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Well, everyone.



It seems Darren started a blogging frenzy when he started the TV talk, and my dissertation seems to have sparked even more discussion.

Great stuff!

However, it seems that some are perturbed by some notable (and some not-so-notable) omissions from the list. After reading the various replies around the interweb, I have a few more to add. I don’t have time to write my notes on the shows yet, what I’ll do is finish the list first and then come back and add in my impressions of the shows if I have any.

To simplify things, we’ll call it the complete recommended box-set list, with some of these sets available to download/view on the internet.

You can add more in the comments, but, in alphabetical order, at the moment the unfortunately-overlooked list looks like this:

Absolute Power

Black Books

Burn Notice

Cashmere Mafia

Dead Like Me

Eli Stone



Green Room

Home Improvement

Human Remains

In Treatment

Law & Order

Life On Mars

Mad Men

Marion & Geoff


Peep Show



Sex And The City


Sleeper Cell




The Colbert Report

The Daily Show

The Drew Carey Show

The Fast Show

The IT Crowd

The Royle Family

The Simpsons

The Wire

The X-Files

Veronica Mars

Women's Murder Club

On Sunday evening I was walking my dogs in the Three Rock Forest just beside
Rathfarnham in Dublin. A nice walk normally and just beside where Today FM’s masts are located. Anyway as we were driving out of the forest at around 7.30pm, we drove past a strange sight.

3 guys had emerged from a very dense wooded section of the forest, not too weird really I hear you say, BUT one of the them was wearing a mask and the other two swiftly turned their backs away from us so we couldnt see their faces.

It was well dodgy.

Now some of you suggested that the mask was a paint balling mask – well it wasn’t.

This is a paint ball mask and it was nothing like this:

Or even a dust mask or Michael Myers mask:

No - It was kind of like a Frankenstein mask except it was fully white and covered the entire head back and front with just a drawing of a mouth with a black marker.

Something like this: Anyway I called the Gardai on Monday and there were no reports of anything strange happening on Sunday - they said weird things happen all the time but usually just kids messing.

Anyway it was well scary.. though im sure it was more of my imagination running away with me.
Sure, read this article form the Irish Independent back in 2006.

It's called The unsolved mysteries of the dark and lonely Dublin Mountains

Here it is: Scary

just a bit of fear for your lunchtime..


Like theme tunes on the radio, isn't embedding youtube clips just lazy?

Gold! Oh, God. I know now why Cowell does it.

And in this one, I love the dude walking past in the background as if to say "yeah, this crap happens every day".


Fintan sent me another video to keep me busy:



My wife is away visiting her best pal.

Yes, I’m blogging more because I’m home alone with nothing to do and no-one to talk to. Except the mutt:

IMG_1876  IMG_1898


And believe it or not, she’s not much of a conversationist.

I just took her out for a really long walk there and she’s the worst dog in the world once we leave the house. At home, she’s all wrestling and messing, but beyond the front door and she’s a wimp.

She’s terrified of: cars, busses, trucks, cyclists, skips (left on the path), building site hoardings, splashes (puddles - seriously).

She has her tail down, is pulling on the lead and generally seems pissed off. It looks awful, because whenever I see it, I assume that the person is abusing the dog. But I’m not! People assume that because she’s a rescue dog she’s been beaten and that explains it, but she was born in a very loving rescue home with the rest of her litter, so no dice – it was her mother who was rescued.

I was home in Mayo at the weekend and she spent the entire time there walking up to people and running away. Again, and again, and again.

I know it’s boring reading about my dog, but cut me some slack: I’m all alone in a big bad world.


Darren has been blogging about telly, which made me want to start. I like reading what other people say about television programmes because generally they think the same things I do about them. I love talking about telly. I love trying out new shows. I love to hear what people think and what they think of what I think when it comes to the shows I watch. I love hearing things that other people have thought about or spotted in TV shows that I might miss.

My wife has come to hate watching TV with me unless I keep my mouth shut - because I tell her exactly what’s going to happen in this episode based purely on the context-giving “previously on…” montage we’ve just watched. It’s that formulaic to me now. But I still love it.

Since we got piss-fast broadband a few years ago we’ve become completely hooked on US television, so much so that we very, very rarely watch real TV unless it’s the news. We miss most big shows when they get shown in Ireland and only hear about them the next day in work. When people ask if we were watching Lost or Desperate Housewives the night before, I need to ask what happened in the episode, because I may have already seen it weeks previously online.

The only way I get to watch real telly now is with the new DVR box I got, which allows me to preset all my recordings on Sundays, when I also watch the week gone by.

There is absolutely zero doubt in my mind that this is the main way we’ll be watching television within the next decade. It’s probably a bad thing since we’ll only download the shows we want on demand, which will pose problems for advertisers and survival of only the fittest, most-subscribed-to shows.

A quick line to cover my ass: a couple of legal websites that allow you to watch TV online are Hulu and SurfTheChannel – I have heard once or twice of people illegally downloading TV shows on the internet, but I wouldn’t know the first thing about that.

And then there’s the box set. If you’ve somehow overlooked the huge marketing campaign for the latest massive production bought-in from the states and came late to the party at the end of a series, you can catch up with the full-season box set available in your nearest HMV or Golden Discs.

I love box sets. Like Darren says in his post, we’ve spent entire weekends on the couch watching wall-to-wall West Wing, hours on end of Entourage, and I’m always on the lookout for more worth watching. If you have any favourites to recommend, drop me a comment.

So, talking telly, in alphabetical order, here are pretty much all of the TV shows I have exposed myself to, most in my DVD collection. Some I intend to watch, some I have tried to watch, some I cannot watch, and some I just cannot help but watch again and again.

If you’re in the market for a new show, you’ve come to the right place:

24 – Dammit! I love it! Was on board for the first two series, then came back around series five. There was some awful shite in there for a while though.

30 Rock – Perfect comedy. Buy it, watch it, love it. Tina Fey is on my I’m-allowed-to-shag list. So is Alec Baldwin.

American Dad – When Family Guy got tired, they started this. I never got into it, and I wish they’d put the work into the Griffins.

Arrested Development – Stunning. Another perfect comedy and so soon into the list! Pretty much all of the scenes are funny to the end of the second series. Just buy it – even the bad final series, with the annoying Charlize Theron character.

Back To You – I’ve been meaning to get into this properly. It’s Frasier’s new gig and I only tried it twice. It’s been cancelled though so, only a few episodes for the DVD…

Battlestar Galactica – I’ll hold my hands up for this: I only started watching it three weeks ago. It’s what I imagined to totally not be my thing (even though I was a Trekkie as a teenager) but damn, this is good. I’m not at the end of the first series yet, so don’t ruin it for me. I read somewhere that it jumps the shark in series 4 (showing on Sky One now) but from what I’ve seen - so far, so good.

Big Love – Didn’t go for this at all. Bill Paxton as a polygamist. Watched two episodes but not for me.

Big Shots – I saw ads online that kindof sold this as a Desperate Housewives for men. I watched one episode and didn’t fall for it. Why? No Eva Longoria.

Bionic Woman – I liked it. Not a lot, but I liked it. Actually, isn’t that Starbuck from Galactica as the bad chick? Balls, that means Starbuck dies then.

Bones – Like CSI for dummies. If you like CSI, and you’re a dummy, then you’ll love this. It’s okay, but doesn’t have the charm of CSI.

Boston Legal – Damn, this show is PREACHY! Every. Single. Episode. A parable about how we’re (read: America) is so screwed up. William Shatner makes the whole thing worthwhile though. I’m not a massive James Spader fan. Sorry.

Brotherhood – This was being sold as the next Sopranos when it started. It’s no Sopranos, but by God it’s good. Very good. It delivers those “oh, God I want to know what happens next” moments in spades.

Brothers and Sisters – My wife watches this alone. It was one of those programmes she started without me and I never got a chance to catch up. I saw it one night on real TV though and – to my surprise – I really liked it. Aside from the party of five vibe, it was very watchable. But Sally Field is class though.

Californication – this was on TV3 wasn’t it? I watched two episodes and dropped out. He’ll always be Mulder to me!

Chappelle's Show – it’s just sitting there, calling me, begging me, SCREAMING AT ME to watch it. But it’s still waiting.

Chuck – Normal guy doing a normal job has the chance to be a hero. Every week. I confuse this and Reaper which I think is really formulaic. But the two are identical. Both are watchable, but I wouldn’t queue for the box set.

Criminal Minds – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down and said “right – just give it another chance”. And I just can’t get into it. But I had that with Battlestar Galactica for ages.

CSI – The original and best in my opinion. And I think I’m the only person on the planet that prefers Grissom. It’s dark, it’s dirty, it’s got one of the team in a life-or-death situation at the end of every series. Can’t wait for the next one. And will Sarah come back? A must-watch if it’s on TV show, but a lot of money to shell out for the whole lot on DVD. It’s not that good.

CSI Miami – I heard or read somewhere that when Miami launched, William Petersen refused to star in a crossover episode with Caruso. Since then he’s also refused to star in a scene with Gary Sinise. Am I wrong? Although most prefer Horatio Caine, I’m afraid I find myself losing interest around twenty minutes into an episode. Visually, it’s a treat to look at.

CSI NY – better again than Miami but doesn’t cut the mustard in terms of the original. Probably because the only person who can act in the whole bloody show is Sinise. The sort-of love interest/right-hand woman is AWFUL! The rest aren’t much better.

Curb Your Enthusiasm – It took me a whole series of this to fall in love with it. I gave it the time because JP wouldn’t shut up about it. It’s superb.

Damages – Thriller starring Glenn Close as a total bitch. Very good, but it won’t knock you out (with a statue of liberty paperweight and leave you for dead in the bath).

Deadwood – Another one of those shows that I’ve tried – and failed to get into. Have you watched it? Are you a fan? Are you not? Comments below. I have watched the first episode something like four times.

Desperate Housewives – I was really into this in the beginning, when every third radio ad was a “Previously, on Desperate Housewives” knockoff. Oh, the fun we had. I didn’t like the way the ended the last series – it was just a slow realisation of the conclusion rather than a big finale. I never got into the second series.

Dexter – The first series of this was just great on a small TV network called Showtime. Dark, funny, tense. Very, very good stuff. They watered it down a lot in the second series. That’s because it’s just been picked up by one of the bigger, safer networks. But it’s not as good as it was. 

Dirt – Courtney Cox as the editor of a gossip rag. Two minutes in, and it’s not my thing.

Dirty Sexy Money – A new show, screwed up by the writers strike in the states, starring that guy from Six Feet Under (not that guy) and Donald Sutherland. The new series of it starts again in September and I’m hooked.

Doctor Who – Richard blogs regularly about this and back when it launched I remember he went into nerd meltdown. As I’m sure you know by now, I’m prone to a little nerdage myself but was too young to ever get into the original. I can’t get over how cheap everything looks. I think it’s supposed to look low-budget but I just don’t like bad special effects. That said, when I’ve seen episodes that don’t require much makeup or CGI, it’s pretty good. But I wouldn’t buy it. Interestingly, I’ve liked the couple of episodes of seen of the spinoff, Torchwood.

Entourage – I can’t for the life of me think why I didn’t get into this sooner. I came to this party way late, around the third series. I had tried it on and off, but just hated what I thought was a whole blokes birds and booze trip. I’m still writing sorry notes to Mark Wahlberg. I love and adore this show for Ari Gold.

ER – I go away, I come back, I go away, I come back. Why do I keep going away? And why do I keep coming back? I think when it does good, it does brilliant. But there are long boring stretches too until the end-of-series cliffhanger. If you have a mate who has it on DVD, borrow it. Or tape the repeats. But you’d need to be minted to go and buy all of it. Oh, and Sally Field is ace.

Everybody Hates Chris – Ugh. Shame on you Chris Rock. Shame on you.

Extras – I don’t need to tell you about Extras do I? I love it though.

Family Guy – Sheer brilliance, a class act. Then they cancelled it and brought it back and it was again sheer brilliance and a class act. Now one in every three episodes is brilliant. Which is still very good, but they don’t tell you at the beginning which ones are the brilliant ones. It has been really disappointing to watch a show I was obsessed with decline. Creator Seth MacFarlane isn’t as disappointed as I am though.

Father of The Pride – I’ve always loved John Goodman since Roseanne and Arachnophobia but when he appeared in that brilliant 25th Amendment episode of the West Wing, I fell for him bigtime. Okay, so he plays the voice of an animated tiger in this, but it’s Dinosaurs/The Flintstones/The Simpsons/Family Guy – only as lions. What’s not to like. This was a one-season wonder so you’ll probably find this in a bargain bin somewhere. It’s pretty good.

Firefly – I’ll tread delicately here: I don’t like Buffy. Never did. I’d arrive home from school and probably leave it on Sky One after two minutes of Donna Air on MTV but those plastic vampire masks and cheap sets didn’t impress me. Same with Angel. But millions obviously did, so I’m in the minority. Anyway, I couldn’t divorce my feelings of Buffy from my preconceptions of Firefly. So I didn’t get into it. Again, it just wasn’t glossy enough for me. Weirdly, I really enjoyed the movie.

Flight of the Conchords – Two episodes in and you’ll be splitting your sides. Seriously funny stuff. I was on a plane home from holidays watching this on the wee DVD player with my headphones on. I was crying laughing.

Freaks & Geeks – Only got it because I liked Undeclared (see below) a bit of a reversal, because most fans would’ve been into this first. It’s a nice show, but not as good.

Friday Night Lights – It seems everywhere I look, the success of this show is taunting me. It’s supposed to be excellent. Two seasons in, and I wouldn’t know, because I’ve only watched the opening credits. I just haven’t had the time! Besides, it’s a show about sport and I’m not a jock.

Garth Merenghi's Darkplace – Six episodes of weird funny shit. I don’t know how to sell this to you because you’ll either love it or hate it. Best idea is to search for some clips on YouTube and try it out.

Gossip Girl – I watched the first episode of this just the other night and we decided it’d be another of those shows she’d watch on her own. It’s Dawson’s Creek meets One Tree Hill, meets The OC in New York. Rich teenagers (played by thirty-year-olds) falling in and out of bed with eachother. I’m just over this kind of show, although I did like The OC. See below.

Grey's Anatomy – watched the first episode and checked myself out. My wife is addicted to the drug that is MacDreamy. I only found out yesterday that they actually call him MacDreamy in the show. I bet he loves it.

Heroes – What happened? I really enjoyed the first series even though I spent much of it shouting “IT’S X-MEN!” at the screen. It has all the right elements for the ladies too (except for the husband shouting “IT’S X-MEN!” next to you). It just went to pot in the second series. I don’t think I’ll be back for the next series.

House – Any time I see this, I enjoy it, but I only dip in and out of it. I don’t think it’s unmissable television, but an entertaining way to spend an hour. I won’t be buying the DVD though.

Human Giant – As anyone who’s watched Saturday Night Live in the last few years will tell you, American sketch comedy is shite. But not this show you may have seen on MTV – well worth YouTubin’. I’ve spotted the bald dude from it as the evil other porter in 30 Rock, and as a computer salesman in The Onion Movie. Actually, while I’m on that subject, watch these.

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia – I can’t put into words how much I love this show. The first I ever heard of it was on The Daily Show (also great) on More4 when Danny DeVito (crazy, by the way) was on promoting it. Watched it, loved it. Maybe you will too.

Jericho – Apolcalypse. In a small town. Where most people are lovely, like the Waltons. Great idea, but very boring. Major Dad is in it!

Justice – This was a great show. Like CSI – probably because Bruckheimer was behind it – it was basically how lawyers try to prove your innocence whether you are or not. Then we find out whodunnit at the end of every episode.

K-Ville – Post-Katrina, New Orleans is trying to get itself back together and so is a hardened cop with a new partner. Very watchable drama.

Las Vegas – How the hell did that show last so long?

Lead Balloon – BBC comedy starring Jack Dee playing basically himself, only at home. It’s very funny. Comparisons have been drawn between it and Curb your Enthusiasm, which is fair. I’d say you’d find this fairly cheap, so get it.

Life – A cop who was put away for a crime he didn’t commit is exonerated on DNA evidence, sues for millions, and goes back on the beat. Why? Because he’s all zen, man. Twit. Imagine CSI only with Gil stoned and rich.

Little Britain – It’s the catchphrase comedy Ricky Gervais takes the piss out of in Extras, but you can’t help but love it. But who hasn’t seen it all already?

Lost – Oh, God. I could write a book on it. And that’s probably the problem. First series was great. In the second, things started to go awry. The third series was just crap. The wheels came off – but they still have us by the balls because we need to find out the answers! In the latest series, three-quarters through every episode I say “okay, that’s it – I’m finished with this show” and in the last thirty seconds they do something to make me go “oh!”. But they’re not giving me enough. I also worry that even I’m not dedicated enough a nerd to know all the loose ends that need to be tied up, all the various end-of-episode cliffhangers that need explaining. And that annoys me. I suppose I’ll have to go back and watch it all again on DVD once I know the answers. But I guess that’s the whole point: DVD sales.

ManStrokeWoman – Two series’ of strong sketch comedy from the BBC. It won’t change your life, but it’ll make you laugh out loud every now and again.

My Name Is Earl – I’ve always liked Jason Lee from the Kevin Smith movies. I don’t think I’ll ever forgive him for that awful Heartbreakers with Jennifer Love Hewitt though. But I liked this from the off. There are some truly hilarious moments (mostly featuring his brother, Randy) in this tidy little half-hour wonder. Not that you need me to tell you about it – it’s a big show. By the way, Randy is the really fat guy from Remember The Titans. He has actually lost weight! Clicky.

Nighty Night – Black comedy. Very, very funny. I highly recommend.

Nip/Tuck – I watched the whole first series of this and never came back to it. I don’t know why, because it was okay. I suppose I just didn’t really care about any of the characters in it. And I can’t stand it when men have that pained, likely-to-cry face, like Dr Sean has nearly all the time. Jack from Lost is the same. It must be a doctor thing. Stop being such bitches!

Prison Break – My wife said she had to stop watching it because it gave her nightmares. I have the first couple of seasons but gave up half way through the second series due to lack of interest. I think they stretch it out way too much. Although I do plan on going back to it because when it was on RTE, everyone was raving about it – and it hadn’t watched that far. So it must get better. 

Private Practice – Spinoff of Grey’s Anatomy. I don’t watch that either.

Pushing Daisies – Tim Burton is not involved in the making of this show. But by God, it looks like he is, but nope, no sign of him in the credits. But his name is written all over this, with it’s brash visuals and kooky characters, in the tone of suburbia in Edward Scissorhands. A really sweet show, sometimes too sweet for me though.

Reaper – Kevin Smith was behind the pilot for this, which immediately piqued my interest. It seems that whoever took over from him just cut and pasted the script every day and changed the bad-guy’s name and whatever his evil power was for each episode. The same thing happens every time. That chubby, beardy best friend from Invasion (also a strong show) is good in it though. See Chuck, above.

Rescue Me – Went a bit cold in the last series, but was gripping, essential drama with brilliant comedy moments for the first few. I highly recommend you buy this and start watching from the beginning. Most shows end a series on a cliffhanger. This one ends every episode with a cliffhanger, most perfectly executed. And the series finales are even better. I love it when a show isn’t afraid to kill anyone off, and these people are axe-happy.

Rome – The girls in this are not afraid to take their clothes off, which is never a bad thing. I haven’t made it to the second series yet, but it is very enjoyable. I like all that ancient Roman history crap anyway, so it’s interesting stuff but it’s not the amazing show I was led to believe it was.

Scrubs – I’m totally 50/50 when it comes to Scrubs. I’ve always had issues with shows that preach at me (see Boston Legal) and no show drives home a meaningful message more than this. But it’s very, very funny! Don’t get me wrong, I’m so utterly bored of Dr Cox going off on a sarky diatribe and calling the younger doctors a girls name that I’m positively comatose, but pretty much all of the rest of it I enjoy. Except the parable. JUST BE FUNNY!

Seinfeld – I got the complete box set for Christmas and it’s the show I keep putting back on again and again for random episodes. You see, I am best friends with George Castanza. JP is the character. The way he talks, the way he loses the head, the way he gets impatient, the way he gesticulates frantically. It’s him! But that’s not why I love Seinfeld. It’s just a wonderful collection of work, perfectly crafted to make you laugh. And it does it without the preaching, which has to be respected. FYI: Jerry pops up now and again in 30 Rock.

Shameless – I saw a feature-length episode of this a good while back on TV and was shocked at how enjoyable it was. So I bought the box set, and kept buying them. All of the series’ are on the shelf in the living room, but I have yet to start them. I was always put off the show by the promos Channel 4 would run for it that made it look like Hollyoaks in a council estate. And a despise Hollyoaks, so I never gave it a go.

Six Feet Under – I started watching this from scratch a few weeks ago and the picture/aspect ratio is square. It was that long ago that they launched this that they weren’t even making it for widescreen TV’s. I do enjoy it, but I don’t think it’s a must-own.

Smallville – I was having a chat with someone on a night out about TV shows we like. Towards the end of the conversation, he said “I just can’t wait for the next Smallville”. I laughed and went to the bar, thinking he was taking the piss as you do, to give the end of a conversation a punchline, like you’d say “Oh, I love Lost and CSI – but Next Top Model is just the best”. But the more I encounter reviews or mentions of this show online, the more I see that he wasn’t taking the piss. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s just Dawson’s Creek with Clark Kent as Dawson, right? Gilmore Girls with a cape? No?

South Park – My life is punctuated by South Park catchphrases. I find it very inconsistent but when it’s good, it’s gold.

Spaced – If you buy one DVD box set this week, this must be the one. They only made two short series’ of this - what is it with the lazy UK and their six-episode runs? Surely if a show is good, and people want to watch it, you give it longer? No, not in Ingerland. It’s the crew from this that made Sean of The Dead and Hot Fuzz. This show (and forgive me for what I’m about to write) is better than both. You’ll love them all and wish they were your Friends. Actually, the two guys were in for an interview with D’arcy last year and I chickened out of approaching them because I didn’t want to ruin it for myself.

Spooks – Is it really that good? Honestly, whenever I force myself to sit through this, I just think of it as average BBC drama. Not unmissable by any stretch of the imagination. But people rave about it!

Sports Night – I only got this because Aaron Sorkin (West Wing) made it. Don’t bother - it’s a comedy that’s not very funny. But you can see where he’s headed.

Star Trek: The Next Generation & Star Trek: Voyager – Sky One, twice a day, one or the other of these would be on. And I’d watch it all. Sometimes both times. I never liked Deep Space Nine – I think I preferred them being out adventuring in space, rather than living in a town, which is what DS9 was. Voyager took it up a notch (not entirely dissimilar to Battlestar Galactica) by having them far away and stranded. I do think I only enjoy them for the nostalgia value now though, rather than appreciation of televisual quality. My, that’s an arsey phrase.

Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip – The first ten minutes of this show is probably the best television I’ve ever watched. Made by Aaron Sorkin (again, from the West Wing) this was what was intended to be his big comeback project. Although it only lasted one series, it had some fine moments, but none that lived up to the promise of that legendary first episode in my opinion.

Superman: Lois And Clark – The nineties do not age well. Although Lois managed to blossom into the stunning Susan Myer, the show that made her has not aged well. I can’t look at this anymore without cringing at bad hair and bad outfits. God, did people actually dress like that? It was top quality cheesy camp though, and it’s a shame we see so little of Dean Cain. Actually, that’d be some good Desperate Housewives casting, wouldn’t it? But my wife tells me Housewives is over for good now, right?

The Comeback – Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe from Friends) plays an ageing TV star who gets another shot at the bigtime in a new show. This mockumentary tracks her progress as the show launches. It’s funny because Kudrow is the ageing star of a once-massive TV show, not getting much work these days, and the joke makes it worth it for a few episodes until it gets old. Really old.

The League Of Gentlemen – Not to be confused with the mish-mash Extraordinary movie. Brilliant black comedy that provides reams of catchphrases. Prepare to be disturbed and entertained at the same time. Well worth a watch. But don’t sit in for an entire weekend and watch them back to back, followed by the feature-length League Of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse. You’ll spend a couple of weeks after that in a padded room if you do.

The New Adventures of Old Christine – With the success of Curb Your Enthusiasm, the old cast were on the crest of a revival wave, not least Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the totally-fanciable Elaine. This is not like Seinfeld. This is not like Curb Your Enthusiasm. This is a run-of-the-mill sitcom with a kooky name. Fun fact: Louis-Dreyfus appears as a brilliant character in Arrested Development – a show much more suited to her image.

The OC – Man,  I loved this show. Even though it was produced by McG – whose name I fundamentally disagree with. It had all the right elements: the geek (sethcohen – all one word), the babe (Summer Roberts), the girl next door – literally (Marissa Cooper) and yer man who looked like Russell Crowe, the kid from the wrong side of the tracks. I really had gone of this show by the middle of the third series because none of the couple could ever decide if they wanted to be together or not, and because Mischa Barton is a pain in the hole. Once they killed Marissa off, the show got like, way better, with the eternally sexy Taylor Townsend promoted to a more central role. But it was all over by that stage. I wish Sandy Cohen was my dad. But if I did, I’d fancy my mother.

The Office – They could’ve squeezed a third series out of it, but wrapped it all in a quickie Christmas special. I can’t help but feel this show had more to give – not in the sense that the characters could have done more (the story had played out, it had reached it’s conclusion that Christmas) but there was more laughs to be had from the source material in the shit that goes on in offices all over the world. We want more, dammit!

The Office (US) – Oh, here’s more. I read somewhere that they made a terrible first series of this (which happens to be what I’ve seen), or that the first few episodes were terrible (again, that’s what I’ve watched), where they just totally redid the UK Office word-for-word with American actors. It didn’t work (believe me) and so they brought Gervais in to show them how he wrote the original stuff, and once they started generating new material, it kept on coming. As I say, I’ve only watched the first season, and it’s bad – but the rest comes highly recommended. Another on my to-do list.

The Riches – All-time favourite Eddie Izzard in a cable TV drama? Yes please! With Minnie Driver? Well, you can’t have it all. I was so disappointed with this show.

The Shield – The Commish aka Ben Grimm plays a good-cop/bad-cop in a cop show where the boys in blue don’t always play on the right side of the law. This is great, tense stuff – and it’s unsettling that things don’t happen like they normally do on TV.

The Sopranos – The daddy. It’s like a complete movie in an hour. Brilliantly scripted and executed with amazing dramatic moments, if you haven’t wasted a few weekends watching this back-to-back you shouldn’t have read any of the other show descriptions. Just go and get it now, then start thinking about other things you’d like to watch. There are none better than this. Don’t stop… Believing…

The Thick Of It – I loved this. The lead character was sacked and during the run due to charges of indecent assault and sexual offences. Unfortunately, I can’t ever think of this programme without associating it with those offences – which is so unfortunate because it’s a superb piece of political satire. But a US version is in the works, from two of the lads behind Arrested Development. That will be worth waiting for.

The Tudors – JP says Jonathan Rhys Meyers can’t act. I don’t think so, but I do find him difficult to watch. I did enjoy the first few episodes of this sexy romp through history, with some fantastic supporting cast. But I can’t take too much of Meyers.

Thundercats – Thunder, thunder, thunder, thunder, THUNDERCATS – HOOOO! I have the box set gathering dust on a shelf in my living room. I’m 27 years old. I have no interest in crappy-looking, badly-dubbed cartoons. I watched one episode and was gutted at how shit it was. Never go back and watch shows you remember being great. They were not. You were just a child!

Ugly Betty – You don’t need me to tell you about Ugly Betty, do you? Based on a Latino daytime TV show plotline, it’s Devil Wears Prada with braces and an accent. Any time my wife is watching this I get interested enough to ask “who’s he now?”, or “what’s the story with her now, who’s she?” But I can’t stick out a whole series of it. It’s pretty cynically for the ladies. Sorry boys.

Undeclared – I was up late one night (something like two or three) while in college and RTE Two had this on. I didn’t have a clue what it was, had never heard of it, but was too lazy to get my ass to bed, so stayed up and watched it. I loved it! It’s about a young American guy starting college, basically. I immediately tried to get it on box set (which was released a long time after it was cancelled) and wondered why the hell RTE weren’t showing it earlier in the day. As it happens, this was created by the hit-maker Judd Apatow, and if you watch any of his multi-million-dollar-grossing flicks, you’ll be sure to spot talent from this and his even-earlier Freaks And Geeks (see above).

Weeds – A kooky series about a young woman, widowed with kids, left to provide for her family’s middle-class lifestyle by selling dope. It’s not quite comedy though it is funny. It’s not quite drama but it is, well, dramatic. I stayed with it to the end of the first season, but there’s more out there. Another absolutely-fanciable, Mary-Louise Parker of West Wing fame plays lead.

Without A Trace – Bruckheimer’s at it again! From the CSI factory, a crack FBI squad tries to track down missing persons. In the vein of the original CSI Vegas, it’s a very good show, and certainly better than either of the spinoff CSI’s. But you’ve  probably seen it yourself already.

West Wing – The other daddy after The Sopranos. The show that makes me wish I could live in Hollywood and be a TV writer. My wife and I (when she was still just my girlfriend I was shacking up with) put a bed in the living room and ate takeaway all weekend as we watched wall-to-wall episodes. A friend of mine says it’s the perfect show because you want to be all of the characters in it. And you do – even the mean ones, because dammit, they’re so well-spoken. Creator, Aaron Sorkin left the show after the fourth season and die-hard's say the show went downhill after that, but I’m such a wide-eyed fanboy I never even noticed. A neat feature of the DVD box set is that you can rewind: it’s almost essential for this programme because they talk so fast and so technically, you need to watch it again, or read the subtitles. It really is a brilliant show and I cannot recommend it highly enough.


Ray presents Tom Baxter with a double platinum disc!

Davy Byrne asks a question..shyly!

I dont look happy in this one at all!


Doritos recently ran a competition for you to make your own ad.

The winning ad taken from the UK & Irish entries will be beamed into space!

Though we didn’t make the final 5 the ‘Best of Irish’ entry to the competition came from Rory O’Kelly.

Watch it here

live lunch...

Lorna sent us some of her pictures from Fridays Live Lunch with Tom Baxter.

Ray & JP were enjoying themselves anyway:

More photos to come...


I’ve had a mac mini for a few years now and it’s one of my favourite gadgets. It’s a dinky little powerhouse:


Another nifty feature of macs is that they allow you to load windows onto them if you’re crap at using the one-button mac operating system, with Boot Camp.

Lately I’ve (again) decided I’m gonna do my best to learn how to use a mac, so I went an bought the new Mac OSX, installed it on my mac mini and started playing around with it. But I’ve run into an annoying problem: some websites won’t load on it. Now, many websites will load on the bugger, including google, but when I google for solutions for the problem, most of the links from google won’t load.

Another website I use for remote-controlling my home PC is – and that won’t load. I’ve tried it in both Safari and Firefox and it’s a pain in the face.

My wireless network is fully connected.

Any genius mac users out there that can help? Or should I just retreat back to windows with my tail between my legs?


ScreenHunter_01 Jun. 21 00.04

Sorry for the lack of everything over the past few days folks, but I’m sick as a dog. I’m beaten.

It’s some kind of nasty throat infection – thankfully you can’t really hear it on the radio, but it makes swallowing (settle down there at the back) excruciatingly painful. And it’s amazing how much we swallow in a minute without even thinking about it. It’s only when it feels like there are razors in your neck that you start to count. It can be around five or six times if you’re interested.

On top of that, I’m suffering from what I think is the worst hayfever I’ve ever experienced, which has me sore and tired and grumpy all the time.

I went to the doctor this morning because it got a load worse overnight when I was expecting it to pass over (it’s been around for a week now). I can’t think, I can’t sleep properly, I can’t work out how to speak on the radio, what I’m gonna talk about, what we’re gonna do next week. Nothing.

It’s mad how you take living/existing for granted when you’re healthy. I regularly try to quantify my job to myself. What do I do, and how do I do it? It’s something people ask all the time – how do you guys come up with the things you do?

What is the process? I wonder what’s the process I follow from a Monday morning on, that results in the radio show I make every day. I know other presenters in Today FM have working practices, some of them pretty rigid and it allows them to get the job done right. For some reason, I have a specific memory of me back around 1999, wondering what the Strawberry Alarm Clock people on FM104 used to do every day that resulted in their brilliant finished product. I imagine that like in any line of work, you need to start somewhere, hash it out, then work on it, follow it through and reach a result. I imagine it’s the A,B,C of making radio. So I ask: what’s my process?

And I’m usually stumped. I generally conclude that it just happens. I observe stuff that happens in life and in work, something always comes to me, and we sit around and make a show out of it. So, it just happens. But it’s when I’m sick and not coming up with new stuff and the whole thing feels wrong and off-balance that I understand there must be a creative process there.

Just don’t ask me what it is.


A mate of mine, Fintan, has been sending me some great videos.

Meet Fred and Sharon.

They do movies.

In the mood for music? Guess what this song is called:


Neil Nolan was on to us earlier, looking for ways to watch videos on his ipod.

I don’t do it myself (I’ve tried converting DVDs to ipod but it was just too laborious) but we did get a few texts, calls and emails about a number of sites.

Do a quick search for DVD to iPod software.

If you have videos you may have downloaded, you can try Super Video Converter. It’s free, and has loads of options, including PSP.

Other ideas we got in were Tubefish – which takes your favorite YouTube clips and makes them work on other devices, like your ipod. Although iPod Touch and iPhone users won’t have much use for this, since you already have a YouTube application built-in.

ScreenHunter_01 Jun. 18 13.18

And iLounge – formerly iPod Lounge.

ScreenHunter_02 Jun. 18 13.21

Surf around – you’ll find something that suits you.



Brian sent us this:

On the Connaught Telegraph Website today saw this article and lovely pic:

Here's a closeup:

Turns out the pic is of the Chelsea Flower Show and thankfully not related to the article.

Click here for the page.



Found this on - all of the Mortal Kombat fatalities!




mmmm chris...

I was in London baby last night to see Coldplay live in Brixton Academy. It was a free gig for around 2000 fans where they were playing tracks from the new album Viva La Vida or Death and all his friends. They also played a huge number of hits including Trouble, In my place, Fix you and more.

Here is the lovely Chris... swoon:

If the album isn’t successful ( yeah right) he definitely should do an army-esque clothing line... très Sexy!


Alan mailed us with terrible news!

He says:

I understand it's late but this just flitted across my field of vision while I'm surfing Youtube waiting for my fiance in Shannon Airport.

I like Bugs Bunny cartoons. Sometimes I watch them to pass the time - nostalgia and all that. Feast your eyes on this... forward to around 2:55 and keep watching.

click here

Was that...was that Bugs Bunnys real carrott?

I've taken a screen grab.

It matches the permanent screen grab currently etched on my retina's.

I'm sorry,



We all love these.

When good news goes bad:



Leonard Cohen played in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Dublin at the weekend. All reports say they were great gigs but I have 1st hand information that the man himself is a really nice guy...

Here's my 2 mates Steve and Hazel with Leonard in a public establishment on Saturday afternoon...

And who says you shouldn’t meet your heroes...


I finally got my act together this weekend and did the grocery shopping. Online.

It's a pretty good service, but not perfect. Not perfect in that a few of things we wanted we didn't get (I believe this is pretty normal if the shop is out of stock) and a few of the things we wanted had been replaced with the wrong stuff (again, something pretty common).

We ordered on Friday night, and the dude arrived just over an hour ago with several crates of our stuff. He wasn't given a receipt by the shop though, so I had to go online and check the list from there. And I don't know how I'm expected to leave back the stuff I don't want without a receipt.

All in-all though it was a pretty painless process, bar the mind-numbing task of trying to find the stuff you need on a list without pictures. But they say the first time is the worst, because you can pick from the first list the next time you buy.

I'm told our local Superquinn deliver too. I might try them next time.

And if you've done your online shopping with Tesco before, what do you do with these?


We're in Saba on Clarendon Street where they make lovely cocktails.

The barman had to stifle a laugh as I ordered a strawberry cosmo. For dessert I ordered a Toblerone - not the chocolate bar, the cocktail. The waiter said to my wife "oh, if the lads in Ballina could see him now with his Toblerone!"

I'm blushing.


sound out...

I've just been recommended the BBC Sound Index.

It's an online tool that checks YouTube, Bebo, MySpace and other popular sites for their most played music, then compiles that music by popularity into a top-1000 music chart.

Of course, the result is a chart probably more reflective of the younger, bebo-lovin' teen massive than you and I. It still makes an interesting read though, given how much more music we consume from flash-based playlists on our social networking sites as opposed to purchasing it in a shop.


Here comes another shameless "I love my iPhone" blog post!

Doesn't get any more shameless than that though, to be fair.


Okay folks, just a quick update on the best bits/listen again player for the show.

You'll see a link above JP's head up there, in fact he's looking at it:

If you click on it, it'll open a new window and start playing the last-uploaded audio clip immediately.

I've bought the premium package, so I'll be able to upload as much as I want for the next year. You can listen as much as you want, and so I'll just leave the audio there in the playlist to listen to as you want.

Feedback, Foley Show Singers Songs, Calls, Things We Didn't Have Time For, Ann Does...

We should be able to get a bit from each show for you. There should be one good bit a day right? Right?


Like any geek, I love paying for useful software. One of the things I've been most interested in has been file sharing of large audio files, for two purposes:

  1. Sharing of files between my house (where I've a wee studio setup) and work or a commercial studio who might want my voice in their ads.
  2. Sharing mp3s of bits of the show with you, the listener/blog reader. The podcasts have dried up because they're a pain in the face to upload.
I've previously been using to send recorded files to work from home, and I'd even shelled out several quid for their uploading client. But that wasn't working for me because it was a bit too expensive and it only did half of what I wanted (the private sharing part). I wanted a service that'd allow me to upload the file, then do the hard work of making a little embedding code/player for me, so I could share it as I wanted on the blog - like YouTube only for audio. I had something similar on the old blog but that just didn't work out financially, and it didn't provide the other, private files option.

So I've finally found Badongo!

If this works, the possibilities for us are pretty amazing. We can share daily audio clips with you that you can listen to or download as you want, without iTunes. Somewhere on this page there should be a little player with a low-quality clip of the Blizzards performance of Sam Sparro's Black & Gold. It's low quality because I haven't got the necessary permission to distribute it, and it's only a test case. I can't imagine you wanting to pay for a 64kbps mp3.

I know, the player's a bit ugly. And it won't fit in the sidebar.

I might just give it it's own blog post and a link up top.


That is what I'm talkin bout...


bbq rules...

Sandra sent this in .. so true!

We are about to enter the summer and BBQ season. Therefore it is important to refresh your memory on the etiquette of this sublime outdoor cooking activity, as it's the only type of cooking a 'real' man will do, probably because there is an element of danger involved.

When a man volunteers to do the BBQ the following chain of events are put into motion:


(1) The woman buys the food.
(2) The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables, and makes dessert.
(3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to the man who is lounging beside the grill - beer in hand.

Here comes the important part:


More routine....

(5) The woman goes inside to organize the plates and cutlery.
(6) The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is burning He thanks her and asks if she will bring another beer while he deals with the situation.

Important again:


More routine....

(8) The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, sauces, and brings them to the table.
(9) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.

And most important of all:

(10) Everyone PRAISES the MAN and THANKS HIM for his cooking efforts.
(11) The man asks the woman how she enjoyed 'her night off.' And, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just no pleasing some women...


From the Bebo. Remember that? Yes, it's still going.

Click on the image below to read the details.

You may remember Lynchy as the dude we absolutely harassed as he happened to be playing live in the pub the night of our show's first birthday party. We were rat-arsed, he was not.

But what's the laughing smiley face for?

Is he laughing at the line "all your listeners" as if to suggest we've got damn all listeners?

Ok, point taken.


How sad am I?

I was planning on writing a quick update to my dental dramas with my latest uninteresting tale of woe in the chair this afternoon.

I had an appointment for half past three. I didn't go on about it on air as much as I did last Wednesday because I was over it and you really do feel damn all. Just the first needle and that's it. Worrying about it just made the whole experience worse. But I wanted to share two things with you.

First, the hilarity that was my inability to speak properly once my entire lower jaw was all asleep, just like when your arm dies in the middle of the night and you end up slapping yourself in the mouth. I have audio, so be sure to turn on tomorrow afternoon. Shenshational.

Second, the image of the massive white lump of a filling I have on one of my lower teeth. It was a fairly big job I'm told, and the guy was just short of bringing in some scaffolding and a cement mixer with all the filling he had to whack in there. But my shitty laptop webcam doesn't do it justice. I know this because it took me way too many photos and way way too much time to get a pic I could use (I finally went for the one above).

The photos that didn't make the grade are below.

Actually the third one there is ok. It's hard to see what it really looks like til you actually take the bloody picture. And the image is mirrored, so you move the wrong side of your face.

Like I told you: sad.


Lee won!

I really can't believe it! He says he "can't descwibe how he's feelin' wight now". And he still managed to get a "that's what I'm talkin 'bout" into the last episode!

One job, one winner, 100 thousand quid for the year.

One question: what the hell is he gonna be doing? In fact, what will the winner of the new Dr Bill one be doing when the Irish one wraps up on TV3? I've always wondered what the apprentice is finally set to do. Do all the other staff in the company only regard them as those divvys who won the thing on the telly, or are they really respected?

I find it hard to imagine these hard-nosed businesspeople who've spent years ingratiating themselves with the biggest and the best in their industries just accepting that this guy or girl who spent thirteen weeks on a TV show are as worthy as they are. And let's face it: the apprentice works with the people who work with Alan Sugar, not Sugar himself.

Claire should have won, but I get the impression that Lee really needed the gig. They never made it explicitly clear, but certain things Sir Alan said every now and again suggested that he felt sorry for Lee and wanted to do right by the guy.

The Guardian have been doing a load of live blogging on it and several other TV shows. God, I love that website.


rich rick...

Killing time til 9, I was just over on Richard's blog there and found a link to this:

It's a wee gadget where you put in your annual income and it tells you where you are globally in the chart of the richest people.

I was number 29 million and something, which I thought was funny - surely I should be joint number 29 million. There must be loads of people on the same wage as me.

Rick says he was "shocked!!!" at his ranking. Probably because those bastards in RTE get paid so much more than us poor, poor sods in the commercial sector.

Imagine being last in the list? I don't suppose you'd be dicking around online if you were that poor though, would you?

But the site is really all about the giving, becasue as soon as you're told you're making too much money compared to everyone else, they say this:

The best bit:

They don't know me at all.



I skipped the preview screening of The Incredible Hulk last night.

What is up with his grammar? I mean, Banner was an accomplished Doctor. Surely some of that expensive education could have rubbed off in the gamma radiation process?

Anyway I didn't need to go, since I've become a daily checker-inner of Darren's blog. For the life of me I can't think why.

Oh, and Richard didn't like it. Do-do-do dooooo, do-do-dooooooo...


Anyone for a backwards pterodactyl?

I think Claire has it in the bag, but we'll see.

The Apprentice. 9pm. BBC1.

That's what I'm talkin 'bout.


Wow! It's really cheap! Actually, it probably won't be by the time it makes it to O2 here, but a 16gb 3G iPhone should cost you 191 euro if you have a mate going shopping in New York after the 11th July.

If you've bought the 8gb one in an O2 shop in Ireland in the past week for 299 euro, then ouch! The new 8gb version will be 199 dollars, or 127 euro.

EDIT: from Engadget:
Just bought an iPhone? Listen up: "Customers who purchased a 2.5G iPhone on or after May 27 and want to swap it out for a new iPhone will be able to do so without incurring an additional handset charge for the new device. They will of course need to turn in their 2.5G iPhone." So I guess those lovely folks at O2 Ireland will also honour this?

All you'll ever need to know is here

And for those of you who harass me about unlocking, take a look here. But I didn't send you.


I'm just surfing around while I wait for the new iPhone announcement. And I've got some good news!

See this guy?

He's in this!

Uh-huh. Huh huh. Cool.

I think there's a screening of it tomorrow night.



T minus fourteen minutes til the Mac Daddy Steve Jobs reveals the new 3G iPhone!

We think. It's all rumour and speculaton at this point, but as is common at times of new Apple hardware releases, their online stores all over the world are down.

It all kicks off at 6pm our time, and I'll be watching online.


Much love to David Barry for his exquisite snappage: