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.
Is The Crown a bigger show than The Mandalorian? ALSO: Did Watchmen just give us the best episode of TV in 2019?
Always Be Watching is an email put together every day by Dan Barrett. You should tell your friends about it.
When promotion for Watchmen first kicked off, series ‘çreator’ Damon Lindeloff gave a quote about what the show was interested in. It really jumped out at me as it really spoke to the current cultural moment where people are having substantiative conversations about the role of race in the broader world, but on screen we’re getting fairly shallow overtures to the subject. This is particularly apparent in superhero big-screen adventures which remain very white for the most part.
“The questions we wanted to explore were, why aren’t there any conversations about race happening in the superhero genre outside of ‘Black Panther’? Why does Don Cheadle have to cover every single part of his skin, and so does Black Panther, when all the white superheroes, we get to see their faces?” says Lindelof. “And most importantly, in an entire century of superhero storytelling, what happened to the Black superheroes? Did any of them make a go of it and because of racism they were pushed to the side? Because that is what would have happened in real life.”
Last night Watchmen aired its 6th episode - an episode that tipped the shows hand as to what the series was actually about, which was firmly about race and the role it plays in stories about masked adventurers. It also happened to be one of the strongest hours of TV in 2019.
If you’re not watching this show, boy are you missing out on some courageous television. Maybe the best series of the year.
How popular are the buzziest TV shows?
Ahead of doing a guest spot on this week’s episode of podcast The Take (it publishes later this week) talking about the popularity of The Mandalorian, I took a look at the Google queries made about buzzy TV shows of the moment with a Google Trends analysis of the past 30 days. My thinking is that you can tell which shows are being watched the most based on how many Google searches are being done in relation to the show.
I was interested in finding out whether The Mandalorian is as buzzy as it seems. And it is - but surprisingly, on the launch weekend of The Crown, there were more Google searches for that show than any other.
What are people looking up?
For The Mandalorian, it was as one would expect:
But, it’s in looking at the other shows that things get a bit interesting.
For The Crown, viewers are interested in the real world events depicted in the show:
Most people making queries about The Morning Show seem to mostly be confused about where to see it. (Psst, it’s on the Apple TV+ streaming service…. if that means anything to anyone who hasn’t already figured it out):
Anne With an E will end with its third season on Netflix.
WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey appeared at the Code Media conference last week, talking with Recode Media host Peter Kafka. I was going to suggest that people listen to the latest episode of the Recode Media podcast where that interview is available in full. And then I found the whole video was also published to YouTube.
The interview is a wide-ranging conversation, but largely focuses on the business strategies and behind the scenes changes as WarnerMedia supercharge (dilutes?) its HBO brand for upcoming streaming service HBO Max.
US cable network Starz is rolling out its direct-to-consumer streaming app StarzPlay. Five countries have been announced - Brazil, France, Germany, Mexico and the U.K. A further 20 will be added throughout 2020. It would be a big surprise if Australia isn’t a part of that 20. The service is priced at approx the $5 mark.
Baby Yoda gifs are saved! It was a fraught 24 hours in which Disney started pulling gifs of Baby Yoda from the Internet. Online outrage (and likely a word from Disney’s PR team to its legal team) has seen a reversal in the decision.