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.
No Netflix sale. PLUS: Holey Moley Australia. AND: More Adventure Time
Always Be Watching is written by Dan Barrett who needs to buy a watch.
Two things you won’t find Netflix doing anytime soon: Sell the company or lower subscription rates. Talking with Katie Couric at a Variety panel event, Ted Sarandos:
“We have no plans” to sell, the erudite executive stated, adding he had “never discussed selling the company” with founder and CEO Reed Hastings
And would they consider lowering the cost of Netflix to lure subscribers from cheaper services like Apple TV+ and Disney+?
“It’s not about the price, it’s about the value,” Sarandos said about the Netflix philosophy and attitude towards lower-priced newbies and the multitude of libraries and original content they will be dropping soon on choice-rich consumers.
Thanks to HBO Max, the world of Adventure Time is coming back to TV with some new shows. Four specials will be produced:
BMO follows the lovable little robot from Adventure Time. When there’s a deadly space emergency in the farthest reaches of the galaxy, there’s only one hero to call, and it’s probably not BMO. Except that this time it is!
Obsidianfeatures Marceline & Princess Bubblegum as they journey to the imposing, beautiful Glass Kingdom—and deep into their tumultuous past—to prevent an earthshaking catastrophe.
Wizard Cityfollows Peppermint Butler, starting over at the beginning, as just another inexperienced Wizard School student. When mysterious events at the campus cast suspicion on Pep, and his checkered past, can he master the mystic arts in time to prove his innocence?
Together Again brings Finn and Jake together again, to rediscover their brotherly bond and embark on the most important adventure of their lives.
On the eve of Apple TV+ and Disney+ launching with big budget original series, Variety has taken a look at the ballooning budgets of TV series - where is all of that money going?
“Veep” executive producer David Mandel, who says his HBO comedy boasted a fine budget, nonetheless wonders whether productions need this much money. “Some of these numbers you hear, they’re crazy,” he says. “When you saw a James Cameron movie and a Harrier jet blew up a bridge, you went, ‘OK, it’s good that thing cost $100 million.’ But when it’s three people in a room, what are you spending the money on? Just because they’ll let you spend it doesn’t mean you should.”
Of all the new US broadcast shows, I am now down to only watching two with any regularity - Stumptown and Evil. Both have actually proven to be strong performers ratings-wise, which is both surprising and good news. Evil, the ‘supernatural’ drama from Robert & Michelle King (The Good Wife/Fight) is a particularly wonderful, transgressive broadcast show that was just picked up for a second season by network CBS.
Channel 7 held its upfronts last night. The big news coming out of it include a revival of Big Brother, a new cooking show from 2/3 of the Masterchef hosts, and a local format adaptation of US comedy event mini-golf reality show Holey Moley.
The catch with Holey Moley in Australia? There’s already a chain of mini golf centres in Australia with that name, so here the show will be called Mega Mini Golf. Channel 7… it’s not too late to change the name of the show.
A show which, admittedly, I hadn’t heard anything about until moments ago, is the new FXX animation/live action hybrid Cake. Steve Greene at Indiewire has taken a look at it:
To follow the food metaphor the show’s title invites, “Cake” is the product of a number of ingredients all working together to produce a distinct flavor. To torture that metaphor further, “Cake” is something closer to a sugary casserole, an energetic mixture of disparate comedic styles that aren’t so much whipped up into batter but presented with large chunks still intact in each bite. In an entertainment world that’s increasingly supported by algorithms, “Cake” doesn’t allow viewers to get silo’ed into one headspace – and that’s the glory of the show.
Each half-hour episode throws together a cross-section of live-action and animated shorts. “Cake” makes reducing things down to either of those two categories a reductive process, and not just because some are an in-between hybrid. It’s easy to see that the animation styles that bring many of these smaller segments to life are different, but that variety is just as much about the mindset these shorts come from.
It sounds different and worth a look. I’m intrigued…
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