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.
Aidy Bryant's struggle! Crashing cancelled! And more!
Always Be Watching is curated by Dan Barrett who is toying with the ABW logo...
Aidy Bryant is featured in a New York Times profile piece in which she details her struggles with accepting herself in a society that values thinner people. And, of course, how this has informed her new Hulu series (based off the memoir by Lindy West).
Every time she played Sanders on “S.N.L.,” Bryant said, “I would just be inundated with tweets.”
She added, “Fifty percent of them were liberal people being like, ‘You are too gorgeous to play that fat, ugly pig,’ and the rest were conservative people saying, ‘You are a fat, ugly pig who should not be playing that strong, independent woman.’”
“It was so absolutely brutal that they’re reducing me and her both to being pigs,” she added. (Bryant has since quit Twitter.)
I’ve not read the Neil Gaiman book Good Omens, but I really liked what I saw of the trailer and I’m pretty excited to see the show when it debuts. Something else that enthuses me: There won’t be a season 2.
“Season 1 of Good Omens is Good Omens. It’s brilliant. It finishes. You have six episodes and we’re done. We won’t try to build in all these things to try to let it continue indefinitely.”
The David Fincher/Rob Miller Netflix animated series Love, Sex & Robots had a preview at SXSW. A third of the series animated shorts were screened and, based off the tweets I’ve seen, it seems like the show will revel in the excess promised by the trailer. But… what’s the actual material like?
Indiewire’s Ben Travis isn’t too keen on it, expressing concern at the male gaze of the show, reveling in excessive female nudity throughout:
Other episodes toss in naked women in similarly cavalier fashion. Fair enough: This is “Love, Sex & Robots” — isn’t a little risqué material expected with a title like that? But there’s no real love to be found here. Between a random flasher at a protest and two lesbians hooking up as a red herring, Fincher and Miller’s initial shorts treat their characters like objects — which makes sense in that this is all about the animation, but it also endows the whole thing with a gross male gaze problem.
Normally, I am not one to demand that a reviewer has to see every episode before reviewing a show - it’s actually a rather ridiculous expectation generally when it comes to episodic television. But, I do wonder if that’s important here as opposed to select animated shorts screened for a SXSW audience. I would assume that the shorts screened were the most impactful of the bunch and therefore *might* be excessive in all the right and wrong ways - not necessarily indicative of the show as a whole.
Or maybe the entire show is like that. Anyway, we’ll see for ourselves when the show debuts this coming weekend.
I find it incredible that I am still seeing people upset that Bob Greenblatt claimed that Netflix doesn’t have a brand identity. Isn’t that kind of true though? His Encyclopedia Brittanica simile was maybe a bit off base, but it’s not like anyone can define the look and feel of a Netflix program in the same way other networks shows have a sense of a brand adherence. The Netflix brand is more about its function as a utility rather than as a brand in the old way of thinking about a TV network.
BBC Director General Tony Hall has come out swinging, defending shows like Bodyguard for having a bigger audience and a smaller budget than lavish Netflix series The Crown:
“I mentioned the Bodyguard finale reaching 17 million viewers,” he told a media conference in London. “That was in one month. Our data suggests The Crown reached seven million users in 17 months.”
Anyone comparing broadcast and on-demand streaming is really playing an apples and oranges game - Netflix aren’t commissioning for broad viewership in the same way that the BBC kind of has to in order to defend its bigger commissions. But also, it’s unfair for the BBC to have to defend itself for not having the cultural cache of the global streaming service.
Sad news with the cancellation of HBO comedy Crashing.
When the show first started, I thought it was fine, but in no way essential viewing. But episode after episode, season after season, the show proved itself to have more heart than anything else on TV. Producer Judd Apatow has suggested that if they can’t find a new home for the series, it may have a new life as a movie. I don’t know how many people will be clamoring for more, but if you never watched the show, or gave up on it after one of the early episodes, maybe just sample an episode from its most recent season and see what you think.
The season (series?) finale airs in just a few hours from now.
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.