Going to Extremes

By Zac Elston

MTV sucks. Not because they show mindless entertainment with little or no socially enhancing value (notice I didn’t say socially redeeming) or because they invented the quick cut flash shot for subliminal targeting. MTV suck because their commercials suck.

Most television stations have about 4-5 minutes of commercial breaks filled with big product names, and hints of shows to come. If you watch any late night TV you see a different kind of commercial. The “blue background amazing new but wait there is more” product. Time-Life record sales and what not.

This sub par class of products and mix tapes that can’t sell themselves so they need to hypnotize you to buy one. The watch 100 random street people all proclaim that this new hair removal product really is the most incredible thing in the whole world and gosh isn’t my life so much better now commercial.… Continue reading


Music business marketing term, coined 1996, for a collection of electronic dance-music styles, including techno, jungle, and trip-hop. The commercial failure of early-’90s dance acts such as T99, Prodigy, and Utah Saints was seemingly forgotten in the industry’s rush to find a replacement for waning alternative rock bands.

MTV obligingly got behind the “new” movement, promoting electronic music wherever possible, and even adopting a more “techno” graphic identity. One early 1997 MTV promo clip featured Perry Farrell: “It’s very popular right now to try to entice people into dancing,” said the singer, “and I think it’s so healthy.”

A next wave of “electronica” acts, including artists like the Orbital and The Future Sound of London were exposed by MTV’s cult show Amp, and some of the new acts edged toward the mainstream: the Chemical Brothers recorded with Liam Gallagher of Oasis and Prodigy added a punky singer named Keith Flint.… Continue reading

Aeon Flux

Hyperkinetic, ultraviolent spy vs. spy cyberpunk animation. AF first aired on the June 1991 debut of MTV’s Liquid Television’s show and was created by Peter Chung, the Korean-born head of animation for Liquid Television’s production company.

The show boasts one of the highest body counts per minute of any set of images ever committed to film, condensing the gun-propelled physicality and action sequences of an entire John Woo feature into an animated short, more than a few times involving the death of the svelte heroine-assassin herself.

In the second half of 1995 MTV gave the heroine a voice and spun off a separate Aeon Flux show, videogame, and book. Chung’s second series, Phantom 2040, was a futuristic adaptation of comic hero the Phantom, first offered through syndication in 1994.

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