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.
Natasha Lyonne - TV detective
ALSO: RIP Yaphet Kotto. AND: Peppa Pig news
Finally! A TV detective show!
Good news for fans of TV’s most over-served genre - Natasha Lyonne will star in a new series for titled Poker Face. Creator/writer/director Rian Johnson (of Knives Out and the best Star Wars movie fame) said by way of media release quote:
“I’m very excited to dig into the type of fun, character driven, case-of-the-week mystery goodness I grew up watching. It’s my happy place,” he said. “Having Natasha as a partner in crime is a dream, and we’ve found the perfect home at Peacock.”
I would like to lodge my own official statement about this production: Gimme gimme gimme.
In the early-to-mid 90s I flipped over to a show that completely changed my relationship with TV. I was immediately captivated by a cop show that felt different - the colors on the show were really muted, the filming style was quasi-documentary, and the cast were predominantly African American. The guy that really caught my interest was this big, hulking guy in charge of the department. As out of place as the series felt on TV, Yaphet Kotto was a complete anomaly. People who looked like him were never seen on television in leading roles. Let alone playing Lt. Al Giardello - a half-Black, half-Sicilian man who would be prone to drop lines of Italian halfway through sentences.
The cast of Homicide: Life on The Streets became a fascination for me. It was a fantastic series (by far, one of TV’s all-time great shows) that was a pathway for me into adult-orientated drama. But it was also led me into a world filled with unique and fascinating character actors that I have followed intensely ever since - Andre Braugher, Melissa Leo, Clark Johnson, Jon Polito, Ned Beatty, just to name a few. But the guy that really caught my attention from that first episode was Yaphet Kotto. There was just something entrancing about him - he was a big guy who mumbled his way through lines of dialogue and he dominated attention in every scene he was in through sheer physical presence mixed with a sense of life experience. Even when performing in scenes with Andre Braugher, who was an absolute screen dynamo at the time (he’s still pretty great now, but have you ever seen him in Homicide? He’s a freight train in that show), Kotto owned the screen.
Obviously, the older I got, the more I began to discover Kotto’s extensive body of work. My favourite being the 70s flick Across 110th Street, but there was also Alien, that terrible Roger Moore Bond film that he’s thanklessly the best thing about it, and Midnight Run.
Yesterday it was announced that Yaphet Kotto died at the age of 81.
Always Be Watching has long-established itself as your go-to destination for the latest Peppa Pig news and rest assured, I am fully committed to continuing this dedicated coverage.
eOne has commissioned a further 107 episodes of the show, keeping the series in production until 2027. But there will be a big change happening behind the scenes. Animation studio Astley Baker Davies will no longer handle the production, with the show now being looked after by studio Karrot. Neville Astley, Mark Baker, and Phil Davies have animated the series since its 2004 launch.
Staff from Astley Baker Davies, including animators and head writer Phill Hall, will move over to the replacement animation studio to continue working on the series. No reason was given for this change, but it’s pretty weird, right? Also, Phill Hall has been writing Peppa Pig since 2007 - that’s kinda weird too.
Demián Bichir will star in a TV series adaption of Let The Right One In for Showtime. Running the show will be Andrew Hinderaker - he created last year’s terrible space drama Away. Read: Indiewire
Aussie music game show Spicks and Specks returns with its original on-air team with ten episodes from April 18. Read: Mediaweek
LA’s Union Station will be the venue for the Academy Awards this year. Read: Variety
Ali Wong and Steven Yeun are teaming for a 10-episode TV series produced by A24 for Apple TV+. Read: Indiewire
Killing Eve will end with its fourth season. Read: THR
A TV series based on the teenage years of Agatha Christie is in development. Read: Deadline
Rings dumps Budge
Pour one out for Australian actor Tom Budge who has been consciously uncoupled from the new Amazon Lord of The Rings show. After viewing the pilot, Amazon decided it wanted to go in a different direction with the character, forcing Budge from residency in Middle Earth.
Budge had an undisclosed role in the new series - it’s not known if it’s a large or small role. If it’s a small role, one presumes that announcing you’d been dropped from a series like this is a great way to build one’s profile.
Rutherford Falls debuts on Peacock on April 22. It will stream in Australia on Stan.
A small town in the Northeast and the Native American reservation it borders are turned upside down when local legend and town namesake, Nathan Rutherford (Ed Helms), fights the moving of a historical statue. "Rutherford Falls" is created and executive produced by Michael Schur, Ed Helms, and Sierra Teller Ornelas
Concrete Cowboy debuts on Netflix April 2.
While spending the summer in North Philadelphia, a troubled teen (Caleb McLaughlin) is caught between a life of crime and his estranged father’s (Idris Elba) vibrant urban-cowboy subculture.
Worn Stories debuts on Netflix April 1.
Based on the New York Times Best Seller, Worn Stories opens the closets of a diverse group of people to reveal a treasure-trove of tales about the meaning behind articles of clothing. Be it a pair of boots symbolizing survival, a dress that's come to stand for recovery, or a uniform that reaffirms an identity.
Pagglait debuts on Netflix 26 March.
Widowed soon after marriage, a young woman grapples with an inability to grieve, quirky relatives and a startling discovery about her late husband.
New Gods: Rezha Reborn debuts on Netflix soon.
Birdgirl debuts April 4 on Adult Swim.
Docuseries Sasquatch debuts on Hulu April 20.
While visiting a pot farm in Northern California in 1993, investigative journalist David Holthouse heard a story that still haunts him: On a nearby farm three men were torn limb from limb in a savage Bigfoot attack. Sasquatch follows David as he revisits the Redwoods 25 years later, in search of any evidence that might lead to the truth of what happened that night. As he pulls at the threads of this story, he’ll be taken down a path that’s far more terrifying than anyone would have imagined.
What’s next? Tomorrow.
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