You gotta love Charlie Brooker. He’s on a one man mission to tear television apart from the inside. Nowhere is that more clear than in the title of his new show, the first episode of which looks at how and why fear dominates the airwaves. His new series How TV Ruined Your Life debuted on the BBC on Tuesday, and some helpful person has gone and uploaded it to YouTube, in two parts. If you live in the UK you can see the full show, unbroken, on the BBC iPlayer for the next week.
In an age where dwindling ratings are forcing channels and shows to become more extreme, we need voices like Brooker’s more than ever. He seems like the only one left trying to fill a Chris Morris-shaped hole in on mainstream UK TV (he and Morris worked together on 2005’s Nathan Barley series), speaking what seems a glaringly obvious truth to power. Most of the televisual references here are British, but it doesn’t really matter as it’s the same fundamental principles all over the globe. People are biologically trained to be alert to warnings, we find it hard to look away - fear sells, and Charlie helps us laugh at it.
On another level, this also gives non-British viewers a chance to see some of the terrible crap that has come out of the goggle box in the UK over the years. It’s not all as good as Fawlty Towers.
Bonus! Here’s some more brilliant Brooker clips:
On My Super Sweet Sixteen:
On Reality TV editing techniques:
On the American News Media: