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's new streaming shows! Boomerang remake is good? And return of The Handmaid's Tale!
Always Be Watching is curated by Dan Barrett who found a lot of stories today.
Soon Disney+ will be your one-stop shop for all of your Marvel TV needs. Except it won’t be. Well, probably not. Hulu (which will soon mostly be owned by Disney) has announced four new adult-orientated Marvel animated series, plus a special in which all the characters team up.
Kevin Smith and Dave Willis will write and executive produce Howard The Duck - America’s favorite fighting fowl hopes to return home, from a world he never made, with the help of his unstoppable gal pal Beverly. They have to do it before the evil Dr. Bong can turn him the crispiest dish on the menu.
Patton Oswalt and Jordan Blum will write and executive produce M.O.D.O.K. - an egomaniacal supervillain with a giant head and a little body struggles to maintain control of his evil organization and his demanding family.
Josh Gordon and Will Speck will write and executive produce Hit-Monkey - A wronged Japanese snow monkey, mentored by the ghost of an American assassin, cuts a wide swath through the Tokyo underworld in this darkly cinematic funny revenge saga.
Chelsea Handler and Erica Rivinoja will write and executive produce Tigra & Dazzler Show - two woke superheroes and best friends, Tigra and Dazzler, fight for recognition among powered people who make up the eight million stories in Los Angeles.
The Offenders will see the leads of all four series forced to team up in order to save the world and certain parts of the Universe.
June 5 will see the return of The Handmaid’s Tale. This helps Hulu avoid a conflict with Game of Thrones, but it also means the show won’t be eligible for nomination in most Emmy categories. I suspect this will be for the best for the perception of the show as one of TV’s most prestigious shows - it has already had some Emmy success for season 1, but saw some of that shine disappear in its second year. It’s pretty unusual for a show to return to Emmy prominence after its time in the sun, regardless of whether the show got better.
The study concluded that VR takes that burden of imagery generation off of the patient by generating and presenting the images for them. This is a particularly promising avenue for treating younger patients, since they are familiar and willing to interact with technology, and also because the technique can effectively slow down or prevent nightmare disorder conversion into psychosis, ultimately saving lives.
One of TV’s best, and most unwatched, dramas Counterpart has been cancelled by Starz after 2 seasons. MRC, which produces the show, is currently shopping it around to other networks/platforms. It would be great to see the show given a chance to perform on a network/platform that people actually watch.
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Epix Now will give subscribers access to the network’s slate of new original series — including Pennyworth, Godfather of Harlem, Our Lady, LTD and Elvis Goes There with Elvis Mitchell — as well as thousands of blockbuster movies and returning seasons of such original series as Get Shorty, Berlin Station and Deep State.
It’ll cost US$5.99 per month.
Also coming to Epix is a docu-drama based on the first season of podcast Slow Burn exploring the Watergate cover-up.
Variety has an interesting piece on the Berlin International Film Festival off-shoot Berlinale, which is increasingly becoming a hot spot to launch TV shows. Particularly those with a European lean.
Seven shows will be featured this year, including:
The Amazon-backed “Hanna,” produced out of the U.K. by NBCU Intl. Studios
“M — A City Hunts a Murderer,” an Austrian drama inspired by Fritz Lang’s classic film “M”
Germany’s “8 Days,” about humanity’s last moments before a meteor strike
Netflix’s first Swedish original, “Quicksand,” about a school shooting
The second season of Israeli thriller “False Flag.”
French miniseries “Il Etait Une Seconde Fois” (“Twice Upon a Time”)
Danish noir “Bedrag III”
M is a show I’ve been keen to check out for a while, but each of these will be around to watch in the next few months. I’ve seen the first episode of Hanna and it was pretty fun.
But even though there’s clear heat between the two leads, Boomerang feels less like a rom-com unnecessarily stretched out to series length than a warm and smartly observed look at black millennials looking to separate themselves from the generation that came before. In the series’ opening scene, Simone quits her father’s ad agency in frustration while watching an older exec film an energy drink ad with actors sporting dated, early-Nineties hair and clothes. (The look is more House Party than the original Boomerang; Waithe doesn’t beat you too hard over the head with the idea.) Later, Bryson goes full Don Draper by improvising a more demographically appropriate pitch where he argues, “Being young, gifted and black is cool, but it’s exhausting.”
“I can’t even finish that sentence. But you won’t be holding your breath too long. It has been a while coming, but it’s quality, you know. I think it’s exquisite, and unparalleled, but it’ll be worth the wait. And it won’t be too long a wait.”
Mrs Maisel herself defending accusations she isn’t a good mother.
And sure. But, maybe these aren’t the best two examples. Neither were single parents with custody of the kids. And whenever Don Draper, particularly, had the kids, something would invariably go horribly wrong due to the fact he was terrible. The show never spoke well of him as a human.
Regardless, the kids on Maisel are a plot device. Anyone focused on that side of her life and not the stand-up comedy aren’t paying attention.
Juliana Margulies is returning to TV with a mini-series for Nat Geo - The Hot Zone. TV is a poorer place for her not starring in an ongoing show.
But you must be nimble, he warns. In the last three years his company has altered its business model from making Australian TV series that it hoped to re-package for international sale, to now making series – like the crime comedy Mr Inbetween – directly for the international audience.
I’d be interested in knowing what changes they’re making to the creative to make it work directly for the international audience?
Here’s the thing that simply isn’t talked about enough when it comes to the likes of Netflix investing in Australian shows: They don’t have to.
It makes sense investing in a Spanish show, a German show, a Japanese show, etc. They look and feel completely unlike anything else. What does an Australian show feel like? Well, ultimately not too dissimilar from a US/UK/Canadian show. There isn’t a whole lot of incentive to produce content from Australia for overseas export.
The question local producers need to be asking themselves is: “What are we making that looks and feels unique? How can we make Australian TV a distinct proposition?”
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