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.
Marvel kick-off TV takeover with WandaVision
ALSO: All Creatures Great & Small. AND: Xena v Hercules
The Marvel TV takeover begins this week
The most notable TV series debuting this week (Month? Year?) is the new Marvel series WandaVision. The series kicks off several months worth of Marvel TV shows and movies that will run through the first half of the year pretty much non-stop - if you thought Marvel was ever-present at the cinemas, that was only the start of it.
Because of the success of Marvel at the box office, all eyes are on the launch of WandaVision. If it turns out to not be good, that won’t be the end of Marvel’s TV ambitions. But a successful show launch will further embed Marvel and its roster of superhero and superhero adjacent properties as the dominant force in screen culture.
Whether that’s a plus or a negative depends on your own personal taste. Me? I figure this gets me closer to a Thunderstrike TV show.
The New York Times has a feature looking at WandaVision and its TV sitcom inspirations from the obvious Bewitched through to less obvious inspiration like Family Ties.
With “WandaVision,” Feige said that he had wanted to honor the complexity of the title characters and Wanda’s reality-warping abilities but also to leaven the story with tributes to sitcom history.
“I feel like I’ve justified all the time I spent playing with action figures in my backyard,” he said. “All the time I spent watching Nick at Nite and old TV shows, I haven’t justified yet. This show is helping me do that.”
The series finds Wanda and Vision — now somehow alive — residing in suburban bliss, not entirely sure of why they are cycling through various eras of television history and encountering veteran Marvel performers like Kat Dennings (as her “Thor” character, Darcy Lewis) and Randall Park (reprising his “Ant-Man and the Wasp” role of Jimmy Woo) as well as new additions to the roster, like Teyonah Parris (as Monica Rambeau) and Kathryn Hahn (playing a perplexingly nosy neighbor named Agnes).
As with many of the Marvel movies, there is also a central mystery running through “WandaVision,” asking viewers to ponder the ever-changing reality that envelops its romantic leads.
Speaking of Marvel TV… Moon Knight lands indie dynamic duo
Filmmakers Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, responsible for the offbeat sci-fi drama The Endless - a film that I got a huge kick out of, have signed to direct multiple episodes of the new Marvel TV show Moon Knight. Oscar Isaac is expected to be announced as the lead of the series.
While I never saw the original, I’ll admit to some curiosity about watching the new All Creatures Great and Small. It’s the sort of comfort TV I’m hungering for at the moment. (All that’s holding me back is subscribing to Britbox, which is where it is streaming here in Australia).
With the show launching in the US, the New York Times has a feature on the show. I was caught by this section which completely spoke to my own interest in watching the show. Seems I’m not alone:
The popularity of the series across age groups (Channel 5 reported a large share of the 16-34 demographic) and audiences suggests that the show hit a sweet spot for family comfort viewing at a moment of national adversity.
“There is something about the show’s focus on community, heart and family that seems to have been particularly resonant at a time when we have all gone through something globally difficult,” Shenton said. And then there’s the aspect that has less to do with community or creatures than with more transportive pandemic pleasures: the show’s ravishing Yorkshire hillsides and time-capsule-pretty villages.
Seven Up documentarian Michael Apted has died at the age of 79. Read: THR
Sad to hear of the passing of actor Deezer D over the weekend. He was best known for playing the nurse Malik on the show ER throughout that shows entire run. Read: THR
General Hospital & Passions star John Reilly has died at the age of 84. Read: TV Line
Warner Bros is currently working through deals to provide fee payments to those impacted by its decision to release movies direct to HBO Max in the US. Source: Bloomberg
Deadline has a good rundown on which US network pilots are still going to series and which were DOA. Read: Deadline
Ben Lindburgh asks: Is Ted Danson TV’s greatest of all-time? I ask: How is this even a question? Read: The Ringer
Losing Alice debuts on Apple TV+ on Jan 22.
In this internationally acclaimed psychological thriller, Alice is a middle-aged film director who feels lost since raising her family. But a chance meeting with Sophie, a femme-fatale screenwriter, takes Alice on an obsessive journey toward success at any cost.
Feature film Cherry will debut March 12 on Apple TV+.
Malcolm & Marie debuts Feb 5 on Netflix.
When filmmaker Malcolm (John David Washington) and his girlfriend Marie (Zendaya), return home from a movie premiere and await his film’s critical response, the evening takes a turn as revelations about their relationship surface, testing the couple’s love.
The Equalizer starring Queen Latifah debuts on CBS Feb 7.
Finding Ohana debuts on Netflix Jan 29.
A summer in rural O'ahu takes an exciting turn for two Brooklyn-raised siblings when a journal pointing to long-lost treasure sets them on an epic adventure with new friends, and leads them to reconnect with their Hawaiian heritage.
Men In Kilts debuts on Starz on Feb 14.
The journey of "Men in Kilts: A Roadtrip with Sam and Graham" takes viewers from the heart of Scotland at Glencoe, the site of a great massacre and major clan feud to Inverness and the Culloden battlefield, the site of a great battle and historic turning point, known well to fans of "Outlander," that molded Scotland as we know it today.
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