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.
HBO kills Lovecraft Country. A mercy kill?
RIP Lovecraft Country - HBO cancelled you because you deserved nothing but the best.
HBO has opted not to renew Lovecraft Country for a second season despite strong reviews and a just-as-strong viewership. Why? Well, it was based on a book and the series ran out of original source material to mine.
Spat out of the media-release-o-matic was this statement from HBO:
“We will not be moving forward with a second season of ‘Lovecraft Country,'” HBO said in a statement. “We are grateful for the dedication and artistry of the gifted cast and crew, and to Misha Green, who crafted this groundbreaking series. And to the fans, thank you for joining us on this journey.”
Misha Green and team had been working on story ideas for a second season, but clearly HBO just wasn't feeling it. It's likely HBO looked at what they had, which was a library title that would live on for years to come as a premium series and not one that lost its long-term value with a second season that was not well-received.
A cancellation with the show's best interests at heart.
Defending the limited series
Matthew Gilbert at the Boston Globe has written a piece defending the value of the limited series. What's strange about that is I don't remember ever hearing a conversation dismissing the limited series - if anything, in this day and age of Mare of Easttown, The Queen's Gambit, and Big Little Lies, it seems like the limited series has never had more success.
Gilbert isn't wrong in saying that many series would be better served as single season runs. Here he cites Freaks & Geeks as a case for not continuing a series:
I am sometimes grateful that “Freaks and Geeks” never did get a second season. Recently, in interviews with Collider, creator Paul Feig and executive producer Judd Apatow explained that MTV offered to pick up the show — with a smaller budget — once NBC canceled it, but the pair decided not to compromise their beloved invention. For over two decades, “Freaks and Geeks” has survived as a one-season wonder, or, if you will, an extended miniseries of 18 episodes that ends on a concluding note. It never had the opportunity to go down the tubes, like “Dexter,” or “Killing Eve,” or any number of once-excellent shows, and I am grateful for that. The lesson: In TV, it’s always better to err on the shorter side.
Kevin Can F**k Himself gets an international home
If you haven't been put off already by the middling reviews of Kevin Can F**k Himself, you might be keen to check out the series when it debuts on Amazon Prime Video.
The streamer has picked up global rights to the series, except for in the US, Canada, Spain, and Portugal. It starts streaming in August.
Over the weekend Disney released a promo video for it's upcoming Star Wars: Visions animated series. It is a collection of seven short anime films inspired by the Star Wars universe from Japanese animators. In spirit it is very similar to The Animatrix, which was a similar idea inspired by The Matrix movies back in 2003.
The films include: The Duel (Kamikaze Douga), Lop and Ochō (Geno Studios), Tattoine Rhapsody (Studio Colorido), The Twinsand The Elder (Trigger), The Village Bride (Kinema Citrus), Akakiri and T0-B1 (Science Saru) and The Ninth Jedi (Production IG).
Letters and Numbers is the runaway freight train that cannot be stopped
SBS game show Letters and Numbers ran from 2010-12 and produced 450 episodes during that time. It got cancelled, but not forgotten with the show being repeated constantly since then with a decent viewership every afternoon.
Rumors have it that the Aussie game show is set to return with Michael Hing in the host role. And that is fine - as long as Lily Serna is returned to the show. Is it really Letters and Numbers without Serna? Always Be Watching insists that the answer is firmly no.
Good question, LEGO
I don't know what the answer to this question is going to be, but I do know it's probably going to cost me a few hundred dollars.
Joining Jon Hamm on the set of his new Fletch movie (!!!) was former Mad Men co-star John Slattery (!!!). Read: Just Jared
The cast of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist have been released from their holding contracts. That means the show is as good as gone. Read: Deadline
Amazon has dismissed claims that the set of Lord of The Rings has been unsafe. Read: Deadline
Prolific movie performer Ron Jeremy faces over 300 years in prison over recent sexual assault charged. Read: Deadline
Cancelled for cause
Netflix has cancelled a bunch of it's comedies all at once - The Crew, Mr. Iglesias, Bonding, and Country Comfort. If Netflix really is on the road to being CBS, that is, a mainstream old-school-style broadcast network (but on a global scale), it really needs to sort out its comedy bona fides.
As somebody who spent the entire weekend mindlessly watching episodes of The Drew Carey Show (no, it's not streaming anywhere - these were black market files because the world continues to deny us joy), I can attest to the value of the binge-friendly TV comedy. It keeps people on platform when audiences aren't seeking out other shows with purpose.
A conversation happening in every home ever:
"What do you want to watch" "I dunno - let's just put on The Office for a bit"
And that's how a full weekend afternoon gets lost.
There's a reason Friends and The Office were among the most-watched comedies in the world over the past few years: each has a huge number of episodes and each can be mindlessly watched for hours on end. Sitcoms and streaming are a match made in heaven and there was no scenario where Mr Iglasias was going to keep people on the couch to the end of one episode, let alone a full season.
Myth & Mogul: John DeLorean debuts July 30 on Netflix.
Masters of The Universe: Revelation debuts July 23 on Netflix.
Car Masters returns for a third season on Netflix August 4.
What's next? Tomorrow.
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