A daily newsletter guide to what is happening on your screens - TV, streaming, movies, games, VR, AR
Dan Barrett is an industry commentator & TV critic. He does radio - 4BC & ABC GC and co-hosts the Screen Watching podcast. He's a former Mediaweek deputy editor and content creator for SBS.
ABW TV Guide: All the new & returning TV to watch this weekend (17-19 Jan 2020)
Always Be Watching is curated each week by Dan Barrett - a man who hasn't left the couch in over 35 years.
TV feels so different today than it did even five years ago. This week procedural drama Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt For The Bone Collector debuted on NBC. Based on The Bone Collector (like me, you probably saw the mostly forgettable film starring Angelina Jolie and Denzel Washington but barely remember a single moment from it), the series is about a brilliant police detective confined to his bed due to an injury who works with a young detective who is still at an early stage in her career. Five years ago, this very generic show would have been considered a bit high concept. Today, it just feels tired and too old-school to want to even bother with.
In 2020, new shows feel more like movies. They require more specificity. While Lincoln Rhyme isn’t just a case of the week series (tho, it is also that), the premise has Lincoln working from his bed at home, unable to work. What gives the show its 2015 or earlier vibe is the knowledge that the show will do nothing with that conceit - it’s just a plot device to give its procedural plots an angle. A 2020 version of that show has Lincoln injured in the line of duty, but working to overcome the physiological and psychological boundaries that prevent him from being the man he once was as he forges a new path. Oh, and he’ll also face down his greatest enemy through the first season while developing a bond with a younger detective.
The Too-Long Didn’t Read version: Check out The Outsider. It’s a smart limited series that delivers everything you want from a supernaturally-tinged HBO drama and it doesn’t waste your time or intelligence. As opposed to Lincoln Rhyme, which feels super dated.
Cold Feet (s9), Vera (s10), Legends of Tomorrow (s5), Grace and Frankie (s6), The Magicians (s5), Grown-ish (s3), Sex Education (s2)
When an insidious supernatural force edges its way into a seemingly straightforward investigation into the gruesome hug of a young boy, it leads a seasoned cop and an unorthodox investigator to question everything they believe in.
A dark comedy following a multicultural mix of men and women deployed as Army medics to a forward operating base in Afghanistan nicknamed 'The Orphanage'. Together, they endure a dangerous and Kafkaesque world that leads to self-destructive appetites, outrageous behavior, intense camaraderie and occasionally, a profound sense of purpose.
Nicholas is a neurotic 25-year-old visiting his single dad and two teenage half-sisters, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. He hasn't been particularly present in his siblings' lives, but when their dad reveals that he is terminally ill, the girls have to cope with not only a devastating loss but also the realization that Nicholas is the one who will have to rise to the occasion, move in, and hold it all together.
As widespread power outages cause chaos and threaten lives across the country, the COBRA committee comprised of the UK's leading experts and politicians, gathers to find a way to turn the lights back on.