Thieves Like Us

February 24, 2007

Thieves Like UsI’m an unabashed fan of a lot of British comedy, but every once in a while you stumble onto one that’s a cut above average.

Thieves Like Us is a perfect example. A classic buddy act, with Bex (Tom Brooke) as a glib but not overly bright burglar, and Ollie (Fraser Ayres) as his far more bumbling partner. Mix in Mel (Jessica Harris) as Bex’s tolerant-but-not-too-tolerant girlfriend (she’s also his lawyer’s assistant, so she doesn’t have any illusions about what Bex does), and Belinda (Chereen Buckley), who is shagging Ollie when she’s not sleeping with everybody else, and you’ve got a great little ensemble cast.

The writing is tight, the chemistry is great, and the show is well paced. Unfortunately, it’s only up for six episodes in this series, and five of them have already aired. With any luck, maybe it will get another go soon.

Thieves Like Us is currently airing on BBC Three, and will hopefully turn up on BBC America sooner or later; if you can’t wait, you probably know the usual places to look..

Monk, Murder Mysteries and Mindfulness

July 24, 2004

The other day, I was reading an article or post from someone who was going on about how television tended to change our view of the world for the worse, increasing our level of fear and loathing about how bad things are, and in general increasing our sense of victimhood, etc.

Now, I’ll grant you that I buy the idea that if you focus on bad stuff (of any variety), you’re going to find more bad stuff.  As Rich Bandler says, “Look for problems, and you WILL find them.”

The specific example that was used was USA Network’s “defective detective” show, Monk.  A couple of recent episodes were cited, one where a couple kidnapped an elderly lady in order to steal a valuable antique chair, and another where a tow-truck driver was shot to hide evidence of another crime in the vehicle being towed.

The point being made was that these aren’t common things, and we shouldn’t be blithely accepting that they are as part of the premise of watching what is really largely a comedy.

I wish I could remember where I saw this—I’d be happy to put up a link.  Even though I now think it completely missed the point…

Read more


June 15, 2003


Apparently Spike Lee has won “a preliminary injunction”: against Viacom, who had planned on launching their big re-name of TNN as “Spike TV” on Monday.

Johnnie Cochran, Lee’s attorney claims people “across the board” think of Spike Lee when they hear “Spike TV”.

Viacom is seeking an immediate stay of the court order.

We’re still waiting to hear whether old reruns of the “Colgate Comedy Hour”:,60,3645,00.html (starring “Spike Jones”: will are now verbotten, not to mention whether James Marsters will be allowed to reprise his Buffy role as “Spike”: on Angel next season.

Of course, the larger question is which is sillier—this lawsuit or naming a cable channel “Spike TV”.


Read more