Sparkling New Year’s Eve Fireworks

Ring in the new year with fireworks form the people who do them best: Disney! This is the full Sparkling New Year’s Eve Fireworks show from Disneyland Paris’s Disney New Year Party on December 31 2019.

Uploaded as part of #virtualDLPNYE4, my virtual new Year’s Eve event reliving #DLPNYE3 in real time one year later as we deal with the complications of 2020 preventing international travel and keeping theme parks closed.

Shot in 4K on a Sony Digital Imaging Handycam AX53. Combined with Stereo Audio from iPhone XR. Finished on LumaFusion.
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Countdown to Fun Street Party

The full Countdown to Fun Street Party Parade from Disneyland Paris’s New Year’s Eve Party on December 31 2019.

Uploaded as part of #virtualDLPNYE4, my virtual new Year’s Eve event reliving #DLPNYE3 in real time one year later as we deal with the complications of 2020 preventing international travel and keeping theme parks closed.

Shot in 4K with Dolby Stereo audio on a Sony Digital Imaging Handycam AX53. Finished on LumaFusion.
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Mickey’s Christmas Big Band 2019

The highlight of every Christmas Season at Disneyland Paris since its inception, Mickey’s Christmas Big Band was better than ever in 2019. Enjoy this performance from December 31 2019 in full with 4K video and stereo sound.

Uploaded as part of #virtualDLPNYE4, my virtual new Year’s Eve event reliving #DLPNYE3 in real time one year later as we deal with the complications of 2020 preventing international travel and keeping theme parks closed.

Shot in 4K with Dolby Stereo audio on a Sony Digital Imaging Handycam AX53. Finished on LumaFusion.
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Disney’s Christmas Parade 2019

Christmas Is Here! Celebrate the Season of good cheer with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto & pals in the 2019 edition of Disney’s Christmas Parade, the daily Christmas Parade at Disneyland Paris!

Uploaded as part of #virtualDLPNYE4, my virtual new Year’s Eve event reliving #DLPNYE3 in real time one year later as we deal with the complications of 2020 preventing international travel and keeping theme parks closed.

Shot in 4K with Dolby Stereo audio on a Sony Digital Imaging Handycam AX53. Finished on LumaFusion.
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Everything Changes, Everything Stays The Same

Nigel has a dead-on understanding of the nature of TV going forward. I have long been trying to make people realise that the traditional TV is the natural home of video content, and integrating content with the existing TV paradigm is the optimal experience. Hence my belief that Smart TVs are the only worthwhile innovation TV manufacturers have pushed since FullHD (except ultra narrow bezels, which are also fantastic).

TV Reviews: Brooklyn Nine-Nine

You have the right to remain silent. But you won't.

You have the right to remain silent. But you won’t.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is Universal Television’s (By way of FOX) effort to fill the hole in the sitcom landscape where a cop show parody should be. It’s also the latest vehicle for Saturday Night Live‘s biggest recent success story, Andy Samberg – following the decidedly uneven Cuckoo. Alongside Samberg are Terry Crews (Apparently Will McAvoy’s bodyguard Lonny went off to become a cop, explaining his absence from The Newsroom Season 2) and relative newcomer Stephanie Beatriz.

Samberg plays an immature but gifted detective whose “dammit I get results” stylings come into conflict with the “by da book” new Captain’s way of doing things. Despite that seemingly clichéd premise, the show isn’t going for a straight parody of cop show tropes, and instead opts for a more subtle (Yes, subtlety in an Andy Samberg vehicle – if only Cuckoo knew such luxuries) deconstruction, more along the lines of Scrubs.

It’s unclear from the pilot if the show will be able to develop the same dramatic chops as Scrubs did with its cast of beloved characters over the years, but there are early signs of deeper thought at least, with Captain Holt given a decent backstory which earns him the sympathy (and, more importantly, the respect) of Samberg’s Jake Peralta.

But while the dramatic underpinnings of a sitcom can give it the prestige and enduring appeal to make it a long runner (The SimpsonsFriendsScrubshow i met your mother…), any sitcom which isn’t funny will sink like a rock (I’m looking at you, majority of the pilots from Amazon Studios’s first Pilot season). So is Brooklyn Nine-Nine a comedic dud destined to end its run in a graveyard slot and be forgotten about by next Christmas?

No.

No, it’s actually pretty funny. Samberg’s smug performance actually manages to be charming because the show makes the wise choice to show us immediately that he’s actually good at what he does, and he is nevertheless more of a smartass than actually condescending. Meanwhile, the absurdity has been kept just about in check. There’s no lengthy fantasy sequences, and all of the hijinks the cast engage in are relatively grounded.

It’s all just stupid. And I don’t mean that as a knock. It’s the best kind of stupid. It’s the kind of dumb joking around you get into when you’re hanging around with friends or killing time in an office. Too often, this kind of dumb comedy doesn’t work out so well.  Microsoft published a video game example recently in LocoCycle, which just feels like you’re watching someone else’s inside joke. And it’s never explained to you. So it never becomes funny.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine invites you to laugh at its characters with the rest of the cast by constantly ensuring there’s someone to laugh with. The cast takes turns playing straight man for each other as the situation demands; mocking or being mocked, laughing along or hiding their shame. It’s relatable because that’s how people are in real life.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is part of a movement in sitcom writing to reflect the kind of humour people experience day-to-day. Rather than placing absurd caricatures in front of you and inviting you to laugh mercilessly at their failures (Two And a Half Men), Brooklyn Nine-Nine follows the formula successfully deployed by how i met your mother of allowing its characters to know exactly how funny the things that are happening are. And it mines that area mercilessly for extra yucks as Samberg or another cast member manages to deliver that extra quip at the end of the scene that perfectly encapsulates the audience’s feelings.

Oh and by the way, I think you’re overdoing it on the man-scaping.

Rating: Watch

Possible Ratings, in Descending Order:

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Miss

Seek Cancellation

Christmas Letter 2013

Hi there folks,

It’s once again the season of Christmas, a yearly custom of merriment and gift-giving whose true meaning is, as we all know, the birth of Santa. As is now tradition, whether some of you like it or not, I am sat here writing my annual Christmas letter (in lieu of sending Christmas cards because I feel I can waste far more of your time this way) on the train home. It’s not, like. Moving, but I am ON it.

Now those of you who’ve read one of these before know the drill, to those of you who are new I say…You’ll catch on quick. Those of you who make your own tradition of summarily ignoring this correspondence can return to your miserly ways and less amusing pastimes and continue being miserable sods. See, I can call them that, because they’re not actually reading this.

Because they suck.

But you, dear reader, you do not suck. You are someone who does the opposite of suck. Not, you understand ‘blow’, for that would be just as bad. Let’s go with ‘kick ass’ if for no other reason than the fact I have already typed that.

After last year, a corker [not really sure why I’m using that expression, having never knowingly done so before in my life] by any measure I expected the general theme of this year’s letter to be that of disappointment brought on by 2013 being rather akin to the band that had to go on second – after The Beatles.

Instead, as it happens, 2013 was a pretty damn good year. It was punctuated by incredible highlights for our entire country (My Graduation) and for me personally (Andy Murray winning Wimbledon, which also won me the first sporting bet I ever placed!).

Of course there were dark times too, such as Sebastian Vettel turning Formula 1 into a form of torture specifically designed to affect people who like something called ‘drama and excitement’ in sports – AKA, every sports fan in history.

Except baseball fans. Who apparently enjoy mind-numbing tedium. A trait they share with cricket fans, coincidentally.

Meanwhile, closer to home, I left mine to take up employment in London for Britain’s premier pay-TV provider, Sky (™, Believe in Better®), which has been a delight. Even if I still remain relatively dazzled by how big London is.

I mean, it’s really big. You may think it’s a long walk down the road to the chemist, but that’s peanuts to London. Listen…

Oh, I’m sorry, I appear to be plagiarising a beloved work of comedy science fiction. That…Does tend to happen some times with me. I blame the parents. Mainly because it’s my dad’s copy of the aforementioned beloved work of comedy science fiction I read.

At this point, those of you who are new to these letters have likely begun to cry out in despair that this is all a colossal waste of time. A glorious, preposterous, unjustifiable intrusion on your otherwise perfectly adequate free time.

To which I say….

I can’t actually HEAR you, you know. It’s just a letter I’m writing on the train (which, incidentally, is now moving and has been for at least six minutes – yes, it takes longer than five minutes to write this. I take real care with my trivial pointlessness).

If it makes you feel any better, one time when I was writing one of these it started to snow. I don’t see that happening this time, but hey maybe it’s started snowing where YOU are in the seven hours since you started reading this unconscionable wall of impenetrable prose. Run to the window and check.

Meanwhile, those of you who did NOT check, I can tell the sad reality: there’s very little chance it will be snowing when they check.

Ah, back are you? No snow? Shame.

Still…

Merry Christmas and all that…

Your pal
(/son/brother/other relative/mortal enemy/some guy)
Paul Douglas

TV Reviews: BBC One’s That Puppet Game Show

PuppetGameShowThat Puppet Game Show is BBC One’s new Saturday Night Entertainment Show from Muppet-creators The Jim Henson Company; featuring the imaginatively named unlicensed Muppet-esque puppet cast, “The Puppets”, and celebrity contestants vying to win £10,000 for charities of their choosing. So is it worth watching or is it ‘Honey I Couldn’t Afford the Muppets Tonight License’?

It would be incredibly easy to hate That Puppet Game Show. It’s hard to look past the fact it’s clearly a Muppet franchise show without The Muppets license, even knowing it comes from the company who originally created and owned the characters (Who are now owned by The Walt Disney Company). It’s also a celebrity game show in an era where you can’t turn a corner without tripping over a competitive TV show featuring celebrities.

It does itself no favours in its introduction either, where it looks like it’s about to be exactly as cloying, try hard and false as you’d expect it to be – face it, the Americans are just better at being earnest about this kind of nonsense than the Brits. And this is a very British effort. Especially its host, Dougie Colon (It’s pronounced Cologne).

But if you stick with it past the painfully obligatory explanation of the show’s format and let yourself be drawn in…There’s a charm. Especially once some of the puppets with more creative voices and backstories start appearing. It also helped in this first episode that Jonathan Ross was making a triumphant (ish) return to BBC airtime after being made to jump ship to ITV a couple of years ago. While we’re on the subject, if you hadn’t heard, The Jonathan Ross Show got a Super Renewal late last month despite rumours 2013 would be its final year, so two new series will air in 2014, as well as ten more episodes starting this Autumn.

Back on That Puppet Game Show, Jonathan’s easy charm and spontaneous humour help the show through its first shaky minutes and into the meat of the show proper. Like Muppets Tonight and The Muppet Show before it, That Puppet Game Show divides its time between the show itself, and the antics of the puppets backstage. In this case, it is skewed slightly more heavily towards the show itself, with the scenes backstage serving as a series of brief, interconnected sketches (whose plot occasionally receives reference onstage too).

The celebrity guests do occasionally feature briefly in the backstage segments, but not to the extent they would have in the show’s Muppet-branded predecessors. But then, they also factor more heavily into the onstage sequences as well, so the distribution of Puppets to Celebrities screen time is fairly similar – there is possibly slightly more celebrity than previously as it happens, but it’s not at the expense of the puppets.

It’s not nearly as good as a Muppet franchise entry of course. More often the jokes here are a bit on the cringe-worthy side than they would be in a Muppets vehicle, and there’s probably a touch more humour relying on sheer shock value alone than you would see with the Muppet name attached. I was surprised to find though that “not as good” is the worst I could say about it. It’s a bit twee, and a couple of the games are rather stupid, but most of the backstage jokes land very well. Dougie’s banter with the Crab who calls the scores is generally good for a chuckle and the game based on giving humorous acceptance speech for a fictitious award (Life’s a Speech) is actually both funny and engaging in the same way as a more conventional game show, such as BBC One’s Pointless.

The quality of the guests is probably going to have a lot to do with how well the show does from here. The Puppets are doing a reasonable job eliciting laughs, but with the competitive part of the show dominating the runtime, it’s going to be important that the guests are as charming and game for the show’s brand of nonsense as Jonathan Ross and Katherine Jenkins were in this first effort.

I suppose the biggest thing I can say about this show so far is that I actually enjoyed the first episode enough to decide I definitely want to see the second, and that surprised me. I was as skeptical as possible about this show from the moment it was announced. The name, the concept, the Dougie Colon mini-hype from BBC Entertainment’s PR team…I was finding it hard to imagine this would be anything less than an outright cringe-fest, on the same level as BBC One’s 2011 flameout of a trainwreck of a game show Don’t Scare The Hare. I’m still not convinced That Puppet Game Show will entice enough of an audience to avoid deathwatch status, but I am newly convinced that I’d like it to manage to escape such a fate. If you missed Episode 1, check it out on BBC iPlayer and let me know if you agree, or if you think it’s just as bad as it sounds.

Rating: Watch

Possible Ratings, in Descending Order:

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Miss

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(The name is still really bad though)