Media: Things we like

X-FACTOR

It's cheesy, predictable and at times infuriating, but ITV1's reality update of Opportunity Knocks is a much-needed hit for the network. Simon Cowell pompously driving up to auditions in his black Rolls-Royce before laying into the contenders was a highlight of last week's show. We have two concerns, though. First, it's only watchable at the moment because of the dross involved. Nearer the end of the series, the polished acts are much less entertaining. Second, who is that Billy Connolly lookalike dressed like a wizard who helps Sharon Osbourne?

VIEW

Never write off the Germans. Their ad market is shrinking, consumer confidence is on the floor, five million are unemployed, and their choices for chancellor are rubbish. But, amid one of the worst recessions ever, a company still has the balls (and the cash) to launch a magazine. Gruner + Jahr is introducing View, a current affairs monthly full of the most provocative pics of the month. That the publication is picture-heavy is also daring for a print market where photography on the front of newspapers is deemed risque. Expect a UK imitation very soon.

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT

For years it seemed that Channel 4 had the monopoly on buying American TV comedies and piling them into the schedule. However, BBC2 has got in on the act and found a real gem with the wonderfully paced and often hysterically funny Arrested Development - although we reckon it's lost in the schedule with its regular slot of 11.30pm on a Sunday night. The programme, based around a family of misfits (apart from the central character, Michael, who is struggling to run the failing family business following the imprisonment of his dad for embezzlement and treason), is well worth a look.

ELIZABETH I

Dramas based around chapters in history are normally pretty thin - they tend to zip from one event to the next in a vain attempt to get everything covered, to the detriment of both drama and dialogue. However, if its first episode is anything to go by, Channel 4's Elizabeth I is different. Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons put in brilliant performances, but they were helped by an excellent script.

AND ONE THING WE DON'T ...

H&M'S LATEST CINEMA AD

We arrived at the cinema last weekend for a relaxing night out, loaded up with popcorn, watching a bloody good film. And what did we get instead? An intolerably long H&M commercial for its jeans collection which opened with the line: "H&M presents ... Romeo & Juliet." A quick burst would have been enough but this lasted for what seemed like eight minutes. By the end the audience was restless, annoyed and not at all well disposed towards H&M. Sometimes 30-second ads really are the better solution.