For a while now I've been using Twitter and it's been a frankly wonderful experience, there's a whole host of people out there on the site who love television and love writing about it. Some of these people have websites, others just chat via the medium of 140 characters (the limit for a "tweet") but all of them I've encountered so far are passionate, likable individuals with superb taste in television.
This inspired me to branch out a little and move into a kind of interviewing - more of a questionnaire really if I'm honest. A few brave souls responded to my request by kindly spending some of their precious time answering my questions. As such I'll occasionally post one of their interviews here on my site. The first of them is Aaron Smithes of @Snarkandfury.
First up, thank you for agreeing to this interview, it’s much appreciated. If you don’t mind, could you tell us a little about yourself and what people will find if they follow your tweets?
Hello, I'm Aaron and I love TV, films, PC games, tabletop roleplaying and being mean to TV shows on my blog, Snark and Fury.
I try to use Twitter as a companion piece to my blog, if you follow my Twitter then you'll probably see me post interesting links that I've found, mostly related to my interests. I usually attempt to be funny and I generally try to avoid telling you about what I had for dinner. One thing that I'm keen to do again is something similar to the collaborative Twitter post about Torchwood, I think that produced some entertaining stuff (http://snarkandfury.blogspot.com/2009/06/torchwood-season-four-honest-truth.html). Finally, being my Twitter friend will also let you know when I've finally got off my lazy arse and posted something.
What genres of show do you tend to gravitate to? That is, what concepts does a show need to hook you in as a viewer?
I find that I tend to go where the quality is. I'm a big sci-fi fan but I don't watch a great deal of it these days as there doesn't seem to be much out there that grabs my attention.
I love shows that have a strong vision and follow it through to the end, for example, The Wire, The Shield, Battlestar Galactica, Band of Brothers - they're all stories that have a clear beginning and end and can be rewatched as a whole piece.
I certainly have to agree here and I'm (not so) secretly pleased you've mentioned The Wire and The Shield. I also loved BoB, BSG on the other hand I felt lost it a little in the final episode.
If you were stranded on the old clichéd desert island with nothing but a DVD player, a TV and a limitless generator (like say one powered by a waterwheel) what three shows would you want with you to pass the time spent alone?
Doctor Who (I bloody love that show), The Shield (police procedural with a nasty but compelling element), and Spaced (for some feelgood comedy).
What’s your favourite show of all time and why does it hold that place?
Doctor Who - a programme that has managed to survive through the ages and imprint its iconography on every impressionable youngster since 1963. It’s a show with limitless imagination, endless settings, comedy, drama, horror, science fiction, historical references, great performances, awful performances, creaky sets, breathtaking sets, terrible costumes, fantastic costumes, and boundless ambition. I love the fact that even when Doctor Who is terrible, it’s usually because it’s being too ambitious. Doctor Who is a show that really shouldn’t be produced on a small BBC TV budget but it always manages to pull through and produce some wonderful moments in each season.
Yes indeed, the emotion in the series is fantastic at times, especially in nu-Who. Now, what about your favourite episode?
That's an easy one, I blogged about that a few months ago - Doctor Who: The Caves of Androzani. Although I am a big cheat and chose a story rather than a single episode. (http://snarkandfury.blogspot.com/2009/07/my-favourite-tv-episodes-part-one.html)
Let’s talk about least favourites. What’s the worst television show or episode you’ve ever watched (and why was it so bad)?
Bonekickers has to be one of the worst shows I have ever seen. It stands apart as an ambitious show about archeology that was intended to be exciting, dynamic, and pulp-like - it clearly wanted to be The Da Vinci Code crossed with Indiana Jones.
What we got instead was Time Team crossed with Scooby Doo. It was a poorly researched, badly written show with awful characterisation and terrible performances from the cast (although they clearly didn't have much to work with).
The dialogue was awful; one quote, which I'm paraphrasing as I can't go back and check just now, was "We're going to Hull to do the archeology." Who says that? An IT consultant wouldn't say, "I'm going to Bradford to do the IT." Would an electrician go to Blackpool to do the electricity?
That said, the show became so bad that it was actually entertaining to see how low it would sink. I miss it in a way.
I must admit I enjoyed your recaps on Bonekickers far, far more than I did watching it. You made the show almost tolerable.
Who’s the most annoying character you’ve ever seen on television and what is it that irritates you so much about them?
Oh God, the main character in Bonekickers, Dr Gillian Magwilde. She acted like a dour homicide detective for most of the show and then became a wild eyed believer in myths and legends as the plot demanded.
She didn't endear herself to the audience and didn't seem to be particularly clever or worthy of leading a team of archeaologists. she was pretty insufferable really, Dolly would have made a more interesting leader if he wasn't an outrageously silly character.
Do you have a cult show you’d like to champion here? Why should we watch it? Go on; really sell us on this show.
I don't know if Rome counts as a cult show, it was an expensive show that had a lot of publicity when it was released. However, I find that it's not mentioned all that often in blogging circles or amongst friends so I guess I'll champion it.
The thing with Rome was that I had no interest in Roman culture, I was always more interested in medieval history than ancient. I was finally convinced by a friend to watch the show on DVD and I was hooked from the first episode.
Rome essentially tells the story of the rise of Julius Caesar and follows two soldiers, Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson) and Lucius Verenus (Kevin McKidd) as they become involved in major events. The performances from Stevenson and McKidd are absolutely fantastic and the supporting cast is almost uniformly excellent. James Purefoy's Marc Anthony is a very entertaining performance and he clearly enjoys himself in the role.
The episodes usually contain a large amount of political and inter personal skull duggery and a heap of violence as Roman society is portrayed as a culture with the appearance of civility but a vicious, ambitious streak.
It's a show that I really didn't expect to enjoy but I found myself absorbed by each character's struggle to survive the cut throat world of Rome . It's a pity that there are only two seasons of Rome but it does tell a complete story and leaves you wanting more without feeling unsatisfied. I plan to make Rome the subject of a 'My Favourite Episodes' post in the future, where I'll try and explain further why I love it so much.
Rome is certainly something I'll have to put on my 'to watch' list, I apologise for not having seen it yet. So, is there a character in the world of television you identify with or admire the most?
I admire the Doctor the most, which probably makes me a massive nerd. The Doctor is a noble character, a father figure, a kindly uncle, or a big brother (depending on the incarnation). He has a firm sense of right and wrong and always sets out to do the right thing. He’s a genius without being annoying and self important as some geniuses can be. Ultimately he’s my favourite fictional character of all time.
I think I actually had a dream last night that Tom Baker visited my flat for a cup of tea and he told me off for watching torrented episodes of old Doctor Who, I pointed out that I buy all of his stories on DVD and that seemed to placate him. I can’t remember if he brought the TARDIS with him though…
Pitch a television show to us. What would be your ideal show?
Dinosaurs, Robots, and Explosions.
(Robot Commando: The TV series? I loved that Fighting Fantasy Book.)
And what would be your ideal television crossover event?
It's a bit obvious but The Shield and The Wire; Vic Mackey transfers to Baltimore and finds that Baltimore is a very different place to LA. Can Vic manipulate the system or will he be chewed up and spat out like so many detectives before him?
Interesting, I'm not sure if Vic could even function in The Wire's universe. He'd be a character operating in the same reality as Omar and Brother Mouzone. I also can't help but wonder what his reaction would be if he met Herc.
What’s your favourite TV related website for news and information?
Television Without Pity inspired me to do the whole snarky recap thing. It's genuinely useful for certain shows where you may not spot particular details whilst watching the show too. Dan’s Media Digest and The Medium Is Not Enough are pretty much daily visits for TV info and reviews.Last of all, tell us all about your own blogsite, what will readers find when they head there?
Bright colours, the occasional comic panel, poor sentence structure, recaps of TV shows that you can't be bothered watching, infrequent games reviews, stupid movie recommendations, and the odd DVD review. Despite the title of the blog I'm not an angry fanboy howling into the void, I don't have the energy.
When Aaron is not adventuring about the universe inside a police box he can be located at Snark and Fury, his twitter is @SnarkandFury and is one which I recommend you follow!