Tag Archives: tv

Shilling for free

I did warn you that there might be a bit of an unlikely folk dancing theme developing here. So I am proud to act as a temporary (unpaid) shill for a film about morris dancing. Here’s most of the press release:

Despite rumours circulating earlier in the year, Morris Dancing (yes Morris Dancing), is very much alive with thousands of participants across the UK and is the subject of the hilarious film Morris: A Life with Bells On, premiering exclusively on Blighty (Sky channel 534, Virgin Media 206) on 29th May at 8pm.

A film that will have even the most cynical viewer reaching for their white handkerchiefs, Morris: A Life with Bells On is directed by Lucy Akhurst and stars Charles Thomas Oldham (who also wrote the screenplay) as Derecq Twist, along with Sir Derek Jacobi (The Golden Compass), Naomie Harris (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End), Ian Hart (A Cock and Bull Story), Dominique Pinon (Delicatessen), Sophie Thompson (Eastenders) Harriet Walter (The Young Victoria), Aidan McArdle (The Duchess), and Greg Wise (Sense and Sensibility).

Described as This is Spinal Tap meets Calendar Girls, the film follows the fortunes of an avant-garde Morris team in their struggle to push the boundaries of the venerable, ancient dance. Set around the country pub The Travellers Staff, the docu-style comedy proves that Morris is not just an innocent pub pastime involving hanky-waving and bearded men with staffs, but also that it has its politics-laden, ultra-competitive side too.

The Millsham Morris men and their leader Derecq Twist are determined to achieve Morris perfection. But Derecq is also preparing to set the Morris world alight by performing the ultimate dance within the Morris firmament, the legendary Threeple Hammer Damson. As if this is not enough, he is in addition pioneering an innovative, daringly freeform brand of the dance dubbed “Extreme Morris,” drawing the anger of traditionalist elements within the Morris community. When Millsham unveil their creation in competition, the Morris Circle – the governing body of Morris in the UK – bans Derecq from future competition. Totally devastated by the decision, Derecq embarks on a global odyssey through tragedy and triumph, which gravely tests his passion for Morris.

I am impressed beyond words by the concept of extreme morris.

They embedded some clips with the press release. I’m not sure how well they’ll work here.


It looks as if it will be funny. (Don’t blame me if it isn’t. I haven’t seen it yet.)

The other clips are basically “DVD outtakes”, of which I’m not the world’s greatest admirer, so I’ve skipped them. If there’s any demand I’ll post them. I’ll have to put one of the publicity pictures, though, because it looks as if it came straight from the school of Zoolander Morris….

a publicity show for the film
I think this is Dereqk..

Cross factor

Reality TV show producers are getting really desperate for topics. On the face of it, this would seem unlikely, given that reality is infinitely interesting, but to run out of ideas you have to redefine “reality” in a novel way. You have to take the word “reality” to mean “Start from an absurd premise. Gather a few people with moderate to severe psychological problems. Put them under pressure until they break.”

Granted this sounds like the actions you’d expect from a cult. So, it’s appropriate that a new UK Channel 4 “reality” show is called Make me a Christian. A crack team of four types of Christian try to change a comically diverse set of subjects.

Charlie Brooker’s introduction to this series in Saturday’s Guardian said more or less all you ‘d want to know about it.

In true oversimplified TV-conflict tradition, it’s a clash of absurd extremities. The Christians, for instance, consist of an evangelical preacher, a lady vicar, a Catholic priest and – very much heading up the pack – the Reverend George Hargreaves, founder of Operation Christian Vote, and the Christian Party, and the Scottish Christian Party, and the Welsh Christian Party. If it’s Christian and a Party, chances are George is its figurehead. He scatters Christian joy like a muckspreader flings shit: indiscriminately and everywhere.
Said Christians are pitted against a group of volunteers containing the following widely representative social types: a lesbian schoolteacher, a tattooed militant atheist biker, a white Muslim convert, a boozing fannyhound who claims to have slept with over 150 women, and a lapdancing witch. Nice work, C4. I’m sure we can all learn from this. Let battle commence.

The atheist (militant, tattooed, biker, yada, yada) complained about brainwashing. He refused to even go into York Minster, on the grounds that it was built just to keep the peasants down and had nothing to do with the “love” that this programme is supposed to be about. Well, this may have been pretty a statement of fact, but his attitide didn’t exactly endear him the other volunteers. The others hated him for his strident opposition, seemingly becoming more responsive to the evangelical message just to prove that their manners were better.

While the evangelists were cleaning out the suspiciously generic items of decor in the lesbian’s and lapdancer’s homes, the Catholic priest was bringing fresh kitsch to the home of the 17-year-old lapsed catholic father-to-be. A terrifying picture of the Pope, for instance. Some icons. You know the sort of thing. The participant’s girlfriend drew the line at one item of sculpture. “I don’t think that a dead man hanging on a cross is a nice thing to have hanging up in your house.”

When I say that the decor was “suspicious,” I mean this in the sense that the mansions of minor rock stars are suspcious on MTV Cribs. Just as the owners of many Cribs don’t seem to have ever walked through the front door before the start of filming, these people’s homes seem to have been madeover in special “reality” mode. They didn’t seem to have a book or a photograph that didn’t fit into their TV programme persona. You didn’t see the random trash that turns up in real people’s rooms. The witch’s books seemed to have been bought by the yard from the New Age section of Waterstone’s. It looked as if none had ever been opened.

She didn’t really seem like a great reader. For a start, she’s a lapdancer and would-be glamour model who has had her chest and nose cosmetically enhanced and who owns thousands of pounds worth of hideous and expensive shoes. Call me a godawful snob, but there is nothing in that list that you would usually associate with the profile of a deeply philosophical thinker.

She was a great crier, though. She was sobbing at the first suggestion from her selected christianiser that her lifestyle may not be ideal. Well, he put it much more forcefully. He said she was chasing the false idols of materialism and demonic powers and was on a trajectory to hell.

Her achievements to date don’t suggest philiosophical depths, but they do suggest a pretty low level of respect for herself and an excessive willingness to please. So, she seemed to me to be fair game for a conversion.

Her evangelist clearly felt the same. He said “She is a broken lady … but it’s a good place to be to welcome Jesus into your life.”

How transparent is that? The more fucked up the person, the more likely that the Christian can get them to accept Jesus into their lives, yada yada. What was it the biker chap said about brainwashing, again?

The religious converters have been recruited as a spiritual makeover team. The equivalent of those TV presenters who tell receptive morons how overweight they are, how filthy their houses are or how badly they are dressed.

It’s exactly in tune with standard reality tv – a messed-up person is encouraged to fall to bits on camera for the entertainment of the masses. In return they get access to the magic of fame and, if they are really lucky, a couple of years in which they are mildly interesting to the readers of Heat and can earn good money for nothing.

I tried to come up with good arguments for why the existence of a religious makeover show is even more disgusting. But I’m not going to bother. It just somehow seems even more repellent when religion comes into it.

Rights fading away

If you hadn’t already noticed, I am a keen hobbyist photographer. I love going out with my family and taking pictures of everything around me. This is pretty harmless and it gives us nice pictures to hang on the walls or foist off on relatives in place of Christmas and Birthday presents. As a pastime, there could be much worse.

Being interested in photography, I always considered myself lucky that I was born in a democracy where people are basically free to indulge in their hobbies and predominantly interested in landscape photography where you dont have to ask someone to smile.

It seems, however, I was actually quite wrong and it is only my tendency for landscape shots that keeps me on the right side of the law. Despite our “evil freedoms” being abhorrent to the nutcases like Usama Bin Laden, we actually have a lot less than you would think. Actually, that isn’t true (yet) but I will come back to this.

Two news items from this weeks Amateur Photographer magazine give pause for thought about our “rights” and freedoms. The first is a worrying incident in the land of the free:

A TV crew filming a story about photographers being harassed at a US railway station were stopped by security and told to switch off their cameras. (…) Tom Fitzgerald, a reporter for Fox 5 television, was interviewing the chief spokesman for rail operator Amtrak when a security guard ordered the crew to stop filming. Ironically, the spokesman had apparently just confirmed to the reporter that photography was, in fact, allowed.

It continues to mention that this is not an isolated incident (flickr discussion) and the madness that “moves are afoot to introduce draft legislation designed to protect the rights of photographers to take pictures.”

It is doubly ironic that they tried to put paid to the film crew filming the company spokesman saying filming was allowed. What better example of corporate non-communication could there be?

The Amtrak Goons are insane, but are not alone. We have a similar problem in the UK:

Olympics 2012 bosses have apologised to photographers who complained about heavy-handed treatment by security guards at the East London construction site. The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) came under fire after two amateur photographers complained following a confrontation outside the site on 3 May. Louis Berk and Steve Kessel say they were left feeling intimidated after guards demanded to see their identification. ODA spokeswoman Laura Voyle said the guards approached the photographers ‘to investigate a report that they had been seen within the Olympic Park boundary’. However, the pair insisted they had been on a ‘public pavement’ and had not ventured onto the Olympic site itself. (…) And [Olympics Security Manager] promised to conduct a ‘review of instructions on how they will deal with issues relating to photography’.  (…) However, [Louis Berk] does not feel reassured, telling us: ‘What concerns me is that I still don’t know if the ODA realises that suspicion of taking photographs of their property from a ‘public place’ is not a cause for intervention by the guard force.’

There is more madness around the 2012 London Olympics but this highlights the current problem.

In a nutshell, both instances were the result of private Security Guards not being aware of the rules regarding their location. This is down to poor education by their employer. In the UK you can photograph almost anything (some locations are exempt under the 1911 Official Secrets Act) from a public place. If you can see it, you can photograph it. Kind of makes sense really. It is different if you are on private property, but 90% of the time the property owner will give permission. Again, it makes sense. I can only assume the law is similar in America.

What is worrying is that both instances show people have a default setting of STOPPING photography. I will be charitable and say neither organisation put out instructions to annoy members of the public (including tax payers who paid for the bloody Olympic-farce) so the security guards must have assumed the camera was a security threat. Over the last few months there have been lots of occasions where over zealous guardians have taken offence at people trying to take photographs, even in (weirdly) popular tourist destinations like Trafalgar Square. I have read claims that people were questioned because they could be “terrorists doing reconnaissance” (with an overt camera and tripod – good job Johnny Foreigner isn’t clever enough to use a mobile phone camera…) or other equally spurious risks (there were children present etc..).

The problem is, these fears (and certainly this one in particular) are nonsense. Bruce Schneier, BT’s chief security technology officer, recently wrote an excellent article for the Guardian where he dismisses most of these fears. The article is really, really worth reading even if you aren’t a photographer – there are many more “freedoms” at risk from our apathetic approach to them and “terrorism.” Schneier has an interesting theory that this madness where we fear long-lens cameras is because it is a “Movie Plot Threat.” Also worth reading.

Sadly, it may well be too little, too late for our society. We fear that the evil Islamic terrorists will destroy our culture, so to “beat” them we destroy it ourselves. Well done us.

Don’t have nightmares

This is a link to a really good, if disturbing, video. It discusses parallels between extreme Islam (in the shape of a Muslim man with a Hitler moustache) and Christian fundamentalism and how this has given our rulers a pretext to build up our fears to achieve their ends.

h/t to paul canning whose blog reminded me about the video Charlie Brooker showed to da yout’ this week, and even provided a link.

Charlie Brooker’s sample of young people found it infinitely more interesting than the youth tv dross he also showed them.

Oddly, given that Charlie Brooker is a tv critic so brilliant that he can make you chortle out loud, (hence giving away the fact you are secretly reading his Guardian column in work) his own tv ventures are not usually crowned with glory. But, even so, it takes a superhuman effort of will to disagree with his conclusions on any programme. And, he’s right on this one.

Experiment in fear

This sounds brilliant. A tv show based on exposing the mental influence of the tabloids Not just tabloids in general, with their z-list celebs and soap opera stars, but the most mind-sapping terror-inducing tabloid – the Daily Mail.

The film Supersize Me showed you are what you eat, but is it true that you are what you read?
New documentary The Daily Mail Diet aims to find out as it follows film maker Nick Angel giving up all TV, radio, print and online news sources for 28 days – except for the Daily Mail.

Mr Angel said: “It’s important to know what the Mail thinks, because it’s a lightning rod (or so it claims) to ‘Middle England’ – that ill-defined and slightly scary mass of people whose various incarnations include the ‘Moral Majority’ and ‘All Right Thinking People’.
“And in a sense, there’s a little bit of Daily Mail in all of us – who hasn’t felt their cheeks flush and blood boil when snapped by a speed camera or confronted with some maddening example of NHS bureaucracy?
“That’s what makes the Mail such a potent force – because while it’s loathsome, it’s also weirdly attuned to the dark heart of the British psyche.”

If you can get to see this programme, it sounds really worth watching.

By coincidence, it’s particularly relevant today. Following on from yesterday’s post here and Xanderg’s (of badnewsbible’s) excellent comments, the Daily Mail seems intent on lowering the bar below its even its own usual ant-limboing level.

The Tory leader is calling for the repeal of the Human Rights Act and the government is doing its best to pull the despotism rug from under the Tories by itself challenging the operation of the courts. Scenting success for its worldview, the Daily Mail has redoubled its attack, over the Chindamo case.

Here are three headlines from pages linking to today’s main Stephen Lawrence storyMail’s pages which carries the title ‘He’s no risk’: why jail boss backed Lawrence killer (I’m selflessly ploughing through this rubbish so you don’t have to. You can get the flavour of it from the headlines. But if you want to try an experimental diet of the Daily Mail, the link will take you to enough pages to undermine your will to live):
The quangocrats who let Chindamo stay (They are referring to the Immigration Appeals Tribunal, not previously known as liberal trailblazers.)
Chindamo’s Mafia gangster father awaiting trial for murder in Spain (Guilt by association, even though it seems the boy has barely seen his father since he was three.)
COMMENTARY: Has the law deprived Frances Lawrence of justice?

The Commentary refers to an editorial piece which tugs at the reader’s sympathy and emotions but signally fails to make any logical connection between sympathy for Frances Lawrence and their case for overriding EC law to deport Chindamo.

Why does justice for Frances Lawrence require that her husband’s killer doesn’t live in Britain? I know that Great Britain is a small island (compared to the land mass of Canada, say) but there are still about 65 million of us living here. The chance of accidentally bumping into him in Tesco’s is statistically pretty slim.

Just in case you think we are all certifiably mad in the UK, there’s a reasoned piece by Katie Ghose in the Guardian. This human rights hysteria threatens every one of us.

Once again we are in the grip of human rights hysteria. Variously blamed for allowing prisoners access to porn and preventing police forces from publishing photographs of suspects, the latest attack on the Human Rights Act relates to the decision not to deport Learco Chindamo, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of head-teacher Philip Lawrence in 1995.
Human rights have never been a passport to porn – nor were they an obstacle to the conviction or sentence of Chindamo, who is serving a minimum of 12 years for his brutal attack. But the truth takes a back seat when there are juicy headlines to be made out of human rights “lunacy”.

Channelling Dawkins

Dawkins latest programme elegantly put lots of the same points that I ineptly failed to make in any comprehensible manner, in a previous post on holistic medicine. That includes paying for other people’s gullibility; alternative therapies meeting a need for attention; the placebo effect and alternative therapies referring to scientific sounding concepts; and so on. (You know who you are, Deepak Chopra)

This blog is clearly channelling Dawkins. If you need any chakra realignment, you can probably get it here from now on.

Today’s episode of the Enemies of Reason series has people promoting such odd theories that Dawkins only has to smile politely and give them enough rope…. Indeed, some express such utterly strange beliefs that the only charitable explanation is that they are joking

Atlantean DNA? A woman barefacedly told the world’s best known evolutionary biologist that bits of his DNA were missing. She then waved her hands about – in a surprisingly graceless manner, given the magical ritual context – to realign the missing parts of Dawkins Atlantean DNA. I guess it worked but he didn’t grow any visible gills, sadly.

However, the therapist who seemed to be using a pricing gun to stamp the back of Dawkins neck may have accidentally amputated them, so don’t take that as a certainty.

I’ve made sense of this bit now. I was half-hoping to see Dawkins turn into an extra from that ten – or so- years old sci-fi series that was like old-style Battlestar Galactica but underwater. Without Silons. But with gills. It wasn’t good enough for me to remember its name. Stargate Atlantis – exponentially better. Why didn’t I think of that?

Well, it doesn’t really have people with gills. Anyway, the new even-more-gentlemanly-and-mellow Dawkins couldn’t even begin to qualify for the “arrogant genius” part in Atlantis, despite there being an Internet’s worth of creationists and others who think Dawkins is arrogant.

But maybe that’s what the magical Atlantean DNA lady meant. Dawkins is lacking the extra strain of arrogance that Stargate Atlantis’s Canadian genius has. So she put it back. And there are no gills to see, so there.

(See, it does all make perfect sense when you cleanse your DNA and start channelling……)

You have to worry a bit about the state of current medical education, when you see how many qualified doctors-turned-alternative practitioners Dawkins has managed to find.

One doctor detects chakras as “black holes” in the human body (or vice versa or something like that.) Another doctor – rheumatologist turned alternative practitioner – gives out water in the Royal Homeopathic Hospital, which has had a fair bit of public cash, to Dawkins’ justified annoyance.

If you live outside the UK, you can probably watch the new series on YouTube until it comes to a cable channel near you. Black Sun Journal has a link to the last episode.

Mellow Dawkins challenges New Age

The Enemies of Reason (UK Channel 4) is Dawkins’ measured attack on post-enlightenment relativism, in its New Age “spirituality” variants. He sees it as a failure of education that we are increasingly coming to treat personal feelings as superior to reason. Views that would have been dismissed as ignorant tales for the credulous a hundred years ago are socially widespread now.

Dawkins’ arguments are pretty unassailable. He presents them in a gentle way, the more remarkable because a few of his targets are engaged in the most dangerous forms of woo – spiritualists offering false comfort to the grief-stricken; alternative medical practitioners who can just provide gestures to the sick.

All the same, most of the people Dawkins talks to are polite and happy to engage in discussion and even experiment, which makes a pleasant change from the polarised debates that normally characterise this sort of debate.

Dawkins points out the ironies that triumphs of science and reason, such as the Internet, are being put to the service of irrationality – with bizarre conspiracy theories and fundamentalism being spread through the Net much more easily than they would have before it came into existence.

Answering those people who claim that logic is cold and empties the universe of meaning, Dawkins makes the point that the real universe is infinitely fascinating. His enthusiasm for the real world makes most of the ersatz magic workers

This is the strange thing about woo. It starts from a position that the real world is dull. This perspective is very hard to grasp and certainly must be a failure of our education system. The real universe is miraculous. It is always stranger than we can ever grasp. Surely, the effort of using our feeble human consciousness to understand ourselves and the nature of the universe provides enough meaning for our whole species.

Reason on TV

The Guardian’s Charlie Brooker returns to form after his recent spate of lame Big Brother-centred columns and pulled out all the stops for Richard Dawkins.

Dawkins’ new programme is on tomorrow in the UK. It’s called The Enemies of Reason and it’s on Channel 4 at 8 p.m.

Charlie Brooker’s in no doubt about how important the arguments in this programme are. He complains about the growing influence of irrationality and applauds Dawkins for trying to stem the tide. As you expect from Charlie Brooker, at his best, he expresses this beautifully.

I’ve lifted a couple of paragraphs here but it’s well worth reading.

If it wasn’t for the Enlightenment, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. You’d be standing in a smock throwing turnips at a witch. Yes, the Enlightenment was one of the most significant developments since the wheel. Which is why we’re trying to bollocks it all up…..
Everywhere you look, screaming gittery is taking root, with serious consequences. The NHS recently spent £10m refurbishing the London Homeopathic Hospital. The equivalent of 500 nurses’ wages, blown on a handful of magic beans.

And watch Dawkins of course.

Why don’t you just switch your television on..

…. and watch the Wire?

If you haven’t seen it and you are in the UK and you have Sky or cable, watch it now.

Series 1- Episode one should be on FX now. NOW unless it’s way past ten o’clock. In which case you can catch it on the repeats (possibly Sunday. Don’t as me, I’m not the TV Guide.)

If you have seen it, you probably want to watch it again a few more times anyway.

You’ll thank me later.

Date for the Wire

Public service announcement:
(For Wire fanatics and potential converts)

It seems that 23 July is the date when FX starts showing all the existing series again. This news came courtesy of a Guardian comment on a post asking where to find decent TV.

FX begins a complete run of seasons 1 – 4 Mondays at 10pm starting July 23rd. Once they’ve done that they will launch staight into the 5th (and, sadly, final) series in 2008.
Posted by vertigowooyay on June 19, 2007 12:20 PM.

Real royalty?

On Discovery Civilisation (UK version) today, Tony Robinson claimed to have unearthed the “real” heir to the British throne. (I assume this was a repeat of old programme, which I never saw. Noone needs to catch history and science programmes on terrestrial TV if they have cable…)

Humbug! “Real” heir to the throne, indeed? It turned out to be an English Lord somebody who was living in the Australian desert. As an English Lord, albeit no longer owning stately acreage, it was hardly a surprise to him that he was an aristocrat. He hardly needed the genetic fingerprinting, but it got thrown in anyway , so the progarmme seemed more like serious science.

This is the sort of nonsense that passes for history programmes on TV. How do you define “real heir” to the throne? It appears you

  • ignore 6 centuries of history, in which the monarchy was abolished and reinstated, and in which contenders to the throne have been imported from Holland or brought as marriage partners from Greece and Germany
  • assume the House of Windsor (nee Battenburg) is somehow functionally identical with the House of Tudor
  • go back no further than the Plantagents. No need for stressful searching out of Harald’s family or Cnut’s or Aelfred’s, let alone the descendants of Boudicca and the other pre-Roman ruling families
  • base your whole claim on one missing marriage from the times of the Plantagenets
  • assume the whole nature of royalty is passed on in the blood rather than struggled over in the real world

This is taking the history – the struggles over power and wealth – out of History and replacing it with a strange genetic determinist alternative pesudohistory.

I have ranted before about how TV archeaology’s 3-day-limited bulldozing of sites makes it necessary to find something amazing everywhere – or at least to make an impressive 3-d graphic reconstruction if the best find is a chipped piece of pot.

Is there now also an audience for this absurd genetic determinism? Some dumbing down is more than stupid. It can distort the very nature of how we understand history and society.

You were good in BlackAdder, Tony. In fact, you can get a better understanding of the past from the average Black Adder episode than from 30 Time Team episodes or, Toutatis forbid, Real Royal Family shows.

Good but overly formulaic Dr Who

Normally, I find myself agreeing with Heather’s comments on Dr Who, however having been able to watch tonight’s episode on time (not as easy as you would think), this time I don’t. Well, I don’t fully agree…

Basically, I thought both episodes of this two parter were quite good. Dr Who has had a tendency to find it has good plot lines but the squash to make everything fit 40 mins really effects it. The breathing room these two episodes had showed in the plot development and subsequent deliverance. If the BBC had any sense (which, sadly, it doesn’t) then it would give Dr Who a longer run each year and allow every story to have at least two episodes. The pinnacle of Dr Who (Tom Baker, obviously) normally had around four episodes in which to deliver a story line. The difference is startling.

Continue reading

New TV low

Endemol has excelled even its own proud record of providing “entertainment” in the true tradition of the Roman arena.

It’s about to produce a reality show on Dutch tv where three people who need transplants will compete for the kidney of a dying person.

What can you say? What fun. Life for one winner. Death for 1 person for sure and possible death for the 2 losers. Continue reading

Almost Back Online

Well, this is a short one to say I am almost back online now, although the process has been far from easy. It is entertaining that in today’s modern world, having a short spell offline can cause more problems than you can shake a 32gb memory stick at.

It it hard to work out where to start with my ranting over this recent debacle, so I may be disjointed (no change there though). Some recent examples of the “traumas” (which are, admitedly mostly trivial!), have included such things as working out when the rubbish bins will be emptied. My house now has two types of bin (recycling and landfill), with a note saying they will be collected on alternate weeks. Nothing else. No idea which day of the week, or which week is which. Wonderful.

What the note did say was that to find out the day of collection, and which week was landfill and which was recylcing, I was told to “log on to the councils website and enter my address details.” Brilliant, except I didn’t have an internet connection. Continue reading

Sci-fi cliches

This is further to the post about Dr Who’s references to other sci-fi and some very knowledgeable comments, one of which pointed out that sci-fi movies owe a fair bit to Dr Who.

Spotting the refences and cliches makes up a good part of the enjoyment of sci-fi. There’s an inclusive list on cthreepio among other sites. Here are a few of my own favourites:

All alien races speak English. This is very convenient, of course. (Although, unusually, Klingons do have their own language.)

The most advanced computer can be completely confused into breaking, by being asked to process a contradictory statement.

Any high spec computer will become sentient. And homicidal. It can then only be defeated by making use of the surprising design fault listed above.

Non-humans usually look exactly like humans or exactly like humans with insect heads or with some wierd ear, nose, eye or forehead attribute.

About 70% of all non-earth civilisations are identical to those of medieval Europe. A further 20% are basically the same as Ancient Egypt.

The crew of any spaceship will happily mate with non-humans but there is less than 1% chance of crew members of different earth “races” ever getting involved with each other. Which is odd, given that space travel is only achieved when the earth becomes one big happy international family.

The holodeck is always broken in such a way that game characters will come to life and threaten the life of the crew, while the crew will never be able to end the game. Nevertheless, the holosuite is never dismantled. The crew will still go blithely into it. They will always choose Nazi Germany or an interplanetary war or some other blatantly dangerous setting.

Any Stargate crew member that you’ve never seen before who speaks a few lines at the beginning of an episode is doomed to die in the next few minutes. Being assigned to SG6 is a death sentence