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.
Elvis is back! Marcel the monkey is back! But... some shows won't be back!
Always Be Watching is written by Dan Barrett, who, like a shark, only moves forward.
Over the weekend I had a great time at the recording of the podcast Eyes On Gilead. It is a weekly recap podcast about The Handmaid’s Tale produced by a team at SBS. I have a personal stake in seeing the podcast do well as it was my initial idea and I put the podcast together and produced it through its first season.
At the event, there were about 300 fans of the podcast to turn up and celebrate in conversation around the show. What I thought was magnificent about it is that the show is an incredibly tough watch most week, dealing with difficult themes. But, it’s also not a superhero or sci-fi show (even if it does have a grounded fantasy alternate-reality concept driving its narrative). I’m used to seeing big crowds turn up for nerd content (I use the term with love), but seeing 300 people turn up to watch a panel chat about a literary adaption. Well, that’s something.
On the panel, from left to right (as pictured below): Haidee Ireland, Sana Qadar, Natalie Hambly, and Fiona Williams. Fiona is also the host of the show. Not pictured is the show’s audio wiz Jeremy Wilmot.
And speaking of SBS, as revealed during the Eyes On Gilead podcast recording, SBS has acquired the local rights to the outstanding BBC/HBO drama Years and Years. It will air on the network in November.
One of the great comic book series of the 00s was a comic called Y: The Last Man. It’s about a guy and his (male) pet monkey who find out that they’re the last guys on the planet after a mystery event kills the rest of them off. The series becomes a road trip story with the exploration of what a world run by women would look like - framed through a society that has experienced a mass genocide event. It’s a very good read with memorable characters.
One of those memorable characters is the monkey companion, Ampersand. With Y: The Last Man being turned into a TV series right now, it was always going to be interesting to see how they would handle having a monkey on screen so regularly. Would they cast an actual monkey? Or computer animate it? The monkey was a core aspect of the story, so it needs to be in it.
This weekend, the casting was announced: Katie, the capuchin monkey who played Marcel in Friends and was also the outbreak monkey in the film Outbreak was cast in the pilot.
You maniacs - you blew it up…. again! Krypton, the TV series based on Superman’s home planet which was famously blown up everytime it was shown in a movie or TV show, has been cancelled before being able to depict the planet being blown up.
It will not proceed beyond its second season. Nor will a Lobo spin-off series ever see the light of day.
The Alan Cumming series Instinct has been cancelled after two seasons. Hopefully this opens up the actor to doing a stint on The Good Fight.
His series co-star:
It’s good to be the king. Elvis Presley is returning to TV as the star of a new Netflix animated series which has him working as a spy.
“Elvis Presley trades in his white jumpsuit for a jet pack when he is covertly inducted into a secret government spy program to help battle the dark forces that threaten the country he loves — all while holding down his day job as the King Of Rock And Roll,”