How modern technology could kill off hit TV shows like Succession & Breaking Bad

I’VE finally finished the final season of Succession – and holy moly.

My hair was on end. My teeth were itching. My ears were whizzing round like Catherine wheels. It was beyond brilliant.


The cast of HBO hit series SuccessionCredit: HBO
Bryan Cranston as Walter White in hit show Breaking Bad


Bryan Cranston as Walter White in hit show Breaking BadCredit: Handout

Part of this was down to some world-class performances from the actors, and part of it was down to the painstaking attention to detail.

Everyone had the right watch, the right suit, the right jet and the right car.

But the main reason why this show worked so well was: The writing.

And it’s the same story with all the other dramas that have risen like cream from the soup of mediocrity in recent years.

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The Queen’s Gambit. Breaking Bad. The Americans. Chernobyl.

They all have one thing in common. They are all brilliantly written.

But now there’s a problem, because in America, the writers are heavily unionised and, as I speak, they’re all on strike.

They say that money-minded film and TV companies are increasingly using artificial intelligence to generate scripts.

And that this is a bad thing.

Damn right it is. Because we end up with the same formulaic stuff, over and over again.

You watch any action movie today and at some point, someone will say “secure the perimeter” and then someone will add “hostiles inbound” and then we’ll cut to a room filled with funky blue light where a fresh-faced young man hunched over a radar screen will say to his ethnically diverse boss: “Sir, you need to see this.”

Then, out of nowhere, we’ll get a lecture on the nobility of transgenderism and then someone with heroic biceps will be told by someone with a gravelly voice: “You’ve got to go back in there one more time.”

You just know that the AI machine has been told to praise the trans lobby, keep the BLT+ people happy, make sure every ethnicity is represented equally and then blow up the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

In the latest Extraction movie, Chris Hemsworth takes cover from a helicopter gunship by hiding behind a ladder.

No professional scriptwriter would allow that because while it’s fun and exciting and I sort of loved it, it’s also b*****ks.

Money and gossip

Then there’s the Marvel franchise.

Again, this became huge because the writing was so damn good.

Jeff Goldblum insisting slaves are called “Prisoners with jobs” in Thor: Ragnarok.

That’s up there with the moment in Succession when one of the characters says successful people are really only interested in two things. “Money and gossip”.

Not a wasted word and absolutely true.

I don’t normally support strikers but on this occasion I am on the side of the writers.

I do not want to execute them in front of their families. I want them to win. Because they absolutely have a point.

Algorithms and focus groups and AI are clever.

But compared to Jesse Arm­strong, who wrote Succession, they’re like inconsequential insects.

Is it drum, jet or…MRI scan?

I HAD to be inserted into an MRI tube this week.

And it was like being in the Titan sub. Cramped doesn’t begin to cover it.

The Who's Keith Moon bashing away on his beloved drums


The Who’s Keith Moon bashing away on his beloved drumsCredit: Getty
The MRI scan sounded like being underneath a hovering Harrier


The MRI scan sounded like being underneath a hovering HarrierCredit: Alamy

Plus, as is always the way when you are unable to move, I was consumed, as soon as they turned it on, with a sudden and immediate need to scratch my nose.

Then the noises started.

At first it sounded like a naval flotilla arriving back at its home port after a successful battle, and then, just as I got sort of used to this, it started making the sort of noises normally associated with hardcore thrash-metal clubs.

And then it sounded like I was in Keith Moon’s drum kit, and then underneath a hovering Harrier.

And I couldn’t help thinking that if we are capable of building a machine that can use radio and magnetic waves to look inside someone’s head, surely we must be able to fit the damn thing with a silencer.

I went into it feeling fine. And came out with a headache that measured 9.8 on the Richter scale

Phoebe, you’re my wonder Waller

FOR some time now I have suspected Phoebe Waller-Bridge may just be the embodiment of human perfection.

It’s like there is no end to her talents.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge may just be the embodiment of human perfection


Phoebe Waller-Bridge may just be the embodiment of human perfectionCredit: Getty

She came up with the idea for Fleabag and then wrote and produced Killing Eve before going on to work on the most recent Bond movie.

Of course, she’s a much-loved actress, too, having had roles on television and radio, in the movies and on stage.

And then I was sent a clip of her appearance on The Graham Norton Show in January of 2019.

In it, she tells what I truly believe is the funniest chat show anecdote of all time.

It’s on YouTube and you should check it out immediately.

And while you’re doing that, I shall sit back and wait for Ms Waller-Bridge to cure the common cold.

Ban is willy nilly

IN a bid to keep a lid on the public unrest, it was reported that the French government was thinking about blocks on social media.

It turned out not to be true – but it got me thinking.

Firefighters extinguish a bus during clashes between protesters and riot police in Nanterre, near Paris


Firefighters extinguish a bus during clashes between protesters and riot police in Nanterre, near ParisCredit: EPA

You would open up Twitter over there and it would be like being in Jean de Florette’s back garden – all poppies and sunshine

What if they went further, say, by announcing that French security personnel could be allowed to access not just an individual’s phone and laptop but also anything in their house that can connect to the internet.

This would include watches, drones, thermometers – and remotely operated sex toys. Hmmm.

Though it’s hard to see how anything could be achieved by spying on a lady via her dildo.

Because when she’s using it, two things are fairly certain.

Number one, the spy won’t be able to see anything because it’ll be all dark.

Number two, it’s pretty obvious that when it’s buzzing away, she won’t be on the street throwing a petrol bomb through the broken window of a supermarket.

THERE are so many big and important movies coming out, cinemas need to reintroduce the idea of a Saturday afternoon double bill.

I’m thinking Barbie followed by Oppenheimer.

Margot Robbie stars in the new Barbie flick


Margot Robbie stars in the new Barbie flickCredit: Eyevine
Cillian Murphy as the title character in Oppenheimer


Cillian Murphy as the title character in OppenheimerCredit: Alamy

Banish beard guys

IN a bid to tighten security at this year’s Wimbledon tennis, bosses imposed such rigorous checks that some people were forced to queue for ten hours before getting in.

And it didn’t work, because on Wednesday a couple of Just Stop Oil weirdos ran on to the court and hurled jigsaw pieces around the place.

An eco-loon is dragged away by security at Wimbledon


An eco-loon is dragged away by security at WimbledonCredit: Getty Images – Getty

I know, I don’t get the connection either, but we are talking here about people who think they can close down BP by throwing soup at a painting.

So they’re obviously not terribly bright.

Anyway, the important thing is that the security people need a new strategy to keep them out. And I’ve got just the thing.

As almost all of the protesters have some kind of facial fungus, simply ban beards.

I know this would be a nuisance for David Beckham, but I think his sacrifice is a price worth paying.

THERE’S an election coming up in Spain and, as you’d expect, the main parties are coming up with all sorts of bonkers ideas to woo voters.

The Left has said they will give every single young person 20,000 euros.

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The Right has fought back by saying they will end the ban on hunting wolves.

Dear God, it seems their politics are even more nuts than ours.

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