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.
Netflix signs on for classic movies
ALSO: The Sopranos movie delayed. AND: Binge?
Netflix has signed a deal with M2K Films to bring 50 classic movies to its service from auteurs like Charlie Chaplin, François Truffaut, Jacques Demy, Alain Resnais, and Krzysztof Kieślowski. The deal covers a number of international territories - as of publishing the email, I’m not sure if it will include Australia.
Regardless, it is great to see Netflix investing more in classic cinema and making these films available to a broader audience.
The first batch of films debut on April 24 with 12 Truffaut films: Bed and Board, Fahrenheit 451, Confidentially Yours, Jules and Jim, Love on the Run, Shoot the Piano Player, Stolen Kisses, The 400 Blows, The Last Metro, The Soft Skin, The Woman Next Door, and Two English Girls.
The stupid virus means there are a bunch of movie release date changes. Warner Bros today announced some, which include the prequel to The Sopranos. That film, The Many Saints of Newark, moves from Sept 25 to March 12.
I’m nervous about the new Ryan Murphy Netflix series Hollywood. There’s never a Ryan Murphy project that feels bland - this is a dude who is always pushing limits with bold and audacious TV projects. But I also don’t tend to enjoy many of them.
Set during the post WWII golden age of Hollywood, the series stars Darren Criss, David Corenswet, Jim Parsons, Patti LuPone, Jeremy Pope, Laura Harrier, Samara Weaving, Dylan McDermott, Holland Taylor, Jake Picking, Joe Mantello, and Maude Apatow.
We have a new trailer. It debuts May 1.
In a world with a lot of information and opinion, I’ve really come to appreciate the work done by Vox which explains the news as it delivers it. It’s all about providing sorely-needed context. You may have seen its Netflix series Explained or visited the website. Now Vox has a new show that launched today on Quibi.
Answered By Vox today explores whether the Coronavirus is airborne with its episode that is just under five minutes long. New episodes air three times a week initially before going weekly from May 4. Like Explained, this new show is hosted by Cleo Abram.
A couple of weeks ago I claimed that new animated show The Midnight Gospel had launched on Netflix. I’d been given a bogus date. But it is streaming now and worth checking out. It’s from Pembleton Ward, but anyone expecting it to be like his previous show Adventure Time might be disappointed. In a sense, these are animated podcasts involving introspective and philosophical discussion as its lead character hops around the universe interviewing people.
The brilliance of The Midnight Gospel isn’t just the surreal animation, though. It’s the ways it repeatedly dismantles any assumptions about what the series might feature. The trailers for the show don’t reveal that instead of a universe-hopping plot-drive adventure, it’s more of a Dr. Katz-like experience, with deep conversations modified from existing source material. There is no greater explanation of just how Clancy’s simulator works, where he lives, or what his own universe is like. Everything fantastical about the show visually augments the existing podcast conversations, rather than revealing deeper lore or character arcs.
NBC News has sold its stake in Euronews. The move was not unexpected as NBC tidies up its portfolio ahead of the launch of its announced NBC Sky World News channel. Announced a few months ago, it’s an attempt to create an international news service based out of London. The launch of it has been delayed thanks to the stupid virus.
Gareth Evans, the director responsible for The Raid, has a new TV series that promises to bring a high level of energy and violence to TV. Gangs of London debuts on Sky Atlantic on 23 April. Michael Potts at Radio Times has this review:
Gangs of London is brutal and uber-violent, and for those reasons it won’t have the same mass appeal as Peaky Blinders – Sean’s first act in the opening scene is more grim than anything enacted by a Shelby brother – yet it does accomplish a balance between generating intrigue around the table and smashing people through them. The action is wild but there are already signs of a gripping drama emerging that lift the show from a simple “disengage brain, crash, kapow, thwack!” romp.
Don’t expect your favourite Neighbours characters to get hot and heavy when the show returns to filming this week. The show will be keeping actors at acceptable distances using camera tricks and other measures.
Fremantle spokesperson told TV Tonight, “Neighbours returns from its scheduled production hiatus next week with a revised production model which fully complies with the Government’s strict health and safety measures for work environments around COVID-19.”
The studio has been divided into quadrants, with an operational hub, three distinct production teams and only three actors allowed to cross between the units.
A tidbit that I missed in the news yesterday - the upcoming Australian streaming service from Foxtel is rumoured to be named ‘Binge’. Foxtel already has the name trademarked after running a Binge-branded channel up until recently.
I’m really not a fan of the brand name - it feels like a tired attempt to chase a term with an implied hipness, rather than a brand name with authenticity. Also, it does seem like people talk far less about binge-watching than we all were a few years ago.
Regardless, I’m curious to see the service launch. There’s a decent library of content on Foxtel that feels stale only because of it being trapped on a service that is predominantly a linear streamer - ‘Binge’ is an interesting proposition.