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 Hal Holbrook.
ALSO: Lots of trailers. AND: A smattering of news.
RIP Hal Holbrook
The star of more TV shows and movies than some of you may have ever seen in your life, Hal Holbrook has died at age 95. Maybe you know him from roles in movies like The Firm, Lincoln, or All The Presidents Men. Or perhaps you know him from sitcoms like Designing Women and Evening Shade. Or maybe there’s the countless appearances on TV dramas like The West Wing, The Sopranos, or Grey’s Anatomy.
Like all great screen legends, his final credit was not a strong one to go out on. It was a 2017 episode of Hawaii Five-0.
Holbrook’s almost life-long project was as performing as Mark Twain on stage, a role he took on during his late 20s.
For Mr. Holbrook, the Mark Twain guise he put on every night was a mask; behind it, he wrote in his memoir, was a lonesomeness that had plagued his early life, beginning when his parents abandoned him as a small child. As an adult he found his marriage, his fatherhood and even his stage life caught in an existential deadlock, with “survival and suicide impulses working in tandem.” His escape, he said, was punishing amounts of work, not to mention the company of friends like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.
There’s a fun, charming low-budget 2020 indie film called Save Yourselves! It’s about a hipster couple from Brooklyn who travel to upstate New York for a weekend getaway. The plan is to turn off their phones and reconnect as a couple. What they don’t realise is that these two people, with no discernable skills, have unplugged from the world on the same weekend that the Earth has fallen victim to a hostile alien takeover. It’s funny and relatable.
And now it is being turned into a TV series. There’s no word whether original film stars John Reynolds and Sunita Mani will take part in the series. I’m not convinced that this needs to be stretched out beyond the tight 90-ish minute runtime of the film.
The activity surrounding the broadcast of sports continues to be the most interesting thing driving local streaming in Australia as the market readies itself for the dominance of international general entertainment streamers.
Yesterday came news that Australia’s biggest telco Telstra will dump its own sports streaming of NRL and AFL games in favour of offering substantially discounted access to the Foxtel-owned Kayo sports platform.
Telstra, which owns 35 per cent of Foxtel (Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp owns a controlling 65 per cent stake) has been running its ‘Live Pass’ product on mobiles since 2014 and offers customers access to sports such as the NRL, AFL, netball and soccer for free.
This is great news for the longevity of Kayo. And so-so news for consumers. But, it’s bad news for sporting codes which now have one less big-spending customer to sell sports rights to.
WandaVision was never conceived as a film. For what I think are obvious reasons. Read: Indiewire
There may be some big names appearing on the WandaVision series before the season is done. But also, I’d counter: Isn’t the entire premise of these Marvel shows that it’s bringing the big name cinema experience to serialised TV storytelling? Read: TV Line
Pluto TV is launching boxing and Pro Wrestling channels. Read: Twitter
In news from The Bing, Michael Imperioli is working on developing a new series with Alec Berg (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld) based on his experience as a practicing Buddhist. Read: Variety
Anime streamer Crunchyroll has passed the four million subscriber mark. Announces new anime series with Idris Elba. Read: The Streamable
Aussie network Seven has parted ways with game show host Andrew O’Keefe following assault charges over the weekend. Read: TV Tonight
Read this in-depth history about the NES game based on Ducktales and then have a good re-think about what you, an adult, are spending your time on 30+ years after this video game you played as a kid was released. Read: Kotaku
The Nevers, formerly showrun by Joss Whedon, will debut in April (probably) on HBO.
Punky Brewster is thrust upon the world once more on Feb 25. Find it on Peacock in the US, on Stan in Aus.
Marvel’s Behind The Mask debuts on Disney+ on Feb 12.
Discover the inspiration behind Marvel's greatest heroes in the new documentary special, streaming February 12 on Disney+.
Millennials debuts on new US streamer ALLBLK on Feb 25.
The new comedy is centered on the lives of four 20-something roommates and their neighbors across the hall; as they navigate the chaos of being young and finding success, and themselves, in the city of angels.
Amend: The Fight for America launches on Netflix Feb 17.
The six-part docuseries explores the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution - which promised liberty and equal protection for all persons in 1868 - as America's most enduring hallmark of democracy.
Justice Society: World War II debuts later this year direct to digital.
What’s next? Tomorrow.
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.