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.
First look at Netflix's $125m The Irishman. PLUS: Ready yourself for BH90210! ALSO: Quibi goes sideways!
Always Be Watching is written by Dan Barrett who has a drawer full of Models Inc reboot ideas.
Beverly Hills 90210 is coming back to TV by way of what I suspect will turn out to be an ill-advised meta-commentary reunion series. (Really - I don’t want to watch a show about the actors parodying themselves while making a reunion. It will never be as good as the Seinfeld reunion in Curb. Just give me new stories with Kelly and Brandon)
In the lead-up to this TV event, you might be well-advised to go back and watch some old-school episodes. But… where to start? TV Guide has you covered with the 20 episodes deemed important to rewatch.
And yes ‘The Next 50 Years’ in which Scott Scanlon plays with firearms is in the list.
Film fans will be very enthused about the $125 million Netflix original The Irishman when it debuts on the service later this year. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Starring Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, and Joe Pesci (and Ray Romano and Harvey Keitel).
While it might drive some subscriptions, I doubt it will be as widely watched as an Adam Sandler film or Bird Box.
A trailer dropped today:
I don’t watch a lot of it, but I am fascinated by the culture and industry built up around anime. It’s not a complex article, but this piece by Emiko Jozuka is a good top-level look at the development of anime and its global adoption. At first it started taking off internationally with a futuristic techno-cool, but soon became entwined with the Japanese economy which began relying more and more on exporting culture.
Anime has a following similar to rock 'n' roll music and Hollywood cinema, according to Doryun Chong, the chief curator of M+ museum in Hong Kong. "It's arguably one of the first as well as most extensive globalized cultures," he said on the phone.
And as anime continues to make inroads abroad, the industry may no longer belong just to the Japanese.
"I think we could see further diversification of the medium, outlets and centers of production outside of Japan," said Chong. "Anime posses an incredible narrative imagination -- that's been the crux of the global success."
Indie film A Teacher is being adapted into a limited series. Here’s a question: Why? I would understand if it was going to be an anthology series, kind of like The Girlfriend Experience that takes the themes of the film and adapts it into a serialized form with new characters and stories. But a one-off limited series that remakes the film? What does that add that isn’t already the film?
A Teacher explores the story behind the mugshot of a female high school teacher caught in an affair with her male student, revealing the complexities and consequences of these illegal relationships.
More money and attention is being shined on short-form content streaming service Quibi. It hasn’t launched yet, but one of the interesting quirks discussed when the service was initially getting started with commissioning content was that Quibi wanted producers to shoot everything on the service in portrait for mobile consumption, but also in a landscape format for consumption on TV’s. Recently there was the revelation that Quibi had abandoned the idea of streaming to devices other than mobile. So, I assumed the landscape filming would have come to an end.
Everything on Quibi will still be filmed in both formats, with shows taking advantage of hiding/revealing visual information depending on if a user is holding their phone vertically or horizontally:
In private meetings with producers, Quibi executives have demonstrated how shows can be designed to offer different experiences based on whether people are viewing a video vertically or horizontally. In one example featuring a thriller series, the horizontal version of a scene shows a character sitting on a sofa in her home, and switching to the vertical version reveals someone standing outside her front door. “It’s both shockingly instantaneous and shocking that it’s taken so long for someone to figure out,” said one entertainment exec who has been given a demo.
This extra work costs money, of course:
Quibi appears to recognize the extra work that it is asking producers to put into their programming by factoring it into production budgets, according to entertainment execs. As Digiday has previously reported, Quibi is paying companies as much as $125,000 per minute for scripted shows and $50,000 per minute for unscripted shows. That’s shy of the $200,000 to $300,000 per minute that Katzenberg has said Netflix and HBO pay for shows like “House of Cards” and “Game of Thrones,” but it exceeds the $40,000 to $50,000 per episode that Snap has been willing to pay for original shows.
I’ll admit to being a Quibi sceptic (in part because I just don’t really like most short-form content that is produced), but the more I hear about Quibi, the more I’m warming up to it.