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.
RIP Grace & Frankie. ALSO: A Handmaids Tale spin-off?
Always Be Watching is written by Dan Barrett
Allow me to kick off today’s Always Be Watching newsletter with a big hello to the new subscribers who found the newsletter through an article on the ABC website on Wednesday (more on that in a moment).
So, what’s the deal with this newsletter?
ABW every morning delivers up to 10 news stories about the interesting things happening in and around TV and screen culture (movies, video games, mobile phone stuff, VR, etc) across the US, UK, and Australia.
Expect news about new and returning shows, and the huge business moves that are changing what we watch and how we watch it every week. I’ll also provide spots of commentary and analysis every so often too, in order to give news context.
On Fridays there is a bonus newsletter that lists all of the brand new and returning TV shows that have started on TV that week across the US, UK, and Australia.
Oh, and there is the ABW Podcast, which usually comes out on Wednesdays, but should be out sometime late tonight - I’ve been unwell this week. Every week hosts Dan (that’s me!) and Chris discuss what they’ve been watching.
It is now free to receive, and I plan for that to always be the case. That said, if you find value in it, consider becoming a paid subscriber. It takes about an hour to put the newsletter together every day and reader support will keep this going. If you like the newsletter, there's a chance your friends might too, so feel free to forward it to them, share on social, and suggest that they subscribe.
And now on with today's news:
With Margaret Atwood releasing a book that serves as a follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale, it is not a surprise that MGM & Hulu are already planning to adapt it into a series.
The novel, The Testaments, is told from the perspectives of three women: a young woman living in Canada who discovers she was born in Gilead, another young woman who has been raised in Gilead, and Aunt Lydia - one of the villains from The Handmaid’s Tale.
It would be jarring for viewers if this is on Hulu, but doesn't continue on from the show (which had a woeful third season). Hopefully any spin-off brings in new key creatives.
One assumes that the existence of this means that June certainly doesn't set in motion an effective revolution, keeping the show very much about smaller victories. Never delivering a satisfying pay-off. The show has always been about June trying to get her daughter back - but any finale needs to have June having a lasting impact on Gilead in some way if it is to satisfy the audience.
Actor Will Pouter is having a good run. Straight off appearing in hip indie horror Midsommar, and Netflix interactive zeitgeist his Bandersnatch, he’s just been cast as one of the leads in Amazon’s new Lord of The Rings TV series. No word on who he’ll play.
A while ago I published an article that delved into the idea that had been on my mind for a while: it takes too long to find anything good on Netflix as there’s no editorial signposts on platform.
ABC culture writer Paul Donoughue had a similar issue on his mind in a piece at ABC Online:
In 2004, the American psychologist Barry Schwartz released an influential book called The Paradox of Choice, which went on to become a popular TED Talk.
The gist was that when presented with too many options, we become paralysed by the fear that we will make the wrong choice. It is anticipatory regret. That fear detracts from whatever pleasure we get from choosing what we reckon is the best option.
Paul went on to quote my article, so his choice of sources is obviously impeccable.