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Charlie Brooker's Screen Burn (edition 2012)

by Charlie Brooker

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332633,233 (4.01)11
Member:jlid
Title:Charlie Brooker's Screen Burn
Authors:Charlie Brooker
Info:Faber and Faber (2012), Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Read in 2013, journalism, criticism, comedy, Tv, The Guardian, reviews

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Screen Burn by Charlie Brooker

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Didn't watch much telly during the period covered here, so found this most interesting, and Brooker's always funny - contrary to what he says in his intro, one can never have too many references to shitting pine cones. He also mentions two of my must-see shows that no-one else seemed to catch - 'Buried' (quality) and 'Back to Reality' (car-crash). ( )
1 vote Moomin_Mama | Feb 13, 2012 |
This book, as well as the second volume (Dawn of the Dumb) collects Charlie Brooker's weekly columns which first appeared in The Saturday Guardian's entertainment supplement, The Guide. Unlike most television critics, Brooker tends to be scathing and is dismissive of most of the television programmes he reviews, but because television is almost always disappointing, falling so far short its potential, it isn't Broker's approach that should be surprising, it should be the fawning arse-lick simpering of the rest of them.

Brooker tends to be quite funny as well, sometimes in a laugh-out-loud kind of way. I hardly watch broadcast television, so I am (happily) unfamiliar with some of the dross Brooker dissects, but even someone who isn't at all familiar with the medium will enjoy Brooker's justifiable rage.

Apparently, Brooker has also managed to wangle a television programme out of this, so he now fulminates on screen; that might just be a tad ironic. As noted in another review, these collections are great for the bog which is also ironic, because that's where most television belongs. ( )
  eddieduggan | Aug 25, 2009 |
Like other reviewers, I first encountered Charlie Brooker on TV rather than through his newspaper columns. However, that just means that as I read this book I found myself imagining Brooker reading it in his very ascerbic, sarcastic style, and this added to the hilarity.

The book is a collection of television review columns dating from April 2000 to September 2004. Most of the reviews are bitingly negative, with just the occasional bit of praise thrown in. In the FAQ at the back of the book Brooker explains that it isn't that he hates all television, its just that he finds it easier to be funny about stuff that he doesn't like rather than stuff he does.

I don't always agree with him on the programmes that he is positive about. He seems to have spent an inordinate amount of time watchin ITV, which I deliberately avoid. And he even admits to enjoying Pop Idol and all its myriad spin-offs. But I don't think you have to share a taste in order to enjoy the columns, its not even that important that you have an idea of what programmes the book is talking about are like.

One other positive thing about this book was that, being a collection of newspaper columns, it provided reading material in little chunks, easily digestible on the fly. Useful for picking up and putting down when you've got a toddler running around. ( )
  fieldri1 | May 22, 2009 |
I was introduced to Charlie Brooker through the TV 'adaptation' of this book (itself a collection of his columns from The Guardian). In it, I found Brooker to be hilarious, cutting, and spot on with everything he said.

This book is no different and it won't throw you any surprises if you've taken even a cursory look at his column: it'll have you laughing in public and nodding in agreement all the way through.

There is one caveat, however: you need to watch a lot of TV in order to 'get' most of this book. As someone who doesn't watch ANY 'broadcast' TV (only on-demand downloads) the majority of the TV references went straight over my head. Still, this didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book much at all. ( )
  fakelvis | Nov 19, 2008 |
There's a group on Facebook that proposes that Charlie Brooker should be the next Director General of the BBC. I'm in two minds about this. On the one hand, it could mean that the schedules are cleared of the dreadful tosh that clogs them up about which he is so scabrously witty week in, week out in The Guardian Guide every Saturday. This would be a good thing. On the other, it would mean some of the alternatives he proposes would never get made.

"Screen Burn" collects Brooker's columns from late 2000 to mid-2004, a time when TV underwent a significant shift. There was an explosion in choice thanks to the advent of satellite and digital TV. This led to a deterioration in quality as the schedules began to fill with "Big Brother" and its clones and "talent" shows of one sort or another. Thus, there is a lot for Brooker to get worked up about and plenty of targets for him to aim at.

And get worked up he does. "Screen Burn" is not for the faint hearted, containing some of the most creative ranting committed to the page in recent years. Consequently, it is gutbustingly funny. Since as a collection of columns, it comes in handy 2-3 page chunks, the book has been accompanying me to the smallest room for several months, which is perhaps quite appropriate given Brooker's sometimes ripe language and also means I'm in the right place if I laugh so hard I have an accident, which sometimes seems a distinct possibility.

However, it's only TV and sometimes even Brooker concedes it's not worth the effort - after all, Kate Thornton is only "the human equivalent of a scarcely detectable kitten's fart". Of course, it's a collection written by a man who really loves the medium and is constantly frustrated by how far short it falls of its potential. I'm amazed he can sustain such an impressive level of rage, but very pleased that he does. ( )
3 vote Grammath | Apr 16, 2008 |
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