surely the people who are paying for all of these ads on the back realise their message can't possibly be getting through, don't they? When I was studying advertising, a lecturer of mine once made the point that good advertising "breaks through the clutter" - in other words, it stands out because it's different from all the other promotions. In what world are any of the ads on the front or back of my receipt breaking through the clutter? Particularly irritating is the fact the ads aren't even targeted - it's just random messages being shouted out in the vague hope I might be their target audience.

Chucking more and more ads in our faces is a trend I've noticed becoming more prevalent in the advertising industry. I've previously discussed that increasing the amount of promos and ads before a movie does little more than piss your customers off - yet for some reason Hollywood doesn't read my blog and it's only gotten worse since I wrote that rant. Ads are even showing up in new places - I don't know whose idea it was to stick advertisements on the back of toilet doors and on urinals, but thank God that's around, because I really hate taking a shit without having more shit thrown at me.

Advertising on the internet is only growing more intrusive as well. Almost every video you stream on the internet forces you to sit through 10-30 seconds of advertising, regardless of the length of the clip you want to watch. The worst internet ads are the ones that automatically start to play video (with sound) when the page loads - which is hugely irritating if you have several tabs open and can't tell which one is playing the ad. And did you know that the amount of TV advertising grows every year? If you look back at the original series of Star Trek in 1966, the episodes were about 50 minutes long with 10 minutes of commercials. Now, hour long dramas (including the most recent episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise that aired in 2005) are about 40 minutes long with 20 minutes of commercials.

So, going back to my earlier point, why do the advertising companies think this will work? Don't they realise that increasing the amount of ads out there will only make it harder for their ads to stand out? Sure, I may have paid attention to the first ad I saw on the back of a toilet door or the first ad I saw on my receipt from Woolworths, but I see them so often now they're just white noise in a sea of advertisements I have to put up with every day. Admittedly I can see the logic of more ads = more sales, but I would think we as a society will only put up with this assault of advertising for so long before we start to fight back.

And wouldn't you know it... we have!

How long until I can get this on my TV?

In case you haven't heard of it, AdBlock is something you can install on your computer that blocks all advertisements you see on the internet. Yes, you read that right, from the ads on Facebook to the ads on YouTube to the ads on Google search results, every single ad is blocked. It's quite honestly one of the best programs I've ever installed, and if you don't have it, I strongly encourage you to download it, it will change your life.

Naturally, advertisers have noticed people are trying to circumvent their irritating advertising (if not through adblock, then through time-shift recording devices or piracy) and are getting upset. Rather than, I don't know, ask people why they don't watch ads, they bitch and complain that this stuff is unethical and we're robbing content creators of money. A writer I respect, Jim Sterling, did a video asking his viewers to disable adblock, but I'm sorry Jim, as long as your website has intrusive ads that disrupt my enjoyment of your content, I'm not turning it off. I'm fine with advertising on the internet - as long as it's not intrusive. If it's simple, non invasive and above all else silent I will absolutely disable adblock for a website (and I have for a few).

What irritates me is when companies cry foul when we start to fight back against their bullshit. Why do we block your ads? Because they're so frikkin' irritating! I - and, I would argue, most people - understand that ads are necessary if we're going to get stuff for free, but there's a limit to what we as a society will accept. Massively intrusive advertising, shoving ads in new places or content that's eighty percent advertising will only piss off customers, and in the digital age where consumers have the power to fight back, that's not something you want to do.

Remember, the reason your business exists is to create and service customers. Not just to make money.

© 2014 by The Free Man

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why I Hated How I Met Your Mother

Oh boy. I feel that this is going to be one of my more controversial rants, dear reader, but what the hell, I don't like something and if I don't get this off my chest now I'm always going to seeth about it. If you are a hardcore How I Met Your Mother fan (henceforth referred to as HIMYM to save me a lot of typing), it's probably best for you to stop reading this now and go back to watching your poorly-written show. If, however, you always felt HIMYM was missing something, then, dear reader, you may want to give this rant a look...

This rant is going to be legen - wait for it...

I suppose I should preface all this by saying that while I do hate HIMYM, I don't hate it with the same furor that I do with Family Guy. I watched the first three seasons of HIMYM, and the reason I hate it is because there's a lot of missed potential here. With a bit more hard work on the writers' part, the show could have become a truly revolutionary sitcom on par with M*A*S*H, Seinfeld or Friends. Looking back after nine years... well, the show just sucks.

The first thing that bothered me is the way the story was told - the writers were just plain lazy with their techniques. Having a narrator - as I've previously discussed - is only effective in a TV show if the narrator is giving insights into the main character (like JD in Scrubs). Old Ted was frequently just there to explain jokes or explain new characters - he was a shortcut for exposition. This is not good writing. Jokes and characters shouldn't need someone to explain them, you (as a writer) should know how to communicate ideas to the audience without bludgeoning them with exposition.

However, the narrator gimmick became really annoying when the show started to do flashbacks and flashforwards all over the place. I was willing to the forgive flashbacks early in the series' run (it was an effective, albeit lazy, way to introduce the cast), but as the show progressed the flashbacks/forwards simply became a shortcut for bad storytelling. Compare M*A*S*H, Seinfeld or Friends - sure, they occasionally indulged in flashbacks, but they were rare. Like Family Guy, HIMYM's characters are so weak that they're unable to get a joke (or a story) out of them unless we have Old Ted explain situations or characters to the audience. Good writing should flow from the characters, not around them. But oh God, the characters...

Not pictured: How Ted met the kids' mother

Let's start with the big one: I hate Barney. Every sitcom needs a womaniser I suppose (M*A*S*H had Hawkeye, Seinfeld had Jerry, Friends had Joey), but I simply do not buy the notion that Barney sleeps with lots of women. Think about guys in fiction (or reality) who sleep around. Do they often just seem, well, effortless about it? Believe me, women do not go for needy guys who are doing stupid shit like putting on old man makeup, making giant belts, singing about suits or inventing bro code playbooks. There is a lot I don't know about women, but look at Joey from Friends. How did he nail the ladies? He just took one look at them and said, "How you doin'?"

I'm fine, how are you?

It was effortless. He wasn't some try-hard wanker who was desperate to sleep around - he just didn't care. Oh, sure, he wanted to sleep around, but he never let his desperation show in front of the ladies. Barney, on the other hand, is so desperate for sex it's pathetic. I refuse to accept that the majority of women find this attractive (I know, some will, and that's fine, but remember, Barney is supposed to be a man who appeals to LOTS of women). But hang on, why is Old Ted telling us about Barney's sexual exploits? I thought the show was about how Ted met the mother of his children?

But as for the rest of the cast... well, at best they came of as annoying and smug, at their worst they were bullies. Case in point: the slap bet. I know, you thought it was hilarious. But let's remember Krusty the Klown's wise words when it comes to physical comedy:

"Free comedy tip, slick: the pie gag's only funny when the sap's got dignity - like that guy! Hey Hal, pie job for Lord Autumnbottom, there!" 

*Sproing* Oh dear

The point Krusty's making is that physical comedy works best when the victim has dignity, which is then removed when they fall down, receive a pie to the face or get slapped - like Sideshow Bob above. It's a change in status, which always creates drama or comedy if done correctly. Initially, the slap bet didn't offend me too much, because Barney did deserve it. But, as the series progressed, the writers decided it would be hilarious for Marshall to taunt Barney about the remaining slaps. He posted online countdowns, teased him, made him paranoid... wow, who's got the higher status here? The guy who's paranoid and worried he's about to be assaulted, or the guys who's plotting how to humiliate his friend? These scenes don't make Marshall look like some clever schemer, they simply make him look like a bully - not a funny bully, either. And maybe I'm old fashioned, but I happen to think all bullying is wrong, regardless of how much of a dick the victim is. But hang on, why is Old Ted telling us about a slap bet? I thought the show was about how Ted met the mother of his children?

Ah, bullying people. Always funny.

Now let's talk about Marshall and Lily for a moment. At the start of the series, Lily and Marshall getting engaged was a good catalyst for Ted wanting to settle down - because his best friends were (a rare example of good writing on the show, since they actually showed us this, rather than just have Old Ted explain it). Sadly, after about episode one, Lily and Marshall served no point other than for Lily to act as a doting mother to the rest of the gang. While the episode where Lily and Marshall got married was actually pretty funny, their characters were, for the most part, just pointless. I really didn't care about their struggles to have a child or buy a house - this is staggeringly boring television! There's a reason Ross and Rachel didn't get married at the end of Season 2 of Friends, it's because there's very little comedy (or drama) to be had from a happily married couple. This is why most sitcoms feature either single people OR families - but rarely both. It's just not funny or interesting. Now, if the writers had pushed themselves, then perhaps they could have come up with some good storylines here - after all, Everybody Loves Raymond managed to make Robert's new marriage in the final seasons work from a comedy standpoint - but HIMYM opted for extremely cliched stories (like buying a house and having a baby) that didn't feel new at all. But hang on, why is Old Ted telling us about Lily and Marshall's marriage? I thought the show was about how Ted met the mother of his children?

Last but not least, we have Robin. God, what a stupid character. I suppose since you can't make fun of Asians or Blacks or gays or whatever on TV anymore (which, don't get me wrong, is a good thing!), it's perfectly acceptable to make fun of a character who's from Canada.

Nothing's funnier than Canada, eh?

And, you know, I really don't have a problem with this kind of humour - South Park's portrayal of Canadians is totally bizzare, yet extremely funny at the same time. I dunno, perhaps you have to live in the USA to find it hilarious when Robin uses the metric system and the other characters make fun of her. Personally, I just find this mean, as if it's perfectly acceptable to put down and make fun of Robin because she's different. But hang on, why is Old Ted telling us all these dumb anecdotes about a friend of his who grew up in Canada? I thought the show was about how Ted met the mother of his children?

Not pictured: the mother

Alright, I've danced around it long enough: time for my main gripe, and it's, you've guess it, the fact the show didn't stick to its premise. Credit where credit is due: HIMYM had an intriguing premise. Most sitcoms dealing with people in their late twenties are about them wanting to go out and live their lives to the fullest, having all kinds of wacky adventures. Ted, on the other hand, was unlike any character I'd seen on TV before - he was a man who didn't want to sleep with a different woman every week, he wanted to meet that special someone and settle down. For an American sitcom, this was a very original idea. Now, if the show had stuck to this premise, it actually could have been an amazing show. Sadly, they digressed far too often with the other characters. If you're going to make a show's premise (and title!) about how one guy met one girl, there should not be entire episodes (and story arcs!) that deal with other people. To use a good example, Scrubs, like HIMYM initially, was a show about one guy (JD). However, the writers of Scrubs managed to get good use out of their other characters with strong writing and relating most things back to JD. It never felt like the writers were "cheating" and abandoning the premise of the show. Occasionally they indulged and gave others the spotlight, but ultimately Scrubs was very much a show about JD. HIMYM, on the other hand, was far from being a show about Ted.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realise what the writers really wanted was to create this:

They'll be there for you as well

I mean, think about it. A bunch of friends who live in New York City have wacky adventures, fall in and out of love, get married, have kids and so on - the show was essentially Friends re-done for people born after the nineties. Yet, while Friends was (for the most part) a clever show with strong characters and well-executed story arcs, HIMYM was not.

The way they writers of HIMYM kept saying "they had a plan" was such a load of shit. I struggle to believe that at the very start of the series they sat down and mapped out all nine seasons from start to finish. I struggle to believe the writers even had a rough idea for the series from the beginning - even the writers of LOST have admitted they made up most of the mythology of the island after season one had finished (and I really struggle to believe the writers of HIMYM are better writers than the folks who worked on LOST). I guarantee the "plan" for HIMYM amounted to "wait until the ratings start to die down, then we'll introduce the mother. Until then, drip feed the audience with 'clues' about who the mother might be."

This does not count as a story arc, this is just "Hey, let's put a goat in one episode, then explain it later! Then people will think we plan these things ahead of time!"

I mean, were all of Ted's girlfriends really necessary in the story of how he met his future wife? Like I said earlier, I watched the first few seasons, and "Ted meets Robin, dates Victoria, dates Robin for a year, then eventually ends up engaged to Stella" didn't feel like a story unfolding, it felt like the writers were making it up as they went along. And furthermore, how is an audience supposed to engage in a relationship (like Ted/Victoria, Ted/Robin or Ted/Stella) when we know this woman is not the mother, and therefore the relationship isn't going to last? Hell, even if every woman Ted dated was important to how he met the kids' mother (and they weren't), are the intricacies of how he met them, how he had sex with them and how he broke up with them relevant to the story? That would be like me telling the story of how I bought my new television, but for some reason including details about how I came to acquire my previous televisions and all the great TV shows I watched on them.

Were they all necessary?

I know it seems like I'm complaining a lot here about how Ted's dating history was depicted, but you've got to remember that the premise of the show was how he met his kids' mother! You may cry, "Who cares if it's not linked to how he met the kids' mother, I still found it funny", but the simple fact is the writers were abandoning their core premise. Telling stories totally unrelated to that is lazy and insulting. Imagine if you tuned into, say, M*A*S*H and they'd decided to do an episode in Los Angeles. Or an episode of Scrubs where no medicine was performed. I know occasionally shows will abandon their premise for an episode or two (Scrubs actually DID have a few episodes that didn't feature the hospital), but episodes like this are often the exception, not the rule. I'd say that at least 90% of the stories on HIMYM had NOTHING to do with how Ted met the kids' mother!

Like I said at the beginning, the reason I hate this show is I see a lot of missed potential. What could have been a bold new sitcom that ignored tired old cliches and looked at things we hadn't seen in a sitcom before - like a man wanting to settle down - instead decided to stick with tired old cliches and merely try to imitate older, much better sitcoms like Friends.

It may not have been the worst thing on television, but it was probably the worst use of a good premise.

© 2014 by The Free Man


Monday, April 7, 2014

Mob Justice is Not Justice

Dear reader, there's a trend I've noticed on social media lately, and it's becoming a bit worrying. Let's begin with a picture. A simple picture, a picture of a dog:

Have a problem with it? Speaking personally, I don't, but then again, I am an emotionless robot. I can understand that some people would be sympathetic about the dog - I mean, the poor guy's obviously been injured. Yet, where this gets bizzare is that this picture was shared over 10 000 times on Facebook, with the original poster claiming that this dog was being abused by its owner - a pet store. Now, whether you agree that this is animal abuse or not is up to you - however, the RSPCA have decided it's not abuse (their exact words were "They've done everything right" - source). Admittedly, putting an injured dog in a store window was pretty stupid move the first place, but worries me is the "mob justice" that emerged when the photo was posted.

According to The Courier Mail's article on the incident, ...some [Facebook users] even suggested putting the shop owner in a cage. Yeah, 'cause that seems like a logical punishment for bandaging an injured animal instead of just shooting it. Now, call me naive if you will, but we have a body responsible for preventing the cruel treatment of animals, and it should be up to them - and only them - to decide what punishment (if any) this pet shop owner receives.

"Oh, come on!" I hear you cry as you flick your dreadlocked hair off your tattooed face. "We're not suggesting he actually be put in a cage!" Yes, I realise that. But what worries me here is that the public seems to want to use Facebook as a way to punish this owner without even hearing his side of the story.

I first noticed this trend a few months ago when Derryn Hinch (a radio host) went to jail for revealing the details of the killer of Jill Meagher (the ABC woman who was murdered in Melbourne). The police were unamused by this serious breach of the law, so he was fined. But because Derryn Hinch thinks he's a slightly hairier version of God, he refused to pay, so he was thrown in jail for contempt. However, it didn't take long before stupid groups like this appeared on Facebook...


"BUT FREE MAN!" I hear you cry again. "HE WAS NAMING A MURDERER! A MAN WHO KILLED ANOTHER PERSON! THIS MURDERER DESERVES NO PRIVACY!" My response? I don't care who he's naming, or what his motivations are, you do not take the law into your own hands. Ever.

We live in a society of rules and law. While the 32 000 people who've liked this stupid page may not want to admit it or not, Australia was founded on the principles of democracy and fair treatment for all. I'm not for a second saying Jill Meagher's killer is anything but a bad person, but the simple fact is that in Australia, there are people whose job it is to enforce and interpret the law. Educated people who understand why laws are in place and how they should be applied. Just because you feel what Hinch did was right, doesn't make it so. Unless you're seriously suggesting you know more about the law than the Supreme Court of Victoria? Again, call me naive if you want, but I have faith in our justice system and that whatever punishment it decides upon - for Jill Meagher's killer or for Derryn Hinch - is appropriate. You do not take the law into your own hands. Ever.

(If you're interested in the specifics of Hinch's crime, The Dark Side of the Blog's old friend, Media Watch, had a segment on Hinch's sentencing)

Dear reader, if you start taking the law into your own hands, when does it end? While Hinch may have "only" named a killer, then when does it stop? Is beating up a person accused of committing murder okay? Is burning down a business that destroyed the lives of people okay? If everyone took the law into their own hands, before long we'd be in a society with no law, ironically the opposite of what all the Hinch supporters want. History has consistently proven that mob justice with so-called good intentions - like the Salem Witch Trials or the Klu Klux Klan - are wrong. Hell, one of the oldest examples of bad mob justice was the crucifixion of Jesus Christ instead of a murderer! Though I'll admit that it's hard to tell which aspects of Jesus' crucifixion story are true, the fact remains the mob in that story had been swayed by opinion and refused to listen to the wiser words Pontius Pilate, who wanted to spare Jesus.

 Wow, I think that's the first time I've ever used the values in the Bible as an argument. I hope this doesn't mean I'm turning into Tony Abbott.

But it gets worse. If you live in Australia, chances are you've heard the sad story of Daniel Morcombe. For the uninitiated, a young boy named Daniel was abducted in 2003 and his disappearance was a big mystery in Australia for about a decade. But recently, his remains appeared, then the police started to get some suspects, and finally, they put a man named Brett Cowan on trial for the murder of Daniel. Cowan was found guilty, and sentenced to jail. Justice had been served, right? Right...?

Oh dear. Notice the typo?

"Bring back the death penalty and save our kids"? How will killing a man who's already killed a child save kids? I know, the point these people are making is that executing Cowan will deter other criminals from doing the same thing, but in actual fact, the death penalty is not a deterrent. While you or I may see death as the worst possible punishment, I'd argue that the sick, twisted mind of a man like Brett Cowan (or Derryn Hinch) is not afraid of death. And besides, how are we setting an example that killing is wrong if our only response to a killing is more killing? We teach children that responding to violence with more violence is wrong, yet it's a bit of a contradiction when we murder our murderers - exactly what we're telling the children not to do. Not only that, but the United Nations has specifically said that "Everyone has the right to life" in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Claiming you know better than the UN is hugely arrogant. Australia - and indeed, most of the world - has abolished the death penalty because it simply doesn't work.

Mob justice is wrong. The death penalty is wrong. We have laws in place that protect us, and if you're reading this, it's because you live in a society where people obey the law and don't take it into their own hands.

And hey, if you truly believe Hinch was unfairly punished, or Cowan should have been sentenced more? How about getting off your arse and lobbying government to change the law? Because believe me, simply bitching about stuff on Facebook - or your blog - rarely changes anything.

© 2014 by The Free Man

Monday, January 6, 2014

5 Things I Learned After Spending 5 Weeks in front of the TV

Dear reader, I've spent the last five weeks on holiday, and because I have no life, I spent almost every second of those five weeks in front of an old friend called television. Now, believe it or not, it's been a while since I've spent such an extended period with the old girl, and I'm sorry to say she's changed - and not for the better. Presented below are just five of the things I've learned while spending my summer in front of the TV:

1. The way the stations are organised makes no sense
Quickly, how many TV channels are there in Australia? If you'd asked that question ten years ago, the answer would be "five" - ABC, SBS, Seven, Nine and Ten. Simple, eh. But today? Believe it or not, in my town (Brisbane) you can pick up twenty-nine (!) channels on a HD receiver - that's almost six times what you could get ten years ago. How could I ever get bored with this many channels available?

No beer and no TV make me something something...

Now, the TV networks would love to have you believe that there's no need to buy cable, but if you look closely at the list there's some serious problems:
  • Why are there duplicate channels for One and ABC1?
  • Why are there TWO duplicate channels for SBS1 and Seven?
  • Why is only one channel playing its main channel in HD? (SBS)
  • Why are Seven, Nine, Ten and the ABC all using their HD-only channels for non-primary programming? (or, "Why are M*A*S*H and other non-HD shows broadcast on HD channels, while shows actually SHOT in HD - like Under the Dome - are broadcast in SD?")
  • Why do we have six channels dedicated to "home shopping"? (TVSN, Spree TV, TV4ME, Fresh Ideas TV, Extra and Extra 2) Who is watching these channels? And speaking of advertising...
2. Advertisers are stuck in the fifties
During my five weeks off work, I've watched a fair amount of daytime television, and one thing I can tell you about daytime TV is that apparently only housewives and pensioners are supposed to be watching it. While the programming itself varies from Star Trek to Charmed to Dr Phil to Sabrina, the advertisements for these shows are all the same - either ads for old people (life insurance and funeral insurance) or housewives (cleaning products and telephone plans "for the whole family").

Ah, those were the days, when women and old people knew their place.

Do the advertisers seriously think the only people watching daytime TV are either retired or looking after the kids? Maybe fifty years ago that was the case, but in a 24 hour economy this is a dangerously outdated outlook to have. Surely people who work weekends and shift workers are perfectly fine target markets to advertise to? And speaking of outdated outlooks...

3. Programmers are stuck in the fifties
Can someone tell me why the hell we have a "non-ratings period" over December/January in Australia? For those of you who don't know, in Australia television ratings are measured to determine which are the most popular programs and which aren't, so that the TV networks can charge for advertising time accordingly. Yet for reasons I've never understood, over December and January ratings aren't measured, so the commercial TV networks rarely bother to put on anything they hope will rate well. For example, I guarantee that the new seasons of The Biggest Loser and The Block have already finished shooting, and are ready to go. Yet both Ten and Nine are waiting until the "non-ratings period" finishes before they air them.

When was the last time you had time off work and didn't watch some TV?

Now, back when TV was first introduced in Australia (in the late 1950s), I could sort of understand the logic of the TV networks figuring nobody watched TV over summer - they were all on holidays, right? But now, apart from yours truly, who is honestly taking that much time off over summer? And even if people are taking that much time off, surely they have more time to watch TV, not less?

4. The idea of putting content online is still terrifying
Now, with the exception of the ABC and SBS, the TV networks in Australia seem to still be scared of the big scary internet. There are occasions, dear reader, when I do socialise (yes, it's true), and when that happens, I usually don't want to miss an episode of my favourite TV show. If I miss a new episode of Rake on the ABC or Mythbusters on SBS, I know I can just go online and stream it. What's truly amazing about these streaming services is everything they play - from scripted shows, to news, to repeats - is streamed online (or, at least, I'm yet to come across something being broadcast that isn't also being streamed), with the only catch being I have two weeks after broadcast to watch it or it'll be gone.

Oh no! It's digital distribution!

But the commercial networks? They're a joke. For one, only certain content is uploaded. If I want to catch up on Under The Dome on Channel Ten, no problem, but if I miss out on a new episode of The Simpsons or Futurama, then I'm out of luck - that's never placed on Ten's website. I realise obtaining permission to put this stuff online can't be easy, but if the public broadcasters can do it, why can't the big commercial ones? And while we're at it, surely it can't be all that hard to obtain the copyright to old episodes of Seinfeld and Frasier to put online? I usually work during the day, I would happily use Seven, Nine or Ten's streaming service if it meant I could freely - and legally - watch an old episode of one of my favourites. Speaking of the internet...

5. The networks still make us wait forever to get new episodes from overseas
Here's some trivia for you: did you know which country pirated the finale of Breaking Bad the most? It was us! By a rather sizeable margin, considering our population:

Via the ABC. Bless them.

Why was this, though? Well, as someone who has only recently gotten into Breaking Bad, my guess is it's because the free-to-air broadcasters take forever to broadcast stuff in this country, conveniently ignoring the fact that it's easy to pirate stuff nowadays from the USA. Now, I know I seem to worship the ABC on this blog, but they're not perfect - their broadcasting of Breaking Bad was far behind the USA (usually the ABC is pretty good, though - for example, they've consistently aired the Christmas special of Doctor Who less than a day after it aired in the UK for several years now).

The other channels seem to still believe nobody can download shows or import DVDs - why, for example, has Australia not seen a single episode of season 25 of The Simpsons, despite the fact the season started airing in September last year in the USA? Or why did Channel Ten proudly announce new episodes of Modern Family, only for it to quietly disappear from their lineup with unaired episodes as the non-ratings period drew closer? Why does Channel Nine excitedly tease us with new episodes of The Big Bang Theory, when they surely realise everyone's already downloaded those episodes?

Folks, the point I'm making here is that if these TV networks want people to keep watching, you know, TV, they need to stop treating us with contempt, need to realise that the world has changed, and accept that sitting passively in front of your TV is not how most of us consume our entertainment any more. The world has changed since the 1950s, and the TV networks need to change too.

© 2014 by The Free Man