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.
Mank gets a date.
ALSO: Ed turns 20. AND: Advertisers aren't turning up for TV this year.
Message from the editor guy: Apparently I goofed yesterday and neglected to tick the box that actually mailed out yesterday’s newsletter. Instead it just published it on the Always Be Watching website. Maybe four of you got to read it.
Back in the olden days (about 6-8 weeks ago) the box was ticked by default. It’s almost tripped me up a couple of days and then yesterday it did. Because there were some interesting news stories yesterday, I sent it out earlier this morning. And in order to not clog up your inbox, I’m sending today’s newsletter out a little later in the morning.
While I have you - thanks for reading the newsletter and for being so supportive with it. I regularly get very nice emails from you about finding value in it, which I always appreciate (more than I generally let on, to be honest).
Dan Barrett -editor guy
Mank gets cinema release. And date.
David Fincher’s movie Mank is getting a brief cinema release ahead of its proper release on Netflix. Mank will play in US theatres (and presumably Australian ones too, for my local readers) in November. It debuts on Netflix Dec 4.
The Hollywood-centric period piece follows alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (GaryOldman) as he races to finish the screenplay for Orson Welles‘ 1941 masterpiece Citizen Kane. That classic picture was fraught with controversy behind the scenes as Mankiewicz and Welles argued over credit and who wrote what, which became even more important once the film won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
It’s funny - With this and Trial of The Chicago 7, Netflix is the only company propping up cinemas with premium movie titles now.
It is believed that advance advertising commitments in the US TV market for the next year might be down as much as 15-20%. Some regular large volume TV sponsors have been badly wounded by the pandemic. Meanwhile, there’s the additional pandemic-related problem of networks not being able to deliver the usual amount of fresh content with productions delayed and cancelled.
Yes, viewers have been turning to more subscription streaming services in recent years, but this is speeding up the rate of decline dramatically.
Do you remember the TV series Ed? Of course you do. We all loved it for a few months when it first aired. Today marks the 20th anniversary of its debut. It was a fun show that has seemingly vanished from existence, like the movie Shazaam starring Sinbad.
The pilot episode of Ed lives on, suggesting that maybe the show really did exist.
Lumberjanes adapted for HBO Max
Co-creator of comic series Lumberjanes will adapt the series to TV for HBO Max.
Lumberjanes tells of five friends - April, Jo, Mal, Molly, and Ripley – who meet one fateful summer at a camp named Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thilstle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. Their differences isn’t the only thing they have to canoe around as the girls soon discover there area mysterious and supernatural forces afoot.
Ellen’s ratings are down 38% from this time last year. Source: Complex
The cast of The West Wing will appear on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert this coming Friday night. Source: thefutoncritic
Splitting Image (2020) has been renewed for a second season following the launch episode this week. Source: Deadline
The cast from 5 different Star Trek series are doing an online fundraiser for Parks & Recreation guest actor Joe Biden. A $25 donation amount is suggested. It’s worth noting that there’s also a West Wing trivia night being held to support Biden too. Source: Deadline
Lord of The Rings fans are worried they might see nipples in the upcoming Amazon series. Source: Dark Horizons
Cuties indictment in Texas
A Texas grand jury has indicted Netflix over content in the controversial film Cuties. Yes, this is identity war nonsense being fought out in the courts.
The film was found to “knowingly promote visual material which depicts the lewd exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child who was younger than 18 years of age at the time the visual material was created, which appeals to the prurient interest in sex, and has no serious, literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”
Netflix responded with a statement:
“Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children,” a spokesperson for the streamer said in a statement. “This charge is without merit and we stand by the film.”
It’s maybe worth bringing up the well-worn quote from US Justice Potter Stewart who famously said in 1964:
I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.
Bruce Springsteen’s Letter To You debuts on Apple TV+ on Oct 23.
Rob Lowe’s doco Madness in The Hills debuts on Peacock Oct 9.
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares debuts Nov 10 on Netflix.
The Magic School Bus Rides Again: The Frizz Connection debuts on Netflix Oct 20.
Somebody Feed Phil returns to Netflix on Oct 30.
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