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.
Donald Glover's surprise movie drop! The Big Little Lies 2 trailer! And the first footage of Star Wars: The Mandalorian screens!
Always Be Watching is curated by Dan Barrett who is today in Takayama, Japan.
Over the weekend Donald Glover dropped a 59-minute short-film onto Amazon Prime - Guava Island. No one knew this had been filmed up until the announcement.
Donald Glover stars in it, opposite Rhianna. Hiro Murai directed.
“We just bounced some ideas based off a first idea that Donald had for a movie that kind of felt like City of God in this tropical setting,” Stephen Glover, the writer of Guava Island, a high profile writer on Atlanta, and Donald’s brother, explains. “We talked about it and went over the story that could tie into black royalty. Something that felt like all these cool, black genres that are interesting to us.”
Did you see the bonus Always Be Watching email published yesterday? The email was part of ABW+. These are bonus articles I am putting together for paid supporters of this email newsletter. I’ll publish the article for free in a few weeks time on the Always Be Watching site.
A reminder - it is just AUS$35 a year to support the newsletter, which I spend about an hour on each day to put together. If you find value in that, I’d appreciate your support.
What was yesterday’s email about? It was an essay about the big question I have about how Disney+ will function as a global service and that relates to a wildly popular Disney character most of you will have never heard of.
The teaser trailer for the new Veronica Mars series has me 1000% more enthused than I was 30 seconds ago before I watched it. But, my interest was at a staggeringly low place previously. Tell me Mars-heads, is anyone actually super excited about this, or is everyone approaching it with nervous trepidation?
There’s also this trailer for Big Little Lies season 2, which I am considerably more enthused about. It’s not a series that needed a second season, but I had such a great time watching the original that I’m there for more.
The show returns June 9, with David E Kelley again writing. Andrea Arnold joins the series to direct all seven episodes.
An interesting study showing the positive effects that VR can have on people suffering from Parkinsons disease.
“The primary advantage is that they can encounter multiple obstacles and terrains while a safe environment is maintained using equipment such as a fall restraint tether,”said K. Bo Foreman, PT, PhD, associate professor and director of the Motion Capture Core Facility at the University of Utah. “Participants enjoyed the experience and thought it was fun, not just exercise. They liked training and challenging themselves without the fear of falling.”
The Star Wars TV series The Mandalorian will debut on day one of Disney+ - November 12. It seems weird to me that Disney+ will launch a new huge budget TV series set in the Star Wars universe, what, six weeks before Star Wars IX is released into cinemas.
If the entire season of the show is dropped on day one, that means SW fans and their patient family members will have seen 6-13 hours of Star Wars just prior to being expected to also shell out for movie tickets. That seems like a lot of saturation.
If the show is going out weekly, then it is possible that the show will be interrupted mid-run by the SW hype machine.
I’m sure Disney’s marketing team has thought this through. But this far out, it seems excessive.
Ten minutes of footage from the show was screened at the Star Wars Celebration fan event over the weekend. People seem enthused.
For the past couple of years, almost daily, I have played HQ Trivia. Yesterday I deleted it off my phone. Part of the struggle for HQ is that it doesn’t seem to manage its talent well. Nor has it been great about scouting compelling hosts for its twice-daily trivia and companion games.
From the very beginning Scott Rogowski was the primary host of the show, helping get the game through the first few months of regular tech glitches, vamping through some pretty difficult moments for the live stream.
Rogowski accepted a job with the streaming sports service DAZN (pronounced: Da Zone), but was told that not only would he no longer be allowed to stay with HQ, but he also wouldn’t be able to say goodbye on air.
That’s lousy talent management. The fact Scott is gone and most of the rest of the hosts are difficult to watch (money-flippin’ Matt Richards aside), means I’m done with it.