One of the true Netflix success stories has been licensing Friends. It’s possible that the old NBC sitcom is the most watched show on the platform, with old fans and new fans all binge-watching the series. Its success, to me, says that the multicamera sitcom (with laugh track) as a form isn’t dead - it’s just been a while since there has been a good one. It’s a shame that more of the good ones aren’t available to stream readily.
Today, US Netflix users started to notice an expiration date appear on the Friends pages on Netflix - 01/01/2019. At the time of writing, there is speculation that Friends will continue on past that date, with the information on the site due to bad meta-data. But, don’t be too surprised if Friends is taken off Netflix relatively soon as AT&T get busy in launching its new Warners streaming product.
On the subject of Friends, the very smart Slate Culture Ring podcast has an episode that dropped today about ‘Sad Jen’ - the magazine industry’s narrative surrounding the construction of Jennifer Aniston as a perpetual unlucky-in-love woman. The two smartest observations in the piece:
- Aniston remains today a vibrant, marketable celebrity who is still endorsing hip products and is being cast in high-profile TV series (she has the Reese Witherspoon Apple series on the horizon), despite the star waning of many other actresses of her age.
- Outside of the magazine narrative, how many people really know much about what Aniston is actually like?
Comedy Central has announced a whole bunch of new comedy specials. Outside of the very funny Detroiters, does Comedy Central really have any shows of worth anymore? Its cache as a go-to destination for smart comedy feels long gone, replaced by Netflix’s dominance in stand-up. The Daily Show with Trevor Noah has never really had the heat that Jon Stewart’s show had and then there is the faded Broad City (which has its final season coming in late January).
Meanwhile, I’ve been obsessing over Bumping Mics, featuring former Comedy Central star Dave Attell and Jeff Ross trading barbs at the Comedy Cellar across three episodes. It’s an effortlessly fun show and I do hope there will be more episodes to come. It’s streaming on Netflix.
Oh, and Netflix are also dropping 47 new stand-up specials on New Years Day.
Max Greenfield on the ‘Bring It On’ podcast talking about the massive oversight by the Emmys in never rewarding The Leftovers. It’s worth noting that Greenfield was never on that show - he just recognises its greatness.
Lifetime had a really strong, under-the-radar series about a bookstore staffer stalking a woman (with some grizzly, violent consequence) which will start to get a lot more buzz when its first season debuts on Netflix in late December. The second season of the series, will debut on the streaming service - bypassing Lifetime.
This weekend has the return of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. I’ve seen the first two episodes of the new season and it hasn’t skipped a beat. If anything, it seems even tighter and even more sure of itself than that first season did. The season starts with some of the show’s characters visiting Paris - usually an overseas trip is never a smart creative choice for a show (it’s usually a show leaning into its excess, rather than benefiting the narrative), but in these episodes, it feels true to what the show is concerned with. It’s really great.
The New York Times has a review of its first five episodes. It also points out this obvious point about the series that I hadn’t considered before. But it’s dead-on:
This show is nothing but momentum. It jabbers, it twirls, its heels click across the room. It would love to stay and chat but it’s gotta get somewhere.