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.
Everything streaming on Paramount+ Australia
Paramount+ launches in Australia today. Is it worth the subscription?
US streamer Paramount+ launched in Australia today. It promises over 20,000 films and TV shows and includes a whole lot of hours of NCIS. All for $8.99 a month - ad-free.
Paramount+ is launched in conjunction with Channel 10 in Australia and will include a mix of content from ViacomCBS brands (Channel 10, CBS, MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Showtime, Paramount Pictures, and BET).
It's a big library, a price that's cheaper than many of the alternative big-name streamers from the US, and will be ad-free. That all sounds pretty good. But does it live up to the promise?
Yes. Kinda. Mostly.
This article is going to focus on what is available on day one of the service and hope to answer the question: If you subscribe today, will you get your money's worth?
There are two real strengths to Paramount+. The first is that there's a sizeable movie library. You'll find a lot of films that you haven't found previously on Stan or Netflix. A lot of well-known modern favourites (anything after 1980) and a handful of older classic titles too. If movies are a core concern of yours, to be completely honest, competitor Binge has a better range of big name Hollywood titles. But, as a subscriber here you won't be left wanting. It's a good, solid library.
The second strength of Paramount+ is what makes Paramount+ worthwhile - it has Showtime. A couple of years ago when Stan launched in Australia, it announced that it had the local output deal for Showtime. At the time, they were trumpeting it, but Showtime then isn't what it is now. For years, Showtime had been putting out well-produced, but second and third tier dramas and comedies. Its best titles were shows like Californication, Nurse Jackie, Homeland, and The Tudors. So, good shows, but probably not your favourites. It's certainly not HBO.
And while it still sits in second place to HBO, Showtime over the past five years has really improved its position with loud, buzzy shows. It's best ongoing series are probably Billions and Black Monday, but where Showtime excel is with limited run shows. Many of the best and most-anticipated shows of the last few years were from Showtime. Titles like Twin Peaks: The Return, Escape at Dannemora, Good Lord Bird, Your Honor, and The Loudest Voice. Good, buzzy titles.
Ongoing series that launched on Stan will stay on Stan (so, you won't find Billions over on Paramount+), but all new ongoing series from Showtime will be on Paramount+ along with a number of older library titles. Add that with a decent collection of Paramount+ original series and you have a solid library of good TV shows.
They're not there on day one, but some of the buzziest shows coming soon are Showtime/Paramount+ series - titles like Halo (based on the video game), Yellowjackets, The Man Who Fell To Earth, The Offer, Ripley, and the Dexter revival series.
While there are some good to great titles in the Paramount+ library, there isn't the volume that you'd hope for. Especially in regards to classic shows from the CBS library. The US version of Paramount+ is a little light in that department too, but it does have beloved titled like Happy Days, The Brady Bunch, Mission: Impossible, The Love Boat, I Love Lucy, Perry Mason, Taxi, Wings, Gunsmoke, The Odd Couple, etc. It's a great point of difference to most competitors and there is an audience for that older material. But the Australian Paramount+ has very little of that on day one. Hopefully it improves in regards to this going forward.
It's interesting that the Star Trek franchise is so integral to the future of Paramount+ (there are SO MANY new Star Trek shows in the pipeline), but none of the shows are available on Paramount+ with just two of the recent reboot films on offer. Sure, new Trek series like Discovery, Picard, and Lower Decks are currently licensed to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, but it's surprising that none of the older series or movies are available here.
Paramount+ is owned by ViacomCBS and has drawn upon the legacy Viacom cable TV business to fill out it's library. MTV reality shows are over-represented here. So much of the quality content is swamped out by titles like Teen Mom, Black Ink Crew, and Ex on The Beach. There's an audience for that sort of content, so I don't want to diminish that. But when Paramount+ is so light on classic TV offerings, but has retro libraries filled with reality junk (er, reality 'classics'?), the weighting isn't proportionate.
The absence of The Daily Show is a little unusual as the show is running on multiple channels in Australia.
And speaking of absent titles that are almost certainly cheap library additions - two of my beloved oddball favourites weren't added - Wonder Showzen (maybe the funniest TV show of the past 20 years) and cult-fave Aeon Flux.
Will you get your $8.99 worth if you sign up on day one to Paramount+? I think you will. There are more than enough shows and movies here that are worth your time and haven't been made available locally before. Or, at least not for some time. The library is plentiful and there's some good discoveries to be made.
Will that $8.99 worth of value still be there in two or three months time? That's the question. If Paramount+ fills out its archives a little bit more and we start seeing some decent shows from the pipeline of Showtime and the Paramount+ originals - you may have an ongoing reason to subscribe. Yellowjackets, American Rust, and the Dexter revival are all due by the end of the year. Whether those three shows are enough to justify your months subscription bill is worth thinking about.
The day one list
5 Mistakes That Caught a Killer 7th Heaven 16 and Pregnant 100 Things To Do Before High School 90210 Aaahh!!! Real Monsters Advancing Australia The Adventures of Jimmy Neuton: Boy Genius The Adventures of Kid Danger Aerial Africa Aerial America The Affair Air Warriors Rugrats: All Grown Up All That The Amanda Show The Amazing Race Australia Ambulance Australia Ambulance UK America's Mississippi America in Color Angry Beavers Anne Boleyn Another Period Are You The One? Are You The One: Second Chances Australian Survivor Avatar: The Last Airbender BH 90210 Baby Shark's Big Show The Bachelor Australia The Bachelorette Australia The Bachelor in Paradise Australia Back at The Barnyard Barely Famous Becker Beecham House Beverly Hills 90210 The Big Bang Theory Big Time Rush Black Ink Crew Blaze and The Monster Machines Blood & Treasure Blue's Clues Blue's Clues & You Blue's Room Blue Bloods The Borgias Breadwinners Broke The Brotherhood Bull Bunsen is a Beast CSI CSI: Cyber CSI: Miami CSI: NY Californication Calvin & Kaison's Play Power The Casagrandes Catdog Catfish: The TV Show Catfish: Trolls Caught on Camera Celebrity Ex On The Beach ChalkZone The Challenge: Champs vs Stars Chappelle's Show Charmed Charmed (2018) Cheers Corn & Peg Crank Yankers Critter Quest! The Cube Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making The Team Danny Phantom Daria Deadwood Detroiters Dexter Diagnosis Murder Dice The Dog House UK Dora The Explorer Double Dare Dr Quinn: Medicine Woman Drunk History Drunk History: Australia Drunk History: UK The Dudesons in America Elementary Every Which Way Everyone is Doing Great Ex on The Beach US FBI FBI: Most Wanted The Fairly Oddparents Families of The Mafia Family Ties Flatbush Misdemeanours Floribama Shore Frasier Fresh Beat Band of Spies Garden Secrets Geordie OGs Geordie Shore Ghosted: Love Gone Missing Girls Cruise Go Diego, Go The Good Fight Good Talk with Anthony Jeselnik The Good Fight HAPPYish Harvey Beaks The Haunted Hathaways Hawaii Five-O Hawaii Five-O Classic Hey Arnold The Hills The Hills: New Beginnings House of Anubis House of Lies How To Stay Married How to Rock Hunter Street I'm Dying Up Here I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here Australia I Am Frankie iCarly iCarly (2007) Idiotsitter In The Dark Incredible Flying Cars Inside Inside Amy Schumer Instinct Interrogation Jack's Big Music Show Jamie's Easy Meals for Every Day Jamie's Quick & Easy Food Jamie's Ultimate Veg Jamie and The Nonnas Jersey Shore Jersey Shore: Family Vacation The Jim Jefferies Show Junior Masterchef Australia Just For Laughs: Montreal Comedy Festival Just Tattoo of Us Just Tattoo of Us USA Kamp Koral Key & Peele The King of Queens Kinne Tonight Knight Squad Kroll Show The Late Late Show with James Corden The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Leaving Neverland Legend of Korra Leonardo Light as a Feather Lindsay Lohan's Beach Club Lindy Chamberlain: The True Story The Lost Tapes Love & Hip Hop: New York MacGyver MacGyver Classic Madam Secretary Make or Break Man with a Plan The Masked Singer Australia The Masked SInger US Masterchef Australia Medium Melrose Place The Mighty B! A Million Little Things Monsters vs Aliens My Life as a Teenage Robot My Life is Murder My Mum's Hotter Than Me My Super Sweet 16 NCIS NCIS: Los Angeles NCIS: New Orleans The Naked Brothers Band Nancy Drew (2019) Nathan For You Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide The Neighborhood Neighbours Nella The Princess Knight Ni Hao Kai Lan Nitro Circus Not So Sweet 16 Numbers Nurse Jackie OMG One Born Every Minute One Dollar Oz (Yes... HBO's Oz) Paw Patrol The Penguin's of Madagascar Penny Dreadful Pig Goat Banana Cricket Pimp My Ride Playing for Keeps Punk'd Racing Wives Ra Donovan Ready Set Dance The Real Jesus of Nazareth The Real Mad Men of Advertising The Real World The Ren & Stimpy Show Review (with Forrest MacNeil) Ridiculousness Robot & Monster Rocket Power Rocko's Modern Life Rugrats Rugrats (2021) Rules of Engagement SEAL Team Sabrina The Teenage Witch Sacred Sites Sam & Cat Sanjay and Craig The Secrets She Keeps See Dad Run Sleeper Cell Smithsonian Spotlight South Park Spongebob Squarepants Sports Detectives Stories from The Vaults Strange Angel Survivor US (all 40 seasons!) Taboo Talia in The Kitchen Teachers (2015) Team Umizoomi Teen Cribs Teen Mom Teen Mom 2 Teen Mom: Australia Teen Mom: Young & Pregnant Teen Mom OG Teen Mom UK Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) Tell Me a Story Todd Sampson's Body Hack Tommy Tooning Out The News Top Wing Tosh.0 The Troop True Jackson VP True Life Crime The Twilight Zone (1959) The Twilight Zone (1985) The Twilight Zone (2019) Twin Peaks Twin Peaks: The Return Two Weeks To Live Under The Dome Unfabulous The Unicorn Wallykazam! White Famous Why Women Kill The Wild Thornberry's Wonder Pets The Wonderful World of Chocolate Zoey 101 Zoo Vets Zoofari
Infinite A Quiet Place Mission: Impossible Mission: Impossible 2 Mission: Impossible 3 Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol Pulp Fiction Transformers Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen Transformers: Age of Extinction Transformers: Dark of The Moon Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me Austin Powers in Goldmember Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Grease (Indiana Jones and the) Raiders of The Lost Ark Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull Annabelle Annabelle: Creation Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets Harry Potter and The Deathly Harrows Part 1 Harry Potter and The Deathly Harrows Part 2 Good Will Hunting Elf Clueless Batman Batman Forever Batman & Robin Batman Returns Batman: Begins The Dark Knight The Dark Knight Rises Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice Kong: Skull Island Game Night World War Z Dunkirk Ghost Jackass 2.5 Jackass 3.5 Jackass Presents: Bad Granpa 0.5 It 100 Things To Do Before High School 15 Minutes 300 42 8 Seconds A-Bombs Over Nevada ABBA: The Secrets of Their Greatest Hits About Schmidt Above The Rim The Accidental Tourist The Accordion Kings Adam Hills: Take His Legs Addicted To Love After The Sunset Albert Alexander All About The Benjamins American Gigalo American History X Americans Underground: Secret City of WWI Andre Animals Aloft The Anti-Vax Conspiracy Any Given Sunday Argo Arlington: Call To Honor The Astronauts Wife The Avengers (1998) Baby New at The Zoo The Bachelor Barbarella The Battle for Britney Battle of Little Bighorn Beneath Hill 60 Best in Show The Best Player Big Time Move Billionaire Babies at Christmas Billionaire Babies: 24 Carat Kids Billionaire Kids Billionaire Kids: On Holiday Billionaire Kids: Happy Birthday Bixler High: Private Eye Blade 2 Blade: Trinity Blade Runner Blondie's New York Blood Diamond Blue Hawaii Blurt! Body Freaks: Make Me a Perfect 10 Body Freaks: Old Face New Face Boogie Nights Book Club The Boy Who Cried Werewolf The Brady Bunch Movie The Bridges of Madison County Britain's Pushiest Parents Carrier At War: The USS Enterprise Catfisg: The TV Show Special: Nev and Max's 15 Craziest Catfish Stories (No, I don't get how this is categorized as a film either) Cellular Chasing Liberty CHIPS The Color Purple Coneheads The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Daffy Duck's Movie: Fantastic Island Daffy Duck's Quackbusters The Departed Designing Dogs Diana Princess of Wales: In Her Own Words Diana To Meghan: Royal Wedding Secrets The Disaster Artist Dumb an Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd Escape From Mr Lemoncello's Library Extreme Measures Extremely Loud Incredibly Close Eyes Wide Shut A Fairly Odd Christmas A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up Timmy Tuner A Fairly odd Summer Fall of Japan: In Color Fame Father Figures Father's Day Final Destination Final Destination 2 Final Destination 5 Flags of Our Fathers For Your Consideration Four Rooms Frankie & Johnny Frequency Full Metal Jacket Funny Face Genius In America Geostorm Ghost Cat: Clouded Leopard Ghosts of Mississippi The Glimmer Man The Godfather The Godfather Part 2 The Godfather Part 3 Gold Digger and Proud The Good German Grease 2 Gun Trucks of Vietnam Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Half Shell heroes: Blast To The Past The Hangover The Hangover Part 3 Happy Christmas Hey Arnold: the Jungle Movie Houseboat How To Be Single How To Lose Friends and Alienate People Imagine: John Lennon The Importance of Being Earnest Incredible Flying Jet Packs Interview With a Vampire Islands of Creation J Edgar Jamie Oliver: The Naked Chef Bares All Jamie's Easy Christmas Countdown Jersey Shore - Family Vacation: 10 Fist Pumping years Jinxed JoJo Siwa: My World JoJo's Dream Birthday JoJo's D.R.E.A.M. Concert Joyful Noise Killing Hasselhoff Kiss Kiss Bang Bang The Last Samurai Legend of Lead Belly Legends of The Hidden Temple The LEGO Batman Movie The LEGO Ninjago Movie Lethal Weapon 2 Lethal Weapon 3 Liar Liar Vampire Life of The Party Lincoln's Last Day Little Divas: Tantrums and Tiaras Little Nicky Loose At The Zoo Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers Lost in America Lost In The West Part 1 Lost In The West Part 2 Lost in The West Part 3 MLK: The Assassination Tapes The Machinist Mad Max 2 Man of Steel Mary Magdeline Mascara Boy: Sex Me Up Maverick The Meg Meghan & Harry: In Their Own Words Meghan & The Markles: A Family at War Meghan Markle: The First 100 Days Michael Collins Midnight in The Garden of Good & Evil A Mighty Wind Mommie Dearest Mr Nice Guy Mums Gone Wild My Own Private Idaho My Perfect Instagram Body National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 Nature's Matchmaker New York MinuteNick of Time A Nightmare on Elm Street A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Master A Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Child A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) The Notebook Now and Then The Nutty Professor One Crazy Cruise Pacific Rim The Pallbearer The Perfect Storm Picturing The President: George Washington Picturing The Presidents Prince William: A Planet For Us All Proof Purple Rain Rags Rampage Ransom Regarding Henry Ride Like a Girl Rock of Ages RockNRolla Rufus Rufus 2 Rugrats: Tales from The Crib - Three Jacks and a Beanstalk Rumble in The Bronx Sabrina Santa Hunters Scooby Doo Seizing Justice: The Greensboro 4 Selena The Sisterhood of The Travelling Pants 2 Skateboard Nation Beyond Stonewall Something TO Talk About Something's Gotta Give South Park: The Movie South Park: Pandemic Special The Spongebob Musical: Live on Stage A Star is Born (1976) Star Trek (2009) Star Trek Into Darkness Swindle Swing Shift Syriana Tag Tantastic: Fifty Shades of Orange This Is Stand-up Three Summers Thunderstruck Tiger Tales Tin Cup To Catch a Thief Top Gun Town & Country Troy Unforgettable Valentine's Day Wag The Dog We Are Marshall We're The Millers The Wedding Singer What a Girl Wants When Pigs Fly Whos' That Girl Wild Wild West The Witches Wonder Woman The World According To Garp Wyatt Earp The Year of Living Dangerously You've Got Mail
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.