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All content tagged: Spy TV

Spy Culture - 2020-06-01 - Original post - cached version

The Little Drummer Girl is an espionage drama based on Operation Wrath of God – the Mossad operation to track...

Spy Culture - 2020-05-24 - Original post - cached version

Spy Games is a recent reality TV game show where 10 dipshits compete for the approval of three ex-spooks who...

Spy Culture - 2020-03-22 - Original post - cached version

The recent Netflix series Messiah depicts what would happen if a Jesus-like figure suddenly appeared and started influencing geopolitics. In...

Spy Culture - 2020-03-18 - Original post - cached version

Henry ‘Hank’ Crumpton is a former CIA operations man who has made numerous appearances on Charlie Rose, 60 Minutes and...

Spy Culture - 2020-03-03 - Original post - cached version

Former Friends star David Schwimmer has been giving a lot of interviews recently to promote his new Sky TV series...

Spy Culture - 2020-01-03 - Original post - cached version

I joined Henri, Keagan and Danny for a broad discussion of Amazon’s Jack Ryan and the CIA’s true history in...

Spy Culture - 2019-12-19 - Original post - cached version

Robbie Martin of Media Roots invited me back on the show for a lengthy, often funny discussion partly inspired by...

Spy Culture - 2019-10-22 - Original post - cached version

With just a week to go before season 2 of Amazon’s Jack Ryan is released and the eponymous star John...

Spy Culture - 2019-10-08 - Original post - cached version

As prep for my forthcoming video on Amazon’s Jack Ryan as next-gen propaganda I’ve been keeping an eye on promotions...

Spy Culture - 2019-09-09 - Original post - cached version

The latest trailer for Amazon Prime’s Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan is a perfect illustration of Western double standards and hypocrisy...

Spy Culture - 2019-07-30 - Original post - cached version

The teaser trailer for season 2 of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan depicts John Krasinski as the eponymous hero in a...

Spy Culture - 2019-07-21 - Original post - cached version

NCIS is a wildly successful TV drama, one of the most popular series of the last 20 years. This week...

Spy Culture - 2019-07-13 - Original post - cached version

In this month’s feature-length subscriber podcast I analyse the Hulu TV drama The Looming Tower (based on the original book...

Spy Culture - 2019-06-12 - Original post - cached version

Despite its enormous popularity there are many problems with Breaking Bad – the utterly racist depiction of Mexicans, the glorifying...

Spy Culture - 2019-06-11 - Original post - cached version

The soft reboot of the political drama Designated Survivor recently dropped on Netflix and in spite of Kiefer Sutherland making...

Spy Culture - 2019-05-29 - Original post - cached version

Netflix recently ordered a 10-episode first series of Q-Force, the world’s first animated LGBTQ spy series.  Pitched as a ‘gay...

Spy Culture - 2019-05-28 - Original post - cached version

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently released nearly 200 pages of contracts between themselves and entertainment producers, which for the...

Spy Culture - 2019-05-15 - Original post - cached version

In 1998 retired FBI deputy director Cartha DeLoach was asked by the producers of The X-Files to review the script...

Spy Culture - 2019-02-26 - Original post - cached version

The FBI recently released a tranche of documents on the USA Network TV series Burn Notice.  While most of the...

Spy Culture - 2019-02-02 - Original post - cached version

Missy Peregrym and Zeeko Zaki, two of the stars of the CBS drama FBI were asked about the government shutdown...

Spy Culture - 2019-01-17 - Original post - cached version

In my final review of The Wire I discuss how the core theme of season 5 – truth – plays...

Spy Culture - 2018-12-27 - Original post - cached version
In this penultimate review episode I look at how the education system is a poor place to learn anything, how standardised testing is a form of child abuse, the fundamental problems of electoral politics, and expand on why an intelligence-based approach to societal problems is always better than a...
Spy Culture - 2018-11-28 - Original post - cached version
In part 3 of this subcriber-only review series I look at season three of The Wire. In this season the Barksdale storyline comes to a climax, while the city hall politics are added into the ever-expanding world of the show. I examine the Hamsterdam experiment, where one police major decides to...
Spy Culture - 2018-11-09 - Original post - cached version
In the second of my subscriber-only reviews of The Wire I look at season 2. Focusing on smuggling through the port of Baltimore this season explores how capitalism has evolved to a post-industrial phase dominated by service industries like sex and drugs, how investigating sex slavery is relegated...
Spy Culture - 2018-11-02 - Original post - cached version
This is part 1 of a new subscriber-only review series where I talk about The Wire. In this episode I discuss some of the recurring themes – the war on drugs, the failed police tactics, the dirty money trail – along with the complex metaphysics of the show. I talk about some of my favourite […]...
Spy Culture - 2018-10-27 - Original post - cached version
Just as politicians start to believe their own speeches, intelligence agencies start to believe their own propaganda. Nowhere is this clearer than in the CIA's black stite torture program initiated in the wake of 9/11. Recently declassified documents detailing current CIA director Gina Haspel's...
Spy Culture - 2018-10-21 - Original post - cached version
The new Amazon series Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan is the first TV show to film at CIA headquarters for several years, in keeping with the Agency’s long-time support for adaptations of Clancy’s work. In this episode I review and analyse the series, including the inevitable references to 9/11, the...
Spy Culture - 2018-10-18 - Original post - cached version
Amazon's new headline streaming series Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan is the first TV show to film at CIA headquarters for several years, after a fairly disastrous run that saw two awful movies along with an awful TV programme film there circa 2014. In keeping with the CIA's longstanding love affair with...
Spy Culture - 2018-10-14 - Original post - cached version
The CIA’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA) was established in the late 1970s and contains their entertainment liaison office. This week I go through an 8-page summary of the CIA’s Entertainment Liaison and Media Outreach activities covering 2014-16. This includes their relationships with journalists...
Spy Culture - 2018-10-10 - Original post - cached version
The CIA's Office of Public Affairs is - ironically - very tight-lipped about what they actually do, so I was pleased that they recently responded to a 3 year old FOIA request and provided me with a document summarising their activities from 2014 to 2016. This includes numerous meetings with...
Spy Culture - 2018-09-02 - Original post - cached version
Condor is a TV reboot of Three Days of the Condor, and centres around a CIA officer who goes on the run after he is framed for killing 11 of his colleagues. In this episode I examine whether Condor was CIA-sponsored, why the Agency might support a series that shows them planning massive crimes,...
Spy Culture - 2018-07-29 - Original post - cached version
For movie censors, crime is perhaps the most complex issue to make decisions about. They want the public to be alert to the possibility of crimes happening, and respectful of law enforcement institutions. But entertainers and audiences want dramatic, ambiguous villains and stories of institutional...
Spy Culture - 2018-07-23 - Original post - cached version
While most entertainment supports or promote the military, police and intelligence agencies there is a smaller but important sub-genre that critiques and satirises the security state.  On this month’s subscriber-only podcast I look at four examples – two TV series and two films – that mock and...
Spy Culture - 2018-07-01 - Original post - cached version
One of the growing markets in spy fiction is pop culture aimed at teenagers or ‘young adults’. The CHERUB series by Robert Muchamore depicts a junior wing of MI6, with the first novel in the series – The Recruit – depicting the recruitment, training and first mission of our protagonist, James...
Spy Culture - 2018-06-06 - Original post - cached version
The Untouchables TV series (1959-63) was the first of its kind – a police procedural with explicit violence and action.  Up until then most detective stories focused on the investigation, but The Untouchables featured the gunfights and car chases that became staples of the genre by the 1970s.  It...
Spy Culture - 2018-04-16 - Original post - cached version
I recently joined Robbie Martin of Media Roots to discussion the Salisbury poisoning, the Skripals, the Syrian airstrikes and the general state of politics and Russophobia.  We covered many of the reasons to be sceptical of the official story about the poisoning of the Skripals, how this relates...
Spy Culture - 2018-04-15 - Original post - cached version
In this month’s subscriber-only podcast I take a look at three TV series which predicted or reinforced various aspects of the official story of the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.  I examine Salvation, Homeland and Strike Back have featured dialogue and storylines about Litvinenko, Russian...
Spy Culture - 2018-04-08 - Original post - cached version
On March 4th Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in the sleepy British city of Salisbury, by forces currently unknown. The British government immediately blamed Russian intelligence, leading to weeks of accusations and counter-accusations, diplomatic expulsions and lots of...
Spy Culture - 2018-02-18 - Original post - cached version
Spy is a 2004 BBC gameshow where ordinary members of the public are trained and tested by real life ex-spooks and ultimately some are eliminated until there’s a winner. Spies is a 2017 Channel 4 gameshow where ordinary members of the public are trained and tested by real life ex-spooks and...
Spy Culture - 2018-02-14 - Original post - cached version
Continuing our long-running commentary, Pearse invited me back onto Porkins Policy Radio to talk about the first episode of the new season of Homeland.  For the first time in several seasons Homeland maintained the storyline from the previous season rather than rebooting the show’s storyline and...
Spy Culture - 2018-02-04 - Original post - cached version
Ted Kaczynski is most famous for both being the most prolific serial bomber in US history and for writing the Unabomber Manifesto – a political-philosophical tract that was published by major newspapers and by the FBI. This week I take a look at the life of Ted Kaczynski and conduct a...
Spy Culture - 2018-01-07 - Original post - cached version
The Science and Entertainment Exchange (or SEEX) has consulted on over 1300 films and TV shows in less than 10 years, but outside of Hollywood few people know who they are and what they do. This week we pull back the curtain to look at their activities and their agenda. Are they merely concerned...
Spy Culture - 2017-12-03 - Original post - cached version
Of all the US intelligence agencies, the FBI has the longest-running relationship with Hollywood. From spying on A-listers as to helping blacklist screenwriters, through to manipulating scripts for PR and propaganda purposes, the Bureau’s influence on Tinseltown is very broad. Using documents from...
Spy Culture - 2017-11-29 - Original post - cached version
Newly released documents shed light on the FBI's entertainment liaison office - officially titled the Investigative Publicity and Public Affairs Unit (IPPAU), including how they work on dozens of popular films and TV shows, and reject requests for support for PR reasons, just like the Pentagon....
Spy Culture - 2017-11-27 - Original post - cached version
In our review of the final season of the original House of Cards, Pearse and I discuss whether Urquhart is a psychopath, or someone so brutalised by the military and ruling class life that he is indistinguishable from one. We look at The Final Cut’s depiction of British foreign policy – a new...
Spy Culture - 2017-11-15 - Original post - cached version

The long-running ABC show The F.B.I. was perhaps the greatest success of the FBI's entertainment liaison office during Hoover's time as head of the Bureau. The deal struck between the FBI and the producers granted Hoover approval and veto power over scripts, casting and even sponsors. In...

Spy Culture - 2017-11-09 - Original post - cached version

In last weekend's ClandesTime I discussed how the CIA no longer allow film-makers to shoot footage of the CIA headquarters, leading the producers of Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation to re-use old footage of Langley, but it appears they may have relaxed this rule and are now allowing filming...

Spy Culture - 2017-11-05 - Original post - cached version
The first movie to film at CIA Headquarters at Langley was Scorpio in the early 1970s. The last major film was Argo in 2012. Sometime in 2014 the CIA stopped letting film-makers shoot footage on the CIA campus. This week I examine this decision by analysing the last two films that were granted...
Spy Culture - 2017-10-03 - Original post - cached version

Pearse hosted this podcast for his subscribers but I am also making it available for those of you who support me on Patreon as well. In the first of three episodes, Pearse and I examine season 1 of the original (and superior) House of Cards, which follows Francis Urquhart's rise from Chief...

Spy Culture - 2017-09-27 - Original post - cached version
Buster Crabb was a WW2 British Navy Frogman who in 1956 was recruited by MI6 to spy on Soviet ships docking in Portsmouth harbour during a goodwill visit. These files - some available here for the first time - detail the British government's interference in the inquest into Crabb's presumed death...

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