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.
Black Friday saw so many shows cancelled. Also: New NBC TV show trailers! And Constance Wu's wild weekend!
Always Be Watching is renewed for another 30 seasons.
It was a black Friday in Hollywood with a bloodbath of US broadcast network shows getting cancelled.
Shows that got the axe include:
Life In Pieces
The Kids Are Alright
Splitting Up Together
I Feel Bad
The Cool Kids
For The People
There are very few surprises in that list. Notable is the cancellation of the Murphy Brown reboot. The lesson to be taken away from that one isn’t that revival series are bad, it is just that revivals need to be smarter about how they are executed. Rewatching old Murphy Brown episodes, it was clear that the show just didn’t hold up anymore (the jokes were TERRIBLE). But what the show did have was a great leading actor (Candice Bergen) and a beloved character. There would have been no shame in completely revising what a Murphy Brown show could be - take it down a single camera dramatic route like the Lou Grant TV show, or just completely rebuild a new show around the character like Frasier. The changes made to Murphy Brown to update it for 2019 were cosmetic at best.
But, with the old shows washed away, it becomes a time of renewal. With the television pilot buds opening and blossoming into new shows that you will all fall in love with and will no doubt be just as disinterested when they’re cancelled this year and next.
NBC was first to confirm its 2019/20 season. And it also has trailers for upcoming shows. Here’s what was announced… and try to remember that these are actual shows and not parodies. Honest…
Bluff City Law - Changing the world is the family business. Jimmy Smits stars in Bluff City Law, a powerful new legal drama coming Mondays this fall to NBC.
Perfect Harmony - He needs them. They need hymn. Bradley Whitford returns to NBC in Perfect Harmony, coming Thursdays this fall!
Sunnyside - Kal Penn stars in Sunnyside, from the network that brought you The Good Place and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Also coming to NBC is Lincoln - a drama series based on The Bone Collector and a sitcom starring Adam Pally, Steven Weber, and Fran Drescher.
That censored episode of The Good Fight is being censored across the globe. It won’t just be in the US that you won’t see the cartoon air. The UK’s Channel 4 have said that the network is contractually obliged to show the episode as it aired in the US.
It was a wild couple of hours on Twitter as Fresh Off The Boat actor Constance Wu posted to both Twitter and Instagram her displeasure at the series getting renewed.
Wu then backpedaled and then backpedaled again to get herself out of trouble. But, it seems like there’s an audience of people out there who have trouble with the woe is me attitude of an actor who is contractually obliged to be well paid while starring in a sitcom that doesn’t pay as well as a movie might.
The first backpedal:
And the second backpedal:
Last year NBC saved canceled Fox comedy Brooklyn Nine Nine, but renewed it for just 13 episodes. Later they ordered an additional five episodes. Looks like it is the same deal again this year with just 13 episodes ordered. There’s no word on whether there is an option for more. Don’t take this as a negative - the show is still performing well and NBC also owns the show, so there’s little danger of it going away for a business reason anytime soon.
Somehow this weekend I found myself sucked back into watching The Amazing Race. It’s currently on season 31. I don’t think I have watched it for a good ten years or so now, but I am now back into it. Deep into it.
So, this will exclusively be an Amazing Race-focused newsletter from this point in. I am sure you will all appreciate my decision…
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