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.
Lindsay Lohan debuts on TV - with lots of butts! RIP 'I Love You America'!
ABW is by troubled teen star Dan Barrett, publishing from his own beach party
While I understand the appeal of anthology shows, allowing audiences to dip in and out of new, fresh worlds and characters, there’s really only so many of them we can be expected to be interested in, surely? Well, there’s one TV producer who has two different anthology shows coming soon. Not only does Jordan Peele have his Twilight Zone reboot coming, but he also has Weird City coming to YouTube Premium in February.
The six-episode anthology series is set in an imminent science fiction world full of gratification machines and instant muscle pills. In this futuristic society, humans either live in the wealthy, affluent Above the Line part of the slightly-futuristic city of Weird, or Below the Line, where amenities aren’t quite so prevalent. Aside from looking at class differences, some of the apparent topics of the series include the various Weird approaches to dating, health care, and transportation.
LeVar Burton, Steven Yeun, Mark Hamill, Gillian Jacobs, Awkwafina, Laverne Cox, Rosario Dawson, and Michael Cera feature.
Noel Murray has a guide at the New York Times on rewatching The Sopranos, celebrating its 20th anniversary today. It originally went to air on 10 January 1999. It’ll let you know which episodes to watch if you just want to watch one, a couple, five, or more. It will even tell you which episodes just to skip.
NBC has renewed Days of Our Livesfor a 55th season. This year saw the broadcast of its 13,500th episode. By my rough math, that means there’s been at least seven different storylines featured on the show already.
Hulu has cancelled Sarah Silverman’s I Love You America.
I really liked the show, but it never felt particularly essential viewing.
Apparently Lindsay Lohan has a TV show. Made for MTV, it’s called Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club and, according to this in-depth article at Decider, it’s mostly about being able to see butts on a beach.
Now THIS feels like essential viewing.
Improvements in the distribution of TV content has impacted on TV fandom in a number of interesting ways. One of the most devout groups of fans are those into anime. With a lot of that content, obviously, in Japanese and with much of the content traditionally difficult to see outside of Japan, fans used to create their own subtitle tracks for anime shows. This used to also happen for regular foreign-language shows too, but not to the same extent.
But now there are dedicated streaming services like Crunchyroll that has not only made anime more readily accessible, but it has introduced innovative distribution moves like live simulcasts of shows - streaming at the same time as they air in Japan. Plus you have services like Netflix commissioning a lot of anime shows now, making them available day and date globally.
Unofficial translators are also facing a more robust anti-piracy stance within Japan itself. Last spring, several Chinese nationals living in Japan were arrested for illegally translating over 15,000 manga and games, which were then published on Weibo. The Association of Copyright for Computer Software reported that, if convicted, the individuals would face prison terms, steep fines, or both.
In this moment, when legal streaming services like Crunchyroll offer near-instant anime gratification, why would any amateurs continue to do this kind of work? Many haven’t: According to the Fansub Database, a site that has tracked both professional and amateur translation efforts since 2010, the proportion of shows getting the fansub treatment has shrunkdramatically. Regarding Crunchyroll’s piece of the pie, Williams told me that “three years ago, Crunchyroll was translating between 20 to 25 simulcast episodes a week. We’re now up to 42 to 50 episodes.”
The granular mechanics of sex have fueled teen comedies for decades, and so, too, does it propel “Sex Education.” Laurie Nunn’s new dramedy so thoroughly embraces American high school tropes of the ’80s — from virgin nerds to jocks in letterman jackets, chain-smoking rebels to mean girls in Technicolor “Heathers” blazers — that it can be genuinely jarring to see someone pull out an iPhone.
Like Big Mouth, Sex Education has all kinds of advice to offer regarding the confusing and impossibly complicated realm of modern sexuality. The show is graphic, gross, and inherently earnest: No matter how mortifying Otis might find his mother, he’s internalized her refusal to judge anyone. [Gillian] Anderson, who most recently has embodied gravitas and aloofness on series including The Fall and War and Peace, seems to revel in the comic potential of her role as Jean, not to mention the opportunity to play a middle-aged woman with an extraordinarily healthy sex life. Jean’s story lines, although not as frequent as they could be, add still more dimensions to the ways in which Sex Education comments on desire.
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I really quite like the Canadian low-fi, nice family comedy Kim’s Convenience. NPR has a look at the show, which includes a few quotes from those involved with the production, explaining the show’s evolution from stage show to television.
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