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.
Always Be Watching - 29 October 2018
ABW is by Dan Barrett who enjoys lasagne and is aware that today is the start of the week.
Shock! Apu is being written out of The Simpsons. We know this is true because a fan, *ahem*, ‘producer’ hoping to get Fox to produce a script created through a website competition he was running said a producer told him this.
Like, it’s possible, but let’s not treat this as a done deal just yet.
“It’s a big headache, just for people to watch and think, ‘Oh, right. It’s live.’ We had to get the story right, to feel it was worth it. We’ve incorporated some deliberate challenges to help show off the fact that it’s live. If we can achieve it, it’ll be good. If not, it’ll crumble around us.”
It’s genuinely surprising to me that there isn’t more live TV on the air - surely it’s a great point of difference to streaming on Netflix. Why not bring a sense of live theatre to television?
Apparently the Golden Girls cereal in the US is flying off the shelves. I just wish more people would take the time to go back and watch the actual series - it still holds up remarkably well.
The upcoming Twilight Zone reboot will include a remake of the classic Nightmare At 20,000 Feet. Re-titled Nightmare at 30,000 Feet, Adam Scott will star in the episode in the role played by William Shatner in the original series and by John Lithgow in the segment during The Twilight Zone Movie.
That air of doom arises from more than the inherent conflicts of the high-culture outpost and the mass-market colossus. It’s born of another conflict, between the ownership of physical media and the mere purchase of access to data—between the permanent and the revocable, between the onetime purchase and the monthly subscription forever. Whatever’s worth revisiting over the years is worth owning—whether in physical media or at least a digital file.
My general thoughts on the service: It is important that we have access to services that make older movies available. BUT… I’m not convinced FilmStruck was the best platform for it. By having a destination for art-house and archive movies, it immediately puts them in the ghetto and turns it into the movie equivalent of eating your vegetables. These great films need to sit alongside a viewers general entertainment options.
As FilmStruck stood, it was more aspirational viewing, with very little likelihood that most viewers would actually work their way through a watch list.
Netflix is terrible for movie appreciation, but I’m wondering if a form more like Amazon Channels would be better for it - subscribe to the service and it puts these great films alongside everything else you watch. Want a deeper experience with commentaries and supplemental video? Subscribers can then go and open up the dedicated app. My understanding is that Apple want to launch something similar to the Amazon Channels experience through its own TV App.
Thank god for the new journalistic form of ‘the oral history’. It has given us all an opportunity to go deep with inquiry into some of the biggest, most burning issues of our times. Today The LAist has explored the oral history of 30 Rock song Werewolf Bar Mitzvah.
Red Dead Redemption 2 was released on Friday, which was met by a surprisingly large number of people on my feeds posting pictures of them buying the game. Most of these same people went silent for the rest of the weekend. I expect to hear from them again by mid-December.
It is baffling to me, but the second season of Netflix comedy Friends From College will debut on 11 January. Season one dropped during July 2017. I presume the existence of a season 2 must be contractual. It has to be.
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