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NTS's First Birthday Review

We've made it to one! Here's our review of the past year, where we all nominate our favourite article on NTS, our best article, and what we think the next year will bring. What better way to celebrate the site than being ridiculously self-indulgent?

Josh Barton piccyJosh Barton

Best of NTS: I especially enjoyed Seb's review of Superman Returns; I'm not a particularly big fan of Superman as a character or franchise, but I did go and see the movie, and as such, enjoyed reading and reflecting on someone else's opinions, especially when that person happens to be something of an authority on the subject.

Best of me: I've only been contributing to Noise To Signal for a matter of weeks, so I don't have an enormous amount of articles to choose from. Saying that, I'm rather attached to my preview of >Dead Rising, not only because the subject matter is very dear to me, but because it allowed me transcribe some of the thoughts about the game that had been swimming around my head since it was announced, as well as the parallels it shares with the films of George A. Romero. The article also gave me a legitimate purpose to write about zombies, which is always a positive experience.

The next year: I'm looking forwards to the impending console war, not simply because of all of the new games I'll be able to play in the coming months, but because right now, it's a very interesting time to be a spectator of the games industry itself; Sony seems to be rapidly losing its almost decade-long stranglehold on the home console market, Microsoft is gaining ground and reputation at every turn, and Nintendo have chosen to step out of the same race altogether, and concentrate on changing how we play games. Of course, we don't quite know how this is going to pan out, so from an NTS perspective, it's going to be great to be able to commentate not only on which games are good or bad, but also on the state of the industry as a whole.

Jonathan Capps piccyJonathan Capps

Best of NTS: Despite the fact we've been running for a year, now, my favourite comes from our very first month online. The Best Album Never Made covers the story behind Weezer's lost album Songs from the Black Hole. Not only is this a concise and extremely informative article on an undoubted lost classic, it also motivated me to go and seek out Weezer's older material, which is something I'm eternally grateful for.

Best of me: I'll be the first to admit that I'm rubbish, but when it comes down to unbridled enthusiasm and hyperbole, I excel. Lost Series 1 DVD review is probably the most notable example of this, and despite its flaws, is my favourite piece I wrote for NTS.

The next year: Well, assuming BT stop being a useless bag of cunts and allow me to get broadband sometime in the next millenium then my 'big thing' over the next year will be POV USA. Week by week, I'll be giving you the low-down on all the best shows as they are broadcast in the Yuu Es. Favourites such as Lost, 24, Prison Break and new comer Six Degrees will be weekly fixtures (in the weeks they're actually broadcast, obviously) along with quick reviews of the best of the rest, along with weekly accolades awarded to the best and worst of the week. Should be good! So long as, you know, I get my broadband issues sorted out...

John Hoare piccyJohn Hoare

Best of NTS: Seb Patrick's New Earth review. Partly because it's just a very well-written review - but I'm also choosing it because it represents the series of Who reviews we did for Series 2 that I absolutely loved - it was just really exciting to do. (For those waiting for the continuation of our Series 1 retrospective reviews, they'll start again this weekend.)

Best of me: Probably The Black Hole. It's an issue I feel very strongly about - I expanded on the issue recently on Ganymede & Titan. People seem to think that the web is filled with so much information about every topic under the sun that they couldn't possibly add to it. It's just bollocks. There's shitloads of gaps - and about some very obvious things. Just take a subject you love, and start a blog on it - I guarantee that if you can write in the slightest, you'll get visitors, comments, and a whole lot of joy.

The next year: What I really want to get done in the next year is actually what I've just finished doing for G&T - changing the backend of the system from Movable Type to Drupal. This is less for what this will bring to people visiting the site - although it'll mean we can add loads of new things - and more for the fact that it'll make contributing to the site a lot easier. Currently, the backend system is a hacked mess - it desperately needs making easier to use. And the easier it is to use, the more writers we can attract, and the more great content we get.

James Hunt piccyJames Hunt

Best of NTS: I'll have to say Seb's article The Beautiful Games, Part One if only because it somehow managed to make me interested in reading about football games even though I have no wish to play them. (Still waiting for the next part to turn up, though.)

Best of Me: Now this was a difficult choice. I am my own biggest fan, after all. After much careful consideration, I've gone with My review of Superior Showcase. While I think I opened with some good stuff about the relationship between indie and mainsteam comics, I was especially pleased to discover that some of the creators involved read the review and seemed to enjoy it (see also my review of Phonogram #1, recently).

The next year: I'm looking forward to more Alternate Cover columns, but I also hope that I'll be able to devote a bit more time to some long-form reviews of indie comics. Like any indie scene, these comics contains some of the most universally overlooked artistic brilliance being made today and I hope to do what I can to draw attention to it.

Tanya Jones piccyTanya Jones

Best of NTS: Good lord, this was a tough decision. However, I settled on MST3K: A Beginner's Guide, by Philip Alderman, simply because it was highlighting something quirky, different, and obviously excellent.

Best of Me: Oh Baby! Motherhood and the Media, as it's the best of my limited contributions to the site, and generated a pleasing amount of positive posts.

The next year: Judging by my past contributions, more on Wimmins' Issues, I'd wager. I've got plans to widen my remit, though (shut up, John).

Michael Lacey piccyMichael Lacey

Best of NTS: I'm not going to pick a specific article here, but I enjoyed reading all of the Series 2 Doctor Who reviews. It's a show that I care deeply about and to have it regularly discussed with an even hand by people who share a passion for it, but not a blind passion, was refreshing and stimulating. I look forward to the continuing S1 reviews, aswell as S3. And Torchwood. Ooh, I've come. Everywhere. In the Library, how embarassing.

Best of Me: I've only got two articles to my name so far, but I greatly enjoyed writing Crappy Twat Bang. Before joining NTS it had been a while since I'd put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and though I was a bit rusty, it was nice to be reminded how good articles are often spawned quite rapidly out of sheer hatred for the subject matter. If I love something I will toil over my words and worry if I'm communicating the subjects strengths or just my own enthusiasm, and I can't read those articles back without wincing a little bit. But if I hate something as much as I hate Tittybangbang, it's a joy to review it, and a joy to read it back, as my memories of writing are little more than a red mist before my eyes.

The next year: I've got a lot of half written bollocks on my computer that I'd like to knock into shape now I have an outlet for it, including a bunch of recipes for a cookbook, first chapters of books that I do not intend to finish (this is just an unusual hobby, but I'd like to see if anyone who read them fancied taking up the baton), and lots of new artwork to display alongside the usual vitriol and hyperbole.

Seb Patrick piccySeb Patrick

Best of NTS: It's not technically an NTS article, but we did link to it, and if Phil had been one of our writers at the time I'm sure it would have been (in fact, I lobbied to have it retrospectively added to the site) - but Alan Partridge and the Maturity Paradox in Bravealan, by Phil Reed, is absolutely fantastic. If you're not going to let me cheat, and you want actual NTS content... well, John Hoare's My Fantasy DVD series, has been a fantastic idea, producing two great articles (of which the aforelinked Knightmare one just shades it for me). It made me wish I had similarly sufficiently geeky knowledge of something to be able to talk about potential extras, but I don't, really. I look forward to more in the future.

Best of me: To be honest, so many people have already mentioned stuff by me that I feel a bit guilty doing so. James and Cappsy already picked two articles I'm particularly proud of - The Beautiful Games and The Best Album Never Made - but in the interests of variety, I'm going to say that the other that I've got a soft spot for is my in-depth look at issues #1-3 of All-Star Superman. It was something of a labour of love, took bloody ages to write, and took a lot of editing in order to chop down the endless rambling about the greatness of Morrison/Quitely in the intro, but I think in the end it came out pretty well. And I got to fill it with lots of gorgeous Frank Quitely artwork.

The next year: I've been really short on time lately, which has meant a drastic cut in my contribution levels, which is annoying as I've had loads of stuff lined up for some time. Inspired by My Fantasy DVD, I'm doing a new series called My Fantasy TV, which will be kicking off with my casting and plot ideas for a second series of the BBC version of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. I also plan to try and expand our music coverage a bit with a new series called Discography (going through the back catalogues of various great bands), and - now that I'm in London - hopefully some gig reviews. Me and James will finally, at some point, get round to an article where we recommend a bunch of comics to people. And then, of course, there's Panel Beating - my currently-dormant (sorry) comics review column, which will be back on its feet when I finally have my own internet connection and the chance to get comics on a weekly basis again. And that's without mentioning undoubtedly-weekly coverage of Torchwood, Who series 3 and Life on Mars series 2...

Philip J Reed, VSc piccyPhilip J Reed, VSc

Best of NTS: Believe it or not, John Hoare's One Book. The best thing about NTS, to me, is when something blossoms into a truly interesting discussion, and I think this post best demonstrates that. After's only three sentences long, and it attracted 58 comments (to date). It was a good debate on what makes literature worth reading (and recommending) and I like that, because books don't really come up on NTS too often...especially not to this kind of response.

Best of me: Though it's technically not me who posted about it (I wasn't a member at the time), I'm going with He's Alan Partridge, which is Tanya's link to my article, Alan Partridge and the Maturity Paradox in Bravealan. Not only do I think it's an excellent piece of writing on my part, but Alan Partridge is such a rich character that it's actually quite rewarding to dig in and find what you can. He's extremely well-rendered. I could--and may full well--do a whole series of articles on various episodes to support this claim.

The next year: Well, unfortunately, timing is much as I would like to flood NTS with articles like the aforementioned Partridge essay, The Friendship Dynamic in Shaun of the Dead and my more recent Futurama exploration, they take time. And a lot of effort. And consequently they fall all too often by the wayside. But I do have plans for a specific Christmas one regarding Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic. Oh, and some supersecret only-kind-of-sexual project with Austin Ross...

Austin Ross piccyAustin Ross

Best of NTS: I honestly think that Phil Reed's recent Futurama article is one of the best things on NTS. It's a well thought-out piece that inspires some thought beyond the surface of the episode. I like that sort of thing.

Best of Me: Well, there really isn't much to choose from. Therefore, I would go with my review of Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness. It's not the best thing that I've ever written, but I still think it's a decent review - it encapsulates the novel concisely, and explores the themes going on behind the surface story.

The next year: Probably more blog entries, articles and reviews about SF - you know, the sort that generally don't interest people. Oh, and there's that special-uber-top-secret project with that man Reed.

We hope you've all enjoyed the past year with us - after our shaky start, that is. Watch out for some "exciting" "stuff" coming up - and if you want to join the writing team, we'd love to hear from you...

About this entry

  • By Team NTS
  • Posted on Tuesday, September 26 2006 @ 6:44 am
  • Categorised in


Shit, I knew there was something I meant to contribute too. I'll add to this when my hangover fucks off.

By Ian Symes
September 26, 2006 @ 3:04 pm

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Well there you go. As with the old ones you'll be interested the first time you see them, pretty much 'meh' the second time, then they'll annoy you for five years until the next ones arrive.

By performingmonkey
September 26, 2006 @ 10:49 pm

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Seb wins (so far) with a whopping FOUR favorite picks. Way to go! (Watch out next year.)

By Philip J Reed, VSc
September 26, 2006 @ 10:56 pm

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>I'll add to this

Said Ian "The Empty Promise" Symes.

By Philip J Reed, VSc
September 27, 2006 @ 10:30 pm

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For all you know, my hangover could still be raging...

By Ian Symes
September 28, 2006 @ 2:30 am

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Is it too late to add to this? I've been too knackered to any writing lately, but I'm shortly due to have time on my hands.

By Phil_A
September 29, 2006 @ 3:50 pm

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Go right ahead, Phil! Just mail it to the list.

By John Hoare
September 30, 2006 @ 6:10 am

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