Random stuff on Life, the Universe and Science Fiction


30 Day TV Challenge: Day 02 – A show that you wish more people were watching

I don’t so much wish more people were watching this so much as wish more people had the opportunity to.

Originally called Engrenages, this is a French Police procedural drama that most people have probably never heard of. Over here it’s shown late at night on BBC4 and doesn’t get much attention. I’m pretty sure it’s never been shown in the states. Following the cases of Police Captain Laure Berthaud of the Paris Police, this show is really great, the sort of gritty police drama we in Europe do so well. 8-12 episodes per season following a single case is just the right length to be able to fully flesh out the investigation with plenty of twists and turns without much filler. The main characters along with Captain Berthaud are the Investigating Magistrate in charge of the investigation (the French system has an investigating judge overseeing the CID), the prosecutor working with the police team and a young ambitions defence lawyer.

I can’t find any clips or trailers in English, but here’s the opening credits.

Some People Just Can’t Take Critisism

This afternoon I had my first experience of how nasty and rude some people on twitter (certainly no-one I follow) can be sometimes if they don’t agree with you, even people in positions of responsibility with thousands of followers.

I got a call from my fiancée Lizzie while I was out at lunch today and during the conversation she mentioned that she’d seen the cover for this month’s Doctor Who Magazine when their twitter account had been retweeted by someone she follows and that she was annoyed that she’d been spoiled by it. DWM (@DWMtweets on twitter) use their latest magazine cover as their twitter picture and this latest cover contains on it spoilers for the fourth episode of this current series of Doctor Who.

Granted the only spoiler text on the cover was the title of the said episode but the picture that accompanied it showed significant information about the characters in that episode that you wouldn’t get just from the title of the episode. In fact, the title of the episode would suggest other characters entirely based on information previously given in the series.

Anyway, I have no particular problem with minor spoilers, but I know quite a few people who do so I avoid passing on those spoilers that I know and I follow basic internet-spoiler etiquette which is that spoilers should always come with a warning and have to be clicked through to or highlighted or similar. Likewise I don’t think that magazines should print spoilers on the cover where it can be seen by anyone browsing a newsagent. Spoilers should come with warnings and only inside the magazine. One of the reasons I love SFX magazine is that spoilers for everything are always well marked so I can avoid them when I want to.

This was also not the first time DWM had printed spoilers on the cover. In just the previous issue (#433) they’d printed a very big spoiler on the cover of the magazine regarding the season premier episode so I thought I was pretty justified in tweeting the following

“Doctor Who Magazine (@dwmtweets) do love to print spoilers on their front cover don’t they? Not very responsible.”

Not much happened, as is usual when I tweet, but after about 40 minutes I got my tweet re-tweeted by Tom Spilsbury (@tomspilsbury) the chief editor of DWM:

“IT’S THE TITLE! RT @jacobnorton DWM (@dwmtweets) do love to print spoilers on their front cover don’t they? Not very responsible.”

I tweeted back politely, attempting to explain my point and while I was doing so I started getting my @mentions column filling up with supporters of Mr. Spilsbury telling me I was ‘stupid’ and and an ‘Idiot’ and that they were sorry that he had ‘to put up with this kind of idiocy’ from fans. After attempting to explain my point for a while and recieving this sarcastic and rude response:

“Would you prefer we print a load of blank pages every month? WOULD YOU?!”

I decided to give up. It amazes me how someone who is a professional in a probably quite highly paid job can’t take a little criticism without shouting at me over twitter and rallying all his fans to attack me for it. Just because I have a difference of opinion to him doesn’t mean that I deserve to be belittled. It’s not as if I was engaged in a persistent campaign against DWM or anything. He’s an editor of a national magazine and has to be prepared for people to disagree with him on things occasionally. If he wanted to engage me in dialogue, a reply to me rather than a retweet that showed my comment to all his followers would have been far more appropriate.

About half an hour after the tweet attack had stopped, Mr. Spilsbury actually tweeted an apology at me and gave some decent points in his defence for the magazine cover. If that had been his initial tweet to me, we might have been able to have an intelligent conversation about it, but it was not to be.

Today I was attacked, albeit digitally, by a decent number of people for my opinion because it differed from theirs, that this can go on among adults in the modern day astounds me. I don’t want to attempt to retaliate or anything, that would be sinking to their level. They’re really not worth me getting angry about, but I certainly won’t be buying any copies of Doctor Who Magazine during Spilsbury’s tenure as editor.

A Little Bit About Me and My Scifi

I’ve been wandering around the internet for over 10 years now and thought I’d give this blogging lark a go. Before I really get started I thought I’d tell you all a little about me.

I’m originally from Lewisham, South London, though my family moved a couple of miles east to Greenwich when I was 5. And there I lived ’till I departed for University in the tiny city of Durham in the far north of England. I’m back in Greenwich now with my parents though I’m hoping to soon get a place with my lovely fiancée once we’re settled in more permanent employment.

I studied Civil Engineering at University and, despite earning my degree, I didn’t get on with it too well so I’ve had a change of path and I’m now working as an IT Support Technician.

Anyway, the main point of this blog is to talk scifi so I’ll get right to it.

My earliest memories of watching Science Fiction are Jon Pertwee Doctor Who and the various Gerry Anderson puppet shows (Stingray, Thunderbirds and most of all Captain Scarlet) which were all being rerun frequently on the BBC2 in the early 90s. Back then we had only analogue terrestrial TV (broadcast TV for the Americans among you) with a measly four channels (how did we cope?!?) but all the good stuff was happening on BBC2 and that’s where a couple of years later I discovered a show that literally changed my life. If it wasn’t for me discovering this show, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be the same guy I am today, I certainly would never have me my Fiancée at the University Science Fiction and Fantasy Society. This is the show that got me into non-children’s TV Science Fiction:  Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Now at age 8, I had no idea that Star Trek as a franchise existed. I just knew this awesome show called “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was on and I loved it. People have commented that my accent is a lot more RP than your average person in South London, especially compared to my siblings. I’m pretty sure that has a lot to do with the fact that I idealised Captain Picard (and Colonel White from Captain Scarlet) from a young age.

I later saw the odd episode of the Original Series and Voyager and rented a few of the movies on video from the Library, but it wasn’t till I was about 12 and my parents decided to get cable broadband which came with a free basic cable TV package and I got access to SkyOne that my Scifi viewing really took off.

Suddenly there was Star Trek on at what seemed like all times of the day and night and I quickly watched as much as I could. Deep Space Nine quickly rose to the top of my Star Trek pile with TNG and at one point I they re-ran DS9 from start to finish every weekday morning at 6am and I got up early every day for the entire run to watch it Emissary->What You Leave Behind. The Dominion War had almost begun by the time my parents found out what I was doing.

SkyOne also exposed me to Stargate, Buffy and later Battlestar Galactica, which I watched on the first run before it even reached the US, and UK Gold let me watch loads more classic Doctor Who.

Around the same time I really got going on the internet and joined a few forums and created my online persona of warpfactor with that flag-merge (see the top of the right-hand column) that has been my online image for around 10 years.

The rest, as they say, is history. I’ve definitely missed loads of stuff off this story, but it’s just a brief overview of where I got started with Science Fiction and some of my favourite stuff.

I’ll be back as soon as I can think of something interesting to say.

Live Long and Prosper!