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.
Boyega says no to Disney+ | Packed To The Rafters is back | Reviews are in for The L Word: Generation Q
Always Be Watching is written by a revived Dan Barrett
“You ain’t going to Disney Plus me” -John Boyega
This was his answer when Variety asked if he’d be up for more Star Wars. The actor would be happy playing Finn again in Star Wars, but only for a feature film. Which is… short-sighted.
Based on the reaction to The Mandalorian, it seems to me that the best move for any actor in a Star Wars property to make would be doing TV instead of film. There’s less pressure on the actors, less of a need to do global press tours, and it keeps the actor in the limelight for 6-10 weeks. I’ll be honest, as much as I like Boyega and Star Wars, Boyega is not front of mind when I’m thinking about how excited I am about watching the new movie. The brand trumps the actor here big-time.
The rumours were true - Australian family drama Packed To The Rafters is coming back, exclusive to Amazon Prime Video. This is the first show commissioned by Amazon in Australia and will be produced by Seven Studios.
Returning are original cast members Rebecca Gibney, Erik Thomson, Jessica Marais, Hugh Sheridan, Angus McLaren, Michael Caton, and George Houvardas.
I’ll be curious to see what sort of enthusiasm there is for the show when it returns. It is the sort of title that will be buzzy enough to get some press when it launches, but is it a property that would get Australians signing up to Prime Video?
I suspect the answer to that is no… But… I also suspect that the lightness of the show may actually be a huge drawcard for international viewers. The show will debut globally for Amazon Prime Video.
A few months ago I posted some thoughts to ABW about my concern that Australian producers were demanding an Australian content quota on Netflix (I don’t understand why international streamers should be obligated) and flagged the idea that instead Australian producers should be more focused on finding out what is unique about Australian content and push that to the world - much like how Scandi countries found a market for Scandi Noir programs.
Vanity Fair has a profile piece on showrunner Marja-Lewis Ryan who details the differences between the original version of the show and the new version, Generation Q:
“In the 2004 version of the show, often you find queer people talking about being queer,” she says with a chuckle. “I don't wake up in the morning and talk about my lesbian self. My friends don't talk about our queer-spawned children and our lesbian best friends. So we don't have those conversations [on the series]. We just show them living.” In fact, Ryan told me that when she initially went after the gig (Chaiken is an executive producer, but a deal at 20th Century Fox Television left her unable to run the reboot), “one of my main pitches was no more coming out stories. Nobody's coming out as gay, nobody's coming out as trans. We just drop into their lives because that's what it feels like for me right now. We're just kinda in it.”
The New York Times has an interesting review that points out that while the new version of the show feels more grounded to current thinking about the culture of sex, identity, and lifestyle, The L Word: Generation Q lacks financial diversity.
Admittedly, “The L Word” is an aspirational soap. Still, based on its first three episodes (of eight total), the new series has not adapted to every way in which the world has changed: We just don’t watch rich and powerful people like we used to. Now as before, the series focuses on the characters’ sentimental and sexual experiences. But it always stood on shaky, uncritical ground when it came to money and class, and “Generation Q” offers little progress in that regard — unlike, say, the Starz show “Vida,” in which sexual, ethnic and cultural identities are pointedly explored within the context of Los Angeles’s divisive gentrification issues.