Amazon has launched an ad-supported streaming video service through its brand called Freedive.

TV shows on IMDb Freedive include:
Fringe, Heroes, The Bachelor (seasons 20 and 21), Gilligan’s Island, Duck Dynasty, Quantum Leap, Born This Way and Without a Trace.

Movies include:
Awakenings, A Few Good Men,” Adaptation, Drive, Foxcatcher, Gattaca, Memento, Run Lola Run, The Illusionist, The Last Samurai, True Romance, Monster, and Midnight in Paris.

All-up, I counted over 150 movies and about 40 different TV shows.

The service is US-only for the moment and can be accessed via Amazon’s Fire TV hardware and the IMDB site -

Martin Scorsese will direct the not-exactly a documentary documentary Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese for Netflix.

The creator of Australian kids TV icon Mr Squiggle has died at the age of 89. Norman Hetherington started out as a cartoonist before moving on to create a number of kids shows for the ABC before introducing Mr Squiggle in 1959. The show continued on in a variety of formats, with its final episode airing in 1999. I’m sure it won’t be the last time we see Mr Squiggle on screen.

Image result for mr squiggle norman hetherington

Channel 4 and HBO have jointly produced Leaving Neverland, a 2-part doco about two men who recount their experiences of being sexually abused by Michael Jackson:

Channel 4 and HBO have co-produced award-winning director Dan Reed's LEAVING NEVERLAND, a two-part documentary about two men who recount their experiences of being sexually abused by Michael Jackson.

When allegations of abuse by Jackson involving young boys surfaced in 1993, many found it hard to believe that he could be guilty of such unspeakable acts. LEAVING NEVERLAND explores the experiences of two young boys, James Safechuck, at age ten, and Wade Robson, at age seven, who were both befriended by Jackson. They and their families were entranced by the singer's fairy-tale existence as his career reached its peak.

Director Dan Reed states, "If there's anything we've learned during this time in our history, it's that sexual abuse is complicated, and survivors' voices need to be listened to. It took great courage for these two men to tell their stories and I have no question about their validity. I believe anyone who watches this film will see and feel the emotional toll on the men and their families and will appreciate the strength it takes to confront long-held secrets."

Through gut-wrenching interviews with Safechuck and Robson, now in their 30s, as well as their mothers, wives and siblings, LEAVING NEVERLAND crafts a portrait of sustained abuse, and explores the complicated feelings that led both men to confront their experiences after each had a young son of his own. Playing out against the backdrop of our collective experience, the film documents the value of breaking silence, even when it implicates a powerful and revered figure.

Matt Zoller Seitz poses the question: What is True Detective, really? He never quite answers the question because it seems like the series broadly doesn’t really have a good answer to that question itself.

American Horror Story, Fargo, American Crime Story, and ABC’s late, lamented American Crime (the best of the bunch) were qualitatively erratic, too — some more so than others — but you never looked at a new season and thought, “Who thought that this would be a good fit with what came before?”

Comics site Bleeding Cool has a savage takedown of the DC Universe streaming service. Having just sampled it myself, I’m hard-pressed to disagree.

And finally…

Liz Shannon-Miller at Indiewire makes the sort of dumb plea to streaming services to knock it off with the auto-play feature that would only come from a TV critic. Her main argument is that viewers should be able to set their own pace so that they can:

  1. Pause for a moment, and take in what they just watched.
  2. Actually remember what they just watched.
  3. Decide if they want to watch more.

Which is pretty counter-productive to what streaming services want (they measure success in overall minutes spent streaming) and what viewers want - to be entertained without putting a great deal of consideration into what to watch next. And if you don’t think that second issue is legitimate, it’s because you’re a more active viewer than most. There’s a reason TV schedules were created with lead-in shows: most viewers like to blob down and have choices made for them and will happily go along with it if the programs aren’t too on the nose for their tastes.

That said…

It does bother me that there is no setting via Netflix to force the playing of the opening titles sequence each time. I like opening titles and I hate that it skips them when I choose to watch episode after episode.

ABW will be back tomorrow with some TV viewing suggestions and a bit more news.