Friday, April 13, 2007

Miscellany: 13 April 2007

- The March 2007 direct market sales are out, and it's another drubbing for DC. Oh dear. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #1 made the top ten (at number 9), prompting Newsarama to observe that it "may be the first non-Marvel/DC title to finish in the Top Ten in several years." Or, you know, you could go and look it up. Actually, I believe they're right - there hasn't been a non-Marvel/DC book in the DM top ten since 2003, when retro licensed properties enjoyed a short-lived fad.

- The NASUWT complains that Life on Mars will inspire homophobic bullying in schools. This really is the sort of thing that gives political correctness a bad name. Leave aside the fact that it's a post-watershed show. It's a time travel show. The whole bloody point, beaten home with a sledgehammer in every single episode, is that Sam Tyler has gone back to the 1970s, when people had unenlightened views. What the hell does the NASUWT want? A big flashing caption saying "BAD"?

Yes, sure, there's an element of yearning for a simpler time to show, but only the terminally stupid could watch that programme and think it had an uncritical attitude to 1970s sexism, racism and homophobia. If we're going to dumb things down for people who can't even wrap their heads around the not-exactly-stellar complexity of Life on Mars, we might as well just abandon the idea of popular drama altogether.

(Watched the last episode, by the way. Bit of a cop-out, I thought.)

- Another regulator wades into the TV quiz arena, as the Gambling Commission hints rather heavily that it thinks they're illegal lotteries. This, by the way, is the reason why these channels tend to offer free web entry, although they don't publicise it much. They argue that if you CAN enter for free, then it's a free draw, which is outside the legislation. Of course, the free draw exception was plainly never intended to cover something like this, where the predominant entry route is paid, and the operation is run as a commercial concern.

It also sounds like the Commission is about to bring down the hammer on the other popular device of having a really, really easy multiple choice question and then claiming that this makes your phone-in into a game of skill. All of this is long overdue - we passed the point years ago where these rules should either have been repealed or enforced - and it means that if the Commission is serious, it's going to put a dent in some income streams that broadcasters have been taking for granted.

- Oh, and I see Marvel have just pushed back Ultimates 2 #13 by another week. Again. It's never going to come out, is it?