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.
Baby Yoda is coming back real soon!
ALSO: The Fresh Prince finds a Bel Air home. AND: The future of advertising in a streaming world.
Probably the biggest show around right now is the Disney+ series The Mandalorian. Entertainment Weekly has a feature story on its impending return on October 30.
While there’s some interesting tidbits in the article, such as the second season will have an even greater variance in episode lengths, I really liked a quote used early in the piece. It really gets to the heart of why audiences went crazy for the TV show and have been lukewarm on the movies of late.
“Quite simply: We didn’t overthink things,” Filoni says of the show's debut season, which was inspired by the opening act of A New Hope and straightforward compared to the frenetic tangle of characters, story threads, and callbacks that filled 2019’s saga-concluding The Rise of Skywalker. “George started with these very iconic characters whose relationships are very clear, and then introduced what’s at stake — for us, the [fate of] the Child,” says Filoni. “An audience tends to enjoy a story by sticking to tropes and characters they understand — like a gunslinger in the Old West. So it was a clear story and a fun adventure even if you’ve never seen anything [in the Star Wars universe]."
Translation: Keep things stupid, silly. There’s no need for mystery boxes and any of that ridiculous JJ Abrams guff.
Remember a few weeks ago the story about how a young filmmakers life got turned upside down when Will Smith came on board to produce TV series out of Morgan Cooper’s fake dramatic Fresh Prince of Bel Air trailer. Well, Bel Air has found a home with a 2-season pick-up by NBC’s streaming service Peacock.
HBO Max considers commercials
Even before the launch of HBO Max, WarnerMedia has been actively talking about launching an ad-supported version of the service. It sounds like those plans are still fluid, but any ad-supported version likely won’t mean ads will be included on new shows currently airing on HBO or during new movies released to the platform.
Speaking of advertising, a company feeling the squeeze on the changing relationship viewers have with advertising is Coca-Cola. The company has been active in efforts to embrace new ad formats on streaming services and engage in product placement (did you notice Coke in the last season of Stranger Things? Didja?)
The company is applying similar thinking to streaming-video venues that accept more traditional commercials. Executives keep talking to streaming outlets not about how to put a commercial next to a show or a can of Fanta on set, but about the moments where they might be able to help subscribers have a better experience. Coke executives have noticed that players on Amazon’s Twitch pay a lot of attention, for example, when a user is made a partner on the gaming service, says Hagen. And Coca-Cola talked to executives at Hulu about what might be done when viewers decided to pause a show.
“Coca-Cola is the original pause that refreshes,” says Hagen, making a reference to a 1929 Coke slogan that continues to have traction.
After 17 years of oddity, The Venture Bros has been cancelled.
Here’s creator Christopher McCulloch announcing it via Twitter:
Before you pour out a whiskey to deal with this heartbreak, know that this might be the end, but also… it might not be the end. Here’s network Adult Swim:
Let’s see if this leads anywhere…
Cameron Daddo’s Home & Away character Evan was killed off on the show in a recent episode. But fear not soap opera fans - Daddo will return to the show as Evan’s twin brother Owen. Source: Radio Times
NYPD Blue’s Kim Delaney is joining the cast of General Hospital. Source: Deadline
The Chi has been renewed for a fourth season. Source: TV Guide
Deadline today features a profile on Aussie production company Jungle which would like to let it be known that their shows work in the US and they are keen to make US shows from Australia. Read: Deadline
Facebook fails in its duty of care to user?
If you have been on Facebook or TikTok in the past few days you may very well have been exposed to a video of a man who took his own life on August 21. The man filmed the act on a Facebook Live. Users of the social media platforms have been re-uploading the video and using it almost like a Rick-roll as part of online shenanigans. Dark stuff.
Josh Steen, a friend of the man, has criticised the social media platforms for not doing enough. He has called-out Facebook specifically as they could have stopped the livestream of the video.
“Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social platforms could ban accounts, IPs, and stop the spread of this video. YouTube can flag you for using two seconds of a copyrighted song, but can’t seem to filter out my friend ending his life. It does not make sense.”
During the stream, the man misfired his gun. Despite reports made while he was still alive, Facebook allowed the stream to continue.
I had some thoughts about this, but I’ll leave you with one more quote from Josh Stein who says it well here:
“If someone dies, much less chooses to take their own life, it should not be allowed to be openly traded like a GIF from ‘The Office’ on social media,” he argues. “The word ‘standards’ means something, and these social channels should be held legally responsible for the pain and suffering Ronnie’s family is going through.”
I find it difficult to disagree with that sentiment.
[If you ever need someone to talk to, please call Lifeline - 13 11 14]
Always Be Listening
A quick heads-up. If you’re a fan of 30 Rock and/or Tina Fey, I happened across an episode of the David Tennant Does a Podcast With… podcast and heard his interview with Tina Fey. It’s a really wonderful listen which goes into a lot of the real world practicalities of being on SNL and then how her fade out from that show led to 30 Rock and how that show changed from her original idea (it was supposed to be set in the world of cable TV news). Listen: David Tennant's website
Ben Wheatley’s feature film adaptation of Rebecca (he is adamant he is adapting the original book and not the Hitchcock adaption of the same book) debuts on Netflix Oct 21.
Star Trek Discovery s3 debuts October 15.
Ratched debuts on Netflix Sept 18. Today we have a final trailer.
A teaser for the Dune trailer is running in cinemas right now ahead of Tenant. That’s right… an advertisement to let you know that an advertisement will be released soon. Here’s a sequel to that advertisement to let you know the real advertisement is out tomorrow.
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