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.
Britbox launches in Australia
ALSO: Fire Mando's Gina Carano? AND: Demand Africa
Britbox launches down under
From today Australians can subscribe to streaming service Britbox.
Britbox is co-owned and supported by the BBC and ITV, featuring TV shows from both. It is priced at $8.99 per month or $89.99 for a years subscription. You can watch it via: web, iPhone, iPad, Android smartphones and tablets, Chromecast, Apple TV (4th gen and newer), Samsung Smart TVs, LG Smart TVs, Telstra TV, and Fetch. There’s a 7-day free trial.
Big launch titles include:
All Creatures Great and Small, A Confession (starring Martin Freeman and Imelda Staunton) and Appropriate Adult (starring Emily Watson and Dominic West), Murder on the Blackpool Express; lifestyle show Your Home Made Perfect, and Agatha and the Curse of Ishtar.
Shows include: Vera, Endeavour, Prime Suspect, Father Brown, Victoria, Lewis, Shakespeare & Hathaway, Mr Bean, Blue Planet and Planet Earth, Kingdom, The Vicar of Dibley, The Office, Top Gear, Luther, Absolutely Fabulous, Midsomer Murders, Blackadder, Bottom, One Foot in The Grave, Alan Partridge, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Rev, The Darling Buds of May, and more.
The service also offers the entire collection of Doctor Who series from the classic run and the contemporary seasons.
My initial thoughts: It’s a solid library. Lots of great, classic UK dramas and comedies in there. Most viewers will be happy to find that the big, obvious titles they think should be in the collection are pretty much there. Anyone looking for obscure titles or real deep dives will be disappointed by the catalogue initially. But this is day one and it will grow and evolve.
A years subscription would make for a pretty good Christmas gift.
Demand Africa launches down under
This one has been available in the Australian market for a while now, but it’s pretty under-the-radar, so it seems worth highlighting.
Demand Africa is the largest curated collection of Pan-African TV shows, series, soaps, movies and lifestyle entertainment. It’s available through the web, iOS, Android, AppleTV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV. It also supports Chromecast and AirPlay.
I’ll admit - I know none of the programming available through this service and I suspect that you don’t either. But series titles include Heist, The Wild, Hustle, Meet The Adebanjo’s, and Before 30.
If you’re curious, I’d recommend checking out Demand Africa’s free linear channel, which is streaming through its website and apps. It is free to access. If you want the on-demand content, however, it is $10 per month or $100 per year. I am assuming that is in Australian dollars. There is also a 7-day free trial.
The Demand Africa linear channel also streams in the US on platforms like Pluto TV. It’d be great to see Demand Africa pop up on other linear services like that - it’s TV content that is wildly under-exposed globally.
Fans are trying to get Gina Carano fired. This time last year she would have been labelled as ‘Star Wars: The Mandalorian fan favourite Gina Carano’. Why have the fans turned on her? She’s apparently been tweeting anti-mask wearing sentiment and supporting efforts to shut down democracy.
Am I now free to come out and say that I find her performance on the show a little stiff and lacking in charm. I’d be happy to see her exit the series, but not for her bad political stances.
The final broadcast from TCN9, the Sydney Channel 9 studio took place on Friday last week.
Wipeout Contestant dies
After completing an obstacle course on the show Wipeout, a man had a medical problem and was attended to by the on-site medical team. He later died.
Contestants apparently do undergo medical examinations ahead of participating in the show. That said - it’s genuinely surprising to me that there aren’t more issues on shows like this with such extreme physical endurance and impact.
TV exec Herb Solow has died at age 89. While working for Desilu, he was the exec who pitched Star Trek to NBC. He was also responsible for getting Mission: Impossible and Mannix on the air. Read: Variety
Sitcom writer Charlie Hauck has died, aged 79. In addition to writing for shows like Maude, Frasier, Home Improvement, One Day At A Time,and M*A*S*H, Hauck was also the creator of the sitcom Valerie (later re-titled Valerie’s Family, and then The Hogan Family).Read: Deadline
Director Art Wolff has died at age 82. His biggest credit was directing the pilot episode of Seinfeld. Read: Variety
Amazon has set a date for Coming 2 America, the sequel to the less imaginatively titled Coming To America. March 5, 2021. Read: CNN
Superhero TV show Black Lightning will finish after its fourth season. Read: The AV Club
As great as the video game The Last of Us is, I don’t understand why there’s such a desire to turn it into a TV series. Regardless, that’s something happening at HBO with the property now officially given a series order. Read: The Verge
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