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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 09 January 2018 at 9:15am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Anyone on the forum read TV magazines? If so, any thoughts? Rather than "laundry lists", I'm looking for thoughts on TV magazines.

In 1989, a company called Visual Imagination Ltd. began publishing a magazine called TV ZONE (it ran from 1989 to 2009). In an era before internet sites and IMDb, it was the only place to learn all the news pertaining to US and UK TV shows; it also had features on classic TV. So long before the internet, I was able to learn about classic shows such as QUATERMASS AND THE PIT. 

It was also a source for TNG news, which often whet my appetite. These kids today with their IMDb apps, eh? They will never understand the feeling of waiting a month for a magazine, hoping for an anecdote about QUANTUM LEAP.

Visual Imagination Ltd. started churning out titles such as CULT TIMES, XPOSE, etc. They folded in 2009. In my view, they didn't keep up with the times, nor did they help themselves by churning out multiple titles, many of them similar.

Nowadays, I read STARBURST, which began in 1977. I think Marvel UK published it initially. Visual Imagination Ltd. bought the title eventually. When they folded in 2009, so did STARBURST, but it was "resurrected" in 2012 - and has been a success since.

What TV magazines, if any, do you read?
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Matt Reed
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Posted: 09 January 2018 at 10:33am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

None.  Zip.  Nada.  I was a longtime subscriber to TV Guide, but I dropped that more than a decade ago.  I don't read magazines in general as I can find the same content on line.  I also don't read entertainment magazines, specifically, because for the most part they've turned into gossip rags and studio fluff pieces seemingly aimed at people with ADD (the "articles" such as they are tend to be about a thousand to fifteen hundred words).  
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 09 January 2018 at 12:36pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Used to read TV Zone and Starburst on a regular
basis,but they got a bit samey,plus Cult Times and
Expose diluted the brand.I now subscribe to SFX and
download Starburst on a semi-regular basis.I do remember
seeing your letter on the letters page in Starburst
Robbie!
I actually read Starburst from day one when Dez Skinn
was in charge!
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 09 January 2018 at 12:42pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Yes, I like to write letters. :)

They did dilute the brand with CULT TIMES and XPOSE. They all seemed to be covering the same thing. They had no distinct identity.

Which letter was you thinking of, Bill? I was lucky to get two printed in the last 12-18 months.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 09 January 2018 at 10:36pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I can`t remember Robbie,it`s my age!
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Bob Simko
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Posted: 10 January 2018 at 9:47pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Miss the days when entertainment magazines had content of interest and
value. I do still read EW, and by read I mean I finish an issue in about 10
minutes at most.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 4:47am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

10 minutes?!

I know the feeling. Some magazines here became light on content. It's not a ten-minute read, but I stopped reading the likes of STAR TREK MAGAZINE and STAR WARS MAGAZINE because, in recent years, they've "shed weight" and have had a lot of filler. 
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Matt Reed
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 11:29pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Bob's right.  EW used to be a decent entertainment magazine.  It had some fluff, sure, but it had in-depth articles and compelling reviews.  Now?  If an article lasts longer than two pages, I'm shocked. And those two pages are chock full of huge pictures and graphics that don't really enhance the article.  The reviews?  Please.  Horrible.  Again, it's a magazine made for people with ADD.  I miss the days of Premiere magazine which, in it's heyday, was a pretty fantastic magazine.  After an editorial overhaul, it went the way of EW and eventually folded a decade or more ago.  Sad.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 12 January 2018 at 4:22am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

There was a PREMIERE here in the UK, but whether it simply used the same name as the US mag, or was a UK version of that mag, I do not know.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 12 January 2018 at 5:53am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

One thing that used to bug me about American magazines
like Starlog,articles start on page 23,then `continued
on page 78` WTF??? Interupt the flow of the magazine?
Sack the typesetter/editor/designer!
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 12 January 2018 at 6:45am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

PRO WRESTLING ILLUSTRATED did the same, Bill. ;-)
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Matthew Wilkie
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Posted: 13 January 2018 at 12:29pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Anyone in the UK read Look In back in the seventies and eighties. Definitely aimed at kids it was weird combinations of TV related articles and strips - but only for programmes that appeared on ITV - and pop music. I read it for several years, partly because it was bought for me, but it always felt quite dated.  
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 13 January 2018 at 12:40pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I read it in the 70`s Matthew,i quite enjoyed it`s
mixture of pop music and tv related strips,didn`t care
for the sport bit(Brian Moore?) and the Tv Times bit was
so rudimentary as to be pretty useless...regional
times,only the ITV children`s programmes and no episode
info!
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 January 2018 at 12:56pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

It was a great way for us to read additional adventures of our favourite shows. I loved the strips they did for THE A-TEAM, STREET HAWK, KNIGHT RIDER, CHiPs, etc, etc. 
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 13 January 2018 at 3:16pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

I used to enjoy TV Zone, it was generally a good read - a nice mix of new and classic TV (although I suppose what was new back then is also classic now). I remember buying the first issue of Starburst on the way to my secondary school, way back when, and thinking something along the lines of: 'Cool, we've got our own UK version of Starlog now'. BTW, I'm not sure if Marvel published the first couple of issues, I sort of remember Marvel taking it over around the third issue, but could be mistaken.

Funnily enough, what kind of killed off those mags for me was when they started focusing far too much on The X-Files when that show was at the height of its popularity. Obviously the adventures of Mulder and Scully sold, but for someone like me, who sort of liked The X-Files but wasn't super invested in the show, it stopped being worth my while buying those mags (a lot like Doctor Who magazine where the 21st century version of the show naturally gets more pages allocated to it than my beloved 20th century 'classic' Who). If the mags weren't over-doing the coverage of The X-Files, then it was wannabes or even films and TV that featured FBI agents and serial killers without any SF/Fantasy element attached.

I think my least favourite of these kind of mags was SFX. Maybe I was just the wrong age for a Sci-Fi 'Lad's Mag' that wanted to be my best mate, but I suspect it had more to do with the fact any show I loved SFX seemed to hate. Cynical fanboys writing poison pen articles was pretty much the Internet before the Internet.

Speaking of the Internet, in an age when we can get all the news we need about our fave shows for free, is there any point to those kinds of magazines?
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 January 2018 at 6:44pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Andrew, my friend, I could have typed that, myself. Were we separated at birth?

Yes, they did start focusing too much on The X-Files. At the time, Visual Imagination were publishing Starburst, TV Zone, Cult Times, Xpose, Film Review, The Works and probably others, too. Oh, yes, Shivers was their horror magazine. The X-Files seemed so ubiquitous during that time, making the cover of many of those publications.

And, yes, they overdid the coverage of shows featuring FBI agents and serial killers, e.g. Profiler.

SFX was never for me.

To answer your question, Marvel UK did publish Starburst early on. Then Visual Imagination. Now, someone else does - and it's a fine publication.

Is there any point to these kinds of magazines? I think so. For starters, I go to them for analysis rather than news. I can find news within five minutes by going to Twitter, but for quality analysis, something like the current Starburst is top-notch. It's also nice to have everything in one place. And a magazine like Starburst covers not only TV, films and video games, but tabletop gaming, cosplay, card games, etc. It also covers the independent sector each month.

I don't mean to sound elitist, but anyone can set up a site with 'news' on (wrestling fans used to copy and paste news from sites, pretending it was their own "scoops"). At least with some magazines, you know you are getting (hopefully) a quality publication that employs writers who at least have some credentials.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 14 January 2018 at 1:53am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Remember Deathray a short lived magazine from around
2007/08? I really liked it,it was quality,i could never
understand why it failed when the inferior Sci-Fi Now
magazine is still going.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 14 January 2018 at 5:05am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

I vaguely recall it, yes.
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 14 January 2018 at 7:49am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Robbie, I did some checking and it seems Dez Skinn originally created and produced Starburst and Marvel took over publication with issue 4. I recall reading them on the school bus back in the day. I'm pretty sure, but not certain, that I saw my first picture of Christopher Reeve as Superman in one of those issues. I do remember the thrill of seeing my favourite comic book character so well cast. Happy memories indeed.

BTW, I also remembered* I do still occasionally pick up one of these TV mags - Infinity. It's mainly devoted to classic '60s, '70s and 1980s SF/Fantasy shows and movies which appeals to me. Doesn't hurt that it's reasonably priced too - even cheaper if you purchase the PDF version from their website.

*Why is it that I remember things that happened in the 1970s so clearly but ask me where I left my reading glasses this morning and I'll draw a blank?
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 14 January 2018 at 8:15am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Happy memories indeed!

I said to a young member of the family, "We had to wait a month for a magazine to reveal pictures and news, there was no IMDb to check instantly." I did enjoy waiting for it.

I actually saw my first Superman image in FILM REVIEW. 

I have bought every issue of INFINITY so far. Got a letter printed in an early issue (I use my middle name when I write letters, ever since someone at school mocked a letter of mine, I like to be relatively incognito on the printed page). 
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 14 January 2018 at 9:57am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

I too remember the distant past in great detail,but have
trouble with ten minutes ago!
I quite like Infinity too.I recall getting the first few
issues of Starburst via mail order,also putting the
Superman pics featured in it on my bedroom wall!
Even though you used your middle name Robbie,i still
thought it was you,you must have a recognisable style!
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 14 January 2018 at 10:10am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Thanks, Bill. :)

I got a letter printed in a magazine years ago and got a lot of flak for it. From that time on, I continued with my real surname, but swapped middle and first name around. I know, I know, silly, but the harsh comments that were made to me back then convinced me to go down that route and I never stopped.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 14 January 2018 at 11:45am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

I`m a bit more thick skinned,i use my own name,had
letters printed here there and everywhere,Total
Film,Comics International,SFX,Prog Magazine to name a
few! Often it can be quite rewarding,free dvd`s,whiskey
etc!
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 14 January 2018 at 6:24pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Iíve read a lot of magazines in my time.
Starburst from issue 1, other U.K. ones such as Cult Times, SFX (especially in its Babylon 5 obsessed days), Look In as a kid etc

And then I read a lot of American ones as well such as Starlog, Enterprise Incidents, Fangoria etc

I used to get the Star Wars poster mags that came out with each film and a lot of the Titan published mags such as Star Wars, Babylon 5, Battlestr etc. Bit like the others above, think these have become very same-y now so have dropped them.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 15 January 2018 at 9:57am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

The Titan mags are dire (I dropped them a while back). They have fewer pages, but a price increase. And there's some filler.

STAR TREK MAGAZINE, on sale every two months, had no issues released between about November 2015 and April 2016. No-one at Titan put out any information why. We were left guessing. Nothing on their Facebook page, website, etc. I thought, 'If you can't treat subscribers with respect, then I shall drop you.'
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