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.
Big Little Lies controversy! PLUS: The expense of the new Star Wars show. And Aziz says sorry.
Always Be Watching is curated by Dan Barrett who has a paper deliver route to worry about.
The cost of the average episode of The Mandalorian? Reportedly $15 million. That’s the sort of money Disney probably needs to spend if it is going to knock people’s socks off with the new Star Wars TV show that will drive initial interest in its streaming service Disney+.
Apple has reportedly put its augmented reality headset on hold. The two big sticking points being that they couldn’t make the headset lightweight enough and were going to struggle to get a mature-enough content library ready in time for a 2020 launch. I understand the weight issue, but the secondary issue sounds like something that could be solved by either throwing money at the problem, and/or delaying for a year.
If Big Little Lies season 2 has felt a little off to you, a report by Indiewire into the production difficulties of the second season might be illuminating. Series director Andrea Arnold was reportedly hired to bring her directorial style to the series, but in post-production, it was decided to re-edit and even re-shoot some scenes to bring it in line with the visual style of first-season director Jean-Marc Vallée.
I’ve really been enjoying the second season, but did feel that last week’s episode felt a little choppy and also spoke to the idea that there hasn’t really been enough material to sustain the show’s 7-episode 2nd season run. That’s never really been a complaint I’ve had with David E Kelley’s writing in the past. Also, it was weird seeing so many editors listed in the opening titles. It makes me wonder what has been chopped out.
Maybe it is time to finally watch The Deuce? It is, after all, the BEST show on TV that you haven’t been watching.
There’s a number of thought pieces floating around online about the new Aziz Ansari comedy special that is now streaming on Netflix.
The general consensus is that the show isn’t particularly that funny and that Ansari has mostly been successful with it in its efforts to unburden his on-stage persona from the Babe.net story from last year which depicted some bad sex its young writer had with Ansari.
I got a weird feeling, watching “Right Now,” that the #MeToo story had liberated Ansari, forcing him to kill his old persona and give his new one teeth. “That old Aziz who said, ‘Oh, treat yo’self’? He’s dead,” he says, at the special’s end. He has developed a disdain for the brand of bland likability he formerly hawked, even as he can’t quite escape its skin.
One of the best comic book reads is a great low-profile series called Paper Girls. The comic is about a group of young teen newspaper delivery girls in the 80s who get mixed up with aliens and time travel. It feels VERY Stranger Things.
Vaughan’s characteristic flair for extended serial adventure stories with a mystery at their heart is in full force in Paper Girls, with the added complication of keeping the story’s whole time hopping, causality smashing story back to front. What helps is that our four protagonists — and the wealth of secondary characters they encounter — feel entirely real. Just like Stranger Things, you keep turning pages (or tapping “next episode”) not just to see if they survive, but how they grapple with, say, finding out that they die of childhood leukemia before they finish high school.
And if you’re a fan of Stranger Things but wish the show handled its female characters, or its queer coding, or its rosy-eyed love of 1980s pop culture with a little more nuance more frequently, you’ll find a lot to like in Paper Girls.