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 Ray Donovan.
ALSO: John Travolta is back on TV. AND: The Sims turns 20.
Big screen star John Travolta will next be seen on the smallest screen in the house (as he stars alongside Kevin Hart in a new short-form Quibi series.
Die Hart will have Hart playing a fictionalized version of himself, someone who's tired of being the comedic sidekick. A famous director offers him the shot to be the lead in an action movie, but there's a catch: Kevin first must train at the world's greatest action-star school, which is run by a lunatic (played by Travolta). Pushed to his limits by the coach and a tough-minded rival student, Kevin must survive a series of over-the-top action sequences and face his fears if he wants to achieve his dream and land the role of a lifetime.
28.6 million subscribers. That’s Disney+’s subscriber base as it enters its fourth month of operation. That is impressive. Source: The Hollywood Reporter.
Part of the reason why the service launched to such a strong subscriber base was the inclusion of the first ever Star Wars show The Mandalorian. It’ll be back in October for its second season. The show will be used as a jumping off point to launch spin-off and connected shows.
As per Bob Iger on the future of the series beyond season 2:
"including the possibility of infusing it with more characters and taking those characters in their own direction in terms of series."
Happy 20th anniversary to your friends and mine The Sims. I’ll admit that I haven’t played The Sims for what is now probably about 19 years. But the fandom surrounding the game has endured through multiple versions since.
The Sims 4 community is vocal, and at times, demanding. Thousands are active in Sims-specific subreddits and forums, along with an online library called The Gallery that lets users share or download custom content (it has over 40 million player uploads). Sims fans have one thing in common: they’re hungry for more.
“We recently ran a community survey where we asked about future gameplay features and we let [fans] tell us how much they wanted them,” Duke said. “The reality is they wanted everything we said.”
Many users have taken to making things themselves. One group of women modded new skin tones, hair and other custom items that better suited black women Sims. Custom content has been added since the original, and the wealth of content and creators has grown tenfold since as creative tools improved.
UK drama The Syndicate is coming back to TV for a fourth season by way of the BBC and Britbox North America. The revival is notable as the anthology series about lottery winners has been out of production for five years.
Sonia Kruger has been announced as the host of the revived Big Brother Australia. Her appointment means she will no longer host the Australian version of Holey Moley, retitled Mega Mini-Golf to avoid legal complications with a local mini-golf company.
Which begs the question…. why was Sonia Kruger ever going to be the host of a Holey Moley series? Did anyone watch the US version, which succeeds mostly due to the wit and silliness of co-host Rob Riggle…
Sonia Kruger is a perfectly genial host. Funny… she is not.
My optimism for Mythic Quest kicked in with the third episode, a Ganz-scripted half-hour in which the game faces a spike in use among white supremacists and the characters generally react in all the wrong ways, despite generally correct intentions. It's basically a great Sunny episode filled with sharp, wonderfully obvious dialogue like "Nazis make excellent villains. Have we considered embracing the Nazis, narratively speaking?" and "Violence is very oftentimes the best answer. But not when you're dealing with Nazis!" It's a smart and perceptive look at how online communities can breed and cultivate extremism, and the challenge to regulate fringe voices, especially if your corporate culture is driven by too many similar voices.
The entire first season of the show drops on Apple TV+ this weekend.
YouTuber Denis Shiryaev has uploaded a 4k restoration of the Lumiere Brothers 1895 film Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat.
“Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat” was shot in 1895 but did not publicly screen for the first time until January 1896. The silent short film runs 50 seconds and depicts a train pulling into a train station in the French coastal town of La Ciotat. Like the majority of early Lumière film projects, the film is a single, stationary shot capturing movement in everyday life. The legend goes that the first audiences to see “Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat” would scream and run to the back of theater because the image of a moving train heading directly toward the audience had never been seen on the big screen before.
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