How the zombie TV hit inspires German and European audiences

AMC’s The Walking Dead is unarguably the best zombie apocalypse series to date. The show’s plot, setting, and character development made it one of the most-watched television series nowadays. The hype reached global proportions—audiences across Asia and Europe are tuned in to the show’s developments from its first season. It has a huge fanbase particularly in Germany, where it was found by the RTL Group that the first season had 17.2% and the second one had a 16.2 % average when it comes to audience share, defeating the epic fantasy series Game of Thrones which only scored 10.8% in its first season. Fans are now excited for the fourth one, especially since the TV series sometimes deviates from the storyline of the comic strip it was adapted from. It’s this unpredictability that makes viewers want more.

There’s no question that the most compelling character in the show is Merle, and he unwittingly uttered the perfect life quote ever: you have to play the hand you’re dealt. This is especially true in any endeavour, whether we’re being literal (like if we’re at a poker table), or thinking in a profound manner. Come to think about it, even Germany’s Marvin Rettenmaier (who emerged as champion in PartyPoker’s World Poker Tour last year) knows how to make the best out of a bad hand. We should have the same philosophy; there’s bound to be pit stops as we go through our everyday routines, and whether we get the equivalent of a losing card or a royal flush, it’s up to us to deal with it. Even Merle survived the loss of his hand and his brother’s absence—surely we can take inspiration from his resilience.

A more in-depth analysis of the famous quote was provided by a personal blog, JShirk: The Point of Impact. He contradicted the quote by saying it’s no longer applicable in this day and age, saying that it takes hard work to re-deal. According to him, one should hone skills and put in effort in order to become a pro. Besides, nobody gets to the final table of the German Poker Tour by sheer luck—it takes hard work, passion, and exceptional strategic skills to get that far.

What should we expect in the fourth season of the show? The Walking Dead will return in October 13th, with new characters joining our beloved cast. Vincent Martella (the voice behind Phineas of Disney’s Phineas & Ferb), Christian Serratos (of Twilight), and Lawrence Gilliard, Jr. (of The Wire) are the new additions to the show. Will the fourth season start on a positive note? Screen Crush tells us not to be too optimistic—producer Scott Gimple said that there may not be hope for the survivors.

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Best xmas advert

Tommy Cooper
The legacy lives on... with LEGO

I don’t want much television these days, certainly not much “live” stuff preferring to download and watch later, but I have seen the following advert a couple of times. I recognised it as soon as I saw it from sometime many, many years ago. It’s for LEGO and features the voice of the sadly-missed Tommy Cooper.

It’s actually the second old advert I’ve seen being rejuvenated. There’s one with John Cleese for a watch company. That one, though, is wrapped with some up-to-date footage and quotes. The LEGO one is simply the original advert, unaltered.

Except for the prices at the end.

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Why I use torrents instead of iPlayer

BBC iPlayer
Great... but not perfect

I watch a fair bit of stuff off the BBC these days, yet I still find myself using torrents to download programmes rather than using the BBC iPlayer. I don’t have a TV so the internet is the only convenient way for me to catch up.

But why do I use torrents rather than streaming or downloading from the BBC directly? Some of the reasons are a little picky, I admit. Others genuinely bother me or could be something the Beeb could work on. In the meantime, though, despite the fact I can often download faster from Auntie, I’ll stick to slower torrents.

I’d like to point out, though, that I watch the programmes once then delete them – usually within the same time-frame given for iPlayer downloads.

  • Torrents are generally smaller downloads. An hour’s programming is typically 730Mb compared to iPlayer’s 850Mb or so. This does mount up if you’re on a limited, throttled or capped ISP account.
  • iPlayer playback can still be stuttery on my laptop and netbook. It’s particularly bad under Linux. No such issues with AVI files taken from torrents. GOM and VLC play them easily enough.
  • I can download or convert AVI files for viewing on a PSP. This means really small downloads if I get them direct and portable viewing once I have them.
  • iPlayer won’t work for me when I’m abroad even though I’m resident in the UK. This is very annoying though I do understand the BBC’s reasoning for the restriction.
  • Some programs on iPlayer are only available for streaming, such as Match of the Day. Again, I appreciate the licensing restrictions being placed on them by the Premier League, but that doesn’t help when I want to watch it at another time. After all, I could record it on video, DVD or hard drive direct from the TV to watch any time I felt like it.
  • There’s only so much stuff you can get on iPlayer until it vanishes over time. I like to watch series all in one shot, not week by week. With some series this is possible (series catch-up), but with others it isn’t. Some series just disappear completely. I managed to catch three episodes of Casualty 1909 then went abroad. I couldn’t get the last three on iPlayer when I got home.
  • I run dual OS’s on my laptops and also run two machines. I’d like to be able to d/l on one machine and still watch on the other – but I can’t due to the DRM. I have managed to d/l on one OS and watch on the other on the same machine, though.

Again, please don’t get me wrong. I think iPlayer’s great. It’s just a little too limited for my personal needs right now.

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Confession Part 2

Torchwood logo

That may be the name of a song, actually. In this case it’s referring to my ongoing addiction to all things “new gen” Doctor Who. Having finished all four seasons and the specials, I moved onto Torchwood. Anyone else watch the whole series in two days (while also watching Transformers 2)?

The sci-fi’s good, the effects are better than Doctor Who and there are women kissing in it. Mind, I still get uncomfortable watching two blokes paying tonsil hockey.

So what took me so long getting onto the Dr Who bandwagon? Simple – the first two episodes of the relaunch were bloody awful. The story was crap, the acting (Doctor aside) was dreadful, the effects were a joke, and Billie Piper had only just begun to show how mind-bogglingly annoying she was. It really was complete cardboard.

I forced my way through those episodes again and then onto the later stuff. Amazingly, it just got better and better, much as Buffy did between the first half-season and into the second. Story arcs and in-jokes get set up. References appear between spin-off series. Actual character relationships develop, and oh! that “Face of Boh” revelation at the end of season 3!

With luck I can finish season two of Torchwood in the next couple of days around booking flights and packing. Unfortunately, I gather season three – a 5-part, one-week special – will be broadcast while I’m Thailand. Arse. Seeing as I can’t access iPlayer over there (and it works like crap on Linux anyway), and will have expired by the time I get back I’m rather glad we have torrents.

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A picture of the TARDIS as taken at BBC Wales ...
Pic taken by Wongy. I'll never heard the end of this.

OK, it’s time to ‘fess up. I’m kind of embarassed about this and only one other person knows. They caught me at it, so it was quite hard to deny. Mind, she does it as well so at least I have someone else to feel guilty with.

I feel pretty bad about it, but I’m even doing it while I type this blog up. Thankfully there’s nobody else in, right now. Hopefully I’ve got some more “me time” before I get caught again.


OK. I’m sat in the front room and watching Doctor Who. I’m halfway through the second (recent) series and I’ve only been playing catchup for a couple of days.

There. That’s a weight off my mind. Please don’t think the worse of me for it. I’m sorry.

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