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25.07.10

Bad news everyone, etc

Posted 25th July 2010

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This afternoon, between 12:30pm – 6pm, Sky1/Sky1 HD are showing three of the four Futurama movies. (Missing out Bender’s Game, but for various reasons, if you were going to not show one of them, that’s probably the one I’d drop.) Now, you’d think that would be difficult to mess up, yes?

Don’t be stupid. This is television. They can mess up anything.

Bender’s Big Score in feature-length form is, correctly, first. Then we have Into the Wild Green Yonder… erm, the last of the movies, with an ending that could have served as closure to the series if needed. Then, we have The Beast With a Billion Backs, the second movie… and in episodic form. Now, if you’re showing all episodes at once, the feature-length versions are clearly the ones to go for. But whichever you choose, you pick a format, then stick to it – not mix and match between feature-length and episodic. And why the hell mix up the order, especially when there’s a specific climax at stake?

Even worse, Into the Wild Green Yonder was broadcast as cropped 4:3 in a 16:9 frame, rather than widescreen. Which is silly on SD – and it’s worth pointing out that by showing 4:3 material in a 16:9 frame they’re actually lowering the picture resolution compared to just showing true 4:3 material – but when Sky1 HD is doing it too (the standard for HD being 16:9 only), that’s a special kind of incompetence. To top it all off, for the break bumpers they’re actually using a widescreen image – a hideously slowed-down section from the title sequence, which looks appalling in itself.

Oh yeah, and then the episodic Beast With a Billion Backs is in true widescreen. Riiiiiiight.

The thing is, it’s not like there’s any reason for any of this. There’s no reason to mix and match episodic and feature-length versions. There’s no reason to show them in the wrong order. And there is absolutely no reason to show non-widescreen versions of this material – material dating from 2009. All it would take is someone actually paying attention to get these things right.

Sky1 is Sky’s flagship channel. And their flagship channel doesn’t appear to care about what they’re actually broadcasting this afternoon. In fact, they’re doing an uncanny impression of just sticking out whatever happens to be on the server, in a random order. Isn’t that a bit… embarrassing?

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