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.
Gremlins are back! Inside the Academy Awards campaigns! And the death of a Munster.
Always Be Watching is curated by Dan Barrett, the original Eddie Munster.
It has seemed odd to me that there is some IP sitting on the shelf not being exploited by the capitalist entertainment conglomerates we all have such affinity for. One of these titles has been Gremlins. But, good news. The franchise has been fed after midnight and will be returning to your screens. As an animated prequel TV series.
It hasn’t been officially announced, but the series will launch on WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service.
The potential series is said to be a period piece that would follow Mr. Wing, the Chinese grandfather played in the films by Keye Luke, as a young man as he goes on adventures with the friendly Mogwai Gizmo. The series will be produced by Warner Bros. Television and Amblin Television. Both Warner Bros. and Amblin produced the films on which the show will be based.
The Academy Awards happened yesterday (did you hear about them) and the affair was host-less. The only really big surprise was that it wasn’t the lowest rated Academy Awards to date. Each year it has been trending downward, almost in line with the increasing temperature of global warming (see, like the Academy Awards, ABW ain’t afraid to get political!). 29.6 million viewers tuned in across the US. This is up 10% from last year when 26.5 million viewers tuned in. Imagine how many more people might have watched if Bird Box was nominated…
Anyone who believes that Academy Awards are awarded purely on merit are naive fools.
These are awards that are heavily campaigned for by Hollywood with extensive campaigns to get movie stars out and about to meet voters, supported by marketing and other promotional efforts (re: smear campaigns). There are PR people who professionally make it their business to exclusively focus on Oscar campaigns.
And the benefits are significant for winning studios. It buys them prestige, but that prestige is later used to lure talent and to build the brand of a studio. Netflix has tried multiple times to get its Oscar for best picture - for Netflix, a win would represent the tipping point for a streaming service to have the same level of prestige as a traditional studio.
Beverley Owen played the role of Marilyn Munster in the first season of The Munsters. She died 21 Feb aged 81. Her time as an actress was short-lived, with Owen leaving the show to get married. Later in life she earned a master’s degree in early American history.
Leigh Sales will continue to host Australian public affairs show 730, having signed a deal for another three years. That’s fine, but you know what’s not fine? I still do not care for the name 730. It’s the same show, only with a terrible name. Bring back The 7:30 Report, dammit.
CBS reports having 8 million subscribers across its CBS All Access and Showtime apps. I don’t really understand why CBS All Access needs to exist as a separate app to Showtime - why not combine the both into one app and actually use it as a tool to take on Netflix? As it stands, both apps struggle to offer enough value to potential subscribers. But together…