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.
Dune gets a spin-off TV show! Plus: Quibi launch details! And The Sesame Street concert!
Always Be Watching is curated by the world's #1 Grover fan, Dan Barrett.
Filmmaker Denis Villeneuve is currently working on the first of a 2-part movie based on Dune. But, that’s not all he’s working on in the Dune-verse. There’ll also be a companion TV show that will launch on the WarnerMedia streaming service after Dune is released to cinemas in November 2020. There’s no launch date yet for the series, but Dune: The Sisterhood will have the first episode directed by Villeneuve, with the series written by the reboot co-writer Jon Spaihts.
What will it be about? If you’re like me and know nothing about Dune, this blurb will leave you no wiser:
Set in the universe of Frank Herbert’s epic “Dune” novel series, “Dune: The Sisterhood” is told through the eyes of a mysterious order of women known as the Bene Gesserit. Given extraordinary abilities by their mastery of the body and the mind, the Bene Gesserit expertly weave through the feudal politics and intrigue of The Imperium, pursuing plans of their own that will ultimately lead them to the enigmatic planet Arrakis, known to its inhabitants as Dune.
US radio network NPR routinely stage short concerts in its offices, publishing video/audio of it to various social channels. This week it staged one of its Tiny Desk concerts featuring performers from Sesame Street. It’s the best 15 minutes you’ll watch today.
There’s more Quibi news today - the short-form mobile-only video service will launch April 6, 2020. It’ll launch with both an ad-supported service for $4.99 and ad-free for $7.99 per month.
Maybe Quibi will change perceptions, but this strikes me as the same sort of thinking that led to the launch of and backtrack from YouTube Red. There’s a sense of short-form mobile video of being more disposable and insignificant than the longer form TV content being watched on connected TV. $4.99 isn’t a whole lot to pay per month, but when added up alongside all of your other monthly subscriptions, it is a cost that doesn’t seem essential.
Friend and former colleague of Quibi chief Jeffrery Katzenberg is Steven Spielberg. You’ve heard of that guy. Katzenberg reports that Spielberg is not only writing a series for Quibi (reportedly he’s written 4-5 chapters of what will be a 10-12 chapter show), but he has plans for the series to only be available to viewers after midnight. That’s exactly when I’m looking to watch a TV show that only lasts 3-4 minutes…
From 17 June (that’s Monday next week), shows from the Channel 7-owned Seven Studios will be available to stream via Facebook Watch. Presumably these will be only available to the Australian market, but it strikes me as an interesting opportunity to take shows like My Kitchen Rules, Home and Away, Better Homes and Gardens, and House Rules to global viewers.
In ‘this is actually pretty cool’ news, Oculus Go users who also subscribe to linear channel streaming service Sling TV can now watch Sling TV with friends who also subscribe to Sling TV in VR together. It’s not exactly living in the future (that would be a co-viewing experience of Netflix), but it is still pretty nifty.
The main value in this is watching sporting events together with mates, which I’m sure will be what drives most Sling viewership generally.