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.
Dawn of a new Batwoman
ALSO: Battlestar Galactica to play up strengths of streaming. AND: Ride the rails in Japan.
Hello and welcome to another week.
Convicted murderer and music producer Phil Spector died. If you feel so inclined, you can mark his passing by watching the David Mamet HBO movie Phil Spector which takes the approach “what if we make an argument for the innocence of a man who is absolutely guilty”. You can find that on HBO Max in the US and in Australia on Foxtel/Binge.
You might be better off watching the film Beyond The Valley of The Dolls which has a very Phil Spector-like character as the villain.
(Below is the trailer for the film… before you press play know that the trailer isn’t suitable for workplace environments. Oh, and it was the 70s - the film might be groovy, but there’s elements of the trailer that are very un-groovy).
Always Be Watching reader Patrick emailed to point out that ABW erroneously said on Friday that the very good indie film Nomadland is currently playing in Australian cinemas. This is actually incorrect, kinda.
Nomadland was screening in Aus cinemas from Dec 26 - Jan 13, but that was actually a (kinda-long) preview season. The film will be back in cinemas for its official run from what I believe is March 4.
Sam Esmail gets innovative with Battlestar Galactica reboot
NBC are producing a new Battlestar Galactica series for its Peacock streaming service. Series exec producer Sam Esmail (Mr Robot, Homecoming) has revealed that the series will be structured to the strength of what a streaming service offers - episodes will be released weekly sometimes as standalones or in batches, with episodes running at different runtimes.
“For me, it was like, ‘Let’s get in there and tell the right story and it will tell us how many episodes.’ We may dump three episodes in a row because it’s a three-episode-long battle sequence that needs to be dropped in a row even though they’re three signifying chapters, and maybe each chapter is switching a point of view within that battle sequence. There may be a 20-minute episode that’s the backstory of one of the characters that gets dropped right after that,” Esmail said.
Season 2 of Batwoman kicks off in the US today on The CW, sans Ruby Rose. It screens on Foxtel in Australia on Tuesday.
New Batwoman Javicia Leslie was interviewed by The New York Times, which seemed to only really be interested in the fact that she’s a Black bisexual playing the part. I appreciate most of these sorts of get-to-know-an-actor-playing-a-superhero interviews are pretty generic at the best of times, but I’d have liked to actually learn a bit more about her and not the boxes that she’s being slotted into.
The thing that annoyed me most in the interview:
Does it frustrate you that it’s taken until 2021 to cast the first Black Batwoman?
The first Black Batwoman is the beginning of change, but it should’ve happened a long time ago. Our world is diverse as hell, and the leadership roles in entertainment need to reflect that.
Well, technically, it took until 2019 to cast the first white Batwoman. So waiting a smidge over a year for the role to open up isn’t such a wait. That said, bring on more diverse characters into the very white and very male realm of superheroes, I say.
I just kinda wish that they would do more with characters whose identity isn’t so heavily tied to an established male superhero (it’s a gross trend that comics have been doing since, well, the introduction of Batwoman into the comics in 1956).
Don’t expect any of The CW DC superhero shows to cross-over this year. You know the reason why. Read: TV Line
Ethan Hawke will play the yet-to-be-revealed bad guy in the upcoming Moon Knight show. Read: THR
Apple is extending its Apple TV+ free subscriptions for those who bought Apple products. Read: The Verge
Zack Snyder’s Justice League movie will be just that - a movie. Not a 4-part TV series. Read: Twitter
Both Coke and Pepsi have opted against advertising during the Super Bowl this year - CBS are charging $5.5 million for advertising during the game. Read: Variety
Godzilla vs Kong will debut on HBO Max two months ahead of its previously announced date. How the new March 26 date impacts international cinemas is still TBA (as far as I’m aware). Read: Variety
Netflix are upping the volume of Scandi-series that will appear on platform. Read: The Guardian
Ride the rails in Japan
To be a fan of all things Japan is to also love all things related to Japan’s railways. But now, thanks to the wonders of goggles, you no longer need to go to Japan to ride the rails.
GO by train! Hashiro Yamanote Line is a game by publisher Square Enix for the PS4. It also has PSVR support, which means you can play it as a regular game on your TV, or you can sit in the drivers seat and play it via virtual reality.